welcome to the danger zone

Posts tagged “music

Free At Last!! (At Least From The Horrors of the Tubes, Anyway)

I actually got ready early this morning, because we had several things to do be we left for my appointment at Hershey – which included going to vote with Andy and having a discussion about voter suppression, since once again, illegally, the polling place had a sign that said new voters had to show ID. I don’t know whether it’s blatant disregard that that no law was ever passed, or just ignorance developed from watching too much Fox News. Whatever. Not to mention that the polling place door is always surrounded by people campaigning for local candidates, making it somewhat intimidating to enter without being assaulted. But enter we did, and refused all the little cards the lurkers tried to force upon us to help up select our candidates. Really, if you don’t know who you are voting for and why when you get to the polls, you shouldn’t be voting at all, because you are clearly uninformed. I hate the way small town voting always seems shady, but our votes were cast and we received our stickers, which is my favorite part of voting.

After voting, we then had to hit the pharmacy because I was not going anywhere near that hospital today without being armed with a full prescription of pain meds. I wish I had had something for anxiety, because while the pain of the last tube procedure was just a memory for my brain, my body was fully remembering the trauma of the last visit, and on high stress alert. Not to mention that I couldn’t eat or drink anything for several hours before this stabbing, and I was nauseated by the Tamoxifen and shaky from not eating or drinking. My brain kept trying to deny that this time would be as painful as last, but my body was having none of that. Being sedated last time when I was leaving the Vascular Radiology department, I could only remember it was down the hall from Interventional Radiology, and wandered around lost in the bowels of the hospital trying to find it. I did find my friend Joanne, who works at PSHMC, and we then wandered together until I found it. I checked in and went to the waiting cell. As is typical at PSHMC, Fox News was on. I was doing okay until they started interviewing Donald Trump, and he began spewing outright lies, and no one even challenged him. At that point, I went and stood in the hall, because Tamoxifen raises my blood pressure and that asshole was making it worse. Not to mention all the crazy supporters in the waiting area who find him appealing as a candidate. And lest I forget, the man who spent his time reading his magazines aloud, then also audibly commenting on the articles he just read. I could feel my blood pressure soaring.

Finally I was beckoned to the dungeon, er, staging area. IV insertion did not go smoothly, and my very sweet nurse called for a vein whisperer after her first two attempts did not go as planned. My left hand is now going to be a large bruise. The second nurse got the IV started in my right hand after a few harrowing minutes when it looked like that vein was going to blow too. Settled onto my bed, I actually had a pillow this time instead of a fold-up blanket like last time. I tried to lie down, but I wanted to puke, so I asked the nurse to help me sit up so I wasn’t choking. She offered me Zofran, I wanted my herbal medication, and declined, and said I would deal with it when I got home. She said, oh do you drink ginger ale and I giggled and said, yes, but I also smoke marijuana. She nodded her approval. The Dr. then came out and told me that they had discussed my tube at their morning meeting and agreed that if they ran dye through my tube and it made it to my bladder, they would pull that sucker out. I agreed completely – then found out that since that was the plan, there’s be no sedation, no pain meds and no need for the IV so carefully stuck into my hand. However they left it in, and wheeled me into the procedure room, where in 15 minutes, my 13 weeks of torment were over. It was almost painless, but not really. I couldn’t wait to get a drink and some oxy to ward off any impending pain. I was wheeled back to my waiting space and released. Now to find Andy and my mango smoothie.

Andy and I hit the road after finding each other, and headed home. I drank my smoothie and ate my pills and was still cranky because I needed to eat. I wanted wings, but the wing place didn’t have any interesting flavors, so I settled for a jr. bacon cheeseburger, and some nuggets from Wendy’s. After my angry, hungry beast was fed, things were much better. We got home without any serious pain like last time. My little friend Erin was there to great me when I got home, and after a couple minutes of chatting with her, I headed to the tower, more pills, my medicine pipe, some advil and water. Having adequately medicated, I tried to sleep. Then the pain came. I guess I didn’t take my meds at the right time to prevent the last dose from wearing off completely, and just like last time, I couldn’t move my right side for without screeching pain with every movement. It’s since toned down a little, but that’s the main reason I am blogging tonight, because I need to get another dose in before I go to bed, so that I don’t wake up crying. My kidney spasms every now and then like it’s pushing small pieces of glass through it, and that my friends, is horrific. It lasts less than a minute, but it jolts me awake. Hopefully by tomorrow morning it will be tolerable.

The pain however was what got me thinking about blogging tonight was, because I don’t know if this happens for other people, but it does for me, when I am in pain I tend to hum, and then I hear songs in my head that are relevant to my situation. For instance, the song of the evening that is replaying in my head is Off With Their Heads’ Trying to Breathe. It’s my way of self-soothing I suppose. But I seem to have certain soundtracks to my life – like last month, I often heard one of U2’s earlier songs, October, over and over in my head. November is the month of the Jesus and Mary Chain because Joey’s birthday and the day he died are both this month, and the JMC is what reminds me of our friendship. And when the depression hits, I often turn to the Smiths and Elliott Smith to highlight my misery. When I was first diagnosed with cancer and I had to make the 4:30am drive back and forth to Hershey, I listened to OWTH’s In Desolation, to and from, every day…it got me through those six weeks and far beyond. OWTH is still one of my go-to bands for catharsis, and that’s the reason I try to see them as often as I can because there’s a sense of belonging among that crowd that I am not alone in my pain, fear, and frustration. It’s healing and cleansing. In fact, if you were to ask me about specific times in my life, there would be an album or a band that I would identify it with. R.E.M got me through being dumped during my pregnancy. I made mix CDs (and now playlists) of songs for seasons – there were summer songs, and loneliness songs, and dark brooding goth mixes with Black Tape for A Blue Girl. Some people enjoy music – my music gets me through the hard times, helping me put to words what I am feeling inside, and scream it out loud on winding back roads, helping me heal. There’s even driving music, which I have to be careful with because it seems to enhance my leadfoot. Then there were the new bands I discovered and would listen to when I first got to California and had to take the 2.5 bus ride to and from work every day – Husker Du, the Replacements and the Hoodoo Gurus to name a few. And Echo and The Bunnymen’s Songs to Learn and Sing. Andy’s first show was the very first Lollapalooza when I was 8 months pregnant. Most of my friends are clueless about the bands I listen to and love, but without my music, I’d be lost. It’s not just music, it’s my way to cope. Especially while I have been dealing with this C-monster that has me in its clutches. When I got the last prognosis, I spent hours driving and crying and singing my throat raw before I could pull it together to come home. I listen to classical when I need to focus; I listen to weird rhythmic pieces by Gabrielle Roth when I need to stretch, and I had playlists for the gym when I still had the strength to go. There was music for strength training and music for the elipti-hell machine. And there are songs that I will listen to on repeat until every ounce of pain has been expunged. And while I find peace in the bands I discover and love, there’s also music that makes my ears bleed – and gets under my skin like a festering splinter that I can’t wait to be rid of. Like when we went on the dinner cruise in DC, and the music they played on the observation deck made me want to leap into the Potomac or shoot out the speakers, or both – music can indeed make me miserable. Or it can make me laugh, like the song Bunnies by Pansy Division. (Go ahead and download that one) And for those who received them as holiday gifts – there are my impressive holiday songs collection, which have had some gems on them. It’s not just music, it’s part of who I am.

Music was the reason I was willing to put off chemo for two months so I could go to shows and festivals and see the bands I love. And while I made it the shows that mattered most to me, we all know how difficult the kidneys and bladder made following through on a lot of that was. In fact, going to shows made me fight a little harder to stay healthy so I could go. And it gives me a connection with Andy, that we enjoy a lot of the same music gives us something we can do together. In fact, my Christmas present is going to Chicago for the War On Christmas shows in December. Part of my “things I still need to do list” includes seeing bands I’ve always wanted to see live, which is a pretty short list these days, but there are still a few I haven’t seen.

Well now that I spilled all of that out there, it’s time for another round of pills. I’m still having pain, but it’s getting better – I will probably need my dressing changed in the morning – the doctor said that my kidney will seal itself, but there may be some discharge for a few days. I am allowed to swim and take baths again – they said 2 days, but I’ll wait a little longer, like when the hole is actually closed, and I don’t need a bandage on my back. It’s really the tape tugging at my skin that causes the most pain – there are scars around my back where the tape tore away my skin just like it did on my thigh. And it itches. But it’s almost completely over and I am so thrilled that I can’t even stand it. I rolled around on the bed just for fun, because nothing was tugging and pulling at my skin and kidney for the first time in over two months. I could literally feel the stress slide off after I got in the car to come home. I can deal with cancer, and I know at some point these things might have to be a part of my life n the months to come, but they don’t need to be here now. I just want to be able to do things and go places now while I can, without these encumbrances. Not that I minded taking the punk rock stroller to the shows, but I’d much rather be free of the attachments. No, that’s a lie, I did mind taking it, but a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.

So now that my pain pills are slowly making their way into my bloodstream, I am ready to head to bed so that I can get up and get things done tomorrow, at least some laundry and maybe making dinner. We’ve been eating a lot of fast food, food other people have so kindly made for us, and frozen food. I haven’t had the energy to cook, but I’m hungry for jerk chicken and mashed potatoes and corn, and I know Andy would be grateful for his mother’s cooking again. The ladies arrive from CA here in Shenandoah on Friday, and Saturday morning we are going to Shady Maple for breakfast (and for the gift shop so I can get a new toy). I am so excited to see them all and spend time with them. And I am very thrilled to see all my other friend at the benefit on Saturday, and to score some of the good food that will be there, especially the stuff Lisa’s making, because that woman can cook. Best breaded chicken ever. My only hope is that my dad doesn’t over do the wine and drag up every less that optimal decision I ever made in my life. Presently, he’s blaming my circumstances on moving to FL with my much older alcoholic and drug addicted boyfriend when I was 17. That’s a long time and a lot of therapy ago. But that’s my dad. It’s still going to be a good time.

Before I forget, I did get my panda suit. It was very hot. I sat on the porch for over an hour waving at cars, but only 4 people total ever waved back. I scared Andy, Eric and two other people walking by. People showed the panda no love. If I saw a giant panda just sitting and waving on a porch, I would have stopped the car for pictures. Then I let Andy borrow the costume for a show he was going to. The panda body no longer exists any more because he was far too tall for it, and it showed. However, panda’s head is just fine, so I’ll just toss on my new security blanket, my OWTH hoodie, and sit on the porch as punk rock panda, and see if that makes a difference. Now it’s time for bed, and more water because we have to keep the kidney in good shape. Sweetest of dreams, I’ll probably be back after everyone returns to the West coast with pictures and stories to tell. Enjoy these last few warm days. And remember to give lots of hugs and tell people you love them every chance you get. You can’t do either enough. And sorry for the rambling, it’s the medication, I swear.

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Sometimes, Life Throws Me a Bone

Tonight was The Menzingers at Union Transfer in Philly (awesome set, nice venue) with Mewithoutyou (great performance) and two other bands…one I missed because they closed a road in Fairmont Park and put up no signs causing mass chaos and delaying us. Got to hang out with Lizz and Blaine and had a mostly painless night. It was a rough day emotionally, so I’ll take the absence of any kind of pain.

Picture it – 2am, there I was, driving home in the rain, Andy passed out in the passenger’s seat. I was listening to the Jealous Sound, enjoying the dark, wet night, singing (or wailing as some might say) when I notice something that looks like a leaf crossing the road. It bounced 3 times before it I realized it was no leaf, it was a frog. A very brave frog who decided to cross the road. She was just a wee thing. But it reminded me that life is tough and all, but it’s got cute little surprises now and again. A brief bit of joy in the night. AND then I saw a second one. Double happiness. Two tough little buggers.

But because I am me, I immediately thought perhaps this is the apocalypse, and it’s raining frogs? Or does it rain blood? I forget.

In other news, I bought a panda suit today. Because life is too short to not have a panda suit. Really I just wanted the head, but apparently all the available panda heads are just ugly. I can’t wait to sit on the porch and wave to cars.

And I’m thankful.

And now, I’m going to crawl into bed, and watch last season of Vikings again. Goodnight pumpkins, Dr. is Monday, so I’ll be back soon.


Magical Mystical MRI (or The Time I Got “Blue in the Face” Instead of “Trying to Breathe”)

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Let me begin with this: I am not going to be making a resolution involving vodka and orange juice, because I decided that my relaxation cocktail is just that: pineapple, orange, and veggie juice with coconut vodka. It’s mighty tasty. I am having a lot of anxiety this evening (as will be discussed in the next paragraph) and I am trying to chill because I need to be bright eyed and bushy tailed for my Dr appointment tomorrow. I know I gained a little weight. I am not sure how, but I feel fluffier. I’m not stressing about that, because in three days, I’ll be so sick that food will be my enemy once again and the only thing I’ll want to eat are my go-to foods: pineapple juice, english muffin, oatmeal, yogurt and ginger beer. I want to make a pork roast tomorrow for dinner but I am afraid if I eat my friend, the pig, before chemo, I will lose my love for the other white meat the way I have lost my taste for artichokes and parmesan cheese the last time. And if I can’t eat bacon, what’s the point of living? Right now I am trying to coordinate with my brothers to get me to chemo and back because Andy is afflicted with the winter death plague, and I cannot be trapped in a car breathing his germs for an hour while we drive to Hershey. As it is, he is forbidden to be within six feet of me. And if he gets close, I pelt him with a hand sanitizer. So right now, it’s looking like I will be arriving two hours early for my appointment, and then waiting an hour or two for a ride home after we’re done. It’s gonna be a long, long, long day. But when in my life has anything been simple or easy. Enough stressing about what hasn’t happened yet, we have to review today’s adventure.

Let me preface this with this: the internet is a dangerous tool. Useful, but dangerous. Damn Penn State Hershey didn’t put my MRI results in my “My Health” account like they do with with my CT scans. How am I supposed to make myself anxious all night before my appointment if I don’t read them like I read my CT scan reports? Hmm? How can I prepare for the worst if I don’t have the info? I, of course, interrogated the nice young technician who did my MRI as to what she saw. She confirmed that there is indeed something in there, but I knew that – when I asked her if I should be prepared for an unpleasant surprise at my visit tomorrow, she would not commit. That typically means yes, I should be, because when they don’t put your fears to rest immediately, they are trying to find a way to avoid a straight answer. So we shall see. But again, I can’t worry about that until tomorrow. That is the point of the relaxation cocktail.

Well it was a lovely ride to Hershey. The fog was thick and murky on the interstate, as I tend to like it. It feels like driving in a thick cloud. I forgot it was a travel day and that Canadians would be in our country and on our roads, making driving difficult, which can also be said of New Yorkers, and also those from New Jersey. They should just stay home and enjoy their holidays in their own country/state. I had to stop and get something to eat because I was feeling nauseous, so I also took a percocet because it’s hard to tell if I am feeling sick from not eating or withdrawal, so I addressed both. I tossed back my chocolate milk and rolled into the parking lot at The Cancer Institute, realizing I would need to pick up my parking pass tomorrow for this lot for my treatments. I scurried into the building, looking like I rolled out of bed and fell into the door because I was trying to dress in things with no metal so I wouldn’t have to change into a gown. Nope, that didn’t work. I soon realized I had to go in the main entrance, and I meandered down to the radiology department, the same place that had tried to empty the cyst for the last year. I was the only one there, so I was personally escorted to the MRI room. I filled out my questionnaire about all of my surgeries and tests and radiations and chemos and skin pokings and jabbings and big giant incisions and medications and answered some math word problems about trains and wrote a short essay on what I did on my winter holiday. I signed releases I didn’t read. Then I was escorted to the changing area. It was pretty much the same deal as going through radiation, except there are no animal themed changing rooms and no waiting corral. I did get a locker for my stuff, and I actually had two gowns that covered me, instead of feeling like I always had to close some area that was exposing skin.

In typical fashion, I needed to repeat my name and birth date about 3,129 times. I had to show them my tattoos – MRI tip – an MRI will cause certain inks in tattoos to swell/itch because some inks have metal particles in them, particularly bright, vibrant colors. It’s not the best idea to get a tattoo right before you get an MRI. The technician asked me if I wanted some music during the procedure, and I said sure, but you probably have nothing I listen to – and to my surprise, she said give me the names and I will use Pandora. So I rattled off some of my faves: OWTH, Against Me!, The Go Set, Pennywise, Alkaline Trio, excited that I wasn’t going to be forced to endure One Direction, or Creed, or worse, Nickelback,

We entered the MRI room and to my surprise, the MRI machine is not so different from a CT scanner. However, there is the obvious lack of decorative stickers. I pointed this out immediately, and suggested some Brave, or Jungle Book, but no Toy Story 3, because I am still traumatized from that one. The tech said she’d check but they probably cant because of the risk of metallic particles.

Curiously enough, the room itself has a background hum that sounds like the womb sounds that my Sleep Sheep makes, which would have been soothing if not for their loudness. Unlike the CT meat slicing machine, the MRI tunnel is entered feet first. I had to get an IV started because there would be contrast dye for this one. They put some boards and blankets on my belly, and start the IV, which actually hurts at first. I told her to choose my right arm, because I was saving the left for chemo on Tuesday. Chemo tip – always go for the left arm. You will get a lot of fluids and will spend an inordinate amount of time in the bathroom – you want that right arm unencumbered. We got the IV issue worked out and that arm got strapped down. I was given a emergency call bell in case I started to freak out for the other hand. Then they put my headphones on, and I get launched into the tube. It’s a pretty small space, and I am a pretty fluffy girl. I had wiggle room but not much. The music started to play, and amusingly, the first song is an Alkaline Trio song, Blue in the Face, which ends with the line, your coffin or mine? I found this so amusing but being that I had to remain still I was not allowed to chuckle. The MRI imaging is done in time limited sessions. 45 seconds, 1.5 minutes, and then 2, 4, 5, 6, and (2) 8 minutes. Then the dye is injected, and you do 2 more 2 minute and 4 minutes sessions, and then (4) 18 second images images holding your breath. The instructions to hold your breath are supposed to come through the headphones – the tech broke into the music to tell me to follow along, except the instructions were in spanish, and she then had to just tell me what to do each time.

The actual imaging sessions are noisy. I was doing okay though, because I had music. Curiously, even though I had given her the names of the bands for Pandora, I got mostly Alkaline Trio and the Menzingers, and no OWTH for the first session – there was some Taking Back Sunday and some AFI – but no OWTH or Against Me!. This was tolerable initially, and I shouldn’t complain, because it could have been worse, like noted above, Nickelback, or even, ~shudder~ Macklemore or Pitbull. When the tech came in to start the dye, I asked her to restart Pandora with OWTH and the other requested bands – I got one OWTH song, and then it went right back to the Menzingers – weirdest thing ever, I wonder why that is? Anyway, the last sessions were the most difficult to stay still during because the machine was literally rattling. And your body gets really hot. Like it’s cooking. But I did really well keeping still, I turned on my meditative brains and pretended that I was a corpse. Of course, then runaway brain came along and I started to think about what it would be like to be buried alive, and this is as close as I hope to ever come to it. Then I started to think about all the poor people who were buried alive and what that must have been like to wake up in a box underground and be trying to claw your way out, and then the terrible realization that this is it, and you are trapped and never getting out. I then realized that I need to modify my living will to specifically state that under no circumstance whatsoever am I to be buried, or placed in any boxes unless my heart has been removed from my body or my head severed. That freaked me out. I realized then that the only suitable way to die would be drowning and then eaten by fish. Fear of being buried alive moved to my number 2 fear. Clowns were downgraded. Fire is still at the top. Again, drowning would be the only acceptable way to go.

Returning to our discussion track, there’s a lot of noise during an MRI. Banging and whirring and swishing and thunking. I did okay with most of it, the music minimized it but it still all seems to be going on by your ears, instead of where they are taking pictures. At one point it felt like the hair on my legs was being magnetized Totally bizarre feeling. It’s not constant. It starts and stops, and they tell you through the headphones when the next imaging will start and how long it will last. I only got caught off guard once with the loud banging, and fortunately, since you are in a restricted space, you can’t really jump out of your skin. I kept referring to my meditation practice and controlled my breathing the best I could, trying to relax. This is an important tip for those having an MRI. Work on your breathing. When it was all said and done, and I got to sit up, my whole body was stiff from staying still for so long. Even though the actual imaging session are short, the whole process lasted about 1.5 hours. Keeping still is a lot more work than you would think it is. As I mentioned, I asked the tech what she saw, but I also asked her why they do MRIs on a Sunday. She said they have to staff the MRI 24/7, and since someone has to be there all the time, they decided to make use of those hours by scheduling outpatient scans so they use the time effectively. There are a lot of emergency and rush procedures during the week, and it’s really stressful. Weekends are more laid back, there’s no tension and it can accommodate both staff who want to work only weekends and patients who need an urgent but not immediate scan, or people who can’t take time during the week. My tech said she actually prefers being there and doing procedures on the weekend. I have to say, it is a much more pleasant experience for the patient too because you aren’t jammed into a room of sick people to wait and you don’t feel rushed and everyone seems more calm and relaxed. There’s also better parking and fewer people in the buildings. After I regained my sense of stability, I was given my key to my locker and changed into my clothes and then scurried (IE. Walked slowly and stiffly) to reward myself with a chestnut praline latte at the hospital’s Starbucks. Twas yummy.

I took a longer scenic route back home – I had planned on going to dinner with my sharksister, Ashley, but she came down with the flu or plague or west nile last night, and we had to cancel. I was disappointed because I was really looking forward to seeing her, but we’ll have time, I have 4 months of appointments yet. We were going to go to Pho Miss Saigon in Hershey – a super yummy pho/noodle house – I still don’t have much of an appetite, but I was looking forward to Vietnamese iced coffee, which is my most favorite. If you frequent the Hershey area, I highly recommend the spot, particularly if you like pho or noodle dishes. It was still quite foggy as I headed home and was dark, so more stupid people than usual were about to hinder my ride home. Tomorrow is doctor and blood work day, and laundry. Weirdly, I need to make sure that I have a fresh blanket and sheets on my bed for after chemo – because of the whole weird smells thing, I need to have things as fresh as possible the first few days. Andy is also going to need to clean the car and quit smoking in it, because the odor of cigarettes is the one scent that makes me want to immediately hurl once I start chemo. At least I know what to expect. I also don’t have to have the nasty neulasta shot, at least not initially, so that’s a huge plus. That shit is the worst part in my opinion – the pain in your bones is as horrible as the pufferfish. I’ll have to get a picture tomorrow while I still have my hair…I figure it will be gone by the beginning of February I’ve started work on a fox hat, and I have patterns for a raccoon, panda and queen crown.

So that was the MRI. To summarize, much like being buried alive but without the bugs or dirt or paralyzing fear. Also much noisier. Not for the claustrophobic. In other news, I facebook blasted that my cancer is back – it may seem like an attempt to get attention to some, or putting “my business out there” but you know what, I don’t really care. People are naturally inquisitive – they want to know – and I don’t think this is something I need to keep private. It’s scary and people are curious. If I make it easier for someone else, all the better. With that ma petites, I shall leave you for today. I’m gonna finish my cocktail, and tuck myself in. Hopefully I’ll have more details tomorrow. Sweetest dreams my friends, and like I said on facebook, send me your good vibes, positive thoughts, prayers, animal sacrifices or good juju, I can feel it and it helps.

And don’t be afraid to ask me questions – it doesn’t bother me a bit.


The Racing Mind at 1AM Edition

Yep, just sitting here doing the math on how much sleep I’ll get before I get up for work in the morning

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It’s been a sort sucky day in a sorta sucky week, but if you harken back to last week’s dismal forecast, I’m sitting on top of the world in comparison. But it’s been a rough week and it’s only Wednesday.

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I sometimes think I am so naïve. I always try to see the good in people. Even when people repeatedly disappoint me or take advantage of my compassion. This makes some people hard and callous, and I am, a little – but I still don’t let it color my perception of the next person down the road. This week was hard, because sometimes in the baby snatching world, you go above and beyond and put all your faith in someone because you see potential for success, and then despite every possible effort you could have made, things just collapse to a level lower than you could have expected. And yet, I was lying in bed thinking as upset as things have recently made me, somehow I can continue to find that hope. I suppose this all came from my listening to Ryan Young’s Anxious and Angry podcast. If you haven’t listened to it yet, you should. Because it will make you think. A lot. And laugh, also a lot. I will pause here to allow you to click on the hyperlink or here to get to the sight and listen to the podcast. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

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Welcome back. I am sure you enjoyed it. Tell your friends. In this week’s episode, Ryan urges people to do one nice thing for people everyday and talks about how good it feels. I am far from being the kindest or nicest or generous person in the world (most brilliant, witty and craft are enough for me), in fact, I can be meaner than a honey badger, but I do always try to say one nice thing to someone every day. Or make them laugh. Something, and I do it without even thinking about it. Not because I want to be magnanimous but because I know how good it feels, and it’s a plain self-rewarding activity that makes me feel better about me. It takes nothing to say hey, I like your hair, or you look nice. And yet it means all the world to someone. I don’t know if I ever wrote about the story about the person who jumped from the Golden Gate Bridge in a suicide attempt, and survived. The person said that they told themselves, I’m going to kill myself, and hoped that one person would see the tears streaming down their face and ask what was wrong, and when one person stopped him and he thought, wow someone cares, only to find out it was a tourist who wanted him to take her picture. And he did, and gave the camera back and when the tourist walked away, he jumped off the bridge. One person could have made a difference. So I always try to smile and say something nice when I see someone, because I don’t ever want to ignore someone’s pain. Not that it works with everyone, but hey you put the effort out there. This is the same reason I buy stickers for the kids in my families for my visits. Because I might be the only person that month who gets down on their level and asks them to pick something they like when I see them on a visit. For those few minutes, they know someone cares.

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Of course there are going to be kids who will hate me anyway, but that’s the same as adults in my life. Some people will never change. And just because I want them to be happy/succeed/prosper/stay healthy doesn’t mean that’s what they want. Like my sister, maybe she’s happy with her choices – maybe she doesn’t want more than to live in public housing, on disability, drinking. Why do I think she does? It’s funny how we both had/have diseases we have to fight, both have kids we love, and yet my path couldn’t be further from hers. (note to my readers: ironically, I have the reputation of being the bad one in my family – you know, the drug user with the older boyfriend ((which creeps me out now)) who was wasting her brain nightly in a small town hanging with the bad seeds, my sister on the other hand, was all your typical homecoming and spring queens, head cheerleader, great husband, money, kids) and while I have clearly failed at snatching me up a husband and having a white picket fence, I’m pretty comfortable in my nest. I tried for years to help my sister, until I just had to say, done! I’m not going to continue letting your refusal to want more drag me down. So she does her thing, and I do mine, and if she ever gets sober and honest, I’m still gonna welcome her back in my life. As for now, I don’t need that drama. (note: the previous reflection was the result of running into my sister in the city where I work, as I was entering a rehab for a work visit, and she was merely walking by it – again, irony.)

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How does all of this related to my central theme here? I will tie it all together for you now – Jane is my sister, also sister of my brother Mike buys me a satellite radio → I hear Against Me! On the punk rock station → I go to see Against Me! → I want to see them again → they play w/ Off With Their Heads → I buy some OWTH downloads → I see OWTH play with AM! → OWTH’s music gets me through the roughest six month of my life with cancer -> Ryan Young is the vocalist of OWTH -> Ryan Young starts a podcast → podcast says do kind things → I blog. Of course in the midst of all that is some other stuff, but it’s all connect. Everything is connected so if you do something nice by way of OMG I THINK A SPIDER JUST RAN ACROSS MY BED…sorry… if you do something kind because you read this blog, then you will be connected not to just me, but that stealthy spider, Ryan Young, my brother, me, and even more people and things. What I am trying to say as I get more tired and ready for sleep, is that doing kind things is good, and it doesn’t even take any cash. Listen to Episode 13 of the podcast here.

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Sorry I have been failing at amazing humor the last few weeks. I’m really trying to stop being so reflective. I was going to relay my bad experience with my mobile phone providers customer service today, but that will just get me all fired up again, so instead, I’m going to crawl into bed, read a few chapters in my new book “Horns” and hopefully fall asleep with my glasses on. Peace.


Oh Yeah! We’re Puking Rainbows Again!

So, massive doses of vitamin B, medication, meditation, and writing kept me from sinking into the sucking abyss. You can all go back to poking me with sticks without fear of my mental breakdown again. It’s something you can’t even explain, but I will try to – it’s like waking up one morning and you just don’t even care that you have no money, and no gas, and there’s nowhere in walking distance that you want to go, and the house is a mess, and you have a stack of bills, but that’s all okay, because you’re fine with just hanging out at home, and it isn’t even depressing. Like that giant safe that was dropped on your soul from forty stories above has been pushed off and you can breathe again, and think of sad things without having a sobbing meltdown. You eat things other than chocolate and ice cream. You don’t really care that you aren’t chasing every dream you ever had, you’re just happy that you don’t have to fight to get out of bed, that you are back to considering a future, and the physical feeling of drowning under the weight of your tears is gone. Boom. Like that. Even though I don’t have the power to turn my depression on and off like a switch, some times it comes and goes like someone else has the power to control it. It’s not like anything changed in my life to make it better, it’s just I woke up on a perfectly gloomy day, continued to do the same mundane things I always do, but suddenly, it wasn’t like physical torture anymore. And I am grateful for everyday it gets to stay this way.

dino

This is a good thing because two year check up is in two weeks. I do believe my baby alien re-inflated itself after the last tortuous surgery, or at least that is what I am hoping. Actually, I’m not hoping that it did, I am just hoping that that is all that is wrong, because something is, and rather than whining about it, I’ve been just patiently waiting for the next day of probing to address it. It’s not like waiting a month would really make a big difference anyway, but I’ve got pain and weird sensations going on in ground zero and I know something is up. I’m pretty sure I’m still cancer-free, but I think that the poking around at the chrysalis in my former uterine cavity did little to eliminate the problem and was just a stop-gap, and at some point it’s gonna be either me, or a qualified surgeon, going in there with a knife and cutting that shit out. And if it is cancer, well, not much I can do about that except treat it – it’s not like it’s flesh eating bacteria or a bot-fly larva erupting from my skin. See? I come out of the darkness, and I’m all like, who gives a fuck? For the record, Vitamin B is nasty, but clearly works. Or I believe it works, and thus I prove the placebo effect valid once again.

puking_rainbows_for_real_by_pacifictoast-d2xv9byHopefully you are all breathing a sigh of relief at my return to normalcy. Normalcy is relative though, and I’m still pondering the secrets of the universe and scheming great schemes. Andy has agreed to go to Riot Fest with his mother, and I am buying his ticket for his birthday. The last time we went on vacation together was when he was five and we went to Disneyland for a week for his birthday – Riot Fest will be much like that trip, except, I won’t be charged with child abuse if I smack him in the head for being whiny. In other words, he will fall asleep in the car, whine about being hungry, complain about the music I am listening too, wander away and want to go in the opposite direction of wherever I want to go. And like when we went to Warped Tour to see AM! and Pennywise, he will spend all his money, and come looking for me only when he is covered in mud and has lost his shoes and is hungry. Mother and son bonding at its finest. If you want to join us, let me know – I will be staying in a hotel – he wants to stay in a tent – or the car – or on the ground – and as he will ditch me to see the bands he wants to see once inside the gate I will technically be alone. We’re driving because I love a good road trip. You can get tickets on layaway, which is the only reason we can afford it – because the universe has some sort of issue with me having a bank account with any sort of substantial balance in it (grasshopper).

disneywarp

Well friends, it’s almost time to make something for dinner. Maybe if you are lucky, I will make something amazing and you will be treated to pictures of it on FB.  Have a great rest of the weekend, and Happy Father’s Day to all the wonderful dads out there, including my “son” Corey, and my dad, if he’s ever allowed to return from where he is being held hostage at my brother’s home (detention camp) in Maryland, and to all the moms out there who are filling in as dads. And the men who are like dads to the dad-less. Fight the power!

pop


Black and Tan and Blue

I’m waiting for my laundry to get done so I can hang it up in order to be dry for the morning work. I suppose I should do this earlier in the evening, but I was unwinding from another troubling day of working for the man.

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As you may or may not know, I finally made it to the ocean. The Atlantic, not the Pacific, but the sound and smell of the sea took cleared away a lot of things that can only be washed away by something so vast and timeless as the ocean. I needed that. For those of you who have not seen both, I have to be honest when I say the ocean in northern California is a far more powerful force, even on calm days, than the Atlantic in New Jersey. Not to mention that the shell selection is somewhat better, and there’s more beach glass, and sea otters and sea lions, maybe an elephant seal. But still, the ocean soothes a lot in me. And made for a delightful Mother’s Day, even though it meant spending much more money than I intended to. I am somehow okay with that though, because every cent was worth hanging out with my son and laughing. It reminded me of when he was a little, and we would take road trips and adventures to see and do things we hadn’t done before. I miss that. And I miss the spontaneity – not many people I know are willing to do things at the drop of a hat, and thanks to my excellent child rearing skills, Andy has that inherent spontaneous streak. The beach trip came about at breakfast when I said, hey let’s go to the beach, and he said okay, but I need to go change first. And within an hour, we were on our way. It reminded me of when he was just a toddler and we would be leave the house to head to work/daycare and I would look at him, call “mental health day” and he and I would head to the ocean. Or the zoo. Or a park.

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And, as you may or may not know, during the beach trip, I learned some important information, which I believe should be shared. Large rocks at the beach are slippery if there is moss on them. Also, slippery without moss. Cement piers are also slippery, with or without moss. Women of my age should be careful on any of these things, lest they fall, as I did, and almost drown in the ocean/smash your camera/kill your ipod/get covered in blood, moss and sand. I also did some serious damage to my unscraped knee. It is getting better – but I keep thinking back to my fall, lying there like a giant beached pilot whale, flopping around as I tried to get up on the very slippery moss. Ah, a mother’s day to remember. My right leg looks like I was mauled by a demon too. Reminded me of the time I was going to showcase my mad skateboard skills for Andy and immediately had the deck shoot out from underneath me and I fell, slow-mo style, to the ground and smashed my head into the drive way. Days to remember.

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Well, I do believe the laundry is ready for my attention. Tomorrow, or today, depending what time you are reading this is “hug-it-out-hump-day” and I encourage you to drop your inhibitions, invade the personal space of friends and coworkers and hug the shit out of them. They might scream or tell you that it is unwelcome or unwarranted, but deep inside, they want them. Don’t let the mace or threats of legal action deter you.

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Good night my friends.

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btw, the title comes from the fact that I had Yuengling Black and Tan ice cream, and I was blue because it was all gone. sigh.

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the “a to “aw screw it already” challenge” aka I really should be doing work

I guess you expected another alphabet challenge entry. As predicted, I got to k, and have decided that for me, having to write with a prompt just is no bueno. I have too much going on in my head at any given moment to be limiting it to a single character to capture it all.

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Ironically, the next letter I would have written about was the letter L. Which is the type of work I am avoiding right now as I blog instead. Legal. I should be preparing my court questions for my hearing tomorrow. Or completing affidavits. I loaded up the flash drive on Friday to get this work done over the weekend. I was all about about doing work at home. I was….really. That said, because I knew I was going to do paperwork, I made a ham, cleaned my bedroom, organized my yarn. organized my art supplies, read some magazines, drank coffee, made a scrumptious salad with the ham, did laundry, napped, stacked books, watched tv shows I tivo’d, surfed the internet, pinned some shit, and made four hats. Procrastination 1000, Work 0. I will eventually get to the work stuff…probably at 11, and then I’ll get up at 5 am to do some more, because as my fellow baby snatchers know, the night before court is one restless night. No matter how solid your testimony is, no matter how much you have prepared, if you have to be at court, it’s usually because you are about to make one of the parties unhappy. And baby snatchers are disliked enough without having to deliberately make people more miserable. That’s not to say what I do isn’t necessary, and in the interest of keeping kids safe, but it’s never like anyone is all like…”hey, it’s CYS, hey how ya doing? Good to see you, I was just saying, I wish CYS would come by and visit, and uncomplicate my life” “oh we’re going to court? And you are going to testify against me and argue why my kids aren’t safe in my care? Well, come on in and let me bring you some cake!” So anyway, that’s why I will be up all night, tossing and turning – already I’ve got the burning knot in my stomach – and I actually enjoy testifying. I can only imagine what it is like for my co-workers who are uncomfortable with it. At least I now have a computer that has all the necessary keys present on the key board and isn’t possessed, throwing the cursor around wherever it wants and devouring whole manuscripts never to be recovered from the hell files again.

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Anyway, I was pretty fired up this morning when I realized that if I touched my computer I might be required to work, that I decided to wait a little and see if the passion subsided. As those of you who have delighted in my work for the last couple years know, I love to watch the Sunday morning political talk shows – specifically Meet the Press, and Face the Nation. If you have read this blog long enough, you will also know that I am a liberal of the worst kind…an uber bleeding heart socialist who believes that the wealth should shared in this country, guns are unnecessary, death penalty is inhumane, people come in all shades, sizes, languages, belief systems, gender identities (or not) and love who they love, kum-bi-yah (fill in the rest of the typical derogatory references to my political ideology here). I am also able to see past “belief systems” and see the person, which is why, despite my super left leanings, I also have a number of conservative friends who love me and I love as well. OH SHIT, I forgot to say I’m also a feminist with minor in women’s studies and a thesis on Feminism in the Colonial Period, which also makes me an intellectual elitist. For those of you still reading after this disclosure, I should also add I am fat and poor in material wealth, and also non-christian. Whew.

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So back to Meet the Press. The recording artist,Will.i.am, was on Meet The Press today. He’s a big supporter of the power of education to change lives. He has his own foundation. Of course all the political shows were heavy with people of color due to that nut job Sterling, but Will.i.am was not playing into it. He asked the politicians on Meet the Press, why does our country not care about making our children the smartest in the world and emphasizing things like project based learning. Then the politicos would open their mouths, and based on their political leanings, would blame the lack of funding for education by the Right or the stomping on State’s Rights by the Left. Of course, Obamacare is also to blame. And the Christian Coalition.

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Now, I suppose you’ve dozed off by now, but I will continue writing. Because here’s what I found fascinating. Will.i.am’s only question was why are we doing it, not who is to blame, and if we really want to foster American’s exceptionalism, why is it that we don’t capitalize on American creativity, and make it easier for our own citizens to get solid educations and hands on learning? He asked if we all believe in the same thing, then why don’t we do something to make it happen? And that’s when the light shone bright on how screwed up our nation is and why we border on the edge of the decline of Western Civilization. No one walks their talk. I find it hard to believe that every Republican politician believes in his or her heart that abortion is evil, we should let poor people starve, and that God should be forced into our education system. Nor do I believe that every Democrat believes that guns are the root of all evil, we should never say the word God in public and that socialism is the only answer. Yet, once we elect a “democrat” or a “republican” – they have to toe the party line and object to anything the other party asks for. No more acting for the good of the electorate. Make sure you don’t act outside your limitations. Don’t live your beliefs, adopt the beliefs of your party. And of course, it once again made me lose hope that anything will ever change, as the questions continued and each politician in turn, didn’t answer the question, but said why the other political party was foiling all of their ideas. And so another day, week, month, passes in America, and teachers are forced to teach kids to take tests, and try to squeeze actual learning and creativity in and around the indoctrination. Sigh. I did however, enjoy the jokes from the White House Correspondents Dinner, and yes, I am a science and political nerd. Add that to the list.

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I have so many more things that have been brewing in my brain to write about, and were stymied by following rules. Not that it wasn’t a good idea to start with, and I learned some new words, but 26 letters, that’s a lot for one month. While I have your attention however, or if you just skipped to the last paragraph to pretend like you read this, I encourage you to go to iTunes and download Ryan Young’s Anxious and Angry podcast. In episode 4, he interviews P22, the California mountain lion with mange from eating poisoned rats. I wish I would have emailed a question, to find out why they call him P22, and not ML22. Seriously though, its a great podcast, with very interesting discussions it’s swell being able to listen to Ryan talk with his guests and find that their lives are not entirely different from our own. It’s also quite effective in calming you down when you want to explode with rage at coworkers. Not that I ever would, but sometimes I am seething on the inside, and I wonder if they can hear my thoughts. Or if sometimes my thoughts are actually coming out of my mouth in a mumbly sort of way. So go download it. You can do it here. You should probably buy something on the website too. I mean, he went after a mountain lion with mange to try and reunite it with its family. That should make you buy a shirt. And be careful with the box, because there may be a note inside that you might almost recycle because when you tore the box open to get your shirt and flexi out, you weren’t paying attention. (Thanks for the note Ryan! – I will let you know if the flexi did its job in July – Harsh Realms is one of my favorite songs from Heart Burns btw) And there’s a link to the Anxious and Angry website on the right sidebar too. Just in case you forget to go here.

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Time to get my life together for work tomorrow…here’s a picture of the flexi and the awesome note I almost missed – I would have take a picture of the shirt too, but it’s currently in the spin part of the wash cycle…

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Oh, and before I forget, I believe the birds nesting outside my window must be eagles – they came swooping and screeching down this morning…definitely not sparrows.

 IMAG0092The almost lost note and the healing flexi disc

 IMAG0088ZOE_0006-004two of the 4 hats I made  – these went to a baby shower.


100

This is the 100th entry on my blog. Before we get into the magnificent writing, I am known for, a little self promotion. To mark this auspicious occasion, I’d like to get to 100 blog subscribers, or followers, you know, people who click “follow” on my blog. I’m at 80, so getting 20 shouldn’t be ridiculously hard. So before I begin spewing today’s brilliant thoughts, I will shamelessly petition you, my kind and incredibly intelligent readers, to promote this humble blog to your friends, and ask them to click that “follow” button. Thank you for your cooperation in fulfilling my little wish here.

I thought long, and sort hard, about what I should write about in my 100th blog entry. What amazing insight I could share, what witticisms, what profound philosophical ponderings…. should I use alliteration? Metaphor? Allegory? Deus Ex Machina?

Nah.

Just a list. A list of why I write and who inspires me and what brings me joy. Honoring what brings me to today:

andy * friends * family * dad * rain * fire * spring * oceans * sylviaplath * eecummings * thunderstorms * poetry * laughter * children * indianfood * sarcasm * satire * alliteration * litote * buddhism * cancer * cemeteries * lemurs * roadtrips * blogging * photography * writing * coloredpens * ipod * futureplans * death * survival * sleep * madness * cut grass * storms * bridges * failures * sleep * owth * obstacles * successes * dreams * tears * giggling * thaifood * am! * thickwarmblankets * fireworks * technology * komododragons * flyingmonkeys * joydivision * joys * gratitude * death* longdays * goodmovies * philosophy * poverty * birth * happybabies * silence * toast * jessicadorman * plato * charliekupher * earthquakes * coffee * newexperiences *memories * time * longtalks * surprises * oldmovies * storytelling * woodchucks * art * jesusandmarychain * fastcars * loudmusic * goodhealthcare * greatvocabulary * depression * journals * miltkids * hugs * personalspace * greatcoworkers * senseofhumor * wonder * magic * destiny * icecream * kindness * nightmares * despair * loneliness * intelligence * peace  

I probably have 100 more. What I’ve found is that what I don’t write is sometimes as cathartic as what I do. And I like it. I write what I write, and it’s both defining and liberating and it’s kept me from the edge more than once. Thanks for traveling with me.

I hope I write 100 more – there will be at least two because don’t forget, it’s almost time for the A-Z challenge. You won’t be sorry.

5e25fff94bd6588096341935594983f1It’s not its – get it right ecards.


C Monster Playlist

So here it is…the C-Monster Playlist on the ipod…and a picture of me in my dead cat and zebra hats… I wear them to chemo, to amuse myself.

Dead Cat Hat…I’m smizing, but I forgot “long neck” – Sorry Tyra!

 

Wearing the Zeeba hat at chemo

and…

wait for it…

My playlist

A Brief Moment of Fucking Joy…

2.2 hours of fabulous driving music for trips to Hershey.

Voices ~ Matt Skiba & The Sekrets

We Have It All ~ Pennywise

Beautiful Morning ~ Jealous Sound

Bruises To Prove It ~ Say Hi

Mercy Go Round ~ Cheap Girls

Little Talks ~ Of Monsters And Men

They Always Fly Away ~ Blouse

Waiting For The Great Leap Forwards ~ The Go Set

Welcome To Your Wedding Day ~ The Airborne Toxic Event

Blister In The Sun ~ Violent Femmes

Burn It Down ~ AWOLNATION

Lost and Searching in America ~ Against Me!

If Ever I Stray ~ Frank Turner

Pistolero ~ Roll The Tanks

Count Your Bruises ~ The Flatliners

Alone In The Basement ~ Japanther

American Slang ~ The Gaslight Anthem

Drive ~ Off With Their Heads

Heartbeat Song ~ The Futureheads

Last One To Die ~ Rancid

2-way Revolution ~ BADiTUDES

I’ve Got Friends ~ Manchester Orchestra

Anyone’s Ghost ~ The National

Walking Is Still Honest ~ Against Me!

Welcome To 1984 ~ Anti-Flag

Sorrow (Acoustic Version) ~ Bad Religion

California Stars ~ Billy Bragg & Wilco

Cruel World ~ Dead To Me

Shadowplay ~ The Killers

All Fall Down ~ Matt Skiba & The Sekrets

Never Tear Us Apart ~ Me First & The Gimme-Gimmes

Yesterdays ~ Pennywise

A Million Miles Away ~ The Plimsouls

November Was White, December Was Grey ~ Say Hi

Until We’re Dead ~ Star Fucking Hipsters

Harsh Realms (EP Version) ~ Tom Gabel

Go (Club Mix) ~ Tones on Tail

Can’t Hardly Wait ~ Whiskey Sunday

Sleep Is For The Weak ~ The Dreadnoughts

All The Way Down ~ The Primitives

Devils ~ Say Hi