Monday, December 30, 2013


I had my doctor repeat the news of my CT scan twice the first time he called.  Today, I had him repeat himself as well.  He said "I have good news, it isn't cancer."  The imaging on the MRI shows the "mass" to be fluid and not cancer.  He was so excited to wish me a belated Merry Christmas, he blurt that out then went on about my having a Fantastic New Year before I could wrap my head around what just happened.  I'm still amazed.  Shocked.  Stunned.  Even willing to admit there is part of me that doesn't believe it. 

These past ten days in such a tense emotional and physical posture, my relief is so great. 

My Mom and I went to see "Elf: The Musical" on Saturday and I got the joyous pleasure of hearing my Mother giggle.  Today, when I told her the news she said "You should be SINGING, this is such great news and you're SINGING!"

I'm singing.  Can you hear it?  I'm singing.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Garden of Delights

I went shopping at Rainbow Gardens with my Brudda tonight.  If you don't know this store, not only so sad for you, but it is a fantastic place for ornaments.  Well, while looking over their selection a seriously devoted crazy cat lady with a stocking cap and smelling of soup started to tell me how her cats wake her up in the middle of the night to play with the ornaments on her tree.  Then she pointed to the floor display of a dog house that had a sign hanging on it:  A multicolored MEOW.  She then says all sprightly, "I have a place for your husband to go.  The CAT HOUSE!"

So, while shopping with my brother for an ornament for his girlfriend, a bucked-tooth but well meaning crazy cat lady that smelled of bouillon, made a sex joke about my Brother-Husband going to a brothel.


Friday, December 20, 2013

The Future is Now

I've been just counting on my future being there. Thinking about other things than Cancer, and the trail of tears it leaves behind. Well, that changed with a phone call from my Radiation Oncologist today. Seems my last scan shows a 2 centimeter "mass" that needs further testing. This testing is at first an MRI, then possibly a biopsy that can only be done lapriscopicly. After that then a plan can take form. The MRI can't happen until the 27th with the holidays, so my future for now consists of doing my best to not catastrophize, then as my beautiful giving loving magnificent Mother happy for every single moment.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Some Answers

When I started this Blog I didn't really know what it was going to be.  Not really really.  It was born out of a need.  I needed a place to put all these questions and the internet seemed a mighty suitable container.  My posts started off as a mixture of prose, rants, poetry, political queries and then eventually evolved into everyday stories.  The format of my posting has evolved, but what has really changed is the core.  Me. 

I was really sad when I began Questions More Than Answers.  I had been thrown for a loop and was severely doubting choices I had made for most of my life.  I was figuring out how to trust myself again, how to be myself without someone looking over my shoulder and judging me every step of the way.  It took some time, but I got there.  I got the time, then I got diagnosed with Cancer and that was a whole new journey.  A whole new story.

I still wonder how this Blog will evolve.  I wonder the same about myself.  Every day is a new story to tell.  A new blog post to share.  What I so enjoy is not just sharing my story, but being a part of all yours as well.

Which reminds me…

Friday, November 29, 2013

It's a Conundrum Charlie Brown

Was anyone else confused by Peppermint Patty? I always thought she was a boy and Marcie had a crush on her/him and that explained why she followed her around everywhere. I knew Patty had a thing for Chuck, and he loved the little red haired girl, but I had this tangled Peanuts' love triangle all secret in my head. All because I was too embarrassed to admit I couldn't tell if Peppermint Party was a gay man in love with Charlie Brown, a girl in active wear with a husky voice prone to giving nick names to her amours, or the lesbian president of the Charlie "Chuck" Brown Club.

I'm forty-two and I finally know one thing for sure by now about Peanuts. Woodstock is a little yellow Mr. Bean and I still giggle when I see him on screen. I hope it doesn't take another forty years to resolve my issues with Miss Piggy and how poorly she treats Kermit.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Know Thy Neighbor

My twelve year old neighbor knocked on my door at 2:30 in the morning. He was alone and wanted to use the phone to call his Mom that had taken his Dad to the E.R. He was trying to call his aunt that took them, but he wasn't sure if the number he had was the right one. It didn't work. I tried to tell him that Emergency Rooms can take a long time and that this could be all night. He knocks again at 3:30 (I told him to come back if he wanted) and he tries to call his Mom. Out of service. He goes back home but I can actually hear him crying, I mean wailing across the breezeway. This kid is the biggest deviant. He has had the cops called on him for punching a young girl in the head, he smeared jam all over my railing, been suspended twice, then expelled, threw a water balloon at my door late at night... but here he is wailing for his Mother.

I call the nearest hospital E.R.s and find where his Dad is. He has been admitted. I reach his Mother in the room and we talk. When I give this boy the message his relief is so great. All he wanted is to know. That's it.

Not knowing is a terrible state of being. In many many ways.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Live to Hope

For those of you that know my parents, well you know how fantastically wonderful of a cook my Mother is and my Dad ain't too shabby.  Well this week we got some news about my Mom's health that is going to change the diet in their house and I am excited about how excited my Mom is to have an opportunity to make things better.  So she can get better.

My Mom is going vegetarian.  Go ahead, sit down, have a drink, do what you have to do.  She is going to the U of U Wednesday for an Angiogram and possibly a stint for a blockage in her heart.  But the biggest and most hands on action she is taking is tackling diet.  Over the last couple of days she has been going through my vegan/vegetarian cookbooks getting recipes for meals she never thought possible.  But what has been really invaluable is the book Eat to Live by Dr. Fuhrman.  If any of you have had an actual conversation with me, you know how much I love this book and what struck me last night was my Mom saying how she had "seen how much it had worked for me." 

I want my Mom around forever.  In fact I have given her specific instructions to never die.  I also realize how ridiculous such an order is.  Yet I am hopeful.  Hopeful that my Dad will be on the Healthy Food Team because he will do whatever it takes.  Hopeful that my Mom finding more and more healthful eating options as FUN and tasty options will make this transition less of a challenge.  Hopeful that doing this as a family, will keep us a family.

My Mom called me tonight to ask a cooking question.  I hope that happens every night.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Dreams are Funny Things

Sitting on the couch with the Moms and we decide to watch Turner Classic Movies' night of Burt Lancaster. One flick down, we think "From Here to Eternity" is up next but oh no, a whole other monster starts. "Come Back, Little Sheba" with Shirley Booth has got to be one of THE SADDEST MOVIES EVER EVER EVER! Sitting on the couch, trying my hardest to hold back legitimate guttural sobs I turned into a snotty bawling heap.

So here is my review: If you are looking for some of the best acting, desperate and bare dialogue that makes you pity the human condition this is your film.

Just do it with someone you aren't afraid to show your ugly cry.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Time for Time

All Saints Day.  Or the day all the ghoulsies and goblinsies are coming down from their sugar high.  But for me, today is the 2 year anniversary of my surgery to have the big bad Cancer removed from my body.  Two years.  I'm sure some people might think it silly, and a bit unnecessary to keep on about this date or that, but not me.  See, I'm still here.  Some don't get that luxury.  I'm not pretending it is a princess party every day, there are still complications.  But life is full of complications and I'm grateful for the chance to endure them.

Here's to more anniversaries.  All around.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Must See

Seriously, T.V. Deities, you need to stop making these new shows so entertaining/funny/engrossing. I need the boob tube to go back to how it was in say the mid 90's. Only Thursday night was appointment television. I have shit to do. Or I should. I should be reading, and writing, and cleaning. Maybe watching an old movie. But no, I'm trying to keep up with my damned DVR. Curses.

Why can't you suck? Why do you have to create worthwhile and challenging content? Why I say?

Then you answer with Honey Boo Boo and the Kardashians. Balance is restored.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Truth Out

I have been meaning to share this exchange since it happened, but other things have occurred;  all night bunny diarrhea fiascos, doctor visits, next door neighbour crisis (there was another that involved a late night trip to Del Taco and some hugging)  doping up my brother with ativan, Thursday night t.v. and laundry. 

When I got to the Halloween party last week I was closer to on time than 98% percent of the other invited guests (age and I don't know how to party) so this gave me a wonderful view to watch people arrive and check out costumes.  Two young girls showed up without costumes and were standing in the corner, so I made my way over to them.  I jokingly asked what their costume was...

Ashley- "I didn't wear one.  I'm that asshole that shows up without a costume.  Pretty bad huh?"
Me-  "If anyone else asks just tell them that's your costume, 'The Asshole that Showed Up Without a Costume'"

We laughed a really good laugh and for a while the three of us and a quiet girl in a Sexy Bee costume all stood by the stereo and, what do the kids say, oh yeah hung out.  (I am so not cool) Then Jango Fett mosied over.  At first I couldn't tell if he was Jango or Bobba from Vanessa's fun strobe lights and the fog machine, I guessed wrong.  He accepted my apology.  Then OF COURSE, talk of Comic-Con ensued and all that entails.  Somehow he didn't predict a grown woman wearing a Bob Ross costume would be a nerd, so he was genuinely surprised.  He then made a Fraggle Rock reference, but followed up with how I wouldn't understand it seeing as I was too young.

Jango-  "You don't know what I'm talking about, that's about four years out of your time."
Bob Ross-  Totally stunned.  "Uh honey, I'm 42."
Jango-  Silence.  Processing.  Processing.
Bob Ross-  Smiling.
Jango-  "Really.  I.  Never would have guessed."
Bob Ross- "So, how old are YOU?"
Jango-  Sheepishly "Um, 28."
Bob Ross-  Still smiling.
Jango-  "You know, my parents are only 5 years older than you and they LOOK LIKE SHIT!"

He said he thought his parents had given up on life and just didn't care anymore.  The Assholes and Sexy Bee witnessed this entire thing and were flabbergasted.  They wanted to know my secret so I tried to tell my truth without being professorial or preachy. 

The truth of the truth is I feel alive.  I do my best to feel it.  Just maybe, sometimes it shows on my face.  Even while wearing a big 70's wig and a fake beard.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Some Crazy Shit

Peanut had a difficult night.  Let me rephrase.  Peanut had a shitty night.  He literally had bunny diarrhea all over his cute fluffy and formerly white bum.  I was up with him until six this morning, not only washing his bum in the bathroom sink and swaddling him in a towel until he was dry; there was washing smooshed poops from his wood sitting bridges in his cage, scrubbing the bunny diarrhea trail out of the carpet, changing litter and filling the hay all while kissing him over and over to calm him down from the stress of it all.

After we both felt good enough to rest, he was snacking on fresh hay and I passed out on the couch in fresh poop free clothes.  I get a knock on the door and it is my neighbor Misty.  She is bewildered and can't look me in the eye.  She blurts out that she got a phone call telling her she doesn't qualify for SSI anymore.  I am so groggy I just stand there seriously confused.

After some time online, my own call to Social Security and doing my best to calm down a very scared and tearful Misty, I am taking her to her psych appointment and to the Social Security office on Wednesday. 

I keep using the word grateful.  It seems too simple, not enough.  Maybe that is it.  Not enough grateful.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Great Expectations

I'm at Maverick filling my tank when a Collie that has come loose from his yard is roaming not only the parking lot but crossing the busy intersection, then crossing it again to come back barking at people bewildered at the circumstances. There is rope training behind and he is clearly lost and looking to get home. People honk at him. He turns and goes the other way. I go inside and ask for the phone book so I can call animal control, which is of course closed for the weekend. I have to call dispatch and the very very kind young lady tells me that patrol doesn't come out for lost/wandering animals, only if they are dangerous. She is making the "Awwwww" sound while I tell her the story so she describes the dog as likely to cause an accident, so that would guarantee patrol to be on its way.

Not 2 hours later, after I go shopping for my Halloween costume I go through the drive-thru at In&Out for a veggie sammich and fries. There is a Magpie sitting next to the curb, not moving. The order-taker-guy and I are worried that he is injured but after some gentle encouragement, he flew off. Of course I told him my story of the day and he told me his own. He is from L.A. and a woman near him tried to help a black lab out of the street that was loose and SHE was hit by a car and killed.

I don't know what happened with the collie, he ran north on Washington. Maybe I have bad juju. Maybe there should be animal control on the weekends. Maybe I expect too much, then don't even deliver myself.

Now I am home with my safe, adorable and naughty bunnies. Honeycrisp Apples all around boys.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


Coming over to let the doggies out for their afternoon constitutional while the Parentals take a mini break with the new trailer, and to what do my wondering olfactory senses appear? A major diarrhea blowout of epic proportions in the front room. Bud greets me but has no interest in the front of the house, and Cooper? He is lying flat on his stomach hiding.

Hours later: shovel, gloves, cut up t-shirt, bucket of soapy water, hydrogen peroxide, Todd getting kicks, lit candles, open windows and Coopie escaping the back yard twice, I am now on the couch with two happy snuggly pooches at my feet while "Baby You're a Rich Man" plays over the stereo.

Todd said cleaning this mess would give me perspective. It has. Bunny shit rules.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Dating Rocks

I'm going to preface this blog entry with the truth that there are MANY reasons I have not been on a date in, yes count them 13 years. Among them being that I feel my health baggage is a lot to foist upon an unsuspecting dinner date when they ask "So, what do you do?" When even after all of these years the only answer I have concocted is the breezy and amazingly limber description of my status as "Successfully Unpublished Writer." What I am about to share with all of you is still bewildering to me, a shit ton of funny and more than a bit sad.

I went on a date last night. I'm good for the next thirteen years.

This fella met me VERY briefly through my parents while he was selling them their new trailer, then asked for my number the following day. My parent's obliged (more on that later.) We spoke on the phone after a majorly bizarre game of phone tag that included his calling my parents twice. It was like eating an awkward cake, with uncomfortable frosting sprinkled with more awkward. We were going to meet on Wednesday, somewhere to be determined.

Wednesday, he never called. I have no idea WTF I am going. I call him, and he decides on MacCools. Fantastic. I get there, sit at the bar and the staff start asking me what is up. I tell them all just the top of the story (date is late) so they start to tell me horror stories of girls stood up, and other girls taking dates for huge tabs. The waiter tells me I need to fire my parents, then says "well this lucky guy gets a date with a beautiful lady eh!?" I tell him he's smooth. Bartender gets me my drink and then says "this is why I don't date." I'm really wishing I was back home with my DVR and the bunnies, right then he comes in. He starts asking if he can bring in his guitar and his aboriginal drum and play an acoustic set for everyone. I try to direct him to a booth as fast as possible. The waitress had the funniest look on her face. She kept giving me the "I am so sorry" look all night. She even mouthed it once as I walked by to go to the bathroom.

Within 2 minutes of sitting down he put his hand in his pocket and pulled out a crystal that he wanted me to hold so that I could be blessed by its powers from it being bathed in the moonlight. But wait, there's more. He had a total of six bags of stones and crystals on his person. This DOES NOT include the necklaces, rings and bags within the bags. He told me the name of every stone, every crystal and what they do, for him and what they guard against. Mostly his ex-wife and her negative vibrations. He was bitten by a dog recently and he couldn't decide if he was just a buffer for the universe or if his ex sent it. When I was able to speak I would comment how the stones were very pretty, and that some of the names sounded familiar. In my head I was worried that every time he handed me a stone all of my "HOLY SHIT, HOLY SHIT, HOLY SHIT" energy was going to rub off and ruin his next higher plain meditation. But then I took another drink of beer.

In the space of two hours I learned about suicidal tendencies, aliens, plans for congress, court earlier in the day, his ex-wife's need for his seed and that he is going to hold a benefit concert while singing the song "Black Widow on My Back" (which he tried to sing to me) cuz that is what ex-wives are.

As we were leaving, I went to the bar to pay my part of the tab, but he had paid. The bartender looked at me and said "You can't win 'em all eh?"

As I fidgeted with my keys, he asked if it was too late to come back to my place to play some music. I said very bruskly "Yup. Going home. Going to crash." I hugged him goodbye. Pity hug. (so mean of me to say, I know.)

He called my parents today to tell them he had a good time. My parents are on suspension.

Friday, September 13, 2013

One Mom to Rule them All

So, today was a "crazy I can't believe how much this hurts right now you have got to be kidding me where did I put that bat so I can knock myself out" kind of leg day. By late afternoon I still hadn't been able to get out of bed, so what does my Mom do? She comes over to make sure I have something to eat. Not just that, she takes the bok choy and bean sprouts that are in need of use, and stir fries them up to perfection. She takes my other stir fry leftovers and with my limited input, made a giant batch of Spicy Chinese Soup. THEN, she makes her most famous Zucchini Soup, but totally vegan, with Almond milk she bought on her way over.

During cooking stretches, she sat with me on the couch and watched one of her favorite shows "Project Runway." This most awful contestant was on screen and I asked who he was. She said so cute and snotty "Oh, that's Ken. He is such a bitch. We hate him."

My Moms people. She will cut up all the veggies in the kitchen, and she will cut you with her sweet words.

Sunday, September 8, 2013


On my way home from having coffee and chit chat with a friend; with the windows rolled down, the wind in my hair, goofy grin plastered to my face, Sarah Bareilles' "Brave" playing obscenely loud on my car stereo and the simple yet magnificent pinpoint fact of being alive is pulsing through me surged by the three shots of espresso in my latte. I decide to stop at the Asian Market near my house to search for some sweet soy sauce. I meander through the market (as I do on every shopping trip) reading labels and considering options. There is a family of four in the store with me, the two young children are very excited seeing so many unusual items and asking a lot of questions. The older child, a girl ran away from the father and he ran after her scolding her which made me giggle quite a bit. The family had just checked out but right as I placed my basket on the counter the mother and daughter were trying to negotiate the bubble gum machine close to the door.

Mother "Okay, here it comes. All you have to do is turn the handle."
Daughter "Okay." she turns the handle and then there is a pause.
Daughter "Did you SEE THAT? THAT WAS AMAZING?"
Mother "Yes. Yes it was amazing."

It was amazing. Everything is amazing. Everyday. Bubblegum machines. Asian Markets and the sweet lady that helps you find the sweet soy sauce. Friends that meet you for coffee. Friends that love you no matter what, no matter where they are. Friends that are family and family that are friends. Being alive after the two year mark of being diagnosed with cancer. Amazing. We forget to be amazed. I forget to be amazed.

Tonight, I'm having a stir fry for dinner. It will be amazing.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Barenaked Crowing

Note to self, and everyone else: After a whole day and night of crying, before dancing in your living room to Barenaked Ladies first put on a bra.

I have been stifling a serious cry for about two weeks now. I finally let go last night when the right song was playing while I was in the right/wrong state of mind. I have been in this perpetual grateful temper since the whole Cancer began and I think I made a move to stretch my temper beyond thin. I Facebook stalked Neil. He is on his third marriage, happy and a step father to two boys. At first I was "Oh, of course he is. That is what he does. Nothing to see here." Then, two weeks went by and after not sleeping, being irritable for no reason, just stupid sad for no reason then this Barenaked Ladies "Off the Hook" song comes on my car stereo as I am coming home from my parent's last night and BAM I knew what it was.

He has no idea. I decided to love him how ever long ago for how ever little the speed bump of time it was in his relationship marathon of a life, I dared to give him myself. I gave him parts of me no one else has seen, and that includes the sexual part. He is free and clear living his life, while I literally carry the scars of sleeping with him. There is no way to make it even, no way to even make a dent. I was actually disappointed in myself for wanting to find a way to hurt him in those few moments while I was driving home, because I knew all it would do is hurt me.

The dancing came later, after much late night self reflection, friend and of course Mom talk. I put the song on my stereo and decided I would listen to it again, in the light. I started to dance. Then I started to cry. Then while I was dancing and crying my unchained breasts started to flap against my chest and I started to laugh while I was crying thinking how ridiculous I was to be crying in the first place.

Grateful Temper restored.

Bra to be determined.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Redundacy of Dunces

A Facebook friend posted about 10 words that we are most likely misusing. We think we have a clear understanding of the definition, have been using them pretty much most of our lives, but when it comes down to their use in conversation we botch it. One of the words was redundant, which I have to say wasn't a problem for me and also was used in a most fantastic conversation with my Doc while I was having a little in office procedure. I had a little fatty tumor (lipoma) just below my right butt cheek above my right rear thigh that they wanted removed to check for any cancer. Needless to say, with my rear in the air and time to kill while My Doc numbed me up and removed the offending blob, conversation got interesting.

It started with a couple shots of lidocaine and then as he started to remove the tumor, he mentions how their might be a scar and how the area around the tumor was a bit redundant anyway.

Me: "Is that what you say? Oh, check out the redundancy on her? She's got a Redundant-dunk!"
Doc: Couldn't keep on with the procedure. He was laughing so hard I had to crane my head around to see if he was okay.

He had to give me more lidocaine because it wasn't enough, so I made another joke about being a cartoon character Numb Bum.

The definition of redundant is superfluous: no longer needed or wanted. I would say with the removal of that tumor, my Doc and I have a pretty good understanding of the word.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Smiling's my Favorite

I smile at everyone as I pass them.  If you smile back I might even say hello.   Particularly with elderly people, I have had some fantastic interactions.  Today at the University Hospital it was no exception. 

I am standing outside waiting for the valet to return my car and an elderly gentleman is sitting at a table waiting as well.  I greet him, and he asks how my day is.  I tell him how happy I am it isn't a hundred degrees anymore and smile so big my face hurts a little. 

We wait in silence a bit longer but when his vehicle arrives, he creeks out of his seat and hunches over to me in a two step shuffle.  He gets really close, puts his hand on my arm and while squeezing it tenderly he says to me "If I wasn't married I'd make your day so much better."

I clasp his hand in thanks as I laugh so loudly it echoed all the way up the mountain over Huntsman.  He did make my day so much better.  He did.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


When you first get "the cancer" you think some crazy thoughts.  Maybe they aren't particularly crazy, but what they can particularly be are persistent, blunt and not surprisingly morbid. 
One thing I ruminated about was being in control of the music I heard so I didn't have some terrible Air Supply or Reo Speedwagon song playing in the recesses of my brain as I left this earth.  Anything but that.  I even told my Mom what songs I would want played at my funeral. 

Today, I played one of my favorite mixed cds in the car and sang one of those proposed funeral songs over and over until my voice cracked. 

Modern Times

I love electricity, and running water. Indoor plumbing is the bomb. I dig on refrigeration and heat as well. Ovens rock. The internet can be pretty cool when it isn't being a dick. I respect the automobile (the drivers are another issue.) Television is either my best friend or my worst enemy, depending on the day. The printing press: not a bad idea. The stereo is my mode of exaltation and the telephone transports me to each and every one of my loves in mere seconds.

We get nostalgic for simpler times. I get nostalgic. Then I take a breath, look around and see the now I'm IN. I can make this time simpler just by simply being in it.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Red in the Face

What do you do when 3 buttfaced 12 year-olds are letting off firecrackers unsupervised (yeah, cuz THAT never happens here) in the parking lot, not once but twice, and the second time is a foot and a half behind your car?  You know, the car that is the replacement car from a neighbor's nephew doing something stupid to ruin it?  You take your overheated magenta puffy face out to the parking lot and say...

Me "Hey, you need to make sure you don't let off any fireworks close to any cars okay!?"

Buttface " Unh, we weren't."

He could have said, okay, sure, no problem or any number of things but that is what he chose to say to a woman that has been boiling for a week AND these weenies dropped sticky icky candy goo in front of MY door, stepped in it and now I have buttfaced candy shoe prints all over my doorway.  Sooooooo...

Me  "Are you seriously arguing with me?  REALLY?"

They scurried away so fast you would have thought I told them Christmas was cancelled.

As they harumph away I sternly say "Thank you."

I'm so polite.  Won't you be my neighbor?

Friday, June 21, 2013


On this first day of summer, the ball park just down the street is lit up and the whole neighborhood is under its dome. In my bedroom, over a block away I can hear the cheers from the stands. Outside, the twilight air is cool and the not yet Super Moon is so big and bright in the sky it seems we have two suns. I played and sang 80's and 90's music today, perking up the sleeping youngun in me.

Play ball friends. Play ball.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Heart of It

Artichokes are my favorite vegetable. Ever since I was young, they seemed more than any other veggie, an event. You have to work for the delight at the end. When I was about ten years old my whole family was sitting down to a dinner that included that most delicious artichoke and while we were eating I found a worm inside mine. A giant, ruinous worm. I of course stopped eating and no matter how much my parents tried to convince me there was artichoke left to eat, I was done with it. From that night on whenever I ate an artichoke I was leery of finding such a giant worm inside, ruining not just my dinner but just the peace of such a simple enjoyment.

Three nights ago I made artichokes for myself. Cleaned, trimmed and steamed them, sat down and started to dig in. On the second choke, a quarter of the way in there was a giant worm. I sat back for a second, then I just ripped off all of the leaves, cleaned off the choke and ate down that heart. Now, to do that when those ruinous worms of everyday get stuck in my head and in my way. Rip past them and eat the heart out of life.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Who's Knocking

Knock on my door and it is my neighbor Misty I have talked about often.  I knew she was going in today to get her tubes tied so seeing her back so soon was a bit of a surprise.  She asks if I feel like taking her to the store (beer run.)  She doesn't want to take the pain medications that they gave her, mixed with her meds for her schizophrenia she would just rather stick with her beer.  Misty has it hard, I don't judge her.  She knows this.  I get my shoes and purse and when I am locking my door I see my "other" neighbor's teeny tiny 10 week old miniature Chihuahua on the landing, alone, about to fall under the railing a full floor and die.  I scoop her up, much to her protestations, as she pees everywhere.  I take her to my neighbor where she is collected with a bunch of others talking.  The kicker of all this?  The puppy's name is Misty.

Life choices.  Saving a life.  Amazing what happens when you answer the door.

Saturday, June 8, 2013


I have a friend.  She is beautiful.  She is a wife.  She is a mother. She has leukemia.  Right now she is at Huntsman getting the treatment she needs to continue being all the wonderful that she is.  When I hear her voice on the phone I hear some of how I must have sounded to all those that loved me and couldn't take it all away that instant.  You want to be strong for every one else because you see how much your pain is making them suffer.  My friend is so loved.  My friend is so needed and wanted.  This is her time to get better.  I have a friend.  She is beautiful.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

A Better Bowl

You know those all too long moments: the moments of standing in the checkout line with the woman and her four kids all wearing fake teeth racing around you, getting directions to go get the better bowl on the shelf all the way in the back of the store, the moments of the creeper so close behind you in line his trucker hat bumps into you and all the while your coffee has just kicked into high gear and since chemo you can't tell the difference between a shit or a fart so the sooner you check out the better it is for the whole store?

Then, quietly the checker asks "is it okay if I put the tater-tots in with the toilet paper?"  I just pause from all of my contrition/hope to not poop my pants faces long enough to say.  "Oh no, its just fine."

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Rabbit Eared

Pickle doesn't kiss me. Peanut will just hop by and lick my leg, my arm and even an occasional toe. Last night he was climbing me while I TRIED to sleep and he sat on my right hip, up in the air while I pet him. He kissed my hand and fingers as a thank you over and over. Pickle doesn't kiss. He nudges, bonks, rubs, climbs and follows me everywhere, but my dream of an "I Love You" kiss is still a dream.

Tonight, Pickle climbed up my back while I was lying on the floor giving him his playtime rubs, and then he stuck his nose in my ear and licked it. A rabbit with a thing for ears. Who knew?

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Have a Bite

There have been a lot of memes going around lately mocking the obsession with people posting pics of their food. I simultaneously get the joke and am guilty of trying to capture that moment of yummy. I think the desire to share a pic of your dinner on any one of the social networks you use is just as clear as the desire to share a bite of that dinner with the person sitting with you at the kitchen table, on the couch or in the fanciest restaurant of your life. The point is you want to share what you love, what brings you so much joy you just wish everyone you know could have a bite of it. That includes your sandwich.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Boxed Set

I never like myself as much as when I am looking through my boxes of memorabilia. People talk about their life flashing before their eyes, well I have my childhood right there in my hands. The sense memory of a time, the times we really want to remember. I get to hold onto people even if they aren't in my life anymore, by their choice or nature's choice. Lifting the lid is the backwards motion of closing my eyes and rummaging through time, my time. The bag of marbles that I won off all the boys at recess, my ballet slippers and tap shoes, my first pair of ear rings that Todd ripped out of my ear so that I had to get my ears pierced again, the gold medal from my Dorothy Hamill doll, and my first diary still locked.

The jewelry box holds a turtle pendant that used to have solid perfume in it and was one of the first presents a boy every gave me, tiny red rocks from my visit to the old Hansen Planetarium that I used to think were more precious than gold, and one of my most favorites, teeny tiny books that I made for my barbies that I bound and illustrated in color.

There are funny things like the empty Pepsi can with Michael Jackson's signature on it (this was right around the time he caught his hair on fire) and my Madonna lace gloves. Then, there is the bright red plastic Hello Kitty notebook with a note inside that says in pencil "love you forever, Stephie" that knocks the wind out of me, reminding me how impermanent it all is.

I am making my newer/later versions of memorabilia boxes. They are my bookshelves. They are my blog. They are my family. They are my friends. Whenever I open one up, I like myself a little more.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

It isn't so charming

Heidi's Charm School Rules

1. Don't be stupid.
(you would presume this would make nothing else needed for the list, but let me continue)
2. Don't spit.
(personally I feel there should be a heavy heavy fine for spitting in public, say a limb, or your life)
3. Don't scream at your kids across the parking lot.
4. Don't park your kitchen chair in front of my door and whittle wood, then leave your mess of shavings for me to clean up.
5. Don't be surprised when you try to park your hide and whittle again I give you the "If you could type this out it would say how F$%king stupid are you and don't come near my door again" look.
6. Don't spit.
7. Don't be a Clumpy Cougher.
8. Don't clang, scream or smoke right in front of my door.
9. Don't think the stairwell is the playground.
10. Don't think I can't train Peanut to sick on command.

Friday, May 3, 2013

More Please

A small list of happy today:

Grown women giggling at the dollar store while buying hula-hoops.
Kids walking home from school and having sprinklers block the sidewalk but they run through them anyway.
My Mom leaving me TWO messages on my phone in the short time I was away.
The Chinese Crested puppy playing with the Great Dane at PetSmart.
My Bunnies.
Les Miserables at Pioneer Theater with my Best-Mom tomorrow.
The gorgeous weather.
My Bunnies.
My life.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Turn, Turn...Turn the Channel

I really do not think Edgar Allen Poe would watch "The Following." Nor would Beethoven listen to Lady Gaga. Wordsworth would never come back from his walks if he knew what people nowadays associate with romanticism is Nicholas Sparks. I doubt Monet would hang with Kinkade. If there is a season to everything, then in what kind of season are we today?

It was C.S. Lewis that said "We read to know we are not alone" and yet with all the Non-Reality of reality television and the literal judging it encourages, all it does it make a person feel further and further from another person. The magical art of GREAT storytelling is in essence to give the audience a crib sheet for life. "Here, I present to you life in this setting, now learn how to live yours." The opposite seems to be presented lately, how NOT to live. Don't be in a murderous cult, don't be anywhere near Jeff Probst, don't think Adam Sandler is still funny and don't look to Gordon Ramsey for, well anything.

How can I say such things? How can I be so judgmental? Easy, right before I wrote this blog I got distracted by a cat in a shark outfit riding a Roomba while a duck chased after it. What would C.S Lewis say about that?

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Follow Through

I went golfing for the first time with my Dad and Brother today. Yeah, you read that correctly. Now, my forehead, nose and the top of my head where my hair parts might be sunburned, AND I had to spend the day with Butthead #1 and Butthead #2, but this was seriously some of the most fun I have had in quite some time. The day was so glorious; there were geese, ducks and water turkeys (besides Todd) mountains, clouds, sunshine, breezes AND I hit the ball from the men's tee all the way onto the green. First try. I drove the cart and kept score for my Dad and Todd. I asked questions when I didn't understand and they were so patient and helpful. When the breeze was too chilly, I turned into the sun and felt its warmth. I can feel what is the beginning of my swing in my shoulder and wrist this evening, reminding me of the day. Today, I kept my eyes on more than the ball.

Monday, March 25, 2013

That Moment

I was leaving a gas station the other day, during a roaring spring blizzard, when in front of me pushing through the doors were a harried mother and her four children. She was carrying three 36 oz fountain sodas and was screeching at her kids to hurry up so they could get over and "take a look at that bunny."

That bunny isn't just cute for Easter. That bunny doesn't like four pairs of greedy hands grabbing at it and then to be left alone for the mother to take care of it either when the novelty has worn off or that bunny bites out of fear from all the grabbing hands. That bunny will be called a bad pet. That bunny will more than likely be taken to a shelter and then be either euthanized then and there or sold to a company that tests on animals. (Utah is 1 of the 5 states that sells shelter pets to labs)

Many families cherish and are responsible with their companion animals. The issue is the failure to understand the complexity of rabbits. They aren't goldfish; you don't just put them in a jar/cage and leave.

If I could live that moment over again, I'd be brave. That bunny deserved it.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Melody of Memory

When I worked at Pegasus Music and Video, I got a lot of either free music or music at a discount. This made it so I tried out music I might not have on my own, say for instance New Age. We had to play music every day, and instrumentals were safer bets for our entire customer base. Piano, guitar and soundtracks were played regularly but in the 90's (yeah, I know) New Age had quite the up swing. Narada is the major New Age label and they released a collection with songs from many of their artists titled "Narada: A Childhood Remembered" so I snatched it up and it became a very very big favorite of mine. Now, I haven't played this album in years, but the other day I just needed something in the background, something to hear without having to listen to it too closely. Well, today I turned on the stereo again and THAT song played. You know that song. The song that makes you stop. Reminds you of everything you could have ever forgotten. The song with those four notes at the break that make you cry. You remember the breeze as you drove your car on a summer's night and KNEW you were young. This song is called "The Green Room" and I don't know how a human could ever take spring, take the giggle of a child, the hope and innocence of catching fireflies in a bottle and keep it forever in a melody, but he did. And I hear that EVERY time I hear this song. I feel young, I feel infinite. I feel aware.

I get to remember my life backwards, forwards and standing still. Humming to the wonder of any age.

Saturday, March 2, 2013


I was somewhere that wasn't my apartment complex or my parent's and a conversation began. It was with a sixty something male and a twenty something female and for the life of me I cannot precisely remember how we got onto the subject of dogs, but there we were.

Man. "What kind of dogs are they?
Me. "German Drahthaar and Chocolate Lab. But they aren't mine, they are my parent's. I have rabbits."
Man. "Oh, do you ever make rabbit stew?"
Me. I flip my head so hard at him you could hear my neck crack. Then I say with scrunched up eyes and my shoulders pulled back "WHAAAHHHT? Well, we WERE getting along well."
Man. Keeps on talking despite the warning and the heat coming off my body "Yeah, we used to raise rabbits and I got to choose the ones to be put in the feeding pens. (he stands up and comes closer to me) My Mother used to make chicken and rabbit stew and I could tell the difference between the chicken bones and the rabbit bones......."
Me. This man is still talking but I am making the "UNH-UNH" noise so loud over him, and I say again "Seriously, we were getting along." Then I hold my hand up and make the noise again as he starts to describe the texture of rabbit meat. "UNH-UNH"
Me. I look at the young girl. She is horrified. Underneath this verbal traffic accident she had stated she might want a rabbit, having had a guinea pig in the past, but our conversation got hijacked. I steer myself back to her and show her pictures of my guys.

I asked a few friends how on earth any sane person would think this was an acceptable line of conversation. She said he must have been from Wyoming. (She can say this as she is from Wyoming) She also said she can't believe I didn't slap him.

I predict one day it will happen.

Thursday, February 28, 2013


I have been trying to read the same paragraph for over an hour now. I can't pay attention to the words on the page, I just seem to stare and absorb nothing so I start again. And again. The book is about the art of telling stories and all I seem to be is distracted by the story of the people in my life and how it ultimately swirls around and impacts mine, as my story impacts theirs. I have always thought I had a story to tell, but how to tell it, and when?

This blog is bits and pieces of my story, and I am finding out more people than I knew or imagined are reading it. At first it was just my Mom, extended family and close friends (I only knew because they told me in person) then it grew to Russian and Korean cyber bots cruising the web. I like to think someone in Russia is getting an unintentional lesson about the humor in cervical cancer and doesn't even know it. I am finding out that more people here (now that I link the blog through facebook) are reading it as well. I am always stunned, a bit embarrassed and then immediately curious as to what they thought. Were they inspired? Pissed off? Bored? Confused? Then, I consider, if they told me, would I change anything? Nope. Would I argue my point? Most likely.

I don't know for sure what my story is. I do know how more and more amazed I am every day that I get another chance to keep on trying to tell it.

Monday, February 18, 2013

In the Dust

I was dusting today. Then I was dancing. Having the energy to dust let alone dance is remarkable. I turned on my stereo, put the CDs that were in there from the last time on shuffle (yes, I own real live CDs, and cassette tapes, and LPs) and when my favorite Band of Horses song "Dilly" started I just wriggled and giggled, Kermit flailed my arms, picked up Peanut and held him in my arms while I swayed, did the white man two step and shook my bootie. I played that song probably five times, and I didn't stop smiling even while my eyes were closed as I sang. If you read this blog you might remember that my Mom went with me to see Band of Horses in August of last year and how much her gesture meant to me. Sitting on the hardest of hard ground in extreme heat surrounded by drunken unaware irritating and half naked youth. I half went out of fear of never being able to see another concert again and to bring back the feeling I love so much of live music.

I love being able to dust my own living room. A year or so ago, I wasn't even doing that for myself. As I take the cloth and wipe away the dust, I think of all the particles of each person, animal or even vegetation that makes up what we call dust. Pieces of past and present beings, and their leavings are settling on my desk, my dresser, bookshelf. The duty of keeping your dwelling clean can be seen as a burden, but being ABLE is something else all together. I saw each swipe of my dust cloth as a gift today, not only because I could, but because I was picking up pieces of me as well.

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Bliss Button

When I was having my surgeries, chemo and radiation, I did a purposeful news blackout. I didn't want any more stress, any more negative or any more darkness in my life. I only read, thought, watched and talked about fun, happy or things that brought back wonderful memories. The past week or so I re-instituted a news blackout and when I decided to rejoin the 24 hour news cycle, I was flabbergasted at all I had missed and truly not surprised at the rest. I sometimes think the news can just be put on repeat, allowing the horrors and atrocities to sell erection pills so the public can wait for the next disaster between shopping trips. I am even looking at my entertainment with different eyes. The newest programs (which I am debating continuing watching) are all gore, conspiracy and bleakness.

I propose an all happy news network. One that only tells of the husband changing all the poopy diapers that day. Or the child that did his homework without being asked. Videos of kids playing together, without fighting. Laughter. Old women getting their lawns mowed from anonymous neighbors. Smiling at strangers. Strangers smiling back.

I have the saying on my Facebook page "If you are not outraged, you are not paying attention." Well, on my fridge, I also have the cartoon/satire/truth that says "My desire to be well informed is currently at odds with my desire to remain sane." Right now, I choose bliss. And if that means being ignorant of all the ugliness, death, cruelty and sheer blackheartedness that the news chooses to display, I choose the off button.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Keys to Creeping

Need signs your creeper neighbor is hitting on you? Have you had a conversation like this?

Me: (Trying to get my door unlocked, the keys sticks whenever it is snowing)
60 Something Male Neighbor that POPS up in the snow, on his bicycle and says:

N: "Hey, you need help with that door?"
Me: "Nah, it just sticks when it is cold."
N: "Anytime, you need help you just come ask. Okay. How you doing tonight?"
Me: "I'm doing pretty good."
N: "Well, you sure do look good. Mmmmmhmmmmm."
Me: (what the hell did he just say? stupid door I hate you door!)
N: "You come down for a visit anytime."
Me: (door finally opens and all I can say is) "See ya later."
N: "Oh, I sure hope so." (then he did a half growl half old sassy black Mammy mmmm-mmmm)

Nice to know I can still bring in the AARP set. On bicycles.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Rabbit Rabbit Rabbit, Stephie Stephie Stephie

There is a superstition that when you wake on the first day of the month, the first thing you should say to ensure good luck for the entire month is "Rabbit Rabbit Rabbit." Today is the first of the month, as well as it would be the 40th birthday of Stephie. My first thoughts this morning, let alone words were not Rabbit Rabbit Rabbit (which in my home you would think would happen quite regularly and I do have a Pickle-rabbit next to me as I type this) but were more muddled and commonplace. I have been inundated with Stephie thoughts for weeks, and all of this Super Bowl talk has put me on overload. Stephie's birthday party was at the Super Bowl party (which she never really liked) so Steph being herself, always wanted a big to do. With just the "The Grown-Ups." Which has now morphed into the cousins. But people have their own lives and the world keeps spinning in spite of her being buried in it.

I can sing the secret dirty jingles she and I made up that no one else knew, I can wear purple, I can smell Cotton Blossom from Bath and Body Works and be nearly doubled over from emotion AND I can keep on breathing, loving, laughing and saying Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit... Stephie, Stephie, Stephie.

Monday, January 14, 2013

T is for...

I belong to an online Cervical Cancer support group, that is closed to the general public, even these women's husbands and other family members cannot see what they post. It is refreshing to be able to ask as well as answer questions without fear of judgement and embarrassment. Because, let's face it, having cancer in the never-nether regions is not always the easiest thing to talk about. Unless, you are me and are finding it easier and easier every day. There are even many women that have such a limited support group in their actual daily lives, that this has become a main ballast holding them up throughout treatment.

I don't visit the group every day, and I feel guilty about that. I find I lack the emotional stamina, nor the treasure trove of wit it would take to make it a daily venture. Some women are five, ten years into this disease and are on the page simply to offer advice and comfort. I do my best, but some days like today are more difficult. See, women die. Women that have been fighting for years, still don't make it and their friend that is also going through the same ordeal, alerts the rest of us. The rest of us making doctor's appointments, taking showers, hugging grandchildren, taking down Christmas decorations and checking the page for friends we've made, to see how their day was.

January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, and many of the women in this group have changed their profile pictures to something teal, which is the color chosen to represent cervical cancer. I typically don't truck with such movements, not even for my own bandwagons, but I did today. I find that it is not only telling you my story, it is telling you theirs. Maybe, if you hear me, you will do what is necessary for your own health, before you find you are having to join a group like this yourself.

Friday, January 11, 2013

And yet

One year ago today I had my last chemo treatment. I hugged all of my nurses, gave them private cards and cried knowing tears with each one. Two days ago I had a follow up appointment with my surgeon, the first time I have ever been to Huntsman on a visit by myself. It was strange going in without my Mom. Jen went to one Radiation/Gyn appointment with me too. Todd came for a radiation day and Chris came to visit while I had my transfusion. My Dad came on one chemo day but he had no idea what he was getting into, the poor man. But Wednesday, I went to see Dr. Soisson on my lonesome, and it was something else. I had just had a pelvic and pap done in November so having that again would just be too many cooks in the kitchen, too may fingers in the pie and there for sure aint nobody pulling out no plum. (Wait, didn't we do that already?) Setting aside me getting in the stirrups, we start talking general health, side effects of radiation and where I am going with my Gastroenterologist up here in Ogden. Soisson is pleased with my Doc's choices and truly believes my cure rate is high. Then, the conversation flips to a place that could only happen with ME in the room.

Soisson: "What are you up to lately? Working?"
Me: "No, just hanging out with my bunnies."
S: "You have bunnies? Maybe you can help me catch the one in my yard that is pooping everywhere? My dog keeps eating it and then it pukes."
Me: "I'M NOT HELPING YOU TRAP A BUNNY!" I slap him on the arm and his nurse's face is red from laughing.
S: "I won't hurt it, I swear. I just want to relocate it, to Never Come Back Land."
Me: "Yeah... relocate it into a million tiny pieces! What have you been using? Carrots?"
S: "Well, yeah. It worked for Bugs Bunny."
Me: "Oh my word, this isn't Elmer Fuddville. Is that what you're doing, using all you learned from cartoons?" By this time the whole office is laughing, the nurse has one hand on her stomach and the other on the counter to keep herself from falling over.
S: "So really, what can I do? I'll just trap it and release it. Promise, promise." This guy is so nice and kind, he isn't lying.
Me: "You have to get good lettuce, like my bunnies like, romaine, green leaf, none of that iceberg crap. Or apples."
S: "So, not carrots."
Me: "NO!"
S: "Really? Apples?" He is partly just being a turd and surprised.
Me: "Yeah. They like really expensive ones too. Honey Crisp." Howls. Howls from all three of them. The nurse, Soisson and the Resident.

We ended with a scheduled pelvic and pap for July and we joked that he would try to get the Fireman from the calendars in the office for my appointment. Then I went over to the infusion room, where I used to have my chemo treatments and thankfully it wasn't very busy. I looked around for one of my nurses and was greeted very warmly by a new nurse that knew exactly what I was doing. She touched my arm, and looked me straight in the eyes, letting me know how welcome I was. That was when I saw her. My main companion on chemo day. Deann, the one they called specially for me cuz I was the shitty stick. We locked eyes, she recognized my face but I have lost so much weight it took her just a second. She kept on commenting on how good I look and how bad I looked during chemo. (I must have looked REALLY bad cuz a lot of people keep saying that.) I think we hugged at least five times. She cried. I cried. One year. One life, and yet...

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Bullshit left the building

Today, I was sitting in the office of my gastroenterologist when a patient and her daughter started to argue about the date. The patient said it was the seventh and her daughter insisted it was the eighth. It was settled by a woman checking in that said she knew it was the eighth since it was Elvis' birthday, the same birthday as her father that would be 99 and also 3 days after her eldest child was born. The conversation quickly turned to Memphis, banana and peanut-butter sandwiches with the bulk resting on Graceland. It took a dark and nasty turn when all of a sudden the patient spat out how "The King" must have been turning over in his grave when his "princess" married "that" Michael Jackson. I sat bolt upright. She sighed with such exasperation "at least they didn't have children." So children she has had with anyone else is just fine but at least NOT with MICHAEL? I don't dare assume her position on Michael and his children but there was this blatant disgust of him. It could have been the big race thing OR the generation gap, and unfortunately the big big did he or didn't he.

I didn't hear this bunch once mention how The King carried on a sexual relationship with a fourteen year old girl. Or, since her father basically blackmailed Elvis into marrying Priscilla, and when he ultimately did, that made him somehow all the more decent. His affairs the entire time they were engaged and married, the drugs and booze, all this is seen as acceptable behavior for a REAL man, a star. How can anyone expect a child of such dysfunction to choose anything but more dysfunction? She saw someone like her father: talented, isolated, strange, lonely and confused in more ways than any of us in the public could ever know.

So, today at the gastroenterologist's, I got an earful of bullshit.

When I got in my car, what CD was I playing? Michael Jackson's "Off the Wall."

Friday, January 4, 2013

In Contrast

Murder of Crows, strung out across the naked trees;
A raucous strand of lights.
Or more like the plump black olives on my
cousin's fingers at every family party.
A lick of wind, sends me hints
of why they gathered.
Plotting mischief,
and with their inky pitch,
make the whiteness brighter.

The Bun

The Bun
If you don't like rabbits, you can suck it, shove it and then go soak your head.