Monthly Archives: October 2011

All I can say about last week is that it is over and somehow I’m still alive. Also, I’m drunk.

Just kidding. 

I’m not even drinking.  Yet.

It’s still early.  And it’s Sunday, you guys.  I’m not a heathen. 

Here’s how my “when to drink” logic works:  If I went to church (which I never do)  I would probably still be there, or just getting out, so it’s clearly not appropriate to start drinking right now.  However, the Denver Broncos play in a few hours, which totally gives me a socially acceptable reason to drink on a Sunday afternoon in Colorado.  It would be even more socially acceptable if it were snowing and/or this were the Superbowl.  But it’s not.  It’s a beautiful, crisp, cool October Sunday and probably everyone else in the entire state is outside enjoying “nature” while I am inside (and planning to remain inside and in a prone position) trying to determine exactly when I should start drinking.


Going outside to enjoy nature would sound a lot more fun if I hadn’t spent 14 straight hours yesterday trudging up and down four flights of stairs carrying boxes/tape/cleaning supplies/other shit. 

Yes.  THE MOVE happened.  It took three big burly moving guys over 7 hours to move our stuff out of the house and onto the truck.


And that, folks, is why you should NEVER move into a four-story rowhouse (with an awesome rooftop deck) unless you NEVER plan to move out.

(It also might be a teensy little indication that my Mom and I need to, ummm, get rid of some stuff….?)

Every muscle in my body hurts.  My hair hurts.  My fingernails hurt.  My back hates my guts.  And my feet simply refuse to cooperate today.  They are swollen and screaming at me and they will not go into any of my shoes except flip-flops.


The move wouldn’t have happened and I would probably be locked in an inpatient facility if my Aunt Marcia hadn’t read my pitiful post from last Sunday and decided to drop everything to come help me.  Which makes me feel awful and horrible and grateful and cared-for all at the same time.  She was so gracious and helped me through the worst emotional parts of packing up all Mom’s art and art supplies, etc. and kept me moving when I wanted to crumble and climb back under the covers.  Every part of her being here with me was a gift.  Everyone needs an Aunt Marcia.

Everyone also needs a friend Marie.  FYI.

Marie showed up in about hour 6 of the movers trudging up and down the stairs when I could see the light at the end of the tunnel but I knew that I still had things to pack into my car before the day was over and I was hitting a WALL.  I didn’t want to touch another box or make another decision or even move my mouth to make words.  That is how burned out I was.  Marie took one look at me, attempted to have an intelligent discussion with me and then proceeded to just pull the shit together and load it into the car.  And then she took me to dinner and helped me unload the damn car and gave me a Jin Shin treatment.  Is she even human, I ask?  Who does that kind of crap for other people?  Marie.  That’s who.

So.  Now I’m laying on my brother and sister-in-law’s couch with my feet up trying to wrap my head around the fact that the move is done and figure out what else needs to be done before I leave town to go meet up with my Mom in Tampa.

Oh.  And I need to figure out what I’m going to write a NOVEL about before midnight tomorrow, when I start writing it…. 🙂

Totally excited for NaNoWriMo and I actually do have a few ideas “fleshed out” for the novel.  (Get your mind out of the gutter, yo.)  I think it is going to be a whole new genre — horror/thriller/chick lit/romance/fantasy/hilarious…..  which means it would never be published in the “real world” but could be very fun to write.

Big thanks for all the amazing support from the commenters and those of you who wrote me directly.  It’s crazy how very real the love/support/hilarity of  “virtual” friends can be and I’m so grateful!

Game starts in 40 minutes.  Must find alcohol.

Go Broncos!



p.s.  OH, totally forgot to mention that Hurricane Rina (which was heading straight for my Mom’s house in Puerto Morelos, MX) kind of petered out before she got to Puerto Morelos (Thank God) and it sounds like the town and Mom’s house suffered from heavy rains and some localized flooding but was otherwise spared the full wrath of a hurricane.  We should be there a week from today!!!!!

p.s.s.  My rules for drinking in Mexico on Sundays are different.  I’ll explain later….



Filed under The Great Anti-Antidepressant Experiment of 2011, Uncategorized

Moving sucks. Dying sucks. Feeling alone sucks. I might need religion. Or alcohol.

Note:  If you’re my artistic genius Mom (with great hair) you should probably not read this.    Because MOM, the packing/moving will get done, I promise.  Also, I’m a writer, Mom.  Which means I’m exaggerating  for dramatic effect, allegedly.

Also Note:  Even if you’re not my artistic genius Mom (with great hair) you might want to skip this one.  It’s hard stuff.  Hard to write and probably hard to read.  Also, I’m fully aware that there is terrible crap and suffering and pain and unfairness happening everywhere, all the time.  In the grand scheme of things, my crap probably isn’t that terrible.  But it’s mine.  And I’m working through it here, on my blog.  You may find it uncomfortable.  I do. 

It’s Sunday.

Which means it’s practically next Friday.

Which is when the movers are coming. (The movers are coming?!)

Am I ready?

Fuck No.

Mostly ready?

Surely you jest?

Ready to start getting ready?

I guess…. No.

Oh alright, I’m exaggerating.  I’ve probably got over 50% of the sorting/packing done.

But it is slow going. 

 And I hate it. 

And I haven’t even tackled what I think will be the worst stuff.

Here’s what I want to say about moving, in general:


Moving sucks even when you are super-excited about the move and can’t wait to be in the new, wonderful place.

It sucks more when you aren’t super-excited about the move. 

It super-fucking-sucks when you feel shitty about the move, don’t know where you’re going to be living or what your life is going to look like after next Friday, and you have to pack up your dying mother’s belongings/fabulous art/favorite things. And you’re sad because (a) you know that your artistic genius Mom (with great hair) is sad about leaving her favorite things, and (b) you’re wondering if she will ever be able to see or touch these things that she loves so much again and (c) you’re all by yourself with your sadness and with all her things.

OH, and it is reminding you of that other SUPER FUCKING SUCKY TIME when your Dad died suddenly (at age 52!) and your whole world crumbled down around you and you were in shock (Just like everyone else, because how does that shit even happen?  Honestly.  How?) and you had to go into his home (and his home didn’t even know he was dead, everything was right there, waiting for alive-Dad to come back) and you had to pack his whole sweet life up and you were all by yourself.  (except for one day when lots of people came at once to help and you really appreciated the help but also, Ohhhhh, the weight of having all those very sad people in the house and everyone wanted something and sometimes people wanted the same thing and it wasn’t very peaceful.)

And you wonder why you had to do that alone and why you’re doing this alone.

(and you secretly thank god that you only have two parents and that all your grandparents are dead already because you can’t fucking imagine ever doing this again without completely losing your mind and you pray to god (again and again) to watch over your son because if anything ever happened to him it would really just all be over, forever and ever, amen)

 And how did you get nominated to be the designated Person Who Deals With The Bad Shit?  And you try to tell yourself that everyone deals with grief differently and everyone is doing the best they can.  But it doesn’t take away the fact that other people get to walk away from the shit (because it’s too hard on them?)(because they are busy?) and you are left to slog through it.  Not because it’s not hard on you — it’s the worst thing you’ve ever had to do and you feel like you won’t live through it.  And not because you’re not “busy”.  You have a life, a child, responsibilities.  There is nothing about your life that is more dispensable than anyone else’s. 


That’s a lot.

When I say that I hate this move and the packing is hard, what I’m really saying is this:

I hate this move and I DON’T WANT MY MOM TO DIE and I’M SCARED and I can’t stand packing up her sweet, beautiful things or her amazing art because what it really feels like is that I’m packing up her life and putting it away into boxes and I’M NOT READY FOR THAT and I fucking don’t want to be doing it alone.  I don’t want to do this alone and I don’t want to do the caregiving alone and I don’t want to be the only one who has to pack up/deal with with her other two houses after she dies.  I’m not an only child.   And I know she isn’t dead yet, so why am I grieving so much? (a person who has never watched someone they love die would ask…)  and the answer is that I don’t have to fucking explain it to anyone.  Dying sucks, as far as I can tell.  Not knowing what is coming in the next few months (or ever) sucks.  (“Oh, but it’s a great adventure!” “No, it’s a fucking nightmare, stop acting like it’s oh so much fun when you have no fucking clue what it is like.  Spare me your misplaced optimism.”)  Feeling like you’re mostly on your own, about to be orphaned, finding the nerve to ask for help and being told “NO” by people who, at least on paper, are supposed to the the ones you can always count on is DEVASTATING and SCARY and FUCKED UP.  So yes, I hate this move and everything it represents and all the pain and sadness it is bringing up and for clarifying that I’m on my own.  And maybe that is the “big lesson” in all of this, when it comes down to it we’re all on our own.  People rally around sometimes, but in the small, tight, dark spaces, in the nuts and bolts, so to speak, we are all on our own.  Maybe that is the reason this whole “relationship with God” thing seems to be so important to people.  Maybe that means you’re not all on your own?  Maybe it should be important to me.  Maybe it is.  Maybe I need a fucking drink.

And here’s the thing.

Life is hard.  Dying is hard.  I’m having a hard time right now, today, in this place.  I know that it will all work out.  It has to.  That is the nature of things.  Right now I feel alone.  I know that is probably not “true” (but what is?) but that is the truth for me today. 

Yes, I’m still seeing the therapist.  No, I’m not going to drink myself into oblivion.  Yes, I’m harboring some resentment that is no good for anyone, especially me.  No, I’m not sorry that I’m writing about it and trying to work it out, even if it is “out loud” and uncomfortable for myself and, probably, other people.  Yes, it’s true, I’m still off the antidepressants.  No, I don’t think I need to jump back on them right this minute!  (But I will not hesitate to if this grief/sadness turns into full-blown depression horror).  Yes, I’m going to have a box of glass of wine.  And no, I’m not frantically searching through my drawers to see if I have any “extra” Valium to mix with it.

(I already looked.)



p.s.  Mom is having a nice time in Tampa with my sister, her saint of a husband and fabulous grand-daughter.  She is enrolled in hospice there and so far that is going well.  As soon as I get the house emptied out and turned back over to the leasing people, I will join her in Tampa and then we are (knock on wood!) going to her home in Puerto Morelos, Mexico.

p.s.s.  Get this — she misses me!  🙂  And then get this — I miss her too!  🙂


Filed under Cancer sucks., Uncategorized

So, I signed up to write a novel. Next month. Stop laughing.


November is National Novel Writing Month (“NaNoWriMo“).

Participants sign up with the goal of writing 50,000 words between November 1 and November 30, 2011.

Well, not just words.

Ideally one should be writing some kind of story that makes sense to, ummm, other people.

But mostly it is about just getting up every day and writing like a motherfucker.

(If you really want to learn about NaNoWriMo, check out their “About” page here.)


My point is, I signed up to do it about a month ago.

And then everything changed.

And I basically quit writing.  Because UGH.

And now I have all sorts of stuff going on.  Or not-going-on, as is more descriptive in my case.

Not writing.  Not packing up my entire house and garage.  Not taking care of things — banking, mail, taxes, attorney-stuff.  Not exercising.  Not interacting with life.

I’m pretty busy not-doing a lot of things.

Which makes me wonder how realistic it is to think that, at midnight on October 31st, something is going to flip and all of the sudden I’m going to be able to write at least 1,666 words every day for 30 days.

Not realistic at all, obviously.

And yet…..

I still want to try.

Mostly because kind of the whole premise of NaNoWriMo is that if you want to be a writer, you’ve just got to write.


And a LOT of what you write is guaranteed to suck. 

And some of it is probably going to be amazing.

And you’re probably not even going to get to the amazing shit if you don’t just sit your butt down and write, write, write.

This is a good premise for someone like me.

Basically, NaNoWriMo gives me permission to suck at writing, while encouraging me to write as fast and as much as I can for thirty days.


So, I’m going to try do it.

Plus, my Mom has been after me to write a book forever.

(Oh, Hello mother/daughter issues….)

And if I want to write something for her to read, I don’t have the luxury of lots of time.

(Thanks, cancer.)

So NaNoWriMo is really kind of perfect for me right now.

I may not be able to whip out a great American novel in 30 days (although “Water for Elephants” was drafted while the author was doing NaNoWriMo, so it can be done….), but I can probably come up with enough good dialogue, gentle action/horror and great sex scenes to keep Mom entertained for a bit.

I’m not sure exactly how I’m going to do this yet.  Lots of writers post what they are writing day-to-day publicly, like on a blog, so their peeps can follow along.  I’m not sure I’m brave enough to do that.  We will see.  I am, however, going to be doing some NaNoWriMo prep — character studies, plotting, research — before November 1, that I might want to share.*


Stay tuned.

Oh, and I’m going to be doing all that (character studies, plotting, research) while I’m also trying to pack up our entire house (and garage…) so that I can store all of our stuff by October 31st and join my Mom on her World Domination Tour in early November.  First stop Tampa, and then (fingers crossed) on to her home in Puerto Morelos, Mexico.

No big deal.



*Note – NaNoWriMo says you’re not allowed to start writing your novel before November 1, but you can do as much prep work as you want.  So I’m not cheating.

p.s.  My silent retreat last week was glorrrrrious!  So peaceful, so nice to be away from my home full of stuff that needs to be packed, so nice to be “out of touch” for a few days.  Well, only really one day.  But still!  It was nice.

p.s.s.  And while I was on silent retreat, the idea for my NaNoWriMo novel just crept into my head, totally uninvited!

p.s.s.s.  And I started reading a book my awesome therapist/counsellor/Carolyn recommended, The Untethered Soul, and WOW.  Really amazing stuff.  Life changing, actually.  I had to stop reading and just let some of the concepts soak in.  I’m going back to it tonight (instead of, ummm, packing, of course) and then I get to see Carolyn again tomorrow.  Thank God for Carolyn, yo.

p.s.s.s.s.  This post is like 700 words.  It took me over 2 hours to draft.  More like over three hours, if I’m being really honest.  This is not a good sign.


Filed under Cancer sucks., Uncategorized

Imagine a combination rollercoaster + bumper cars ride. In the dark. Also, I hate cancer.

I’m tired.

And probably (huge surprise) depressed.

And sad.

And overwhelmed.

And relieved.

And pissed-off.

And probably some other stuff that I’m not ready to acknowledge and/or say out loud.


The past few weeks have been, ummmm, hard a fucking nightmare interrupted by a few moments of absolute joy.

Imagine an amusement park ride that is a combination of a scary/rickety wooden rollercoaster (up, up, up, (has this thing been inspected recently?) straight down! around to the right! around to the…no straight down again! and, what? now up?) and bumper cars (oh, tra la la, this is fun, OUCH where did that come from?  motherfucker…)

Now imagine that you are on this ride in total darkness.

It’s been like that.  Only worse.

And better.

It’s a mixed bag, really.  But mostly worse.

I can’t recount all of the details of the bizarre twists and turns and major life changes that have taken place recently (well, I could, but that would be a book, not a blog post) but here is where things stand right this very minute (I know from experience that this could change at any moment…)

1.  Mom is done fighting this ovarian/brain cancer with chemicals.  Two and a half years after her diagnosis, major surgery, c.diff. (horrible horrible illness),  three different types of chemotherapy,  brain surgery, gamma-knife radiation treatment and a clinical trial, Mom finally reached a point where the (mostly imaginary, it turns out) benefits of the “treatments” were greatly outweighed by the negative impact these treatments had on her quality of life. 

2.  We just wrapped our minds around the fact that ovarian cancer, in the form of abdominal tumors, would probably take my Mom’s life (VERY PREMATURELY, DAMMIT!) and then WHAM! the MRI shows us that Mom’s brain tumors are (a) increasing in number and (b) are “very angry….” and the angry ones are not accessible for treatment without destroying a lot of other brain stuff.  SO.  Now we are trying to wrap our minds around the fact that her death is probably more imminent than we had imagined and that it is more likely to be a result of the brain tumors than the ovarian/abdominal tumors.  (Note: It’s all ovarian cancer, even in the brain.)


4.  My brother and his wife (who we adore) are EXPECTING A BABY!  (This is one of the “joy” things I mentioned above…)  Oh the happy, happy, happy!  And the sad.  But mostly the happy.  And the surprise?  WHAM!

5.  Sometimes even in the middle of depression and doom and gloom and resentment and awfulness I somehow find some “light” inside and become Ms. Positive “Carpe Diem” Woman.  I know this may come as a shock to you, it is to me also.  Anyhoo, it happened right after we got the ridiculously bad news re: the brain tumors followed by the awesome news re: the baby.  I decided that we had to celebrate being done with going to the hospital every week and feeling like slaves to the medicine and that Mom needed to not even think about packing up and moving right now — she needed to just fucking GO do the things that mean the most to her.  Go visit my sister and family in Tampa, go visit her Aunt in California, go stay at her beloved home in Puerto Morelos, Mexico and see all of her great friends there. 

So we decided she isn’t just visiting people, she is embarking on a World Domination Tour.

Mom:  “Well, “World Domination Tour” isn’t a very accurate description.”

Me:  “Who says it isn’t an accurate description?   You get to decide that.”

Mom:  “Good point!”

** also, sometimes she gets tongue-tied and says “World Demolition Tour” — which is also awesome.

And then we had a Bollywood themed World Domination Tour Kick-Off Party!

And it was amazing.  So much silly and fun and LOVE and dancing.  More joy.

[Yes, sideways pictures are the latest in blog technology….fucking WordPress…]

6.  So, Mom left for Tampa yesterday and is now enjoying the first leg of her World Domination/Demolition Tour!

7.  I’m still reeling from it all.  Even after all of the “OMG if I have to spend one more minute with my Mom I’m going to lose it!” I had a really hard time putting her on a plane and letting her go to be taken care of by someone other than me.  Heavy sigh. I’m so contradictory.   There was intense bawling in the airport and in the parking lot and back at home.  Now I’m sitting in our house wondering how I will ever get everything packed and moved by the end of the month.  Except that I know I will.

8.  And I saw my THERAPIST on Monday — for two whole hours.  It was probably the best thing I’ve ever done for myself.  And it was wonderful because my therapist is a woman I’ve worked with, on and off (mostly “off” in the last few years, obviously…), for over 10 years, so I didn’t have to recreate the entire crazy-wheel. 

9.  And she gave me information about a little retreat center in the mountains that is (a) totally isolated — no TV, no internet, (b) lovely and (c) super-inexpensive, and I called and I am going there TODAY.  I’m giving myself a silent retreat to mark the ending of one thing and the beginning of the next thing.  Yay me!

10.  Oh, after the god-awful news + the great baby news, we went to see my awesome son at college.  He is sad/happy and having a great time in college.  Here he is with his one and only sweet Bubba.  Joy.

[Don’t hate me because of my technical skills.  Just pick up your damn computer and turn it!]

Heading up the mountain now!  Big love to everyone and thanks for the comments.  You keep me sane and laughing.  Mostly laughing… 🙂




Filed under Cancer sucks., My Big Book of Me, Uncategorized