Tuesday, April 30, 2019


Last Wednesday evening I was upstairs making Olivia’s bed while she soaked in the bath. I was watching The Act on Hulu through my phone.

Alyssa was in her bathroom, ‘grooming’ before her shower. She was watching YouTube.

Tom was…doing something downstairs. Probably packing something to be shipped the next day.

The show on my phone started buffering and then stopped completely. I closed the Hulu app, thinking I was just too far from the living room, which is where our router is. It sometimes does make a difference where you are in house for the WIFI to reach your device.

A few minutes later, Alyssa came in, all fresh from the shower.

“Are you in the WIFI?” she asked, wanting to know if I was hogging all the bandwidth.

“No,” I informed her. “My Hulu was being weird so I turned off my WIFI.”

She flounced down the stairs to see if Tom was on the computer, which, by its very proximity to the router and modem, is the first served by our WIFI.

He wasn’t.

Huh. Weird.

Later, Tom mentioned he thought he’d heard the router sizzle earlier that evening.

Whatever the case, we had no internet.

It was 7:45pm on a Wednesday.

Whatever were we going to do with ourselves without precious weefee!?!

I mean, sure, we have more DVDs than I care to count. We have antenna TV, we have books and board games.

But you’d have thought we were in the middle of a blackout without access to candles.

We did end up watching a rerun of The Goldbergs and the last half of Chicago Med and then the first ten minutes of the newest season of The Amazing Race (fucking Rupert from Survivor is on there, back in his stupid ass tie-dyed shirt, OMG!) and then were all in bed by 9:30, with lights out and eyes closed.

It was actually kind of amazing.

Of course, we expected to come home on Thursday to find that Tom has gotten everything fixed.

We were disappointed by that expectation. Though it was softened by spending almost two hours at my mom’s after school and work, soaking up her lovely WIFI.

When we got home, Tom announced that the new modem he’d purchased that day for $150 did not fix the problem. Our internet provider would be out sometime the next day, Friday, with a new router.

So we spent another evening without WIFI. Both Alyssa’s and my phone have access to data but it costs us. I was able to check emails for Tom and get addresses for his shipments but there would be no Hulu or Netflix.

We ended up watching The Hunger Games on DVD.

And we were in bed again by 9:30.

There’s something to be said for being unplugged, even if just a little.

But yes, I was incredibly glad when the WIFI was back in full force. I mean, come on, now that I’ve experienced Hulu…I don’t want to give it up.

Monday, April 29, 2019

A Nightmare

Last year at the parent-teacher conference I spent probably forty-five minutes talking to Olivia’s fourth grade teacher, Mrs. K. We didn’t spend that time talking about Olivia, though.

We talked about cancer and treatment and how it affected us and our families.

About ten minutes into the conference, Mrs. K told me she’d fought uterine cancer the year before. It was nice to talk to someone who was farther out from the disease and all it entails than I was.

Alyssa told me last week that Mrs. K’s cancer is back.

It was like a punch in the gut.

Why? Why do our bodies betray us this way? Why can’t we find a way to cure all cancers for all time?

I pray for Mrs. K. I pray for her family. I pray for me and my family.

At one of my more recent doctor appointments, my doctor reminded me that I have a 70% chance of the cancer NOT coming back.

I like those odds.

I have googled triple negative breast cancer more times than I care to count.

Did you know that of the breast cancers cases diagnosed, around 15% of those are triple negative?

So…lemme do a little math…if one in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime, that’s a twelve and a half percent chance of getting breast cancer at all. Fifteen percent of twelve and a half percent is, well, it’s small, is what I’m saying.

So while I like the sound of having a 70% chance of my cancer NOT coming back. I don’t like the thought of having a 30% chance that it could come back.

That 30% is WAY bigger than the original chance of getting at all.

I can only imagine how Mrs. K and her family are feeling right now.

Scared, no, terrified. She’s already been through this once, she knows what she’s facing. Her family knows what she’s facing. And recurrence pushes the survival rate of most cancers of the reproductive system really, REALLY low.

I’m just so sad for them.

And, selfishly, sad for myself and my family. Why?

Well, I feel like every person who fights and beats cancer for good is a check mark in the ‘we can beat this’ column of life.

And every person who suffers a recurrence just proves that we can’t beat this at all.

I know. That’s so unfair. Every single person who is fighting cancer is fighting their own battle. They are not responsible for the rest of us, who are cheering them on from afar. And every person who fights, even if they don’t survive, they win. They give cancer everything they’ve got and they win just because they are human and every person they love, every memory they make, every smile they give and every time they laugh is a win against cancer.

Amy’s granddaughter is a win against cancer.

My freaking hair is a win against cancer.

I will pray for Mrs. K and every other person out there fighting cancer and try hard not to make their fight about me. I have my own battles. I’ve won because I live and I love and I make memories with my husband and daughters and parents and brothers and nephews and friends every single day. If I have to fight again, I will. I pray I don’t have to. I pray every single day but like Mrs. K, I will do everything I can to keep living and loving and laughing.

Will you join me in my prayers for a cure for all cancers? I realize that researchers are doing what they do and funds are need and I’m working on that, but for now, prayers can’t hurt, can they?

Friday, April 26, 2019

School Failure or Parenting Failure...A Riddle

I’d like to think I’m raising my kids (kid?) to be an independent, functioning adult.

I know this isn’t necessarily true for the twelve year old who still wants to be spoon fed. Ugh. That’s an irritating topic for another day…TOM.

But I’m not much of a cook and so neither of my girls has really learned to cook from me.

I don’t like touching raw meat, so…that’s a problem. I don’t cook with it very often because, well, it’s gross.

We all like our meat as our protein source but it tends to come pre-packaged and pre-cooked because, yeah, raw meat.

Tom does cook chicken occasionally but he does it when we’re gone so the girls think that all you have to do to make dinner is leave the house and when you get home, it’s magically ready.

This is not teaching them anything useful.

I was recently handed an envelope by someone (not one of my children) who wanted that envelope mailed. This person had put the address to which he wanted the mail delivered in the place on the envelope that is typically reserved for the return address.

I looked at him, at the envelope and then back at him and asked where he wanted the envelope mailed. He pointed to the address and said, “Yeah, it needs to be mailed.”

I pointed to the return address and said, “Mail it there?”

He looked at me like I’m an idiot and said, “Yeah.”

Okay, then.

I asked my girls after the incident with the ADULT who didn't know how to address an envelope and both of them knew where the address went. They also knew where the return address went. Alyssa said with distain, "Mom, we learned that in the third grade when we had pen pals."

Okay, then. It is not a school failure here in Edon, Ohio.

I wonder where else I might be failing as a parent, though.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Hats and Hair

So yes, my hair is still growing.

It has its okay days and its really bad days.

I don’t yet really have any days that I’d call good hair days.

But hey, on the other hand, any day with hair is a good hair day, right?


Because being bald is so much worse than the worst bad hair day.

One thing I did acknowledge last spring as I got to the point where I didn’t need to wear a hat in public was that even on the windiest days, my hair was short enough that it didn’t get in my face.

That was lovely.

Not lovely enough to keep it that short but still a definite benefit to super short hair.

These days it’s long enough to get in my face but not long enough to actually pull back to keep it out of my face.

You see my dilemma, right? It will probably be another six months or so before it’s long enough to go into a decent ponytail.

It needs trimmed desperately. I haven’t seen the inside of a beauty salon in about ten months.

I was lamenting the blowing of hair into my face at track meets – aside: Why do most tracks have to be build next to open fields? I mean, seriously? And if they HAVE to be built next to these open fields, why can’t the designers/engineers/whoever the hell plans and builds them plant some sturdy trees to act as a windbreak? - end aside.

So yes, I was lamenting and one of my lovely new co-workers suggested I get a visor to keep the hair out of my face.

And…sure. A visor would be perfect…if I were seventy or a playing tennis or both.

I know. I’m such a bitch. Whiny about my hair when I don’t have any (did I really ever actually complain about the baldness? I don’t remember making a huge deal about it.) Whiny about my hair now that it’s growing back. Whiny about someone’s perfectly legitimate suggestion of a visor.

See, back in May of last year, when I stopped wearing hats, I told myself that I never want to wear another hat in my life.

Of course, if I were to lose my hair to chemo again (please, God…let me not have to face and fight cancer again…amen) I would obviously wear hats again.

But for as long as I have hair, I do not want to wear hats.

And last weekend at a track meet we were facing gale force winds and I caved. I put on a hat. Not only did it keep my hair out of my face, it also kept me warm. Seriously, those winds were insane. I was surprised they didn’t cancel the pole vault, it was that bad.

And you know what? Wearing a hat was no big deal. There were lots of people wearing hats. It’s April in the Midwest, hats are probably kept in most vehicles until late May…just in case.

My mom did not wear a hat at that track meet but let’s face it, she’s even more vain about her hair than I am about mine so…progress?

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Memories...All Alone...

My earliest memory is from when I was still sleeping in a crib.

We lived in a house in Metz, Indiana, a place so small that there wasn’t a post office. The only form of commerce was the Pepsi machine that stood outside the volunteer fire departments garage.

I slept in a crib that was under a west-facing window. I’d wake up from my afternoon naps and lay there, watching the dust motes float lazily in the rays of sun shining in the window. I could hear my mom outside the room, sometimes in the hall, sometimes in another room, humming. She often had a laundry basket on her hip.

I’d wait for her to come check on me. She’d approach the crib slowly and smile when she saw me awake, saying softly, “Oh, you’re awake.”

I always felt so safe in that home with that lady. I always knew she’d be glad to see me.

I was a November baby, so this memory (or conglomeration of memories) is probably from when I was seven or eight months old. I say that because the weather seems warm in my memories, like summer time.

I have a scar on my right hand. The injury that resulted in that scar happened in the house where my first memories were built. We must have lived there until I was a toddler because my mom says the scar happened when I was maybe a year and a half. We were outside on the front stoop of that first house. My mom was sitting on one of the step. I was probably toddling around on the steps too. I started to fall and my mom reached out to stop my fall, forgetting she was holding a cigarette in her hand. The cigarette burned my right hand, leaving a small scar that is there to this day.

I don’t remember that moment though.

I also have a scar just below my bottom lip. I don’t remember getting this one either but my mother reports that this scar was the result of me being a bit of a brat. I wanted lunch and I wanted NOW. I was small enough to be in a highchair with a tray. She told me it would be ready soon. I didn’t want ‘soon’ I wanted ‘now’. When she didn’t produce food right that second, I threw my head against the tray. I put my bottom teeth (probably the only teeth I had at that time) through my lower lip.

My mom pulled my lip off my teeth, blotted the blood and fed me. She was one tough lady.

I have two younger brothers. My closest sibling is my brother who is four and a half years younger than I am. But I didn’t grow up isolated with just a brother or two. We had cousins galore. We were never, ever lonely.

My mom and her sisters basically raised us as if we were all siblings. There was always someone around to do something with, even if it was just playing with Matchbox cars in the dirt outside beneath the boxelder tree.

And yet with all those cousins and brothers, I had plenty of time alone too. I hit a tennis ball against the roof of our house. I swung on the tire swing so much I had calluses on my hands. I created all these stories in my head, riding my bike as if it were a horse through the town.

My parents divorced when I was eleven. My dad moved three houses away. He was always just up the street.

I guess you could say I had an idea childhood. I was so, so lucky. So very blessed.

I hope with all my heart that someday, my girls feel that way about their childhood.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Seeing Patterns

The last two Sunday nights have been crap when it comes to sleep. I toss and turn and ache and…maybe it’s too soon to declare a pattern, but I’m going to do it anyway.

I slept so great last week on Monday nights through Friday nights. No aches, no tossing and turning. I didn’t even have to get up to pee on those nights.

Sunday nights into Monday mornings, I have to get up at least twice. I have to switch positions more times than I can count because my hips hurt or my back hurts, or my stupid boobs hurt.

I know, tmi. It’s my blog, I’ll overshare if I want to.

(Damn it, now that stupid song is stuck in my head…it’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to, cry if I want to, cry if I want to. You’d cry too if happened to you, ooooh, oooooh, ooooh.) You’re welcome.

So what makes Sunday’s so hard on my old, fat body?


It’s got to be the laundry.

It can’t possibly be the fact that I sleep (or at least lay in bed, dozing) until 10:30. Nope, not that at all.

It’s the laundry.

Our washer and dryer are in the basement. The closets and dressers are on the second floor. Each flight of stairs is fourteen steps. Yes, Zane, fourteen. You have to count that last step, silly boy.

So, to take clean laundry from the basement to the bedrooms, I’m going up twenty eight stairs. I do that more times than I can count. But I only do that multiple times on Sundays. Oh, yes and I vacuum the living room and the family room. And I mop the kitchen. So…yes, I move more on Sundays than I do on every other day of the week combined.

I really should move more throughout the week so that I’m not so fatigued on Sunday nights. I need to build up my endurance so that I can sleep better on Sunday nights.

Or…I’ll start taking an Advil PM at around 7pm on Sunday evenings. That sounds way easier than actually exercising on a more regular basis.

I’m nothing if not extraordinarily lazy.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Lessons from Kindergarten

I think there’s a poem (of sorts) out there titled, “All I Ever Needed to Know, I Learned in Kindergarten.”

It’s about kindness, washing your hands, taking care of yourself, etc. And that’s all great.

But seriously, let’s talk about everything practical you learn in kindergarten, such as cutting with scissors, using a glue stick, putting stickers on pages, coloring.

Those things…I use on a daily basis at work.

But wait. Let’s go back a couple of years. At my old job, for the year or so before they closed, I spent a stupid amount of time printing things on magnetic sheets, cutting those strips out to precise measurements and placing them on magnetic bulletin boards. I literally spent MONTHS doing this.

The few times one of the girls would ask me what I did at work that day, I’d say, “I practiced my kindergarten skills.”

These days, I use a glue stick daily. I stick stamps on envelopes daily. I use a highlighter to color specific words on pieces of paper…you get the gist.

I paid student loans until was 40 so that I could find jobs that let me use skills I learned in kindergarten. Am I bitter? Nah…I don’t want a high-stress job. Once I joined the workforce, I never wanted a career. I wanted a job that would let me go home at night and not think about work again until the next day.

I wanted a job that paid enough to keep a roof over our heads, food in our pantry and shoes on our feet. If we can afford a few extras like voice lessons and fancy running spikes, well, that’s nice too.

When I first went to college, I wanted to be a guidance counselor. That’s why I went into education. But I didn’t want to teach. I was told way back when that in order to be a guidance counselor, I had to teach for a minimum of three years. I thought I could do it. But as student teaching loomed that last year of college, I realized that I wasn’t cut out to be a teacher. So I let go of my counseling dreams and got my BA in English Literature instead of Secondary Education.

And here I am. Using all those kindergarten skills every day.

Life could be so much worse.

Friday, April 19, 2019


I get this ridiculous smug feeling whenever I see someone smoking. I think, all smug, “Dumbass, don’t you know how bad that is for you?”

And then I think smugly, “I never even started so I didn’t have to quit.”

I feel similar smugness when I think about alcohol consumption. Whenever I’m at a doctor’s appointment and they ask me how much alcohol I drink, I am so smugly glad that I can answer, all smug-like, “None. I don’t drink at all.”

I’m also smug about spelling and grammar. I see one person in particular who often write ‘haft’ for half. I’d think this was a typo except he’s written it more than once or twice. I’m pretty sure he thinks the word is ‘haft’.

I get especially smug (and thoroughly annoyed) when I see someone write or hear them say something like, “Check out my husband and I’s new business.”

That makes me more crazy than smug. But we’ve hit on that one before.

Imagine if I were naturally thin. I’d be such a smug bitch. I’d see fat people and smugly think, “Why don’t you move more? Why do you eat so much? I’m thin because I work at it.”

God probably made me fat to teach me some humility.

Wait. No.

God did not make me fat.

Cadbury makes me fat. Little Debbie makes me fat. I make me fat by not controlling my eating and making better, smaller choices when I eat.

Huh. Well, at least I can say I’m not smugly perfect. I’m just perfectly smug.

(For the record, I managed to use the word smug or a variation of it thirteen times in a post that only has 262 words, not counting this little post script.)

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Track - Sophomore Year - Week 1

Whew. I’m tired.

Track season started with a bang on Saturday, April 6. The weather was lovely, the teams were kind, both the boys and the girls of Edon won the meet.

The next meet was on Tuesday, 4/9. The weather was much yuckier that day. The sun was out and the temps were in the 50s but it was so windy that it felt more like the 30s. Ugh. Being cold makes me tired.

The next meet was Friday, 4/12. It was at a school that was a full hour drive from our school. That meant I had to leave work two hours early since I work a half hour away in the wrong direction. And I always swing by and pick up my mom so she can endure these meets with me. She’s a lucky woman.

But even though the meets were only on Tuesday and Friday, none of the other days were ‘normal’ that week.

I went to work at 7:00 on Monday and worked until 4:30 so I could bank time for Friday’s early exit from work. I went in at 7:00 on Tuesday and left at 3:30 for the meet. In at 7:30 and out at 4:30 on Wednesday and Thursday.

Let’s add in the fact that I had to take Liv’s glasses to the eye doctor on Tuesday, run to the grocery store for turkey (Alyssa eats A LOT of turkey) on Wednesday and back to the eye doctor on Thursday with Olivia so we can get her glasses adjusted by a professional and…you guessed, I’m tired.

Lucky for me, I slept very well on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights. I slept very badly on Sunday, night, but who’s counting?

We only have four more weeks of track meets. Let’s do this.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

What We're Watching

We’re a television watching family. I am not necessarily proud of this fact but I don’t let it get me down much either.

Yes, we should all move more. Yes, we’re a sedentary nation and I’m part of the problem. Blah, blah, blah.

Kiss my fat butt and make room on the couch, it’s time to turn on Netflix or Hulu.

We don’t have cable or satellite at our house. We can’t justify the cost of monthly payments.

But I do buy Hulu and Netflix cards every few months.

I justify those with the rationalization that I’m making the conscious decision to spend that money each time I buy the cards. I don’t use a credit card to allow Hulu or Netflix to automatically charge me for monthly services.

I know, it’s a stretch but…we all do what we have to do to justify certain expenses.

We first started Netflix in the months after my surgery and ensuing chemotherapy treatments. One of my fellow breast cancer survivors sent me a care package and included in that box was a $30 Netflix card.

I watched all the seasons of Black Mirror, six seasons of The Great British Baking Show, six seasons of Call the Midwife and so much more.

These days, we’ve also discovered Hulu, which is so awesome because I can watch it on my phone in my room while Olivia bathes.

We’re currently on cycle 16 of America’s Next Top Model. It’s so much fun to watch these shows now that we can google the winner at the start of the season. I know, that ‘spoils’ it for most but we LOVE being spoiled. So yes, we go into the first episode of the season knowing who wins.

I’m watching The Act on Hulu as well. What a show. It’s based on the real life case of Gypsie Rose and her mother DeeDee, a psychopathic woman who went so far as to have her perfectly healthy child’s salivary glands removed. She even found a doctor who inserted a feeding tube into a Gypsie, who was capable of eating by mouth. Patricia Arquette is so great at DeeDee, so creepy, so scary. Joey King plays Gypsie Rose and she’s just amazing.

I have to wait each week for the next episode, so it’s not like I’m binge watching (which I would TOTALLY do it I could…)

On Netflix we were thrilled last week when season three of The Santa Clarita Diet was added. This show is so much fun. I don’t care that Drew Barrymore’s character is a human-eating zombie, she and Timothy Olyphant’s character have the one of most healthy marriages on television these days. And their daughter is such a badass.

Hulu also has the Spring Baking Championship showing new episodes every Tuesday. Something to look forward to, is what I’m saying. Duff is such a nice judge. The ladies who bookend him are okay too.

I am eagerly awaiting season three of Stranger Things, which I think comes out in July.

Queer Eye is another show that I always eagerly anticipate each new season but it’s only ever eight episodes at most and that makes me sad because those guys are so kind, we need to see more of them.

So much to see, so little time.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

On the Lighter Side of Homework

Olivia and I were doing a page in her usual weekly homework packet last week. There are often several problems or tasks that she has to work through on each page.

We got to one task that said, “Draw a three-sided shape.”

I read it to Olivia. She looked at me like I’d spoken Swahili.

I read it again, still speaking plain English.

This time, she blinked at me and narrowed her eyes. Apparently, this time her brain translated my words into French and couldn’t translate them back to English.

I finally just said, “Draw a triangle.”

She put the pencil on the page and drew…I don’t even know.

It was weird but definitely not a triangle. I asked her, “Why are you drawing a quadrangle?”

I made her erase the shape she’d drawn and told her to try again.

She announced quite stiffly, “I can’t!”

I sighed. “Yes, you can.”

“No, I can’t!” she insisted.

I took a deep breath and told her, “You can totally draw a triangle. You’ve done it a million times.”

She looked startled. “A triangle? I thought you wanted me to draw a trapezoid.”

And once I looked at the original shape she'd drawn, I saw that it was indeed a crude trapezoid.

I laughed and asked, “A trapezoid?!? When did I tell you to draw a trapezoid? The instructions say to draw a three-sided shape. That’s a triangle!”

She laughed too and drew a perfectly lovely triangle.

I guess her brain translated triangle into trapezoid when it heard French and tried to translate back into English.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Spectical Drama

I had to take a trip to the eye doctor one morning last week and drop of Olivia’s glasses.

This is the second time in three weeks that she’s had to have her glasses fixed. She’s had these glasses for just over two months.

The first time, she wiggled the arms (also called temples, for those in the know) to the point that the screws came lose and one fell off.

When I took them in to have the screws replace, the lady at the eye doctor’s lab broke the glasses entirely, so she had to replace them for free.

We’ve had these new glasses maybe three weeks…maybe.

While sitting around watching America’s Next Top Model, I can hear Olivia take her glasses off, wiggle them and then put then back on. The sound makes me cringe. I scold her each time and she looks at me like I’m crazy.

This morning I picked up her glasses to clean the lenses, which is what I do each morning and I noticed that the end of one of the arms, the end that goes over her ear, is cracked.

She can’t wear cracked glasses to school.

Tom offered to duct tape them but since we didn’t name our youngest daughter Gertrude Millicent Ordinary, she couldn’t go to school with duct taped glasses.

I made her wear her old ones to school and brought the frames with me to be dropped off and replaced.

This time, the tech isn’t the one who broke the stupid things so we have to use our warranty.

If Olivia breaks this next pair, we’ll have to pay for replacements.


Kids are so freaking expensive. Who was the one who told me to have all these (2) kids anyway?

Friday, April 12, 2019


Okay, my grievances with my dad are well documented. His refusal to accept the boundaries of school/work nights, his passive-aggressive nature, blah blah blah.

He showed up at my house one day last week (it was a Thursday) at 8:15…pm. Yes.

When I opened the door with a look that had to say, “What the ever loving hell?” he greeted me with, “It’s not 8:30 yet.”

Where did that come from? I never set the boundary that if he was going to come over on a school night, it had to be before 8:30. The actual boundary I set was, “Don’t come over on a school night!” We have too much to do. I’m too tired. I do not want to entertain anyone on a school night, not at 5pm, not at 7 and sure as hell not at 8:15.

What I actually said to him, quite evenly, was, “It’s 8:15.”

He walked himself right into the living room and said, “Well, I won’t stay long.”


He was there because he wanted to tell me he’d finally gotten a replacement hearing aide.


He said some other things I didn’t care about…(yes, I’m a bitch. Yes, someday I’ll feel terrible for having said all this stuff because he’ll be gone…)

As he was leaving, right at 8:30 (which, again, what is this new rule I never set about 8:30? I mean, I’m glad he left before 9:00 but still.) he mentioned that the Mormon church has recently lifted the ban on baptizing the children of homosexual couples.


Then he said…wait for it…

“I don’t even know how homosexual couples have children.”

I deadpanned, “Science? Adoption? Donation?”

He could tell he was on thin ice with me at that point. He backpedaled a little, “Well, yes, of course.”

But he just couldn’t let it go, could he? Of course he couldn’t.

He had to say, “Well, I just can’t think of those children as natural.”

What the hell?



Now, let me say, he doesn’t know that Alyssa has a girlfriend.

It’s none of his business.

And honestly, it is not Alyssa’s and/or Naomi’s job to educate the older generation on life and love and for fuck’s sake, why can’t people get that love is love is love?

And any child born, no matter how they are conceived, to whom they are born or how they are born, is natural. What the actual hell?

I didn’t reply because what could I say? He’s an ignorant old man. I get that.

But I kind of wanted to slap him.

I want to remind every person out there that they need to be careful what they say, because someone they love is probably part of the LGBTQ community. They may not be out to you because they don’t feel safe being out to you. But they are there, taking in all your ignorant, asshole comments and it’s hurtful, not to just them but to those of us who love them with everything that we are.

Stop being ignorant assholes. Educate yourselves and learn that love is love is love.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

At A Loss

I don’t talk much about the miscarriage I had over eighteen years ago. Not anymore.

But it’s still there, in the back of my mind, looming. There are moments when it will occur to me that if I hadn’t lost that pregnancy, I’d probably have a senior in high school. My due date was late September, so I’m guessing that child would have been gone to school at 6 instead of an early 5. Would he have played football or been more like Alyssa and into band and/or drama?

Would he be more like Olivia, a little flighty, not really into rules but mostly sweet and loving?

I also wonder if we’d have had Alyssa if I hadn’t lost that pregnancy? She was born sixteen months after that due date.

So many questions; no answers, not yet at least.

One of my cousins had a miscarriage a few days ago. It’s not my place to say who. She needs to grieve in her own way and figure out her new normal. I do know, though, that this was a much wanted pregnancy. She was so excited to be having a baby. Her parents were thrilled at the prospect of more grandchildren.

She’s so lost right now. She hurts so much.

People who haven’t had a miscarriage don’t know how much it hurts, both physically and emotionally.

It’s often kept a secret and those you do tell will often say, “Well, it’s probably for the best, there was probably something wrong with the baby.”

Why would you say that to a grieving parent?

Because she’s a parent.

I was a parent when I lost that first baby.

My sweet brother actually bought me a mother’s day card the May after my miscarriage. It was the most thoughtful thing anyone has ever done for me.

I hope someone (me?) thinks to do that for my cousin. I want her to know that we love her, we love her lost baby. There is no wrong way to grieve. She can mourn as long as she needs and we’ll all be here for her, not matter what.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Fifth Grade Homework - Ad Nauseam

The other day Olivia brought home two homework assignments. These were on top of the weekly packet she brings home each Monday.

The first one we did was math. Ugh! It was a worksheet on speed, distance and time. Whatever! It was so very irritating.

I mean, give me a freaking break.

Olivia is very smart. She can do so much. But to ask her how long it will take her to drive 57 miles if she’s going 38 miles an hour is just stupid.

Can I state right here, again, how much I HATE doing fifth grade homework. It’s not that I hate helping my child do fifth grade homework. No. I hate it when she brings homework home that I am obviously going to have to do. I can explain it to her until I’m blue but she’s probably not going to get it.

This is not to say she can’t get it, but she doesn’t care. She doesn’t WANT To get it, which means, she’s not going to get it.

And anyone out there who believes they could ‘force’ Olivia to do this stuff, to understand this stuff, to ‘get’ this stuff, is welcome to come to our house and parent her for an evening. Just one evening is all it would take to realize that you can teach a child to count but you can’t make her do math. I also invite them to go to her school with her for one day and spend a few hours with her teachers, bless every one of their hearts. These people do NOT get paid enough to put up with my child, is what I’m saying.

And that feels so unfair because she’s not at all disruptive. She’s just…easily distracted and doesn’t feel any urgency to do anything that is put in front of her. So…she does what she wants when she wants and doesn’t care about grades or notes home or having her tablet taken away or being yelled at or, well, anything. Punishments don’t work. Rewards don’t work. She doesn’t mean to irritate those around her with what appears to be pure laziness, she just wants to do what she wants to do and doesn’t think school work is important. Like at all.

Is this a 5p- characteristic? Or is it just an Olivia characteristic? Who the fuck knows? What I do know is that this is what we deal with it on a daily basis. And 95% of the time, she’s fine, she’s a delight even. But that other 5% when we’re doing homework? Please, can the zombie apocalypse just happen now so we can never have to do homework ever again?

Ahem. So.

After the math worksheet, we had to do a practice test for the Ohio State testing that is coming up. It was over geography.


Yes, I’m rolling my eyes.

I did make Olivia actually listen to me as I read each question and I made her give the answers she though were best.

And it was fine.

My frustration level went down.

But damn. Why does it have to be so much work?

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Zany Questions

Several years ago, it became a ‘thing’ for Alyssa to have a slumber party for her birthday.

Great fun is had by all and it’s just what we do these days.

Tom tried to put the kibosh on the slumber party last year, citing “CHEMO”.

Alas, I, being the actual chemo patient, overruled him and the slumber party happened.

Tom has also tried to impose a limit on the number of guests invited to this annual shindig.

(Please note that Tom is not quite the fuddy duddy that I paint him to be, it’s just that he doesn’t like having people over, like at all, and really kind of hates going out…wait, he’s actually totally the fuddy duddy he’s appearing to be…nevermind.)

Again, he was reminded that we only have this party once a year, since it’s, ahem, a birthday party and he should just kind of shut it and let it happen as it’s going to anyway and he’s just causing stress amongst those of us who do the work of planning the party.



Alyssa has reminded him each time he tries to tell her how many (three? Really?) people she can invite that she can’t possibly not invite people she’s previously invited because that will inevitably lead to hurt feelings and she can’t abide hurting anyone’s feelings.

We also remind him that even when she invites eight to ten people, invariably, only five or six show up, and again, no one is hurt because everyone was invited.

So there.

Amongst the invitees during The Year of Chemo was the one male friend that Lyss has invited for several years now. Let’s call him Zane because he’s just a zany kind of guy. A little backstory: Zane always has questions. At school some of the teachers have had to institute a three question per day rule when it comes to Zane. This makes me sad for him because Dude wants to know! How’s he going to find out what he wants to know if people impose limits to his search for knowledge?

Then again, there are usually about 20 kids per class and if everyone were as curious as Zane, there would be no time for actual teaching, only questions and answers…but wait, maybe that’s what school should really be. Hmmm, I think Zane is on to something.

So at last year’s party, I happened to get warm. Remember, I was wearing a stocking cap all the time, due to, you know, baldness.

So I took the hat off and said something off hand about no one caring that I was shining my bald head about the room.

Zane was curious. He asked what happened to my hair.

I kind of blinked at him and said matter-of-factly, “Chemo.”

He gasped, “You have cancer!?!”

I laughed because his reaction was just so lovely.

One of Lyss’s other friend, Amy, said, “Didn’t you know? I though everyone knew.”

Zane was shocked that no one had told him.

I was surprised he cared so much.

Alyssa muttered something about not making a big announcement, that it had just been mentioned amongst a few people here and there.

Zane was so offended that he hadn’t been told. He was also very concerned about my well-being. I think he might have teared up over the whole thing.

He’s a sweetheart and I’m glad Lyss has him in her life.

She’s got a good bunch of friends, is what I’m saying.

P.S. It amuses me so that I managed to use the words kibosh, shindig and fuddy duddy all in one post. I’m easily amused, but we all already knew that, right?

Monday, April 8, 2019

A Drawer Full of Socks

I’ve been meaning to clean out/organize my sock drawer for months. Every morning when I’d go to get some socks for the day, I’d be overwhelmed by the messiness of that stupid sock drawer.

I actually have two drawers dedicated to my socks. I know. It’s ridiculous. I have a smaller drawer in which I keep the black socks, gray socks, white socks and all variations of those colors.

The bigger drawer holds all the colors, up to and including seasonal socks.

Can you see why this might be overwhelming?

I have so many socks!

And before I organized them, these socks were in those drawers all willynilly, not even bothering to be near a mate.

It was insane.

I’d find one cute blue sock and then have to sift through all the other unmated socks in there to find the other sock that matched the one I’d found. It took a stupid amount of time to find socks each morning.

But when was I supposed to organize all these socks?

While Liv is in the bath, I usually fold and put away laundry. When she’s not in the bath, she’s right there beside me unless she’s playing keep away with her dad, which isn’t as often as I might wish.

This past weekend, though, Alyssa had a jazz band thing in North Baltimore, which is over two hours away from our house and she urged me to skip the performance, explaining that driving almost two and a half hours for a ten minute performance didn’t seem worth my time.

Because of this event, we got home from our usual Saturday grocery run and lunch date by 12:30. So I was able to do laundry all afternoon. Go me! My life is beyond exciting, don’t you think?

And since the laundry was washed and dried, it made sense for me to fold it and put away. I’m an overachiever like that.

All this leads to Sunday when O was taking a bath. I didn’t have any laundry to fold and/or put away.

The sock drawers beckoned.

I was sucked in to the closet where I dumped all socks into an empty laundry basket (see above…it was all clean and even put away!! And the angels sang.)

I matched up the socks, tossed those without matches and even sorted the ones that no longer bring me joy (gag) into a pile to be either donated or tossed into the rag bag or burned, whichever feels right when the moment comes.

My socks are all now so very cozy in their drawers, all matched up and color-coded. The seasonal socks (I do realize how stupid that sounds but seasonal socks are so much fun, even if no one ever sees them, just knowing I’m wearing socks with hearts, or shamrocks or pumpkins on them makes me so happy.) are all rolled up in order of the holiday, it’s just lovely to behold.

*Insert Picture of sock drawer glory* My apologies for not taking a before shot. Imagine all those socks, add a few unmated ones for extra mess, all mixed up together.

And now that everything is matched up and rolled, there is so much more room in the drawers. I didn’t even purge that many socks, just the little ones that I hate (you know the ones…they’re made to wear with flats without showing. They never stay on my heels and drive me crazy, off they went to the get-rid-of pile.) and those without mates. Wait, I did get rid of some ugly beige ones that just looked dingy.

There is something about doing that chore you’ve been wanting to do for so long. Something that makes me feel accomplished even if it is just about my socks.

It makes me feel like I’m making some sort of headway in reclaiming my life.

Look out world, I’m taking charge again…one sock at a time.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Breathing Lessons

It’s so hard to listen to the advice I give to each other and apply it to myself.

One of my friends who is a few months behind me in her treatment for breast cancer messaged me yesterday. She’s at the beginning of the end of her treatment and the realization that she will be on her own going forward is setting in.

She’s anxious, depressed, searching for her new normal.

Through several messages back and forth, I reminded her that the most important thing is to be kind to herself, to remember how far she’s come, how strong she really is and that it’s okay that she’s sad, angry, stressed, annoyed with the world and all the while, grateful to be alive.

I need to remember all this when it comes to my own issues.

I can’t be expected to just settle right back into life after all I’ve been through. Not only have I survived cancer and all the treatments that go along with it, I’ve changed jobs after almost 18 years at my previous employer. I’ve had to start over with vacation, job knowledge, co-workers.

No wonder I’m so fucking tired.

It’s also no wonder that the little things irritate the shit out of me.

I want to be better but I need to take the time to feel all the feelings, to process all the stress that I managed to tamp down while I was going through treatment.

I could have died.

I need to let that sink in and then…let it go.

Breathe in.

I’m alive.

Breathe out.

I’m strong.

Breathe in.

It’s okay to be anxious, to worry, to feel lost.

Breathe out.

I don’t always have to be strong.

Breathe in.

I have so many supporters.

Breathe out.

It’s okay to ask for help.

Breathe in.

I’m alive.

Breathe out.

I’m here.

Breathe in.

I deserve all the kindness I put out to others.

Breathe out.

I am as deserving of love and compassion as anyone else.

Breathe in.

I’m alive and I’m grateful and I’m human, with all the strengths and weaknesses that come with that fact.

just keep breathing.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Toilet Ball

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned before that Olivia sleeps with an odd array of items. None of them are soft and cuddly.

No, they’re all hard and leave weird impressions on her body after a night of sleep.

To recap, she currently takes the following items to bed with her every night:

Book light

Small ball (think tennis ball sized) with a mermaid inside, floating about in some kind of liquid

Small ball (same size as mermaid ball) with a light that comes on if you bounce it

Lid to a long empty shampoo bottle

Nightlight shaped like a turtle

Yes. Those are her comfort items for bedtime.

Whatever. They work for her so she doesn’t wake me up several times a night so…yeah.

Well, see, she doesn’t just lovingly place these items beside her bed each morning. No, she carries them all to the bathroom where she gets dressed and then, she takes them all downstairs to place them lovingly on a shelf in the living room from which she retrieves them each night, takes them with her to the bathroom where we do our thing and then carries them all back upstairs to her bed each night.

It’s a process, is what I’m saying.

An annoying process but usually not that big a deal.

Except when one of her balls falls in the toilet.

One of her balls fell in the toilet last night.

It made a big splash and then just settled at the bottom of the toilet bowl, all glittery in the light.


I didn’t let myself think about it. I just reached in and pulled that thing right out of the toilet. Then I washed it and my hands in the hottest water that will flow from our taps.

All the while, Liv was standing there with her right hand out from her body.

Apparently, water splashed the back of her hand.

I informed her, “Yeah, I’m not feeling sorry for you for having toilet water on your hand. It splashed in MY EYE.”

She laughed so hard she hit her head on the counter.

It was gross.

And funny.

It was even funnier when she told Alyssa, “One of my balls fell in the toilet.”

That ball, the one that lights up? Will now and forever be called Toilet Ball.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019


Once upon a time, the lovely, incomparable Julie encouraged me to join a group, to start a blog on a site where other moms gathered to support each other. These moms had all one through unexpected experiences. Some had delivered premature babies who spent months in the NICU. Some lost their babies to chromosome issues, birth defects, still birth, prematurity. Some of us had full term babies who still spent time in the NICU and had ongoing issues even after coming home.

All of us knew what it meant to have dreams dashed, hope washed away with the strong antiseptic soap provided by the hospital.

That site was a Godsend. Julie is an angel.

In case you’re going through the devastation of a premature birth or the diagnosis of birth defect or you’ve lost a child, that side was Shareyourstory.org. It’s a support group provided by the March of Dimes. The ladies (and the few gentlemen) there are amazing.

These days, I’m doing pretty well with my status as a special needs mom. Olivia’s amazing, she’s so very much come into her own as a person, as an individual. I don’t need nearly as much support as I once did, back in the days before her diagnosis, when we were figuring out therapies, failure-to-thrive concerns, reflux, doctors who said she was ‘too pretty’ for there to be anything wrong…

But, a year plus out from chemotherapy and I find I’m floundering in my own doubt, my own status as a ‘cancer survivor.’

Am I?

Of course I’m a survivor, I’m alive, right?

But right now, I am on constant edge, waiting for the other shoe to fall. I wonder if every single pain I have, every twinge, is the cancer coming back.

My index finger hurt for no reason over the weekend. I wondered, “Can you have cancer of the finger?”

That’s so stupid.

And I know it’s normal. I do. But I feel so lost, so alone.

My family is amazing, we all know that.

But they can’t understand the constant low-level worry that buzzes around in my head. They don’t know that I still hurt almost all the time. They don’t know the fear I have each night when I go to sleep, the dread at every doctor’s appointment.

But others do know. People have been where I am, they understand and they’ve felt this too.

I need to find those people. I believe they can bring me down to a level of worry that is manageable. They can tell me that it gets better, that with enough time of being ‘well’ I’ll get past this stage, this worry, this sense of impending doom.

There are a couple of women I know from other areas of my life, one from the above mentioned support site and the other who has a daughter (also Olivia, if you can believe it) who are farther along than I am in their journey of surviving breast cancer but I hate to bother them. I would rather find a group so we can spread out the burden of support. I know, I KNOW, both of those ladies would be more than willing to help, to listen, to give me the benefit of their experience but…again, I have a hard time asking for help from those I know are already giving so much of themselves to the world.

Then again, I would absolutely want anyone who was worried or stressed or just starting their cancer journey nightmare to reach out to me. I’ve heard from quite a few people who feel breast pain or have had an actual diagnosis who are scared and need reassurance. I want to be there for those people.


Tuesday, April 2, 2019

I Need to Shut Up

Sometimes (most of the time?) I talk to much.

Sometimes I just wish I could shut up.

But there is so much going on in my head, so many conversations, so many recriminations, so much internal dialogue that I can’t stop it from spewing from my mouth like verbal vomit.

It’s annoying, even to me. I can’t imagine how irritating it must be to those around me.

I used to say things like, “I’ll shut up now.” I’d say this to boyfriends and friends alike. I was so desperately hoping they’d reply with something lovely like, “No, I like listening to you.”

Alas, no one ever actually said that.

But to be honest, I don’t blame them. I mean, how annoying is it that I said that? I’m annoyed at my younger (like, I was younger yesterday, right?) self for saying it.

Was I really so desperate for validation that I said something like that?

Yes. Yes, I was.

I still am.

I’m not proud of that, but there you go.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Day of Disappointment

So I couldn’t do anything right the other day.

Wait, work was fine that day. And I made an appointment with a doctor, so that was okay too.

But once I got home, it felt like the whole evening was one big disappointment…in me.

I hadn’t even put my purse down when Olivia accosted me at the door and asked if we could go to Gram’s.

I told her we had to do her homework first.

We did her homework…painfully, and then waited for Alyssa to get home.

Tom was cleaning strawberries for the girls to eat later. He’d gathered most of the garbage that we were going to take to my mom’s house.

Alyssa got home and sat in the driveway with her friend Tessa FOREVER. Apparently, they don’t spend enough time together because they needed that extra eternity to hang out and bond over bitching about some of their other friends.

It’s what we do, right?

So I was tired of waiting, so I told Liv to put her boots and coat on and we’d go out.

Tom tossed the knife he was using to hull the strawberries down and said he’d finish getting all the garbage together.

I sighed and said it was okay, I didn’t realize there was more. He ignored me and went into the garage.

I took over the strawberry project, feeling sad and dejected. Maybe I’m PMSing, who the hell knows.

Finally, he came back in, I finished up with the strawberries and then Olivia and I went out to where Lyss was STILL in Tessa’s car, which was blocking my exit out of the garage. I shot a pointed look at Alyssa and got in my car. Olivia got in the passenger seat.

Alyssa got out of Tessa’s car, Tessa pulled away and Lyss got in the backseat and we headed to my mom’s.

When we got there, my mom off-handedly said, “I’d almost given up on you.”

She had a bunch of food ready for us.


As lovely as it was to have food cooked for us, I felt bad that she’d thought we might be coming after going to all the trouble to cook so much for us.

We ate, we hung out in the toasty sunroom. Olivia asked if she could take off her pants. I denied her request. She asked if she could take off her shirt, I denied that request as well and then we went home.

There I found a bunch of food that Tom had cooked/heated up for us.


Damn it! Why is everyone being so freaking nice on a night when I can’t possibly reciprocate and when all I can do is disappointment every single person in my life?

Olivia ate what her dad had heated up.

Alyssa took a shower.

I packed lunches and put away the other food that Tom had cooked, washed the dishes