Life in the Slow Lane

Life in the Slow Lane

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Warrior Princess


Burry but the best I could do.
Posted by Hello

Happy day! I am eating lots of nutritious good food today! I missed food so much. I even had chocolate! Ironically, it is the sugary sweet stuff that tastes the weirdest to me so my staple indulgence is not so appealing anymore. It is strange. I suddenly realised that I haven’t had any caffeinated beverages for a whole week. It is a wonder I am still breathing. So far today is the best day. I am hoping by Monday I will be feeling strong enough to get out and about. How exciting.

I have been thinking a lot about what to write about today. Since my life is quite dull right now I don’t have much to comment on. No work, no play… Dull girl. I definitely don’t want to moan and groan about my cancer shit. I could wax poetic about my past but what? So I ask you all, is there anything you would like to know? Is there a topic you would like me to write about? Any questions, comments, outrage? Keep in mind that my mom reads my blog so we have to keep it clean here or at least in good taste.

Consider it like Blog Theatre Sports. Or an advice column. Or….

I am going to start off with a topic my dear friend P mentioned the other day. Actually, he called me a Tootsies Whore with my leopard slipper shot on Self Portrait Thursday. He suggested that I do a virtual striptease of sorts and blog about my tattoo.

Yes, I have one tattoo on my left ankle. I have wanted to get another one for years and have a place picked out but wasn’t sure what to get. I really felt that it should mean something or signify a rite of passage in my life. I have decided after I have this cancer beat I will celebrate with this tattoo. Until then I just have the one.

When I was 22 years old I had just come out of a very sad relationship where the person that I loved betrayed me in a major way. For a few months I didn’t think I would ever feel better but sooner than I ever imagined I felt better and stronger about myself than ever. That break-up motivated me to be a much stronger and independent person. I decided to celebrate that with a tattoo of a sun. I was pretty confident of my inner female side, the moon, but wanted to illustrate my newfound warrior side.

At the time, 14 years ago, tattoos were not quite as mainstream as they are now but were becoming more popular. I went to a world famous tattoo artist, The Dutchman, who is based out of New Westminster, a 45-minute drive out of Vancouver. This guy was a master of shading and fine line techniques. The only tiny regret I have is that I didn’t go for a more Japanese style tattoo since this is his specialty. I don’t think The Dutchman does small tattoos anymore, only large work that he chooses, so I was lucky to get what I have.

I didn’t tell my parents and just showed up with it one day. They were pretty upset but I was thrilled and have never regretted it. My favourite part of it is that the face itself is black and the rest are shades of grey. I have tried to take really good care of it over the years with sunscreen and such so that it wouldn’t fade or bleed too much.

I find that I often forget I even have it for weeks at a time and then I catch sight of it one day and almost surprise myself. That makes it seem almost new again.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Don't Mess With My Fragile Psyche


OK. Now is somebody pulling my chain or did Henry Rollins really comment on my blog last night? Fess up! Who was quoting that poetry at me?
Posted by Hello

Sofa Surfer

Chemofication Update

Hi Everybody!

Probably the best day so far. Got off my ass to do some dishes and have actually eaten a couple times today. Yeehaw! Is that a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel?

I am feeling a bit guilty today as I bowed out of a trial study at the Cancer Agency. I originally wanted to partake in a clinical trial on exercise and chemotherapy. I would have been in one of three groups who did some kind of exercise throughout chemo or after chemo. After being a little overwhelmed this week with symptoms and the thought of committing to driving to a gym 3 times a week and working out no matter how poorly I felt, well, I bailed on it. I really wanted to do it but when doing a few dishes is exhausting doing weights and a treadmill sounds impossible. I do hope to do my normal exercise at home with stretching and yoga type stuff as soon as I feel up to it. So much for enriching mankind. Blort!

The Symptom Of The Day

This is going to be my fab new feature. Everyday I am going to gross you all out with some new ick that I have to deal with. Kind of like Chemo Factor or Canada’s Next Top Symptom. So today’s symptom is….

**Tasting and smelling burnt hair all the time.**

I can’t even begin to explain how revolting this is. When I exhale it literally feels like I am emitting noxious fumes. I am afraid to kiss the cat. My plants are wilting.

I can’t say this enough but thanks to all of you who drop by and send good vibes my way. When I started this blog it was solely to keep friends and family updated on my progress. I had no idea that so many people would tune in every day and comment on whatever was happening with me and my situation. Every time my computer beeps that a new comment has come up I immediately get off the couch to check it out. I think this is the best exercise for me right now.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Self Portrait Day - Fancypantzen


Here are my un-pedicured feet on the couch. Today I was feeling a bit better so I changed my nasty terry cloth robe for my funkadelic pink velour one. Lord have mercy!
Posted by Hello

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

It Sure Must Have Been A Great Party 'Cause I'm Still Sufferin'

Day 6 of Chemofication

This is really starting to suck ass. I had a good night with little nausea then really bad symptoms this morning. Then I ate a couple plain boiled potatoes and a few grapes and the nausea magically disappeared. I did the happy dance. OK. I did the happy nap and really enjoyed it all while it lasted because we all know what is going happen next. It is going to come back. And it did. REALLY BAD! I just feel dreadful.

But there is good news in all this. I am not so tired and weak. Eating is becoming a little easier. Cold cold grapes are magical! Sugar sweet stuff is not good. Ginger ale, normally nectar of the gods for me, tastes vile. People have told me that this is similar to pregnancy with weird taste changes and being negatively affected by smells. Let me just say this. NO BABIES EVER!!! I will never go through this again. Children are cute and all… but this is BEEEEEYUCK!

My poor mom came over last night to stay over and she’d had a lovely mani/pedi several hours earlier. Well the smell of whatever lotion they put on her skin grossed me out so much she had to shower. I couldn’t even have her in the same apartment with me. I felt so bad. There is a pear tree in my backyard and the smell of the blossoms is making want to hurl. BLOSSOMS! It is difficult to appreciate the enormity of the wrongness of this.

They, the EXPERTS, assure me it will get better and I know it will. What kinda happened is that I was only supposed to take one of my anti-nausea meds for a couple days but they didn’t mention that part on the label so I had been taking it all along. Apparently it works, then stops, then causes nausea in some people. Oh.

Thanks for stopping by even though I am not my chipper self. Every comment is read and HUGELY appreciated.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Miss Hot Stuff


This is Yoshi cooling down on the vinyl chair after a long soak up of sunshine. She alternates back and forth so she doesn't spontaneously combust.
Posted by Hello

The Feel Like Crap Diet

Hello Everybody

Day 4 of Chemofication. I am feeling a bit better today. Not so nauseous. I have eaten a whole banana, 3 saltine crackers and a can of ginger ale. Hold your applause. I know. I know. Overwhelming.

I talked to one of the wonderful nurses that are available to me via phone 24/7 and she assured me I would be feeling much better by tonight. She also told me that they would adjust my anti-nauseant meds on my next appointment so this won’t happen again. Yeah! That would be good.

Even though they swear it takes a few weeks I feel like I am getting chemo brain already. My horrendous typing has completely gone to shit and I can’t be even sure what I am telling you now. My hair seems to be coming out too. I have always been a shedder and feel it is a miracle I have any hair anyway so I could be just doing my usual thing but it SEEMS like it is falling out more so it is probably a bit of both. All my lovely hats I have bought through eBay are starting to arrive just in time.

My little Yoshi is so attentive and won’t let me out of her sight for very long. She acts most concerned but is also giving me space, which I find very touching. How could she know? She just does. And if you know of our relationship you would not be surprised. She is my baby. Well, it feels like I am her baby now.

Anyway, I have been doing A LOT of sleeping today since I haven’t been feeling so great during the night. It feels good. The sun is out and I wish I could be at the beach but the couch is as close as I am going to get right now.

So keep working on your dares because I want to hear all the funny stuff that ensues.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Day 3 and Still Kickin"

Well, I feel like crap and the nausea is really bad despite all my meds. Quelle drag-o-la. I am hopping since it is day 3 of Chemofication this sorta crap will go away very soon. I have not really eaten anything since Thursday night so the tum is empty and I wonder if eating would make me feel better. Then I think about eating and my immediate reaction is, “NO WAY!” So for now I am listening to my body and just riding this out.

Much thanks for all the good wishes comments you have been sending my way. Every time I see one pop up I get a jolt of happy. I probably won’t get to replying to them for a little bit as these so-called meds are making me groggy which then makes my already heinous spelling worse.

Yet I am not entirely out of it so I can always read your lovely comments.

My dear friend Tina from London England sent me this email the other day and since I am living vicariously through you all and can’t do any of these dares myself I am going to pass them on to you. I expect to hear a full report back of every gory detail. EVERY GORY DETAIL!

These are 1, 3 and 5 point dares...
ONE-POINT DARES

1. Ignore the first five people who say 'good morning' to you.

2. To signal the end of a conversation, clamp your hands over your ears and grimace.

3. Leave your fly open for one hour. If anyone points it out, say, "Sorry, I really prefer it this way".

4. Walk sideways to the photocopier.

5. While going in an elevator, gasp dramatically each time the doors open.

6. When in elevator with one other person, tap them on the shoulder and pretend it wasn't you.

7. Finish all your sentences with "In accordance with the prophecy..."

8. Don't use any punctuation.

9. Interrupt your conversation with someone by giving a huge dejected sigh.

10. Use your highlighter pen on the computer screen.

THREE-POINT DARES

1. Say to your boss, "I like your style", wink, and shoot him with double-barrelled fingers.

2. Kneel in front of the water cooler and drink directly from the nozzle.

3. Shout random numbers while someone is counting.

4. Every time you get an email, shout ''email''.

5. Put decaf in the coffee maker for 3 weeks. Once everyone has got over his or her caffeine addictions, switch to espresso.

6. Keep hole punching your finger. Each time you do, shout, "dagnamit, it's happened again!" Then do it again.

7. Introduce yourself to a new colleague as "the office bicycle". Then wink and pout.

8. Call I.T. helpdesk and tell them that you can't seem to access any pornography web sites.


FIVE-POINT DARES

1. At the end of a meeting, suggest that, for once, it would be nice to conclude with the singing of the national anthem (extra points if you actually launch into it yourself).

2. Walk into a very busy person's office and while they watch you with growing irritation, turn the light switch on/off 10 times.

3. For an hour, refer to everyone you speak to as "Dave".

4. Announce to everyone in a meeting that you "really have to go do a number two".

5. When you've picked up a call, before speaking finish off some fake conversation with the words, ''she can abort it for all I care''.

6. After every sentence, say 'Mon' in a really bad Jamaican accent. As in: "The report's on your desk, Mon." Keep this up for one hour.

7. In a meeting or crowded situation, slap your forehead repeatedly and mutter, "Shut up, damn it, all of you just shut up!"

8. At lunchtime, get down on your knees and announce, "As God is my witness, I'll never go hungry again!"

9. Repeat the following conversation 10 times to the same person: "Do you hear that?" "What?" "Never mind, it's gone now."

10. Present meeting attendees with a cup of coffee and biscuit; smash each biscuit with your fist.

11. During the course of a meeting, slowly edge your chair towards the door.

12. As often as possible, skip rather than walk.

13. Ask people what sex they are. Laugh hysterically after they answer.

14. Sign or p.p. all letters with your initials and a happy face.

15. Dry hump the photocopier. When someone spots you, stop and cough embarrassingly, then lean in to the machine and whisper loudly, "I'll see you tonight".

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Who Knew That Me and Britney Could Be Soul Sistas

Day 2 Of Chemofication

The drunk part has definitely worn off. The tired and queasy part had begun. I can’t say much except that I feel tired and queasy. No wild and weird symptoms so far. I’ll let you know when that happens. However, I have felt this way before when trying on some new brain meds or after particularly gruesome bouts of my IBS. While not feeling too great I have felt this way before and can handle it.

I am desperately trying to cram fluids down my gullet with little success. I am supposed to have 10 LARGE cups of something each day. I am lucky if I am at 10 sips. Once I get my port-a-cath installed I plan to just insert a straw down there and guzzle back Mountain Dew right into my bloodstream. My lack of appetite is not worrying me much as I have some junk in my trunk I could stand to loose. No biggie.

So there you go. Not feeling too terrible but not a lot is going to get me out of bed. Bed is good. Basically, just feeling a little toxic.

Friday, April 22, 2005

First Chemo-And I Can Type About It -Poorly

The Chemo Experience – Day 1

I am right back from my first chemo and it wasn’t that bad at all. As per usual it was my freaky-styley anxiety that gave me the most trouble right off the bat. So to follow my new policy in life I was straight up with my anxiety problems and panic attacks to all and every nurse I came into contact with and they were super kind about it. The told me what I was feeling was perfectly normal and they had several different ways of dealing with all sorts of anxieties and symptoms. They went through all the paperwork so I know exactly what to take and when to take it over the next few months. This was good. Then they asked me if I wanted some Ativan. I said, “Bring it on!” which they did with 2 lovely little pills under my tongue. My anxiety turned down a few notches but I was still a little queasy so they started the IV of Hella-Great Antinauseants. Then things really got going. I felt fine and only a bit nervous. Mostly I felt drunk, but not in a chatty way, which was interesting since I haven’t had a drink for years. Ativan is similar to about 3 stiff drinks slammed back. Those were the good old days and it appears they are back. I sat there while they started my FEC chemo. I got 4 huge syringes that were full of this bright red stuff carefully injected by the nurse into my IV. I have heard it called The Red Devil. I call it The Hawaiian Punch because that is what colour it makes your pee. I’ve experienced that part already. Very Cool! Then they put a syringe of something clear into my IV. No biggie! I know this sounds so technical but that is all I know. Remember I am sitting there pretty wrecked at this point reading Men’s Health magazines. Then they put up a little baggie of some liquid that takes 20 minutes to infuse and then I was done. I got another Ativan for the road and am here at home drunkenly typing you all this silly pointless post.

I am telling you now that this first experience was not remotely, even nearly, as bad as I thought it might be. It was a breeze! Seriously not a big deal. I surprised myself. I got a funny little haus frau kerchief for when my hair falls out compliments of some sweet association of ladies who do such sweet things. Kranki needs to get them some funky fabric for the future chemo ladies. Not all of us are in our 60’s! Sorry no chemo shots to post as I was too drunk and forgot to take out the camera. Next time.

Yeah, so here I am at the end of Chemo Day 1 and instead of being terrified or freaky I am totally intoxicated and laughing at the sloppy typing mistakes I am making. I think I’d better lie down before I fall down. More later as the fun pills wear off.

I’ll let you know if it gets harder as the day goes by. Until then…FLAKE OUT!

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Bring On The Drugs!

Well tomorrow is Chemo Day-Part 1. I am nauseous already. While I was sitting in the waiting room to see my oncologist today I was very very anxious and queasy. Then the nurse called for a Mr. Hurly and I damned near fell off my chair. That was just too spooky.

I hope that I will be able to blog as often as I have been but if you don’t hear from me for a couple days please don’t worry. I'll fire off a post as soon as I can. If I had a laptop I would blog chemo real time. Maybe I should add one to my amazon.com wishlist.

I got a message on my machine from The Agency the other day. It took me a second to realise that it was the Cancer Agency calling. Not my modelling agency. Not the CIA. Nothing as wild or exciting. Or was it? It would be very easy for me to create a wild and wonderful fantasy around my situation. All the calls. All the tests. I am being prepped for some secret mission. I am going to be The Bionic Woman who has to go undercover on the runways of Paris Fashion Week. It all makes perfect sense now. When is the shopping part?

So tonight life once again intrudes upon my diva persona and I have to vacuum out the couch so my mom does not have to sleep in crumbs and cat hair while waiting on me hand and foot over the next couple days. Then the cat box must be cleaned and bleached so no poo germs frolic in my breathable atmosphere. I also have to drink an inhuman amount of water tonight before my chemo. I truly believe this is actually a plot, a conspiracy of nurses, so that you stay up all night running back and forth to the can and therefore sleep through your chemo out of pure exhaustion thereby allowing them extra smokes breaks. Brilliant, if I do say so.

SPD - Get Your Flex ON!


Flex THIS, Yoshi. Believe it or not this is a game. She jumps on the bed and I start flexing my claw at her. She makes Siamese yowling noises and jumps my hand while purring the whole time. Then I do what it looks like I am going to do. I crush her head. Crushing your head - crushing....CRUSH!
Posted by Hello

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Where The Wild Things Crap

This morning I was pretending that my alarm hadn’t gone off and that I didn’t need to be at the hospital AGAIN for some other test when I heard this collection of loud noises coming from the bedroom fire escape. The cat flipped out too, which is unusual for her. She is so nonchalant about invaders in general. I looked out the window to see a raccoon taking a large crap on my deck. If you have read my 50 Things About Me post you might know that my wee back deck has become the local racoon loo. What was unusual is that I don’t normally see these critters in daylight. I guess with daylight savings and the spring days getting longer our little masked friends are getting caught out like the ho’s that they are. So I started to pound on my window, as I really would prefer they make their night time deposits someplace else. Like on my downstairs neighbour’s doorstep. So Poo Ass turned tail and ran like hell. Except for one little thing. There was no tail to turn. The poor beastie was a manx version of the species. Obviously, some time and some place long ago he lost his ringed appendage. Maybe a fight with a dog or bigger foe? Imagine coming upon that offering one afternoon in the garden. I’d hurl my mint julep pretty quick.

I don’t know what other city dwellers deal with but despite the fact that I live right in the middle of the urban center of my city there are an alarming amount of wild animals to cohabitate with in my ‘hood. We have a lot of racoons, which come by on a regular basis. When the babies are born they make the cutest little twilling and cooing noises. Those little ones are seriously sweet. I have pictures. I will scan them soon. It is amazing how quickly they climb up and down the side of the house. They can have nasty diseases so I don’t encourage visits. I worry Yoshi may catch something. They are really cute though.

Then there are the squirrels. These guys will actually come inside my house and raid my fruit bowl. The cat just sits and watches. Once I woke to this weird noise only to find a squirrel that had carried a large apple, weighing more than his whole self, from my fruit bowl up to the window. Unfortunately it couldn’t fit through the gap so the squirrel was frantically eating it down to a smaller diameter to haul it through. I wish I could have got a photo of that. I was laughing my ass off as I shooed it out. And yes, I put the apple out too. I felt he had earned it.

We also have a lot of skunks lurking about. Let me say that those guys make a racket similar to fighting cats during mating season. Mostly in the middle of the night. Not cool. At one time some well-intentioned city vet trapped a whole bunch of them and de-stunk them for public safety. This made some city dwellers fairly complacent for a while until the skunk population grew and the stinky ones far out populated the safe ones. Mayhem ensued. Then people learned to show them some respect. My neighbour’s dog was sprayed just recently. Tomato juice is still the best cure, apparently. I think skunks are the cutest things on the planet and would love to have one as a pet. Until then I keep my distance.

Many a day I can look out my window and see bald eagles circling over the bay. It is an incredible sight and I am always awed by the fact that they can eek out a life in these parts. Then, inevitably the crows and seagulls chase them off. Pretty gutsy move on their part, I think. I always worry that one may pluck Yoshi off the window ledge as she is sunning herself. She is pretty tasty.

If you just live over the bridge in North or West Vancouver it was a very bad year for black bears. They will literally come into your houses and wreck your kitchen for food. Did I mention cougars? This is all 30 minutes drive from the big smoke. Crazy. Several years ago they had to kill a bear in a friend’s backyard. It was very sad. They just get desensitised to humans and become dangerous.

It is also a good idea to bring your dogs and cats in at night because of coyotes. They are everywhere. I really mean that they are now in every part of the city no matter how busy or inhospitable it can be. They even attack in daylight so you have to be careful in certain parks. It is scary. They frolic with the dogs and sometimes try to mate.

You see, my city has Stanley Park right in the downtown center. It is similar to Central Park in New York but not as big. Lots of room for cool critters. There is even a huge lagoon with all sorts of birds. Then just south across the bridge is The University of British Columbia. They have a large area of wilderness around them called The Endowment Lands. Great trails to walk or mountain bike through. This is also where you will find Wreck Beach. You may have heard of it? It is a great nude beach. Oh yeah!

To the north are the mountains with our local ski hills and home to lots of black and brown bears amongst other wild things that find their ways into populated areas. The development is growing faster than the animal population can find new places to eat and sleep. You can imagine the problems but, overall, residents are very understanding and accommodating. It is part of the charm of the neighbourhood.

I am getting pretty sick of scraping all the charm off my fire escape.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Soooo Shleeepy


Today was a busy day so I am sleepy and not in the mood for a big blog entry. I promise one for tomorrow. In the meantime here is Yoshi with Hello Kitties. These 2 cute things (Yoshi not included) are speakers! Just hook 'em up to your disc or MP3 player. I am not kidding. They were given to me as a Christmas gift from the same gent who will be shaving my head and lending me his Crack Ho Wig. I didn't know such things existed in the world. I am one lucky girl.
Posted by Hello

Monday, April 18, 2005

The Chemofication of Kranki

The countdown continues until Chemofication and time is going by waaaaay faster than I would like. Time is subjective and I am living proof of that. I do have a mental one day respite as I thought my chemo was on the 21st it is actually on Friday the 22nd. I am desperately trying to change my mental outlook about this whole chemo process by telling myself that this is a proactive solution to an unfortunate situation and instead of dreading the process to embrace it as a positive step. Didn't fool you either, huh? Instead every antiquated notion of chemo I have seen on stupid movies and all the horror stories told by my friends of friends who knew somebody who was terribly ill many years ago blah blah blah runs through my head. I have been told by several very reliable sources that this is a totally bearable process. Many people continue to work and function quite well through it all. There are so many medications and support that will be made available to me to allow me to cope with this situation. While the thought of vomiting horrifies me it is not a terminal condition and I will live through that too. However, it is in my nature to worry and dread and catastrophise so I am my own worst enemy. It is weird to say that as cancer should be the bad guy here. Nope, my brain is out to get me. RUN!

I am very lucky that I live in the city that I do and that my treatment is completely covered by the province’s medical plan. The cancer clinic here is world class and is constantly used as a model by other countries in the world as the best treatment and delivery system available. I have watched somebody on TV get a chemo treatment and she was laughing and admitted to enjoying it as she was spoiled and treated so well by her medical team. So why am I so scared?

Well I have to say that I have a pile about a foot high of pamphlets and literature supplied by the clinic about my cancer and the treatment that I will be receiving. This information covers every possible aspect of my disease and treatment. Here is some stuff I have been reading about the last couple weeks:

-Information about the bone scan I had today. It was not bad at all and I didn’t even have a panic attack during it. I had a panic attack before and after but not actually while the scanner was running.

-Information about the ultrasound I will have on Thursday. I have to drink 4 litres of water and not pee. That is about a gallon for you American folks. Torture.

-A booklet titled “Support*Knowledge*Hope" which sounds so serious and, well, scary!

-Radiation Therapy and YOU! A Guide to Self Help During Treatment -scary sounding again! And I have to be proactive too? I thought I just had to lie down and take it like a man.

-Living and Learning-still serious and scary sounding. I would rather be living and partying.

-Lumpectomy-What You Need to Know-Holy SERIOUS, Batman!

-Questions to Ask About Breast Cancer-What You Need to Know-MAN! More stuff I NEED to know. The pressure.

-Chemotherapy-A Guide-this booklet is so carefully worded I am totally suspicious of it.

-Early Stage Breast Cancer-A Woman’s Resource Guide-more scary and depressing stuff. It has a pink rose on the cover to soften the blow.

-Questions and Answers on Breast Cancer-I am so sick of this stuff!!

-The Intelligent Patient's Guide to Breast Cancer-not AGAIN!

-Subject Information and Consent Form- no! I said I don’t wanna!

-Breast Prosthesis Bank-the only place I don’t owe money! Give me time.

-My pathology report-really depressing and I don’t even understand 90% of it.

-Post Operative Partial Mastectomy Physiotherapy Info-this means exercise! Oh no!

-Breast Surgery Outpatient Discharge Instructions-been there, done that, will be back soon.

-Post-Breast Surgery Exercise Program-even MORE exercises!

-Surgical drain instructions-EW! That was gross. Can’t wait to go through that again.

-Patient and Family Counselling Services-while this is wonderful to be offered and all I hate to think that what I am going through is going to necessitate therapy. I get therapy for day-to-day stuff already. Jeeez.

-mailing list consent-so MORE of this stuff will show up in my mailbox now.

-Caring For Yourself Inside and Out-this is sponsored by MAC and there are serious freebies offered. I am so going to this. And yes, I will blog about it.

-The Patient Guidebook-and on your left you will see the fake boobie department. On your right is the Bald Head Choir. I’d rather a guidebook to Paris!

-Exercise After Breast Surgery-Ok OK I’ll get off my ass already!

-A Guide For Women Living With Breast Cancer-this one actually looks like a mountain climbing supply catalogue. I am not kidding.

-Systemic Therapy Info-this is where I get a comprehensive list of every nasty side effect and other stuff I would rather not know about.

-Changes, Choices and Challenges-A Guide to Coping With Hair Loss and Skin Changes from Cancer and Its Treatment-lovely! Like the zits I have already are not enough.

-The British Columbia Cancer Agency*Research and Treatment-even more uplifting information.

-Suggestions for Dealing With Constipation-I actually don’t need this as I read Dooce regularly.

-Coping with Diarrhea- there is no God.

-Food Choices To Help Control Nausea-don’t go there with me.

-Coping With Taste Changes-does this mean chemo will cause me to start buying tacky clothes and flashy jewellery?

-Other Support Programs for Women With Breast Cancer – once again very nice and all but I hope to brush this off like a bad blind date.

So you see, under the guise of being helpful my treatment center is systematically reducing me to a gibbering pool of goo. To keep me better informed is to keep me incapacitated by panic attacks. I know waaaay too much, people, just toooo much. And on top of that NOBODY can tell me EXACTLY how I will feel through the whole process. So there is uncertainty thrown in for a little spice.

While knowledge is power, ignorance is bliss.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

The Interconnectedness of All Things

Just got off the phone with D again. He called to tell me, amongst other things, that he is enjoying my blog. This makes me happy because D is a connoisseur of cool shit so if he likes my blog then I am honoured. He tells me about a lot of interesting films or books that I should see or read. He knows all the authors and directors and their interconnectedness. I really listen because I don’t know very much about anything interesting. I often have actually seen the film or read the book but either forgot the plot or author or didn’t know enough to even take note of its interestingness, hence coolness. In short I am fairly oblivious most of the time. I tend to read very quickly but retain very little. Actually I have to read a book over and over again before I can recall the plot with any kind of accuracy. Don’t ever ask me to remember the character names as I rarely do. Is this uncommon or do others get halfway through a book and suddenly realise they have read it before? Half way, people! D also pointed out a spelling error in my blog. Quelle horreurs! I too am a terrible speller. Really bad. Thank GOD/insert the deity of your choice here for spellcheck. Interestingly, spellcheck DID NOT pick up this error even though no such word exists. That is often how mistakes escape me - when the misspelled word accidentally is a real word. Apparently fast readers are often terrible spellers. Not that it makes me any less culpable. However, somehow I fooled spellcheck and can’t be blamed for that.

Recently I joined up with a mail-out DVD rental company called Zip. I figured that I might not feel up to going back and forth to the video store during my treatment. Let the DVDs come to me with no due-back times. Normally I shell out a lot in overdo fees while perfectly healthy so I thought I’d better not tempt that kind of fate. D is also signed up with Zip so we traded some good suggestions about what to watch. I told him I was eagerly waiting for Logan’s Run. He is too. I saw this movie in my childhood and it impacted me enough to remain in my brain as a good film to see. D told me they filmed it here in town at Simon Fraser University. He said they were looking for the most bare, cold and soulless location around and picked this place. He actually went to SFU so he would know. The university was designed by some famous architect, but of course I cannot remember his name. I can guarantee D will know this, too.

He was telling me that his cat is a total princess (his word) and won’t poo in the litter box unless it is as clean and perfect as a Zen garden (once again his words) including rake marks. Instead the cat poops in the bathtub. I suggested he fill the tub with a couple inches of water and then see what happens. He replied that he was actually OK with the cat using the tub as it was easy to clean. Who knew where the cat would go if thwarted by water. Good point. I said, “The Evil You Know!”

I use this phrase a lot even though I can’t remember where I heard it or if it is part of some bigger and more famous phrase. I recently posted a dialogue I had with my upstairs neighbour when she was moving out and making unholy noise in the wee hours. I often equate my little phrase with my living situation, as my ‘situation’ with my neighbours is very interesting. I live in a very old house that was converted into apartments. Actually it may have always been apartments so I shouldn’t say that. I believe it may have been something in between like a boarding house. Hell, I don’t know for sure but anyway…. The walls are lathe and plaster and thus have anti-soundproofing qualities. So even though we are all in self-contained little units we are acoustically privy to everything that goes on in each other’s places. I HATE THIS! I am not a voyeur. I do not want to know what my neighbours are doing. I ESPECIALLY don’t want to know what they are doing at 4 am in the morning. I have to say if anybody is doing anything at 4 am I will hear it. In the middle of the night I can hear the upstairs neighbour’s piss hit the bowl. I am not kidding.

This crappy old hovel I call home is located on the corner of two very busy streets so a lot of the everyday house noise is covered by the traffic noises. This is good. At night things quiet down and all bets are off. I category noise in 3 ways:

-Noise that wakes me up.
-Noise that keeps me up.
-Noise that rises above the everyday noise to intrude upon my sanity.

If any or all of this criteria is met that I get grumpy, nasty and really mad. That means my neighbours have gone, in my mind, too far. Unfortunately this happens more than it should. For instance my downstairs neighbour is an asshole. Nobody in the rest of the house likes him either. I literally had to sic the landlord on him because he would hit on me every time I complained about his subwoofer vibrations that caused my furniture to move around on its own. Not a good idea when I am grumpy, nasty and really mad. I so do not find you attractive when I am complaining about your inconsiderate habits! His noise falls into the last category; noise that rises above the everyday noise to intrude upon my sanity. Honestly, for him especially I should have a sub category that reads:

-Noise that I can feel through my ass as I sit on my couch.

I am not kidding.

He is the fourth occupant of that suite since I have lived here and the first one I have even heard a peep from. Until he moved in I didn’t even know I could hear anything from below me. That realization, for me, was a sad day.

Now my upstairs neighbour and I have a very special relationship as they have a hardwood-floored kitchen directly above my bedroom. I have to say that in the past I have had some really truly heinous upstairs neighbours. I have heard stuff that no human ear should ever have to listen to. This is where I insert my phrase “The Devil You Know” because I have had terrible upstairs neighbours move out and instead of being happy I would be scared, as it was entirely possible the new neighbours could be much worse. Only once has there been a time where I didn’t think it could get any worse and would have gladly moved in a marching band with my very own hands. I will blog about that time and those tenants later. It is an epic unto itself. Let me just say one of those tenants felt it was perfectly acceptable to flaunt her vagina in the common hallways. I wish I was kidding.

So the point of all this? There is no point. I would love to be able to bring this post around full circle in some clever way but I can’t. I went too far. My present upstairs neighbour is new. So far he isn’t too bad. Only, I can hear and have become quite familiar with his nocturnal bathroom habits. He is “The Evil I Know A Little Too Well.” See? I went too far.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Ass Language

Sometimes I gross my own self out. The cat was just sitting on my filing cabinet and then started to climb onto my printer. She knows she is NOT ALLOWED TO DO THAT! So she does it for attention. As I have said before, any attention is good attention to her. So as she was just climbing up on the printer I sternly said to her, “No! Don’t even think about it.” And I swear her bum tightened for just a second. So I went into mom mode and replied, “Don’t clench your pucker at me!” She got off the printer. And I thought about what I said. Ew! Just to spite me she picked up my pen in her mouth and jumped down and took off with it. Beast.

Feminine Hygiene Horror

OK! I just saw the most terrible commercial on TV this very second. I literally jumped up and blogged it in almost real time. It is a nice couple in a rowboat and the boyfriend says, “This is so romantic/perfect/fabulous blah blah blah” and the girlfriend looks down and points out that there is a leak in the boat. Sure enough there is a hole just by her feet. The guy gets all manly and insists that he is going to take care of it but the capable female whips out a BOX of TAMPONS and INSERTS a TAMPON into the leak with the plastic APPLICATOR and plugs up the HOLE while the narrator gushes about the ABSORBANT PROWESS of this particular TAMPON.

OH MY GOD!!! How ROMANTIC!?! I am stunned that any reputable advertising firm could come up with this concept and that a company would buy it. I can’t even imagine what it was like to film this ad. I am so not wanting to purchase this product.

Then the boyfriend looks down at this puffed up TAMPON and is totally ok with it. He smiles. WHAT? I don’t know any guy who would not, at least, make some snide remark about a TAMPON saving the day. Most guys would jump out of the boat due to sheer fear and loathing of being in the presence of open and water logged TAMPONS.

I feel like I need a shower.

Kritic's Korner

Recently a sort of bookish question and answer was circulating on a few blogs and one of the questions was something like, “Which fictional character do you have a crush on?” I started thinking about it and initially couldn’t come up with a literary lust. When I thought harder I decided I had the hots for Atticus Finch of To Kill a Mockingbird. Wow! What a great character. Here is a man who is a good dad, a subtle soul and gutsy enough to do something he really believed in that would alienate him from his community. Then I started to wonder if it was that I had melded the Atticus Finch character with Gregory Peck who also I find seriously hunky. Mr. Peck took on the role in the movie version of the book and kicked ass. This is one of the few movies that have, in my humble opinion, held up to the greatness of the book.

Then I started thinking about other books that have been made into movies and how the results usually lack in a major way. I have to admit that there are plenty of movies I have enjoyed that are based on books that I have not read. This is probably why I like the movies. Once the books had been read then game over-probable movie suckage. No movie can ever encompass all the nuances of a book. It just isn’t possible. I remember when I saw Interview With The Vampire. I learned a hard lesson with that one. That lesson being: DO NOT WATCH MOVIES BASED ON BOOKS YOU HAVE THOROUGHLY ENJOYED! When I first read I.W.T.V. I was 18 years old and The Vampire Lestat was the perfect combination of evil and sexy to pique my drama queen interests. After watching the role butchered by Tom Snooze I sat in the theatre bathroom and cried. I wanted so much for the movie to be good. I hate Anne Rice books now. No other book of hers has touched Interview. I recently checked one out of the library to see if they had improved. I didn’t get past the second page. I have heard that Anne Rice does not have an editor. She self edits. Ms. Rice, if you ever read my blog I ask you to please get an editor. Please.

I have heard that a movie version of The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is coming out this summer. OH NO! Now here is a winding path – radio show to books to movie. I wonder if people who were fans of the radio show were disappointed in the books. In any case I will not be attending that movie because if Anne Rice could not prevent her book from being butchered to hell I can’t imagine what they could do with Douglas Adams being dead and all. There are absolutely no checks and balances. I bet you anything he would haunt anybody responsible for wrecking his books. I really think he would. There are just some things that should be left alone. A dear friend gave me my first copy of the first book when I left to backpack around Europe. For me, these stories are surrounded by other amazing memories. I can and have reread those books over and over and over again and laugh out loud every time.

As well as A Room With a View another book that I thought was made quite successfully into a move was Silence of the Lambs. Forever will Jodie Foster and Clarice Starling be one in my mind. Don’t even go there with me about Anthony Hopkins. Hello Creepyville! Awesome. Which leads me to my second fictional crush….

Mr. Hannibal Lecter. I have to admit I find him hot. He is smart and obviously has a great sense of humour. What more could you want? He is one interesting and sexy guy. Except for the killing and eating people part.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

It Was Almost Like Christmas

So OK. I feel like I missed something huge. During the hour of 10 am Pacific Time this morning twenty people spontaneously visited my site. That is twenty whole people in one hour! The referring sites are all blogs that I don’t recognize at all. I am assuming my blog came up as some link or something out there in Bloggerville. I had nothing to do with it as, frankly, I was asleep at the time. Or are you all trying to tell me something? Stay asleep, Kranki! We will lurk when you are sleeping. Wait! That sounds vaguely like that Santa song:

He lurks when you are sleeping.

He lurks when you’re awake.

He lurks when you are bad or good

So be good for goodness sake!

Ooops, a little off topic there but I am damned curious about what caused that blip in my viewer stats. I am not saying that I compulsively watch my stats all day or anything like that. Ok, I am saying that but would anybody out there who dropped by this morning at 10 am Pacific Time via some other blog PLEASE TELL ME ALL ABOUT IT! I hope you come back. What brought you to my blog, folks?

Elvis - Self Portrait Thursday


But don't you step on my blue suede shoes!
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Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Magic Marker Beauty

Right off I want to let everybody know that I have total permission from my mom to write about her eyebrows tonight. Just want to get that out there so I don’t have any family members kicking my ass for picking on my poor mom. People are very protective of her.

My mom is physically almost the exact opposite of me. She is petite, blonde, blue eyed and virtually hairless. While I dream of lottery riches leading to marathon laser hair removal sessions leading to life long bliss, my mom has no need to even shave her legs. She does but really doesn’t HAVE to like I DEFINITELY HAVE to. Let me tell you, I REALLY have to.

My mom has always coveted my eyebrows. I have to admit, my brows are pretty nice but I really have to landscape them very regularly to keep them that way. If left unchecked my brows would unify like the Colors of Benetton. On the other hand my mom, for as long as I can remember, has had to draw her brows on with her handy dandy eyebrow pencil. If I had a dollar for every time I have heard my mom say that she just had to “put her eyebrows on” before she could leave the house I could afford all that laser hair removal I so desperately need.

Recently the unthinkable happened, they stopped making the shade of eyebrow pencil my mom relies on for her very existence. What to do? Others were purchased but the shades were just not quite right. My mom decided to do what she had been threatening to do for years – tattooed eyebrows!

The morning came when my mom said she was going for her “special appointment” but I honestly didn’t think she would actually go through with it. She had been psyching us out for years by saying she was going for it and then bailing out due to the cost or outright nerves. I completely forgot about the whole thing so you can imagine what happened when she and my dad dropped by my place that afternoon.

I opened the door and apparently, according to my dad, the look on my face was priceless. The only thing I can equate the experience to is to imagine opening your door to your mom who has eyebrows that can only be compared to carefully cut pieces of electrical tape stuck above her eyes. There was my petite, cute and VERY BLONDE mother with two jet-black eyebrows. Then the inevitable question was asked, “What do you think?” When I got around to shutting my gaping pie hole I think my response was “OH MY GOD!”

I have to say that she was pretty calm considering that I would have been fucking hysterical if I had brows like that. But then I pretty much do have brows like that so what am I talking about? My dad and I sat in my living room while my mom tidied up my apartment-I was just post lumpectomy at the time. Every time my mom left the room my dad and I would start to giggle. When she would walk back in we would start to talk about the weather.

When my heart rate finally returned to normal we sat there and talked about The Brows and I had to think waaay back to when I got my tattoo. I assured her that the colour did mellow out a lot over time and what we were seeing then was a lot of residual ink just under the surface of her skin. We all decided that no fits would be thrown in any aesthetic salons until things healed up.

It has been a couple of weeks and the brows have, indeed, mellowed out significantly. My mom is thrilled that she no longer has to fight with a shaky hand every morning to draw something that might have to be construed as natural on her face. And we all know if The Mama is happy then we all are happy.

However, when anybody asks me about my mother’s new tattooed eyebrows I always say, “You mean The Great Sharpie Incident?”

Monday, April 11, 2005


Yoshi giving me the Evil Eye from her special heating vent. Yes, she has her name on the wall. Yes, she has a little kitty painting. Yes, out of the photo frame she has a water source so she doesn't have to go far if she is thirsty. Yes, she is spoiled. Your point?
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Yoshi and The Gang

The cat has been acting weird lately. By lately I mean about 6 months. In the evenings she has started meowing in certain areas of the house for no reason that I can see. Initially she started standing on the top of a chair facing this one corner, meowing and trying to climb the wall. It drives me nuts. I will be minding my own business and the cat starts to snivel and whinge facing this wall. I started by yelling at her, “NO! Get down!” and she would look back at me with this, “Oh MOM!” face and turn around and start it all again.

Then she added a new annoying habit of sitting on the little rug right in front of the front door of my apartment that leads to the common hallway of my house/building/hovel. She sits there looking at the door and howls. I don’t know why. She never goes out there and I wouldn’t let her out there. The neighbour and her dog could come in and freak the cat out. She could escape if the front door was open. She has occasionally escaped from my suite but she always acts frightened once out there and gets back inside very quickly on her own. I tell her. “NO!” quite vehemently and she knows what that word means. Basically, what I am trying to say is my cat sits there making ungodly Siamese noises at a door that I don’t let her out of and have never let her out of. There is nothing out there of any interest at all. I don’t get it. Sometimes I wonder, in her freaky Siamese brain, whether she has forgotten that I am actually in the apartment and is yowling for me. So I sweetly call for her and she will come over for a pet and a cuddle and then run back to the rug to sit facing that door again. I have tried the “NO!” thing and like the corner issue she just looks back at me with this sad face. I try to engage her in play and she ignores me. This doesn’t happen every night but when it does it lasts for hours. Even after I have gone to bed for the night. I am worried she is bothering the neighbours with her yowling. Not to mention my desire to strangle her over the constant noise. The other night I reached some sort of bizarre limit and actually yelled at her, “I’m sorry your life sucks! Get over it, watch TV like the rest of us and SHUT UP!” It didn’t work. Well I did succeed in making myself feel like an ass.

Then I tried something that has helped a great deal that either nobody believes or outright laughs at me when I tell them. When Yoshi starts to howl I let her do it for a little bit and then I say, “Yoshi! Leave the ghosties alone. Just leave them alone. They won’t bother you! It’s OK.” And she usually stops. If she starts up again or talks back to me then I ask her if the ghosties are bugging her. So I say out loud, “Hey Ghosties! I know you are probably bored as hell but could you leave the cat alone for a bit. Please leave Yoshi alone.” I give Yoshi a little cuddle telling her that I told the ghosties to leave her alone and she mellows right out and goes to snooze by her heating vent. I swear to you. It works.

WHAT THE FUCK?

I live in a house that is approximately 95 years old that has been divided into apartments. I have no idea what the history of this place is. Who am I to say that there are not any ghosties lurking around here picking on my cat? I have never felt afraid in this place – even in the basement. I don’t think anything ‘bad’ is in the house but maybe some spirits want to play with her. What do you think?

Any other ghostie stories out there? Anybody got spirits playing with their pets?

Sunday, April 10, 2005

In Case You Didn't Know

If you can't read the captions on the birthday card posts just double click on the individual photos and they should pop up larger than life in a new window. Just in case you didn't know. Like my mom.

This is a birthday card booklet I made for my brother today. I am so breaking every copyright law in the universe but nobody made any money offa this here card, sir! All in good fun!
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I am so gonna fry for this.
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He he he he...
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So that is what he gets-the funniest DVD ever.
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Saturday, April 09, 2005

The Magical Mystery Flirting Tour

I got a call from D today who lives in Toronto. He is constantly trying to get me to move there but I won’t. I have never been to Toronto so I can’t say I prefer it to Vancouver but this is home for me and I like it ok so far. I met D in jewellery school. Like most of our former classmates we didn’t ever make a “living” from jewellery design but still really enjoyed the experience. I believe he still has a mini studio set up and will be getting a proper workshop soon. He was especially excited to find out that I have a blog and will be commenting in the near future. Look out everybody! I can’t wait to see what happens with that.

So while we were chatting on the phone D was reading my blog. This is the kind of conversations we have. It is not uncommon for a whole other activity to be going on, on either end, while we are chatting. D suddenly said to me, “You do too know how to flirt!” I can’t remember which post I mentioned that fact in but he had obviously found it. I little bout of, “Do not!” “Do too!’ ensued and no real consensus was reached on the subject.

I will say it now and I have said it for years; I DO NOT KNOW HOW TO FLIRT!! I watch women do it via conversation and body language and marvel at their skills. I am truly envious. I will say this, it has been a theme in my life that I seem to attract men that not only am I completely not interested in but also who are completely not compatible with me. However, if I actually like a guy he will NEVER KNOW about it from me. The reason? I would be so embarrassed if he knew I liked him but didn’t like me back. That kind of situation is really humiliating to me. Yes, I know that it is no big deal in the grand scheme of life but that is just the way I am. It also seems to happen that in the presence of a male that I am attracted to I turn into a moron lacking any wit, social grace or endearing personality traits. Basically I am painfully shy. So according to D and the discrepancies in my love life I do flirt but totally unconsciously and to people I am not attracted to. Yeah – this is so me.

These are the kind of men who are attracted to me:

-Older guys. We are talking 60ish guys. They very seriously pursue me. I am not kidding.

-Older guys who like country music and lead that kind of lifestyle. Pick-up truck, hound dog, deer heads in their gunrooms and a little parcel of land they can call their own kind of guys. These men are perfectly nice but anybody who knows me knows this is not a good match. Not one little bit.

-Guys who are married or already in a committed relationship. I will not touch these men PERIOD. That is NOT ON.

-Men who are looking for a mother figure. Enough said about that.

I can assure you I do not flirt with them first! At least not CONSCIOUSLY….

The other thing I do often enough that has caused a fair amount of discomfort on my part and the part of others is that I totally misread signals and have thought somebody has been attracted to me while they were TOTALLY NOT! After mustering up some eggs to do my part and initiate some sort of mutual meeting or activity I get shot down in the dirt like a lame horse. I know that men take the lion’s share of the risk of rejection and, shit, I can say it is brutal. It is a wonder anybody gets together, ever.

Overall it seems best that I let some bizarre fluke of nature take its course and let some perfect guy fall through the roof onto my lap while I am watching TV.

So while D and I were chatting he was looking through the 50 Things About Me post. I told him not to bother as there was nothing there he didn’t know about me. I was wrong. It seems in the 10 years of our friendship I never mentioned I went to Jamaica when I was 22 years old. We talked about that for a bit and it popped into my mind that once again there was a perfect example of my mutated flirting abilities.

When I went to Jamaica it was to visit a friend of mine I had met a few years earlier on a ferryboat in the Mediterranean. He and his friend had been travelling as well and we totally hit it off on the long boat ride from the islands to mainland Greece. They were flying out the same evening but we had a great day in Athens and they invited me up to Bath, England where they were both in university becoming architects. I visited them up there a few weeks later and they took me on a pub crawl that completely destroyed my ability to function for several days afterward while not even causing them to burp.

Anyway this one particular guy out of the pair, who reminded me a great deal of Hugh Grant, and I had written each other on and off for a couple years in a very platonic but friendly way. He had gone to work in Jamaica as an architect and invited me over for a visit. After the time that I found my fiancĂ© in bed with my friend I thought this was prime time to take Hugh Grant up on his kind offer so off I went to Jamaica. The trip entailed me and Hugh Grant and 3 of his buddies piling into a pick-up truck and driving all over the island and slumming it with the locals. This was in hindsight, overall, an incredibly dangerous endeavour where we were constantly on the alert for spontaneous muggings or other random hate crimes. It was not uncommon to have local citizens yelling, “WHITEY!!!” at us as we drove by. What could we say? Yes, we are indeed white and your point is? Anyway, for two whole weeks 4 guys and I shared hostel rooms, beds and bathrooms without any hanky panky going on whatsoever. All the guys had gorgeous Jamaican girlfriends back in Kingston while I had a broken heart and wasn’t in any mood to be messing with any more ASSHOLES for a while. I was, without exception, treated like one of the guys and behaved as such the whole trip. Or so I thought until one day Hugh Grant came up to me out of the FUCKING BLUE and said to me, “You know I have a girlfriend right? You know that nothing can happen between us, right? I don’t want you to get any wrong ideas blah blah blah.” I should have smacked him in the head and laughed in his face but at the time I was really embarrassed that I may have given him the impression that I was trolling for Mr. G Lovin’. Um, NO! I had stayed at his girlfriend’s house earlier in the week and met all the group’s significant others. Did he think I was that kind of skank? So I just said I was not in any way looking for a relationship of any kind after the hell I had just been through, thank you very much. It was embarrassing for the both of us and the other guys seemed to sense something had suddenly changed so they did their typical British thing and called us a couple of cunts which immediately dispersed the bad vibe and the trip went on as usual.

When I tell this strange tale most of my friends say that what happened was a stoopid guy thing that guys do when they are the ones feeling attraction when they shouldn’t be and out of guilt project it on you so you have to put the kibosh on any hook up possibility. Maybe. Or it could have been some of my magical reverse flirting skills at work. We will never know for sure.

A HUGE thanks to mrtl who hooked me up with the necessary info to get one of these beauties made. If this is not the most fabulous thing I have ever seen in my life I just don't know what is. Maybe ME wearing one of these would only out-do the fabulousness of this thing.
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Friday, April 08, 2005

Friends Who Look Out For Your Best Interests

I met a friend who I met through my neighbour in the hallway today. I mentioned to him that I would be undergoing chemo shortly and would he do me the honour, as he is a lapsed hairstylist, of buzzing off my hair when it started looking scraggy. He said sure. He then asked me, “Do you want to borrow my Crack Ho Wig?” I said, “Yeah.”

My Life As Black Flag

I have seen this neat-o exercise on other blogs where you pick either a band or a singer and use their material to answer a set of questions. I am going to do this knowing that in a certain punk community I am committing sacrilege and may have to forfeit my slam dance card at the door. Here goes.


Pick a band or singer – Black Flag
Answer these questions using your band or singers song titles.

Are you male or female? – Now She’s Back
Describe yourself. – Loose Nut
How do some people feel about you? – I Don’t Care
How do you feel about yourself? – Nervous Breakdown
Describe your worse ex. – Wasted
Describe your significant other. – TV Party
Describe what you want to be. – The Best One Yet
Describe your current mood. – My War
Describe your friends. – Padded Cell
Share a few words of wisdom. – I Can See You!

The Chemo Chronicles - Part One

Today’s topic is hair. It is something that has been on my mind lately due to the fact that I will be loosing mine shortly. I have decided that I will not get a real wig, as they are expensive and hot to wear over summer. I am going to wear funky hats and such instead. I do plan on getting a few fun wigs for a blog photo shoot. Maybe a pink bobbed Go Go wig or a blonde Porn Star Farrah flip. Have me some fun!

Thinking about hair caused some funny memories to pop up after forgetting about them for ages. When I was around 12 or so I had a friend in school that I would spend a lot of time with. I would often go to her house for dinner and sleep-overs. Going to this friend’s house was always strange for me because The Mom was really laid back. We were allowed to have coke and potato chips everyday if we wanted to. At my house that was a rare treat. Going to my friend’s house and eating fabulous junk food everyday was heaven. The Mom used to drive us wherever we wanted to go and let us get away with murder as far as behaviour was concerned. This friend of mine was very spoiled. She was the youngest child and had a few much older half siblings. Her dad had remarried and my friend was the only child of this relationship. The half brothers and sisters were adults and spoiled her too when they came to visit. With The Mom, anything went.

On the other hand The Dad was this grumpy old fat guy. At my friend’s house we would be able to do whatever we wanted until HE came home and then all these weird ‘rules” came into play. We couldn’t sit in HIS chair and couldn’t watch HIS TV and we were not allowed to refer to all sorts of things in his presence. We had to be quiet and stay out of his way. I don’t remember a lot of his weird rules as they were so strange and random they didn’t make much sense to me. So I liked The Mom and all the lax rules and junk food but dreaded it when The Dad got home. I couldn’t understand why The Mom put up with it.

I used to get invited on day trips with the family and my friend had to beg me to go with them because The Dad wouldn’t ever stop if we had to pee. That was the rule – no restroom breaks. Once we were on the road that was it. I was always terrified that I might have to go and be forced to pee my pants or something. So I wouldn’t drink anything all day just to be sure I didn’t have to go pee while we were on the road. Once I did have to pee and The Mom had to persuade him to stop. He did stop for me but we had to endure his wrathful silence the several hours it took for us to get home.

He was also super racist and I would be sitting there with this family while he spewed all this hate and feel so embarrassed that anybody listening might think that I was racist too. But I was always too intimidated by him to say anything against him.

The weirdest and funniest rule that I remember was you could not brush, touch or talk about hair in his presence. Especially if he was eating or he would flip out. The Mom would always wipe the kitchen floor just before he came home to make sure there were no stray hairs lurking about. He was one strange guy and I was always trying to be on my best behaviour around him. Apparently he liked me because I was polite – I had a British upbringing so I had good table manners and spoke to adults in a respectful way. I don’t remember him yelling a lot but there was a lot of complaining and then quiet yet very angry withdrawal on his part of something didn’t meet his approval.

One summer I was invited to go with my friend’s family to their cabin for a few weeks. It was actually a huge plantation style house and all the aunts and cousins were there too. The uncles, including my friend’s dad, occasionally came up on weekends. We all had a great time and ran around like savages. Then one weekend The Dad came and we had to stay clean and quiet for a couple days. We would go swimming at the beach and The Dad would never swim. He just sat there and grumbled. I realize now it was probably because he had this truly horrific comb-over and couldn’t risk getting it wet. The sheer magnitude of coif swirled atop his head was, frankly, mesmerizing to me. That was one intricate ‘do. One evening we were walking down by the wharf and for once in this fat balding grumpy man’s fucking life he was having a good time. He was joking and laughing and for no reason I will ever understand let out this big whoop and charged down the pier and jumped into the water fully clothed. We were all completely stunned. When he surfaced his comb-over had come, um, un-combed and there was his exposed bald head with literally 2 feet of hair, dripping water, hanging off one side. I was appalled and a little scared. It was like he was half monk and half hippy. So he got out and whipped out a comb from his soaking pocket and without the aide of a mirror re-coiffed that nasty hank of hair into the usual swirls and waves.

After that, whenever he was acting like a shit, I would just have to look at him and picture that lopsided 2-foot growth of wet hair on the side of his bald head and think YOU ARE AN ASS!

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Just When You Thought I'd Drowned In Self Pity...

Dearest Lovely People

I feel terrible that I left y’all out there on that proverbial limb. It should have occurred to me that writing a post about the despair I was feeling and then not posting again for a couple days might freak you out a little. Let me just say right off the bat that I am feeling good. Everything is ok and mental crisis is over. Ok, over-ish.

I simply cannot believe all the incredible supportive comments I received from all of you and I thank you mightily for them. I can honestly say they helped me a great deal. I knew that it was ok to feel sad but the hear it all from you made even the tiniest traces of guilt float away.

After my sad day on Monday I had a couple medical type appointments to go to on Tuesday. The first one was to my therapist (Yes, I am a Gen-Xer and go to therapy!) where I bawled my ass off again and was given even more support and validation. This lovely counsellor lady I go see used to be a nurse so she really understands my problems from both angles – mental and physical.

After that I went to my psychiatrist. Yes, I go to a psychiatrist AS WELL!!! Actually he does all the prescribing for those brain pills I have needed on and off for the last 15 years or so. I have mentioned, rather off handedly, in past posts that my panic attacks have come back since the cancer diagnosis. What I have done is kinda gloss over how very incapacitating they are becoming. This weekend I wanted to get myself some take-out dinner and a DVD from up the road and freaked-out so bad I had to come home. I think this event added a great deal of fuel to the Pity Party Fireworks Display. It sucks to have cancer but it sucks even more to have cancer and be housebound and freaking your ass off. I had panic attacks like this about 10 years ago and it took a loooong time to rid myself of them. Actually, they never did stop altogether but I was much better and I know how once they start they are very hard to slow down again. They are extremely tenacious fuckers. Believe me, I know I am describing them like they are separate from me and we all know they are not yet it feels like they are when one minute I feel totally fine and the next second this freaky-ass SOMETHING is assaulting my normally laid back mellow brain and making it (and therefore me) act more scared and weird than ever before.

During the Pity Party I decided it was absolutely IMPERITIVE I get these attacks under control NOW. I know I will have bad days with the chemo so on those good days I get I DO NOT want to be unable to go out and enjoy them because of panic. Let's not forget having to go to the clinic for chemo or other tests and freaking out every time, too. I hate freaking out. It is not fun. So my shrink prescribed mega duty anti-anxiety meds for me. Yay for me! Let’s hope they work.

So after that day of going out and about and having to deal with PEOPLE and PLACES and THINGS that may or may not trigger a panic-freak-out I was quite sick to my stomach and very tired. I just went straight to bed. Without blogging. Without telling you I was ok. Sorry about that.

As for today and my first appointment at the Cancer Clinic... Yes, I had raging panic attacks all day so nothing new there. The appointment was 3 hours long and did not involve any testing. What it did involve was lots of waiting around and MASS QUANITITES of information being inserted into my freaking-out brain.

Due to the sheer volume of info that came my way today I have decided that I am not going to think about it much or talk about it much. In fact due to sensory overload I just woke up from a 2-hour nap and I plan, shortly, to go back to bed for the night. I am ex-haust-ed. What I can say is that my cancer is not aggressive. It has many characteristics that make it respond well to treatment. I start with chemo in 2 weeks. April 21st is Chemofication Day. This means I have one week “off” to get stuff done and then another week where I will undergo medical testing like crazy. Then a 6-month run of chemo. I am not freaking about that as I have accepted its inevitability for a couple weeks now. After chemo will come radiation treatment. I don’t know how long that will be but it typically runs 3-5 weeks. Then after that is probably more surgery. Then after that is hormonal therapy for a few years. This is like a pill to take everyday so the least of my worries right now. My oncologist said for me to be prepared to commit myself to a year of health stuff. Holy McBugger! That is quite the commitment. What can I do but commit fully to this. I feel optimistic and pretty good about it all. In short, I am ok. Pooped but ok.

I will definitely update you as it all happens. During my week off I will be shopping for cool hats for my soon to be bald head. I will be posting lots of pictures of my baldness so watch out!

Thanks for everything you guys!

Love from me!
XXOO

Monday, April 04, 2005

Pity Pity Bo Bity-Banana Mana Mo Mity-Fee Fi Fo Fity PITY!

I have to say that today is not a good day. For some reason, late last night, my seemingly endless supply of sarcasm and denial ran thin and I got very sad. I am now lounging in some serious self-pity and I don’t even have hormones to blame. This is for real whining.

I think it was listening to my Henry Rollins’ ‘Talk is Cheap” CDs yesterday that really got me thinking. This guy lives the lives of several people. He never stops and nothing is too wild or out there to do on his quest for knowledge and personal experience. He travels and tries new and exciting things and takes risks and is funny and smart about it. I have always wished to journey through life like that. I started out that way but then one thing or another prevented me from continuing the adventure. Things like other pesky health issues (difficult to treat depression and anxiety issues-pesky indeed!) and student loans and desperately trying to get a career off the ground. Yet I thought that I’d get it together and embark on my adventures as I was only in my mid thirties after all – I had plenty of time. I was going to have that Rollins life!

Well, getting diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 35 was not part of the plan. Once again The Rollins Life is on hold. I may not have all the time in the world to do what I wanted. So I got sad, and mad and pitiful and for the first time I actually felt like I had cancer.

It has been a strange thing to go along day to day knowing that I have cancer growing out of control in my body but not feel any different. However, today I feel tired and weak and dizzy and blah. I KNOW this is not cancer. This is sadness and depression and anxiety and that fucking self-pity. I told myself I would never feel self-pity. Never say never because here I am with violins wailing in the background and snotty tissues everywhere.

While I know I am supposed to be positive and that is really important, today I have been mentally giving away all my belongings to my friends and family and AGONIZING over who can care for my cat and picturing my friends saying to other friends how they once knew this woman who died young without fulfilling her full potential. And then I get very sad.

It has been actually a very hard decision to write about this knowing that my friends and family will read my blog and immediately get all concerned and freaked out. My mom will FLIP OUT reading this but the fact is that this is HOW I FEEL today I am guessing it is pretty normal for somebody fighting cancer. Or normal melodrama for me, at least. But sitting around waiting for tests and appointments doesn’t really feel like fighting and maybe that is part of the problem, too.

And then tomorrow I will probably wake up my normal grumpy and cynical self and know that I will kick THE ASS of this cancer not only out of my body but also out of the atmosphere. Until then I plan to lie in bed and feel sorry for myself.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

I Am So Gonna Be Blasted For This!

I have been watching some TV tonight and been inundated by information and images of Pope John Paul II. It freaked me out so I retreated to the blasphemous Sci-fi channel for a crappy old movie. However, I can say this, I was not brought up in a religious household and have very little practical experience with practising religion, but I have had a long time fascination with all religion and the concept of faith.

When I went to Jewellery Design school both my year-end projects were religious in theme. My first collection was called ”Hagiography” that contained rings formed with typical and very familiar religious iconography like angel wings, haloes and harps. My second collection was a series of rings named “Kiss My Pope Ring” which was loosely based on the Vatican’s (not all Catholics!) tacit indifference to The Holocaust during WWII. None of the rings were wearable and most were actually painful to place on the finger. I didn’t have any bold statements but wanted to provoke thought and discussion. My Polish instructors especially liked the theme and were very encouraging of my exploration. I think my fascination with religious art and iconography started in my travels in Western Europe and subsequent art history classes; most art is of a religious nature until the Renaissance or so.

A couple years ago I took a university Western Religious Studies class for my own personal interest. My instructor was Tim Stevenson, a local liberal politician and the first openly gay man to be ordained a minister in the United Church of Canada. How cool is that? He has had a long-term relationship with another minister and they were recently married when the laws changed. I specifically wanted him as an instructor because I thought that he would offer a very open minded and wide-ranging view of the course material. I enjoyed the class immensely and I left every evening with my brain aching with all the information. It was particularly interesting to be taught by a person, a gay man and a thinking man, who maintained his faith in God, yet questioned and challenged ideas amidst very conflicting tenets and concepts. The contradictions were never glossed over.

An interesting off topic tidbit is Tim warned us in the first class it was his experience that there was at least one fundamentalist Christian student in the class not to learn about Judaism, Christianity and Islam but to attempt to convert classmates to their way of thought. He mentioned this is an offhand way with his wry sense of humour. He was right! In fact there were two students who fit that description and the rest of the class really didn’t give them any slack. Nobody was converted and they had their horizons broadened a little. Tim knew what he was doing. I really enjoyed that class.

So I learned a little bit and even less has stuck in my brain over the years but a few things stood out for me tonight. In the Catholic belief system followers accept that the Pope has direct communication with God and what the Pope says is in fact the actual word of God. So when the Pope speaks it is really God speaking. This troubles me a bit. I would like to hope that every single person on this planet has the ability to talk to and hear God if they chose to do so. We are all human beings, after all. How did this Polish guy get the direct line? Why does he get that subscription to The Inside Observer?

The second thing that created a lot of conflict and, well, anger in me is the role of women in the Catholic Church. I know Pope John Paul II had a particular interest and spiritual relationship with The Virgin Mary. We all know the Pope and Catholic Churches’ policies on birth control and abortion and the invalidity of a woman’s calling to God by not ordaining female priests. It seems to me that the Pope really only felt that women should be pure and fulfil their biological destiny. However, didn’t Mary have a choice when Gabriel ascended to earth and offered her the opportunity to give birth to the Son of God? She had a choice but Catholic women don’t? Huh?

And don’t get me started how they get to pick and choose what tenets are taken figuratively or literally. It seems very convenient.

I asked a friend of mine who is Catholic how she reconciles her role in society as a mom, wife, friend and equal provider within her household to her status in her church. She assured me that the women were very powerful behind the scenes. This idea pissed me off! Why can’t women be front and center along with the men? Surely everybody has figured out these days that women have different perceptions and experiences in life and would really benefit from Catholic representation.

So what I am hoping is that this next Pope is a little bit more open minded and will accept that abolishing birth control amongst the faithful in third world countries only perpetuates poverty. That women are more than their uteruses. That having an exclusive relationship with God should not elevate him above others but can offer him an amazing opportunity to bring the religion up to date and change some serious inequalities and injustices. I hope this happens and look forward to it!

Now I know I am going to be fried for this-and I mean figuratively!!! I know a lot of people are going to think me very ignorant and simplistic and I couldn’t agree more. The topic and its ramifications are so vast I could never know all there is to know. I never said that this was going to make sense or enlighten anybody. These words and ideas have simply popped into my head since the Pope’s death. Treat them like you would my jewellery projects. Look, think, walk on or don’t at all. Faith is a very individual thing and something I wonder about all the time. I have nothing but the utmost respect for those who can maintain their faith amongst the contradictions and challenges of life today.

Within the context of my breast cancer all I can say is that I have complete faith that I don’t know what will happen at any given time. The universe (my concept of God) is a strange, weird, beautiful and astounding place.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Toilet Seats Are Today's Theme - You Will See Why Later

I am still grumpy from the delightful 6 am scene from this morning. However, I received an email from Tina Mou (Mou is Greek for dear) that made a smile creep onto my face for but a moment. Sorry Tina Mou, waaay too grumpy this morning for long term smiling. Further neighbour annoyances have since arisen but I will get into that later. Let’s just say this email and attached photo cheered me up as much as my grumpy ass could be cheered. Tina Mou, who lives in London ENGLAND is getting married in the very near future and had to go to the registry office to drop off some paperwork. Whilst there she had to use The Ladies and was horrified/fascinated/puzzled at the toilet seat provided. I will quote her directly.

“I went to the registry office to drop off bit of paper for our civil wedding yesterday and went to the loo and saw the weirdest and I mean weirdest toilet seat I have ever seen before in my life! It was so weird that I had to take a pic that I have attached here. It was so big and strangely moulded that it felt like someone was grabbing onto my butt! What a weird experience!”

Indeed! That is one weird ass seat. Tina Mou’s work ISP forbids her to cuss in office emails so I will do it for her. “Stop fondling my ass you Officious Mother Fucker Seat! You have already charged me exorbitant marriage fees and to fondle my buttocks under the guise of excretory comfort is too much. Unhand me NOW!”

The Offending Seat. I don't know why they bother as most chicks just end up peeing ON IT anyway.
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Why Concrete Buildings Are Good

A conversation just had with my upstairs neighbour. The very same neighbour who has been so delightfully quiet throughout her tenancy in this shitty anti-soundproofed house that I was devastated to learn she was moving. The very same neighbour who has been up and crashing around since 5 AM!!!!!!! The very same neighbour who had been crashing around past 11 pm the night before. The very same neighbour I want to kill right now with my bare hands.

Knock Knock

Door opens with Upstairs Neighbour and Her Parents looking at me like, WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU KNOCKING AT 6 AM!?!?

Me: Hi! It is 6 am and I was wondering if you could be a little quieter.

The Mother: She is moving out, ya know?!?

Me: Yes I know but you are wearing shoes and your stomping around and moving stuff is really echoing through the hardwood floors. It is 6 am.

The Neighbour: Yeah, OK!

The Father: Looking down at shoes-OOOPS!

The Mother: But he is going in and out, ya know!

Me: My bedroom is right under where you all are standing and you have woken me up with all the noise.

The Mother: Well she is moving out, ya know.

Me: Yes, I know BUT I AM ILL AND I NEED TO SLEEP!!!!

Turn around and stomp off.

Fin


The moral of the story- I will play the cancer card, fuckers! Don’t wake me up or keep me up. I have lived here a long time and I have ways of cutting off your water supply.

Stay tuned –let’s see what fresh new neighbours I have to break in.