Saturday, June 4, 2011

Come with me, and you'll be, In a world of Pure imagination

A couple nights ago I caught up on my Dr. Who watching and was so excited I actually could NOT sleep. I kept turning over in my head this idea that’s been percolating for some time. I've always been a big fan of fantasy and sci-fi type stuff. I love to read and go to the movies, as a kid especially that escapism was really important to me.

Since my diagnosis a more specific type of escapism has started happening. Something about my Dr. Who and my True Blood fandoms has occurred to me. I've never before been so emotionally attached to media before. I have lots of books and movies that speak to a part of me and influence me, deeply, lastingly. But in the intensity of fandom, especially craving the next new installment felt so different I was really trying to examine it.

In both the Dr. Who and True Blood universes there is a theme of healing, living forever. True Blood is about vampires as most of you know, and in this particular imagining vampire blood is both a mind altering drug and has the ability to heal humans. In fact I was shaken in reading the latest True Blood novel (known as the Sookie Stackhouse novels). The author finally introduced a character that has cancer, and as written vampire blood can sustain life, but even it cannot manage to heal terminal cancer. It was more fun to wonder about the possibilities before she simply laid it out there.

Dr. Who is about a man “The Doctor” who is a different race, a Time Lord. His entire species is dead, he is the last of his kind, and so he spends a great deal of his time with humans, but the doctor as a member of a time traveling super-race can't actually die. When he is killed he regenerates instead in a new body. He has the same memories, but a new face, new body. He also through his ability to travel through space and time he takes on this facet of a almost magical being in that the major drive of the show is him darting around the universe doing impossible things to save the day.

I'm still struggling to flesh out this greater theme but as when I was a kid and things were often difficult I could retreat to the world of books. So too, I think maybe I can build a future of my own making through the power of imagination.

One tactic that developed all on it's own when I get really scared about the future or want to start freaking out a bit about my health is a habit of envisioning death as imagined by Terry Pratchett the fantasy author. In his books death features again and again and he is not a scary figure, he simply is, when he interacts with humans he knows everything about them and is already a friend. He also has a dry British sense of humor. Whenever I’m dealing with heavy shit I have Terry Pratchett's death perched on my shoulder to calm me down. He's pocket sized.

Now, Terry Pratchets concept of the after-life is an even greater idea, but perhaps I leave that for another post.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Last week of work.

I’m still trying to wrap my brain around that. A horrible series of events has given me a wonderful opportunity, enabled by Joe to, well… do what I’d really like to do.

I got to spend lunch today with an old friend who I wasn’t expecting to see again anytime soon. Circumstances aligned in such a way that he is newly back in town mere blocks from my work while I am bored and bereft of lunch-pals. He is also a talented musician and maybe willing to help me with my ukulele.

WHAT? See how things work out sometimes?

I’m trying to build a garden, improve my health and then a couple of (unpretentious) locavore, scientists move in downstairs.

Joe manages to fix the Mercedes, on a week when a friend needs to borrow it.

We get a new W/D delivered and realize we have no gas line installed! Boo. In a few days my polymath friend returns from vacation and can probably run that gas line for us, yay!

A friend is going out of town, just as I’m quitting which leaves me time to install baseboards in her house while she’s gone.

I’ve got a Medical Rx and it turns out a friend has a green thumb… halleluiah!

I’ve always hated that phrase “when he closes a door he opens a window” but here’s to jumping out the window. I’ve taken to telling people I’m leaving work to spend more time with my family. Those that know can smell a euphemism, and those that don’t probably think I’m pregnant… but what I really mean is you guys.

I’m jittery on the window ledge, but excited.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Instead of money, she's got yams and cabbages

So my last post was about the waiting for news. It was bad news. It was an affirmation of my stage 4-ed-ness and frankly it was a bummer. I’m not cancer-free, it’s not even under control really. They laser-ed my brain again, and this time it was just one tiny spot, not four spots like last time.

So I made plans to quit my job, going to pull in and focus on my real life. My health, and my home and my “family”. When I say family I mean Joe and my created family in Seattle. I’m still continuing to avoid most of my actual relations… they stress me out.

My last day of work is Cinco De Mayo as it happens. I figure that’s a good sign, triumph of the underdog.

Now I’m down to trying to create some structure to my days so I can rest, but also be excited about progress on my projects. I’m also acquiring new hobbies at an alarming rate. I want to learn ukulele, I want to quilt, I want a garden. I’m trying to focus on what I really want to do. That’s creating, entertaining, feeding people. Do all that while also taking the time to eat right and do my exercises and go to appointments and ya know… nap when I feel like it.

I’m going to try and make this blog part of my structure. I’ve never not had a job, not since I was 15. Certainly not on purpose.

Yesterday I started working on my ukulele. I’m trying to “play queen of the savages” by the magnetic fields. Then I’ll make a gig-bag for it while I wait for my quilting fabric to show up. Anybody know how to make YouTube videos? I suppose I need a camera.

Monday, March 21, 2011


So, today at work two men who can't really see very well at all got into a fist fight. When their supervisor tried to break it up she caught a wayward punch... in the HEART. All I can think about all day is how this guy (on accident) punched this lady in the heart.

Everyone involved remains (more or less) unharmed. The employee wasn't participating in a questionably sourced "Hindu" ceremony and didn't proceed to rip her heart out, so... that's cool?

On Friday after my regular onc-check-up they ended up sending me down for my PET scan. Ahead of schedule, and as a surprise actually. They try to fit people in ASAP, because many poor folks have to make long commutes to the city for doctor's appointments. These tests take awhile, a couple hours in fact of mostly laying about while the dye takes up, while they take their pictures. You get results next buisness day. So I spent the weekend wondering what my results were. At 9 am exactly this morning I called my doc's office to ask about the results.

I then spent the rest of the day dealing with bonkers super-full-moon fallout at work, and at 4pm called agian to ask if they doctor would call me or if I needed to make an appointment. This time the receptionist told me the doctor would call me later tonight.

KALI MAH, I feel like my heart is being slowly worked free from my chest.

You play the weird little pysch games with the scan tech, trying to read their tone, body language... we're they casual enough? Too casual? They aren't allowed to tell you anything, but they can't help giving up some clues so you try your best to read them.

Then you spend alot of time trying very hard not to think about the results, elephant, elephant, elephant. Every little thing is imbued with meaning when you're holding your breath. Is calling me good? do they give bad news over the phone? Of course they do, but you hope it isn't bad news, this time. The feeling is strangely that of taking a test in school on a topic you're familiar with, but know you haven't studied for.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Happy Valentines Day

It's kind of funny to write a post about this, but several people have asked me today if Joe and I have plans for Valentines. We mostly only joke about it, we're not a valentines couple. We don't even remember our own wedding anniversary most years. We celebrate our first date anniversary, and that's really it. BUT, for one of our first Valentines together it was a Saturday and I was down in Ann Arbor visiting Joe at school. When I arrived Joe had set-up a scavenger hunt around his dorm which resulted in chocolates, and a puzzle message/photo ala Amelie, and tickets to a show.

That show was the Vagina Monologues, and that folks is why the dude is awesome. It takes a special kind of fella to take you to a show all about vajay-jay. Coincidentally his roommate took a page from Joe’s notes and brought his girlfriend along too. Joe’s roommate and GF we’re both conservative Christian types who were saving it for marriage. Somewhere about the point where the lady on stage makes the audience chant “VAGINA, VAGINA, VAGINA!” we saw the roommate and lady-friend skate out looking super uncomfortable. In many towns this performance is put on for valentines as a fund raiser / awareness raiser for domestic violence against women. In the spirit of that I bring you my valentines gift.

The above image is the “Rocafella Diamond” sign. Created by Rocafella records, and meant I assume to signify wealth. The funny part is, this sign also appears in American Sign Language. It means vagina. No, really… really, really. That sign means vagina. So, with special thanks to Jay-Z.

I call this piece “Crazy vagina, magic vagina, smoky vagina, peek-a-boo vagina”.

Lastly, if you don’t have plans this Valentines might I suggest. Dancing on the Valentine, cause a good cause is always sexy.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Seattle grey, pink, purple, green

This AM, went to get coffee with Jaclyn and the sunrise was spectacular, all pink-purple glorious.

On Saturday I had an awesome fun time celebrating a friend’s birthday, she like nearly every one of my friends is a transplant here. So were our dinner companions. Birthday friend is still adjusting to this move, to the cloudy skies of Olympia from her native south; she moved here for love and is trying to make it work.

The dinner companions however were all in various states of fed-up with the PNW. Now, we’ve had a nasty winter this year for sure but all around the table people were sick of the clouds, the rain, the boring. A frequent complaint was there isn’t enough to do. At one point I had to chime in, that I just couldn’t even relate to this discussion. Having left Michigan nearly seven years ago I still wake up every morning ecstatic that I’m not back in the Mitten. Each time I glimpse the mountains, or even just the view of houses huddled together on our city hills I get a thrill. Back home everything was flat, this time of year, everything is dead, brown. The sky is grey and the clouds never break to show you the sun. As a kid we would sometimes visit my grandpa, the snow bird in Florida. I remember on several occasions looking out the window as we landed at DTW wanting to cry because returning to that landscape was so depressing. My first Christmas season here I remember asking a co-worker if the grass stayed green all year (it being December now) and she just laughed… of course it did.

As we walked round Capitol Lake on Sunday morning my friend brought up SADD and how it gets to people here. I told her that my battles with depression were always so much harder back in Michigan. I joked that my depression was more situational than environmental. Maybe that’s the whole deal, Michigan wasn’t a place where I could be happy. I forget what the journal entry was about but I recall my composition teacher in high school laughed after I was done with a reading and told me “girl… you got to get out of here. You better find a bigger city, or this place is going to kill you.” An astute woman she was.

Maybe I can chalk it up to having a bonkers family, or Detroit being the only big city I knew growing up… but Seattle to me is Paradise, no joke. The mild winters, the brief, but perfect summers. The green, seeing everything grow so well (except tomatoes), magnolia trees over a hundred feet tall. We have the mountains and the rivers I can go camping, or kayaking easily, but I can walk to a store that sells ice cream till midnight, and I can always get a cab home from the bar.

Today another friend was bemoaning the grey and missing her home. A place I think of only as a sweaty sandy hell-hole. So I don’t take it personally when people don’t love Seattle the same way I do, but I don’t understand what’s not to like. If nothing else the natives provide endless amusement.

Maybe if I put a bird on it, they’d like it better.

Monday, January 24, 2011


So last week was the second time I haven’t made my 28 goal… but this time it was by a more significant margin. The first was the week of Christmas, where I was two items short, this last week it was nearly ten. I use this goal to push myself, not beat myself up with… so some reflection.

I had a couple of factors to blame. I was super-fatigued, which left the cooking up to Joe and what he could glean from the freezer, or take-out. This was a survival week, just trying to get to Sunday afternoon with a basement ready for new tenants. If I could have rallied myself for a smoothie I would have gotten much closer to the limit.

This week I’m still fighting back fatigue, and I have started my new 4-10 schedule that I’m very excited about. So today has been, and will be a long one. I didn’t go to bed at a reasonable hour last night and have only myself to blame. So I’m starting another week struggling to plan a menu.

I have a really hard time meal-planning in advance.

One website I like for inspiration is They have contests, and themes, and other things that keep it from getting boring. This last week was all gluten-free! It’s also adjacent to my biggest house-porn-vice apartment

Where do you go for new meal inspiration, and for that matter does anyone have tips on planning a week’s meals in advance? I try to think of three or four meals, and then I just sort of see what’s available at the store. I bought a membership to the Madison co-op. I figure 6 years is a respectable time to hold out before buying a diesel wagon and joining the food co-op. But, you can go screw yourself if you think I can be convinced that fleece clothing is appropriate for fine dining establishments.

Speaking of joiners, my friend Sarah has been impressively kicking ass at her new gym, I’ve contemplated the nearest YMCA but was appalled at the prices (more than corporate gyms). So, for now Joe and I will try and eat healthier and talk a lot about how we should go for walks more often. Also, I almost considered buying some hand weights at best buy (I have no idea, they we’re by the cash-wrap).

I’m thinking of this as my year of six million dollar man year. “We can rebuild him. We have the technology. We can make him better than he was. Better...stronger...faster.”

Weird side note: As a kid we had a si man/ bionic woman play-doh play set. These little molds made action figure sized bionic peoples, and there was a plastic mat that was an aerial view of the bionic man and woman’s apparently adjacent homes and yards. We never knew where it came from, and the show was over a decade off the air at that point so we didn’t have much point of refrence, but we loved that toy.