THINGS OLD PEOPLE SAY…….Goodbye, Relevance

It seems I have spent my life pursuing relevance. My dad worked military defense contracts, so I moved around a lot as a kid.  Examining the things that made me who I am today, moving around definitely had an impact. Every move meant new schools, neighborhoods, and new ways of life. Every new school meant new jargon, new playground rules and games, new hair and clothing styles. New everything, really. I was always trying to fit in. I wanted to be significant, not just the new kid with no friends who was starting from scratch every year or two in a new town.  For example, I moved to one school and on the second day, we lined up for “morning exercises”. I was thinking Jack LaLanne (how old am I? Think Richard Simmons, Jane Fonda, Beach Body, Peloton) as we lined up to go outside. Where we continued to stay lined up. We said the pledge of allegiance, maybe a prayer (Catholic school girl here) and we heard announcements. I kept waiting for the jumping jacks and felt pretty stupid when they didn’t happen. Another time, I had just recently had my hair cut in the Farrah style. For the relevant, she was a huge icon and had a layered, flippy style that was replicated by many. I was one of the last girls at my previous school to get this style. Lucky for me, I was the first girl at the new school. Instant status. Moving around for me meant an endless cycle of feeling awkward, struggling to find my place, settling in and moving again.

I continued this desire to fit in or be relevant in my 20’s. I was lucky, I had started and graduated the same high school (something none of my four siblings had been able to do). I stayed and went to college and while I had dreams of escaping – those dreams are going to have to wait until retirement. In my 20s I was very relevant and quite interesting and cool. Which, you know, is life in your 20’s. All you can think about is you and for many of us, this was the best we will ever be physically. As I grew up and met the world, I thought everything I did was as interesting to everyone else as it was to me. Incidentally, I wasted my youth. If I had known what a gift youth was, I would have walked around with my arrogance held high and sporting a bikini everywhere I went, because I don’t have the body to parade like that anymore. 

My early 30s were interesting as I was still single and clubbing while my friends were having babies. I was still thinking I was cool but that my friends were leading the relevance race. In my late 30s I joined my parenting friends getting married, having a few kids and quitting work to raise them.  While I was busy hosting play dates, Pampered Chef parties, and scrapbooking in my spare time, I really thought I was relevant. I was right in the thick of it and felt like this is what my life was meant to be. 

In my 40s when I lost my relevance to my husband, I rejoined the work force. What a shock. So many changes. Google notes saved your work automatically (when I last used a word document program, if you didn’t save every so often, you ran the huge and very real risk that your document would disappear and you would have to start over), flash drives were all the rage, and you no longer had to leave two spaces after a period in a document.  I realized how out of touch and irrelevant I had become. My divorce was unpleasant and as I took steps to regain my independence and start a new life, I again worried about relevance. I certainly didn’t feel relevant. And, as one of the last of my friends to get married, I was now among the first to get divorced. I wasn’t very relevant at this point except to other divorced friends. And, then time marched on. I became the spokeswoman for divorce and living after it to some my friends. To fill my spare time, I branched out, started new things. Writing a blog, moving up at work, doing new things. My still married, stay at home friends expressed their desire to be in my shoes. After all, I was making it look like the time of my life. In many ways, it has been.

For most of my life I have been craving and endlessly searching for relevance. Recently, I have decided I don’t care if I am relevant or caught up anymore. I no longer care if I recognize the couples breaking up or having babies in People magazine. I don’t care if I have read the latest bestseller, seen the latest Oscar winner, or tried the latest restaurant in town. It was fun while it lasted, but the pursuit has been too much work. While this doesn’t mean I won’t do these things, my decisions will no longer be driven by my need to be relevant. Who decides who and what is relevant anyway? Definitely not anything written by a dinosaur.

Swallowing Fear. And Not the Good Way.

It’s none of my business, she said. But, I think every time you take one of those pills, you are swallowing fear.

Hmmm. You think so? I’m not sure I see it that way. 

As many of you know, I had a little party with breast cancer a few years back. As a result of that, my oncologist (who ever thought I would have one of those?) recommends five years of hormone therapy. Due to my age and situation we tried Arimidex first. It. Was. Horrible. Twenty to thirty hot flashes a day. Sleepless nights. And in general, I just felt awful. Since being diagnosed I have totally changed my diet. You might say I am vegan, but I am more whole foods plant based now. This means very little processed foods, no oil, no meat, no dairy. I was just starting to feel fantastic after all of the treatment party crap when the doc said – take this shit. So, I did. I struggled and struggled and finally decided, I was not going to take this shit. It made asofuckinglutely no sense to me that I should take something to prevent me from getting sick that made me feel sick. You know?

After the prescription ran out – the doc called me. Why did you stop taking it? (WHAT? What is happening? Um, you are monitoring my prescriptions now? Really? Maybe I am a paranoid crazy person, but that sounds like an action driven by drug companies.)  But, whatever, we made an appointment and I told him I couldn’t do the side effects. Well, we have other options, he says. We opted for tamoxifen – the pill I was most hoping to avoid (wow, do you hear that?). Fine, sure, prescribe it. Maybe I won’t take it, I think, but I was getting a little scared (hear that?) and after the doc left the room – the nurse leans over to me and whispers, most of the women who get it back, it comes back at stage 4. Wow. That was the last nail in the coffin of my fearful panic attack. This doesnt feel like supportive treatment. Okay, so I guess writing really is therapy – I cant believe the things dancing across this page that are coming out of my head. But, I went home and did it. We started slowly, taking one pill every three days working up to two pills per day. 

And, I felt like shit. So bad in fact, that I did a few things in January.  I put the wine bottle down – c’mon, this was still covid – that was hard. I became super strict on the diet. I was following about 85%, now – 98%. I vowed to get out and walk a mile or so a day. The first few days, I felt worse. Like I’d been hit by a mack truck. Then I felt a little better. But, you know what? I was still sleeping all of the time – I was exhausted. Which might be normal for a few days – but, January 28 came around – and, no change. I needed to not be so tired. Not always wanting a nap. 

If you haven’t noticed, I can agonize over decision making. I can see all the sides, weigh all of the options. And, I am obsessed with never making the wrong decision. Why? Because mistakes take time. And, there is never enough of it. So, here I was – take the pill and feel like I’m not living or don’t take the pill and die a horrible death. I know those are not the only two options, but those are the worst possible case scenarios. I’ve still got a lot of things I want to do. I had been living primarily for my X and my kids for the last twenty five years. Now, I want to live for myself and do new things and have new adventures for a bit. I’m not ready to go. 

The question remains, should I stop taking or keep taking this pill? I shared my dilemma with my friend above and told her I was seriously considering not taking it any longer. Swallowing fear, she said. Well, I quit taking that pill and I was scared. For a minute. Then, I recommitted 90% to the diet. I mean, I live in Sacramento, Mikuni’s is a sushi institution here. And the occasional oil. Because fries are plant based. But, overall, back to feeding my body with nutrition, not crap. And, every single day since then, I have improved. I haven’t taken a nap after work in a week. The hot flashes – which admittedly were way fewer and way less violent than on the first horrible pill  – diminish each day. But, mostly, I feel like I am living again. I have a ways to go – but, I feel like this is a good direction. And, you know what? My friend was right. I’m sure taking that pill had physical effects, but now I see they had emotional and mental ones as well. 

One day I may share my agonizing over the covid vaccine.

Happy New Year, 2021?

Two years ago I was writing about the song, “Baby it’s Cold Outside“. Remember that? We were knee deep into the #MeToo movement. And, look where we are now. And look at all that has happened. I’ve been on this planet a long time and I ain’t never seen anything like this. I live in the greater metropolitan area of the capital of California – so, it’s a shitshow. You can all relate, I’m sure. 

Two years ago, I was just getting ready to have a boob removed, or as I like to call it, weight loss surgery. Hey, my boobs are/were giant. I spent the better part of 2019 fighting for my life. So, I get through that and go back to my day job. That was a challenge. As I was getting my sea legs, my dad’s health started to seriously decline. I knew that 2020 was going to be a challenging year for me. Even after what I had been through. I had no idea. Literally. That was January. I distinctly recall a conversation with a coworker. We both figured we would lose our dads this year. We vowed to drag each other through it. Then the fires, Kobe, more fires. And the damned covid shutdown. Then BLM mayhem, election ridiculousness. Incidentally, I am fortunate to have friends on all stops of the political spectrum. Is Biden the wonderful human the Dems think he is? Did Trump win like all the right wingers believe? I always say I don’t like to get political on my blog – but, holy cow is this a nightmare. 

I have learned that you absolutely cannot believe what the media is spreading on you. You cannot believe the politicians – well, I always knew that was true. I had a friend, someone I loved a long time. When he told me he wanted to go into politics, my heart broke. Seriously, the last piece of openhearted love I had for him, shrivelled up and died that day. But, I digress. You cannot believe the things your friends will tell you. My most liberal of friends felt that Trump being President was going to ruin the country. My rightest wingers see conspiracies everywhere. What is right? What is wrong? Who is right? Who is wrong. I sure as fuck don’t know. 

As Covid hit and the shutdown began, I was lucky to discover that my day job is essential. It is so wonderful to be essential after all the thanklessness and bs that comes with motherhood. I have shared that with all of my friends. They cannot believe I’m essential, either. So, while being essential is awesome, it meant that as the rest of the world was on pause, we were still going strong. Then we even got busier. We had to develop a plan and process to get all 120 of our essential workers transitioned to a remote work environment. Then, we got busy and busier. I felt like I was in a whirlwind and had no idea what was going to happen. 

So, here we are, pulling up on the end of the year. Everyone I know is not sorry to see 2020 in the rear view. I’m not so sure if 2021 in the windshield holds much more hope. My kids are struggling with their emotional health, and I am too, frankly. This blog is me pushing myself to keep moving forward. I love writing, I need to get back to it. There is so much uncertainty, frustration, fear, and confusion everywhere you look, it is a little overwhelming. 

As someone who has been around a few blocks, I can say with certainty, that we will get through this. This may or may not be a blip on the radar. It may be the start of things to come – all of that dystopia nonsense everyone else is writing about. But, I know I still love my family and friends (the worriers and wingers). My day to day activities have been curbed (oh, how they have been curbed. I can’t believe how much I miss my shitty little life. I don’t mean it was bad, but it was boring. I wasn’t doing anything grand or large.) but that just means I need to find (and motivate myself) to continue to move forward to find ways to make this Covid life gratifying, too. 

Oh, I long for the days when our biggest worry was if some old holiday classic should be banned. I doubt I will long for the Covid days. Here’s to bigger and better things in 2021. You can do it, 2021 – 2020 didn’t set the bar very high.

Boobs, Bras, and Giggles

To have a boob or to not have a boob. Or, way more information about bras than I ever cared to read or write. Or, PSA for women who have had partial mastectomies. Or, more cancer adventures.

As some of you may know, I had a mastectomy at the beginning of breast cancer treatment almost 2 years ago. When you have a mastectomy, you can rebuild – which I opted not to do. Or, you can wear a prosthetic. Yeah, I opted not to do that, too. For a variety of reasons. I was happy with one boob. It didn’t get in my way, didn’t have sweat under it, and I kind of quit wearing bras. Because, you know – the old ones don’t work and they don’t really have bras with one cup. So, I wore sports bras and racer back bralettes. I had to change the way I dressed a little and some necklaces hung weirdly, but I was good. 

Until I tried to take my old bras – the ones that were barely or gently used, to the bra shap I frequent. For those of you that can shop at Victoria Secret, you wouldn’t understand. For those of us with giant boobs, we have to go somewhere special. You know – they don’t sell F or G cups everywhere. You read that right. I was a 36G when this all started. Also, those over the shoulder boulder holders are not cheap – it takes a lot of strong fabric and ingenuity to hold up big girls. So, I paid anywhere from fifty to a hundred dollars each for bras. So, the Quarantine had me cleaning out things and I had a very large bag of gently used and slightly worn bras. The owner of this lovely shop will take any of these and she will donate the bras and her bra fitting expertise to the women in shelters looking for a new start. She is amazing. She can tell your bra size and which bra style and brand that will fit you best when you walk into the shop. Not all women are shaped the same, so not all bras work the same. 

So, I called her to see if she was taking donations. As soon as I said, I had a mastectomy, she interrupted me, “Did you get the prosthetic”? Um – no. “No? Ma Ma. You have got to get the prosthetic. You are unbalanced. If you keep walking around like that, you will be crippled and walking around like one of those hump backed old ladies, you will have years of pain. Ma Ma, you have to get the prosthetic.”  I will, I will. I promise. Thanks for telling me. “I’m serious, Ma Ma, do it right away.” She says in her lovely accent. “And save the bras for when Covid is over (I smirk at that now).” I told you she was amazing. And, she didn’t even really know who I was. I am doubtful that she recognized my voice. She calls everyone, Ma Ma. There really are angels everywhere.

So, I made an appointment and went to get a new boob. It was a horrible day in Northern CA. we were just coming off a heat wave and in the middle of the Camp fire of Aug/Sept 2020. The wind was blowing and there was chunks of ash in the air – not the snow like flakes. It was gross. But, I ventured out to get the boob – supporting local business where I can, you know. I am not going to chop the shop up – but, things were interesting with the new boob when I got home. 

I got to look closer in the mirror and wear my new fake boob with different clothes. A thinking girl would have worn a t-shirt to the fittingbecause they do not lie. I brought home a tank top with a shelf bra and that worked fine. But, I had to wash the tank, so I decided to wear the bra today.  Firstly, the band is not my size – it’s a little big. Okay, three sizes too big. Plus, it is a stretchy comfort bra. Since the salesperson had loaded the fake boob into the tank, I was loading the fake boob into the bra for the first time. The bras have pockets where the prosthetic fits. As I am folding a prosthetic breast and pushing into the side of the bra – I get an irresistible urge to giggle. Is this the weirdest thing I have ever done? Could be. I’m putting a very large fake boob into a pocket in a bra so I can wear it around. Also, I am writing about the experience. So, all weirdness.

So, I put the bra on – the boob I had removed was my small one. Real boobs are not symmetrical. One is almost always bigger than the other. I think the prosthetic is a size too big? Or am I just used to seeing nothing or something smaller over there? Fuck, I dont know. Another irresistible urge to giggle. Also, no prosthetic that is paid for by insurance, can ever match the size and shape of an individual breast. As just about any man will tell you, no two sets are alike in shape or size.  My insurance pays for a prosthetic and a few bras. Since I don’t miss wearing a bra and I was looking for something comfortable, I opted for some tank tops with the shelf bra and one stretchy comfort bra. Which I knew I would only be wearing at home for balance since it offered little to no support and,  you can’t hide in a stretchy comfort bra either, you can see it all.  So, I’m wearing this stretchy bra and every step I take on the stairs, the prosthetic sinks a little lower and a little lower. Now, I am sure that I’m a visual riot. The prosthetic is so heavy – it cannot be supported by the bra. My own boob is doing just fine but every few steps I have to cup the fake boob in my hand and hitch it up. This is hilarious. So many unexpected adventures in the wake of cancer. Not a worry, I will take myself, my prosthetic, and my growing understanding of post cancer bras and go visit the lovely lady who calls me, Ma Ma.

So, do I miss having a boob? Not really. Do I feel whole now that I have a prosthetic as some have suggested? No. I was pretty whole before. The peace is in my heart and soul, not in my boobs. Was walking around with one boob weird? Yes. Is this weirder? I don’t know. Maybe? I am sure that once I get the size and bra thing figured out, it will be fine. But, you know, I should have taken them both off. Lighter, cooler, freer, bras and prosthetics not required. I sure won’t be dancing in this bra.

PS. I ate lunch with my new boob and the bra that can’t support it and something happened that hasn’t happened in almost 2 years, I got food in my bra. Good times.

People, I Miss You

A year ago today I was one day out from my 4th and final round of chemo. I was feeling pretty shitty. I know for sure that I told myself that a year from now, things will be totally different. I’ll be back to work and my life will be normal. Life sure has a way of biting you in the ass. I never in a million years dreamed I would be sitting here, working from my backyard patio. On quarantine. With the rest of the world. I am a writer and don’t think that even I could have written something as preposterous as the last 5 months. And everything since March has been completely ridiculous. While I have no idea how this is all going to play out or even what is really happening as we live it, I know one thing for sure. I miss people.

I miss people. I know I complain long and loud about how California is so crowded and I’m starting to get claustrophobic. I also talk about how I can’t wait to get out of here. I’m plotting my exit and planning my retirement. I wax poetic about all the driving we did in Arizona one summer and there were no crowds. I mean it was hotter than Hades, but still, nobody was there. The parking lot at the Grand Canyon was a third full on a Friday afternoon. We could actually spend time roaming in the gift shop. This is something I rarely get to enjoy because – people. Too many. I start to feel like I can’t breathe and I get all panicky and then you know – I’m outta there. 

Last year when I was in a similar exile – I was lucky. I got to have visitors. I got to go wherever I wanted, if I had the energy. But, this. This is bad. Not the lack of freedom so much as the lack of people. I miss crowds. I miss concerts. Especially when it’s over and everyone is herding out and people start to moo. Well, I miss it from afar, right? Maybe I will cease missing it when I do it again. If I get to do it again.

What is our world going to look like when this is all over? Will we still be shaking hands? Do you know how long I have been making fun of Howie Mendell for wearing those ridiculous gloves.  Who’s laughing now? Well, I am, cuz that shit’s funny. Anyway. Will we still assemble in crowds? Will we be able to board a flight without a temp check? Will we be kinder? Or appreciative? More aware and understanding instead of the ridiculous bunch of unfrienders if your political beliefs differ that so many of us have become?

When I started writing this, I had really high hopes for the world. I thought this would bring us closer. Instead, it has become one more divisive thing. Now that things are starting to open a bit, the face masks is what is causing people to throw their gloves down. And, the worst part….it is really difficult to know what to do and what to believe because nobody really knows what is happening.

 

Thank You, No Thank You?

I have come pretty far in my cancer recovery, and there are some people who need to be thanked. But, how do you say thank you for love and kindness that saved my life? How do you thank people for all of the ways their friendship provided brightness during dark days? Nothing I could think of seemed adequate or affordable. I have been totally humbled and completely uplifted by the people in my life. I decided that I couldn’t find the words to thank all of the people who helped me on my cancer journey. I decided to publicly thank everyone on FB – once a day until I finish. Call me lazy or efficient. Depends on your definition and how you feel about thank you notes.

I do not disagree that a well written thank you note is a beautiful thing. But, I have always struggled with them. I know, I know, I know. A writer who gets anxiety at the thought of writing a tiny thank you note. I am not against expressing gratitude in whatever way you choose. To me it is the expression, not the delivery method.

Coincidentally a FB friend had posted about how difficult it was to get her son to write them. I thought before I posted. Nobody wants to be unfriended. I am not a big thank you note kind of person. I suck at it. I am not that great at getting cards into the mail, either. But, I digress. I thought about all of the times my mother and I argued about writing them.  Oh, wait. We didn’t. One of the few things we didn’t argue about. We could blame her, but I guess mom knew how to pick her battles. Plus I was #4. I can fold a fitted bed sheet so well, you could put it back into its original package. Thanks, Mom for that. Not sure it makes me or my life any better. 

Kidding aside, I kept thinking. When was the last time I received a thank you note? Some of my friends are masters at them, so occasionally one will show up in the mail. My dad’s wife is pretty good at sending them, but it doesn’t make her a better person.  The last thing I want her to do is send me a note over nothing. She has more important things to do. And, then. Did I ever receive a thank you card from my dad? Nope – but, he was married to my mom who didn’t make me do it. Come to think of it – I have only received one thank you card from a man. ONE. His girlfriend (my roommate) made him do it when he lived with us between grad school and a job. That is not to say men aren’t gracious or grateful. I have received texts, emails, and drinks in appreciation. But, not a handwritten card. 

I’m guessing we started this sometime ago. When there were no cell phones, no telephones, no email, no texting, no answering machines. You get the picture. I would also guess that some printer had a great advertising team and this was the result of some “buy more of my paper products” campaign. Or, it was something “nice rich ladies” did.

 I wouldn’t argue if you said manners are an afterthought these days. But, maybe some things we consider good manners, should be left in the past as they are just not relevant anymore. Plus, this seems to be a job that falls on women. For women. Men don’t care if they get a thank you note, a thank you text, or even a nod. I doubt they spend any time wondering why Bill didn’t send a thank you note for the poker or football party you hosted. Or if someone’s kid sent us a thank you note for a graduation gift. If men aren’t expected to do it, why am I?

Where Oh Where Has My Mojo Gone?

Where oh where has my mojo gone? It has been a long year. And as much as I love writing this blog, I haven’t had the motivation. Well, to be honest – it has been a combination of things. Late last year, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. That diagnosis overwhelmed me and took over my life for the better part of 2019. Things were moving so fast, I didn’t really have time to take stock of how I was feeling. By the time some of the fog cleared – I had new fog. The chemotherapy and its aftermath left me with an inability to focus on much. My memory, which already seemed compromised, failed me altogether. 

Now, I have been back at work at my day job. I’m definitely better, but I have a long way to go. I am still tired (the level of exhaustion runs layers deep), have achy bones, neuropathy, vision issues, and healing pains. I have been waiting for the writer in me to rise up and write. And, then it occurs to me, maybe I just need to do it!

Sometimes it seems as though nothing has changed. Truth is, everything has changed. I had cancer. That means, I could get it again. Which means, it will always be in the back of my head. Or, it seems that way now. I have completely changed my diet. A change that has been needing to happen. A change that I am thrilled happened. I look and feel so much better. I am certain my diet changes contributed to my recovery. They have also inspired those around me. 

I hear things differently now. Whenever I hear about someone dying of breast cancer or complications from, I say a quick thanks and then wonder – how can I use this information to keep me healthy? Which I think we all know, is impossible. It’s just my neverending need for control that makes that happen. Which is weird, because one of the things I learned during this ordeal is that I have very little control over what happens. I can only control my response. But, still. That need to control is deep. But, it was only when I relinquished control that I found some peace during my treatment.

Things don’t bother me in the ways they used to. I am more looking for solutions now than reasons to be indignant. Not sure why it took me so long to do that. But, it did. What a bitch I was before. How on earth do I have any friends?

Physically, I have changed. I have always desired the ease of a pixie cut. When your hair falls out and grows back in – that is what you get. A sassy pixie cut. The weirdest thing? I love it. I never thought I could do it – but, I am rocking it now. I may never have long hair again. You should see me. I have discovered a new look. Flowy tops to hide the fact that I only have one boob, big earrings to add femininity. Short, gamine white hair. I see people I haven’t seen in a while and some of them don’t recognize me. In a good way. 

Cancer wasn’t a gift. It sucked. I understand now why people stop treatment in the middle or refuse to treat again. For some it is a horrible ordeal. For me, it wasn’t that bad. But, it still sucked. It took 9 months of my life and continues to suck on me like a parasite. However, so many gifts came out of this for me. It is funny. But, having cancer has brought me some peace. A lot of peace, actually. There is peace in understanding you can’t control. In knowing there are ways to improve unfortunate situations. In knowing that you can change and grow, no matter what the situation. Mortality is staring me in the face. A wake up call to get moving and do the things I want to do. Achieve the goals I want to achieve. Have the relationships I want to have. I have a lot left to do.

Britney Spears and I Have Something in Common

Britney Spears and I finally have something in common. I think we all know how important that is. And, what it could mean for my future.

As I have previously discussed, I have shit for hair. And it was always being itself straight, fine in texture. It came with an inability to hold a curl and I have crazy head sweats – so ugly. On many an occasion I have thought, if I had some clippers, I would just shave my head. It would be so much easier than the shit I had. When Britney had her meltdown, I understood. I sympathized. I knew she was crazy – but, I understood – bad hair day. How many times did I come close?

Well.  My hair was falling out  at an alarming rate – so I did what I do – I rushed straight forward – I had my head shaved. Lest you think I am Britney shit crazy – my stylist verified that in the 2 weeks since I had seen her, I had lost ⅓ – ½ of my hair. It was time to shave it. Funny thing, when Britney shaved her head, there were smiles. All I had was nervous laughter, then tears of resignation. This is what I look like now. So, it was harder than I thought.

I probably should have gone home and had a bottle of wine. Instead I drove straight to the wig shop. I walked in, the sales girl said, what your name? I started to cry. Then I blubbered out my story. Then she told me how much a wig cost –  a synthetic wig starts around $300. WTF?. As I sat looking in the mirror waiting for my wig – I cried more tears. Would I ever feel normal again? How can I make positives out of this? Well, first of all – my sales girl was terrifically sweet and showered me with hugs and free shit.  And, the first wig she tried on – looked almost exactly like my hair had before it started to fall out. Now, I was crying tears of joy .

I love women. I always have. I am a girls girl. We can support each other in ways others can’t. On this day, as I was checking out, a very attractive blond came out with her $000 wig. We were standing right next to each other. Also at this time, an older lady with thinning hair who had come in for a wig and we were all clustered at the desk. The beautiful blonde next to me told me the wig looked great and actually – she hadn’t realized it was a wig. The older lady approached to hug me and wish me well in my future and whatever I was going thru. I showed her my one boobed self and she hugged me again and told me I was beautiful.

So – yeah it sucked to get bald. And it sucked to have to go wig shopping – but, you know. If I’m gonna have to shave my head and wig shop – well it couldn’t have worked out any better . I was smiling thru tears – which is a great emotion. But, man I would sure like to shut the tears down.

And, that is my confession.

 

But, I do have a P.S.  I’ve been bald a few months now. I don’t love how feminine it doesn’t make me look. But, I am so much cooler now.  When my head sweats now, any slight breeze cools it right off. I didn’t spend much time on my hair before – wash and go. But, this is even less time. Rinse my head in the shower. Dry my head. Hair is done! So easy. I think I am going to enjoy my baldness in the hot heat of ridiculous Northern Ca for the summer. It’s funny, I didn’t want to be bald. But, I haven’t worn that wig since I bought it. I will. But, for now, bald is easy. And, beautiful.

 

Hang In There, Lori Loughlin

I have had so many emotions about Lori Loughlin lately.  And, I can’t believe that my three favorite things – kids, education, and celebrities collided in such a ridiculous and huge way.  

Like some of you, I have grown up with her. She found her way into our hearts on Full House – the pretty, innocent foil to Jesse’s bad guy. Blah blah. I guess from that, we knew that she was honest, hard-working, and loaded with integrity. Why? What is our fascination with celebrities and why on earth do we think they have any redeeming qualities? I am not saying all celebs are idiots (although there are so many that fit into that category). I am just saying – why do we care what someone thinks whom we don’t know. And these are people who make their living pretending to be other people. We really have no idea who they are because they have no idea who they are.

At first, I felt that she was just doing what she could do to help her kids. Walking along, making every decision with their future in mind. There are so many decisions to make. So many. How do you know which will be the “One” that makes it all go the right way or the One that sends everything down the toilet. While I know that it isn’t one decision – my high levels of anxiety will tell you, I can trace the decision back on every fatal decision. We all just want to do everything that we can for our kids that will help them on their way. I was sure that all of these women were making these decisions with that one goal in their minds – their children’s success and future happy life.

When I sat down to discuss this over a bottle of wine (okay, I think she was on her 2nd bottle, but I don’t judge – except she didn’t share that 1st bottle with me and I was way behind) I started the conversation by lamenting that I thought it was so sad what she did – she basically said to her two girls – you are so fucking stupid, I have to pay half a million dollars to make sure you get into college.

What?  That is not what that means! She argued.  Yes, yes it is. I have a friend named John Smith. When I asked him about such a plain jane name, he said his parents named him that because it would be easier for him to spell.  So, I replied, your parents thought you were fucking stupid before you were even born? Wow! Do they like you now? He’s a millennial.

She still argued – it had nothing to do with her kids – it was about how this was about her, how here ego and her need to say, my kids went to USC or wherever……

Wow. So, whether she is a mom who puts holes in her kids buckets and calls them stupid; or, she is so self esteemed, that where her kids go to college is important to her as a status symbol; or she is just a mom doing what she thinks is right for her kids – but, she’s stupid about it. It could be none of these things….but, I kind of feel for her. She made a ridiculous mistake and is paying for it – twice. She has lost her job (I’m okay with this – I understand integrity in business) but, her job is public – she can’t just slink a few blocks over and get another job. Her daughters had to be summoned from a private yacht (i found this to be the most disturbing part of the story – her mom paid half a mill so her beautiful teenage daughter could party on the old man creepos boat (he is high paying college professional with a fucking yacht – he’s crusty he’s so old – ick.)

I think we need to let her figure her embarrassment out. We don’t need to help her. She made a mistake. A parenting mistake. How many of those have you made? I think now what I think when Britney Spears was being vilified for hers, I am so very thankful that none of my parenting mistakes will ever play out in the media in front of everyone. How horrifying.

While the worst thing I think she did (aside from calling her daughters fucking idiots) is to teach her kids that if you have money, you don’t need integrity.

What bothers me most is that my kids are competing against these same kids in school. Well, that isn’t a true statement, is it? I have friends across socio-economic lines. I have friends (they live way outta my neighborhood) who think that graduating high school is the goal! College is never discussed. Never. While there was a time I would have done just about anything to get my kids into college – I have changed my tune a little lately. I would have done anything, probably. Short of committing a crime. And, if I had half a mill, hmmm was there a crime? He probably told her and she convinced herself that no poor kids will be kept out because of this. There are spots available like this and if you don’t take advantage, someone else will. Some things make sense after a few drinks or if you aren’t really thinking it through and someone is trying to normalize it to you. Would I have done this? If I could throw half a mill around? Maybe. Who knows. Isn’t that how we do?  

I would have hired tutors, specialists, etc. to help my kids improve grades, activities, etc. anything to make them look pretty on paper. Is that elitist? Is that over the line? My friends who are just trying to get their kids thru high school – wouldn’t they say if kids didn’t do well – maybe school isn’t for them. Cuz, high school is the goal.  Are they right? Am I right being more in the middle? I have friends who basically are paying for their kids to go to private expensive universities (and all of the things they paid for to get them there) . These kids are starting out with fantastic jobs that my kids wouldn’t be getting, let alone my undereducated friends.

We want what is best for our kids. We are going to do all of the things we deem necessary to achieve this. The bucket holes that some of my friends provide, make me angry. But, maybe those stumbling blocks prevent spoiled brattism. I don’t know.

We are going to do whatever we feel is necessary and within our means to help. And, we are going to make mistakes because there is no fool-proof parent manual. We are all just amateurs.

Several people involved in this case – probably getting death threats; getting fired, kicked out of school; public humiliation and ginormous lawsuits. Maybe we should all calm down and direct the ire towards the universities that allow this to happen  and to ourselves who can get so caught up in what we think is important, we do dumb ass shit. Maybe it is time to overhaul the whole system.

p.s. – I think my kids’ generation are already working that problem. They are opting out of expensive schools. Getting credits from more than one junior college before transferring to the four-year. They are not going to be the kids loaded down with debt if their parents don’t have that half mill. Wow, we raised some smart kids.

 

This is My Warning

Everybody keeps asking me if I’m writing. You know, I always say I would love to have a few months off work so I could write and get my life together. I want to. I think about it all of the time.  I will capture some snippets of future blogs or quickly jot down interesting thoughts. But, I haven’t been able to complete anything that seems publish worthy. I didn’t know how to write about this. I don’t want to be the cancer blog writer – I was having so much fun being carefree. Plus, there isn’t very much funny about having cancer. Gallows humor doesn’t really count. No. I’m not interested in what’s happening to me, why should anyone else be? I don’t find it particularly interesting, either and if truth be told, I would like to just have it not be happening.  Also, I have the gamut of emotions – everything from RUFKM? I don’t want to die to hey – this is a gift. Not everyone gets a warning. Not everyone gets a reminder. Some just drip dead. That was supposed to say drop dead, but, I like the drip better. Either way, life is fucking short.

As much as I go on and on about how great I am at change – well. Maybe it’s only the good changes. Every day since my first chemo appointment, I run my fingers through my sparse hair. If you haven’t met me, you know that “sparse” is kind of a nice way to say that I have shit for hair. Okay, okay. For 45 years, I have had the SFH. It is fine in texture, doesn’t hold a perm (that was important at one time) and resembles baby hair most. I have a fair amount of it, but by no means has anyone ever taken one look at my head and said, I love you hair. I want your hair. It is stick straight. Was mouse brown, ‘til I highlighted it as I aged, A few years ago my stylist begged me to just quit coloring. It is the beautiful white/silver that is all the rage now. I spent forty-five years trying to make it look like dark, thick curly, rocker bitch hair. It is true. Back when I had goals and a plan, I had hair dreams. Hahahahaha. So funny now. When I finally accepted it for was it was, it was freeing and life changing. I save so much money and you would not believe the compliments. There are even the few who do not believe the color is my own. Even my daughter did not believe me. I had to ask a random hair stylist on the street for concurrence. The funny thing – I spend forty-five years hating my hair, and when I finally love and appreciate it – it is going to fall out. Probably. Every day the last eight days, I run my fingers through it. Instead of feeling like silk, it feels like straw. It doesn’t make me sad anymore – but, I am wondering what the final result will be.  And, I am so looking forward to picking out a sassy pink wig. I miss being pink.

I didn’t want this. At all still don’t. But, it was time. I had been whining about making some changes in my life – better diet, more exercise. To be fair – I was headed in that direction. But, nothing like fucking cancer to really commit to change. I have easily gone vegan. A choice I never thought I would make, but, am so very glad for now. Do you know – I have stopped snoring – even before I lost weight. I sleep better, I breathe better, I feel better. My skin is better, my gut is better. Everything is better. But, I miss shrimp. And, butter.  I really miss butter. I have found a bunch of healthy recipes and restaurants and not only am I improving my health – the kids are eating some meatless and veggie heavy meals. So, that is good.

So, I am making changes, accepting the ones that I cannot control and what else? Well, I cry a lot. A lot for me. I cried a lot when I was married and when Ii was divorcing. Since then, my tears are snow in Arizona. Lately, I cry a few tears almost daily. I am still trying to figure that out. I’m thinking it is my natural go to when I don’t feel well, I cry. And really, the list of complaints is long. Everything aches or hurts or feels different. That face that looked so great makeup free because of the new diet? It looks like the face of a fourteen year old awkward high school student. Some of it is tolerable. Some requires assistance.

This is my warning. My chance. I’m not going to squander it.