Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wordless One-Last-Booty-Call Wednesday




Friday, March 26, 2010

Hello? Hello? Is This Thing On?


Can you see me up here? I've just jumped up on my soapbox. I won't take up a lot of your time, but listen up, because what I do have to say is important.

I've made no secret of the fact that March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. I've been singing that tune for the past four weeks. I've devoted each of my Wordless Wednesdays not to my adorable nephew or my brilliant terrier or even a glimpse at my own gorgeous mug, but to this thing here ...
... with the admonition to get your : looked @.

Clever symbolic syntax aside, I mean it. Get your colon looked at. 

While the editor in me shudders at that sentence construction, the cancer warrior in me thinks it can't be stressed enough. Now I know you can't just waltz in and say to your friendly neighborhood gastroenterologist: "Hey dude! Wanna take a peek up my poop chute?" No. Of course not.

But you can do this: Educate yourself. Learn your family history. Each cancer has its own set of risk factors, and colon cancer is very familial. The fact that your uncle was diagnosed in his late 40's may not mean a damn thing to you. But it will give a good doctor pause — and, hopefully initiate more questions.

As it did for mine. 

I am only 41 years old, and in my early 30's I thought a colonoscopy was something I wouldn't have to even think about for another 20 years. When I was 50, as is recommended for routine screening.

Six years later, I have had three colonoscopies and four polyps removed. One so large, if it had hung around in there, neither it nor I ever would have made it to 50. Or even to 41, for that matter.

I learned tonight that the 41-year-old husband of a friend of mine is having 75 percent of his cancerous colon removed tomorrow. I learned yesterday that a dear friend of mine, only 42-years-young, has been diagnosed with osteoporosis, a complication of the genetic condition that caused her colon cancer. I have spent the past three months working with the family of a beautiful, vibrant woman diagnosed at the age of 37. I wish I could tell you I've been working with her, but she's no longer here.

Ass cancer isn't sexy. There's no way around that. We've got "Feel Your Boobies" and "Save The Tatas" but there's no way you're ever gonna see a shirt that says "Peek At My Pooper" or "Save The Sigmoids." It's embarrassing, it's uncomfortable and it's, well, gross. And people don't want to talk about it.

Which is why I won't stop.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wordless Yes-I'm-Still-Beating-This-Drum Wednesday


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Cheesy Is As Cheesy Does

Thank you, Al Franken. 

Thank you for creating Stuart Smalley.

Thank you for providing snickers, eye-rolls, and laugh-out-loud moments when your satirical self-help guru dispensed his saccharine words of wisdom from his easy chair at 30 Rockefeller Center.

Thank you for creating a catchphrase that 20+ years later is embedded in my subconscious. It's so ingrained, I hear your character's whispery voice, measured cadence, and joyous lilt in my mind every time I think of your words:
"I'm good enough, I'm smart enough — and doggone it! — people like me."
Thank you very much. Because, however ridiculously mocking your character and his bon mots were intended to be, they both contain kernels of truth — as all good satire should.

And today, that pithy little punchline got me through the day. One more day when this lifelong overachiever weathered through a lingering fog of uncomfortable underachievement. One more day when this self-proclaimed attention whore announced her self-affirmation and greedily accepted others' acknowledgements. One more day when minor victories, once too trivial to be remembered a moment later, will instead be noted in the win column.

And that, sir, will push this ordinary Tuesday across the finish line and squarely in the category of A Good Day.

And I thank you, very kindly, for that.

P.S. Thank you also for clearly demonstrating the undeniable power of a teddy bear hug.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Monday, Monday

Can't trust that day.

[sigh. deep, withering, bordering-on-pathetic, sigh.]

The danger of being a procrastiperfectionater is the blind trust that tomorrow will be better. Better to start. Better to finish. Better to just be better at whatever it is one is procrastinating until it can be perfected.

Well, just slap my ass and call me Scarlett. Because tomorrow always is another day. And I can't think about it now. And I will go crazy if I do.

What seemed like a swell plan on Sunday night seemed to vanish like the stars in the sky when the sun rose. Which I saw. When I walked into my back yard with a tinkling terrier who can make 17 pounds feel like 70 when she's standing on your chest demanding to be delivered to her lavatory on the lawn. 

I stood in the cool grass. 

I looked at the glorious spread of color across the sweet Carolina sky.

I felt a crisp nip in the air, just enough to bring hope that the day would, in fact, feel like spring and not the summer that is creeping ever so closer, and much too quickly.

I smelled a melange of dirt, clover, oniongrass and mysterious wafts of unidentified blossoms.

I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and said out loud, breaking the tiny little word into at least three syllables: "Shit."

Because I knew I was supposed to be up in an hour. And my vision of hearing my alarm, stretching, pouring a cup'o'caffeine and trotting on my merry way had been thwarted.


I was to trot nowhere except my office over my garage, but big things were on deck. Beginnings were to be begun. Endings were slated to end. Ongoings were to keep going on. Important things were going to happen. 

Very. Important. Things. I'm sure of it.

But that alarm — set on Sunday night when oh-so-very important things seemed oh-so-very possible — still hadn't gone off. So I lay back down to grab my last hour of slumber before the clock started on my scheduled "Day That Will Change The World." Not just my world, mind you. The world. Oh! The brilliance that today could have been!

Save for one fatal flaw ...

I scheduled it on the wrong day.

Well played, Monday. Well played.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Rainy Days And Sundays

my sweet escape
When it comes to Mondays, Richard and Karen were spot on. The Carpenters knew that the combination of rainy days and the first day of the work week are indeed a dreary proposition. And I, like so many others, agree with those songwriting siblings that they always get me down.

But rainy day and Sundays? Heaven.

Add a stack of books to get lost in? Nirvana.

And a little snoring ball of warm fur wedged in tight against me? Paradise.

I could continue to mix my spiritual metaphors, and I could certainly wax poetic about my love of the written word. And I likely will ... another time.

Right now, however, I'm going to drown in my deliciously delightful rainy day.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I Love You ... You Love Me ...

... Give me flowers and I get all mushy. 

Thanks, Mr. J. 
You. Rock. My. World.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wordless Even-When-I'm-Green-I'm-Blue Wednesday



Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Holy Hero Worship, Batman!

Mr. J, circa long ago and far away

I love that little guy up there. He makes me smile every damn time I look at him. 

He looks a little different now, but I'd still know him anywhere. Same blue eyes that pierce right through to my heart, but they're darker. His smile doesn't come as easy, but it's worth the wait. The masks he wears are not as obvious, but I'm able to see through them. 

And the cape? It's not as bright, or shiny, or as crinkly and fun as I imagine that blue plastic one up there is. It's not even visible. To most people, anyway. But I know it's still there. And there's always room for me under it. Along with space left over to protect and care for far more than he should. But there is. And he does. Gladly.

I love that guy.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Thanks. I Needed That.

A few months back, I spotted a fellow blogger posing the question: "Do people really want to read personal posts?"

My first thought was: "I sure as hell hope so, because that's all I write about."

Curious, I clicked over to her site. While she has since built a thriving mommyblog, on that particular day she was new to it and full of questions. Suddenly I felt full of answers. I don't know how helpful my words were to her, but I do know that by the time I'd finished them, I'd helped someone. Me.

Back to now. I've been blocked lately, trying to figure out how to evolve this story of our lives along with the evolution of our lives. I thought about the words I wrote that day and tried to remember why they'd inspired me. But I couldn't. I tried to recreate the message and the mood. But I can't.

So, I went looking for those words. I found them and realized why I hadn't been able to improve on them. Because I can't.

So this time I'm keeping them here:
"Intrigued by your post title, I clicked over here from SITS.
My perspective: I'm a lifelong writer, stringing my own words together as soon as I learned I could. I worked hard to have one of the nation's top journalism schools give me a degree that has served me well. I've been lucky enough to have people pay me to string their words together for more than 20 years.
Still, I kept my best words inside, or, seen only by me, scribbled in too many journals to count.
A life-changing event last year gave me the impetus I needed to get those words out. What started as a daily chronicle on Facebook to keep family and friends informed of my husband's cancer treatment became a blog where I could say more than a FB status update would allow.
I promised myself I'd write in my voice, and write for me. I promised myself it didn't matter if people read it. I promised myself that even if I did want to be the next Heather Armstrong or Jen Lancaster, it didn't matter if I wasn't.
I promised myself I'd just keep writing. And I have. Sometimes sentimental, sometimes snarky. Sometimes about cancer advocacy, sometimes about cancer fears. Sometimes about love, sometimes about losing it.
But always about me, my life and my world. Because that's what I know.
And I do want to be as big as dooce™ and Jennsylvania™, and I do crave (more than I'd like to admit) the connections, the feedback — ahh, who am I kidding? — the pure, undiluted attention-high that comes from someone actually reading and responding to my words.
But I have to write like it doesn't matter. Because, now, I just have to write. And now, I have to figure out how to evolve from a cancer treatment story to life after it.
Thanks for this post. Thanks for reminding me of something I needed to remember. Be well."
So. That's it. 

I'll keep writing. And I hope you will continue reading. Thanks for hanging around this long.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Because I'm (Still Feeling) Lazy And I (Always) Like Alliteration ...

it's another Flashback Friday.

Let's get sentimental this time, shall we?

Enjoy ...

Edward Estlin Cummings, I Adore You

I can't remember the first time I realized
I was actually reading words on a page for myself
(and not just trusting that those black shapes
scattered below an illustration really represented
the sounds I heard my father make).

I can't remember the first time I wrote something.

A random word.
My name (the long, lyrical,
multisyllabic, Irish-Catholic Cathleen Theresa).
A note. A story. A poem. A song.

I can't remember learning to read and write,
nor when I learned to love both.
Nor when I knew I needed to do both to thrive.

Just like I can't remember learning to walk, to talk.
To breathe.

But I was sitting on a pink shag carpet
next to a four-poster canopy bed, wearing
Calvin Klein jeans and Bass penny loafers,
braces on my teeth but not my glasses
on my myopic, Maybelline-mascara'd eyes,
when I first read E. E. Cummings. 

That I remember. 

I was 14 years old and I knew I was in love.
I knew he knew every last rule
of grammar and punctuation,
but he broke them anyway.
Because breaking them made his words better.
Made the dominant right side of my brain
see, smell, taste, hear, and feel the message.
At. Just. The. Right(no, the best). Pace.

And, I remember reading the words below and
knowing I wanted everything they made me feel.

Everything they represented.

The way they made me feel empowered as a writer,
proved I could manipulate words to make them
speak for me when my voice could not.

The way they made me feel overwhelmed as a human,
hoping, dreaming, praying, wishing that one day ...
One day. Tomorrow? Next week? Next month?
Before prom? (I was 14.) Ever? (I am a girl.)
That one day I would feel about someone else
the way this ee dude felt about whomever
he was thinking of when he wrote those words.

Those words below.

In the intervening 27 years,
many words have
made me feel
many things
(so many things)
many people
(so many people).

Emotional, yes.
But not enraptured.
Not uniquely overwhelmed.

Not like 
just those words.

And not like
(finally, blessedly, eternally,
uniquely overwhelmingly)
just one man.

JRW, I adore you.

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

photograph of E. E. Cummings' portable Smith-Corona, © Bernard F. Stehle
i carry your heart with me, © E. E. Cummings 1894-1962

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wordless What's-Up-Your-Butt? Wednesday


Friday, March 5, 2010

If You Want Something Done Right

Dear Life,

Please disregard my letter dated Thursday, March 4.

Clearly, I will need to solve my problems myself. On the off chance that you actually care, I am happy to inform you that this process already has been initiated. Modest improvement has been noted, and I expect full resolution within five to seven days.

I'll keep in touch. Until then, I'll thank you for your cooperation.

Most sincerely,

p.s. Those fairies sucked. Big time.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Try Again

Dear Life,

As you'll recall, late yesterday afternoon I phoned to inform you of my frustration with the day you'd delivered. I clocked out an hour-and-a-half early (at your suggestion, may I remind you) to take a nap (also at your suggestion, may I remind you) with the covers over my head (I feel, I must, yet again, remind you that this, too, was your idea).

I despise redundancy (as must be apparent in my opening statement) almost as much as verbosity; however, I feel it most important to clearly and abundantly, without equivocation or any chance of misinterpretation, state (restate, in my opinion) my expectations.

When I expressed my interest in what is known colloquially as a "do-over," you should have made clear if that goal was not, in fact, achievable. Given that you did not discourage my line of thinking, and did, in fact, encourage it, I think it only reasonable to expect you to deliver on my request. And, let's be honest, shall we? I believe it is a universally accepted notion that when one puts the covers over one's head, one expects things to be quite different when one pokes one's head out of said covers.

Again, as much as I deplore repetition (as I have stated, along with my distaste for circumlocution), I simply feel I cannot stress enough that, as you introduced the whole escape/replace notion I embraced late yesterday afternoon, you are compelled to deliver on your implicit promise. I can only assume two things: one, perhaps the hour-and-a-half allotted yesterday was not sufficient; and, two, perhaps you did not correctly note my desired outcome. This brings us to today's missive. I am putting in writing my notice that today, I not only will allow more time, but also will very clearly state my expectations.

I shall be making myself unavailable to you for the remainder of the day. I shall, as you so clearly recommended yesterday, crawl back into my bed and pull my covers over my head. My expectations when I crawl out are as follows:

  1. I am able to breathe again. Through both nostrils. At the same time. And without the use of a box of tissues every 4.75 hours.
  2. My eyes will no longer itch, nor ache. Nor will my nose. Nor my throat.
  3. The pressure in both of my ears will have been relieved. As will the ringing. Seriously. Enough with the ringing. It's enough that I feel I am underwater. Does there have to be a tuning fork under there with me?
  4. My muscles will not be aching. Nor will I have any chills.
  5. My head will not be pounding. Really. It's simply adding insult to injury at this point. Which, by the way, so is the ear ringing (see #3).
Seeing as I am giving you more time, Life, and you so clearly under-delivered yesterday, I have a few additional requests I'd like to see fulfilled before I come out:

  1. The excess weight I am carrying will have disappeared. You know how much. You put it there.
  2. At the same time, my muscles (which will not ache, please refer to #4, list one) will be tightly toned. You know the shape I'm talking about. The one you gave me in college.
  3. My legs will be shaved. And my feet pedicured. Go ahead and throw in a manicure, too. And a conditioning treatment on my hair.
  4. My house will be cleaned. Like my mother's coming over. Yes, that kind of clean.
Well. In looking over those lists, it seems you'll have plenty to do, so I shall close now. It matters not to me how this is all achieved. You can send in a team of fairies while I sleep, for all I care. (Be sure to send a white-gloved team for #4, list two.) Just make them efficient. And quiet. And pleasant. I imagine fairy grumblings would be just as, if not more, annoying than the incessant ringing (Incessant. Truly.) in my ears.

That is all. I trust I'll not have to remind you again.
Most sincerely yours,

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

"Oh, It's A Doozy!"

" ... Today you are You, that is truer than true. 
There is no one alive who is Youer than You ..."


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