Saturday, December 28, 2013

Wilms

Four days ago I had never heard of Wilms tumor but now my family is beginning to speak Wilms fluently.


In the last post, I mentioned that it was discovered on Christmas Day that my 4 year old nephew has a tumor on his kidney. The doctors called for immediate surgery to remove the tumor and kidney.

Things didn't go as well as hoped.

The (cancerous) Wilms tumor had ruptured and spread beyond his kidney.

The doctors deemed it inoperable and closed him back up.

He started chemo yesterday and will be in the hospital for awhile. Poor little guy.

It's crazy how cancer brings with it a whole new language and set of rules.

You start to speak about stages (I, II, III, IV), ports, chemo "mixes", favorable histology, CT scans, and on and on.

Then, the moment you think you have a plan set in place, the game changes and the plan no longer applies. It's an exhausting game of adjustments and you have no option but to participate in order to save your loved one. Being far away is difficult because by the time we get the information, things have changed. Feels like we're reading yesterday's newspaper.

I can't begin to fathom what my brother and his wife are going through. It's hard enough to say "my nephew has cancer" - I can't imagine saying "my son has cancer".

As a childless person, things like this cause me great inner struggle. It seems like it would be the worst thing in the world to tell my child that he has cancer. And, if we aren't able to have kids, I would never have to worry about that. But at the same time, my heart breaks to think that I may never know what it feels like to be called Mommy. Maybe that makes it all worth it. Maybe I'll never know.

Either way, it's heart breaking.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas Round Up

Just wanted to post a few pictures from our Christmas.

Jason and I stayed in Oregon with the animals and had a pretty laid back break.

(Crash with his "smirken mirken")

Derville kicking Crash's butt as usual

Lollypop toppers from Tam - of course you can guess the first thing Jason wanted to do with these!


Our Christmas tree and presents.


Our new Santa Claus Christmas decoration from our adorable niece, Harper. It's like a Christmas high-five!

On Christmas Eve, we celebrated with homemade crab cakes, fresh green bean casserole and hashbrown casserole.

Then I untied the last ribbon on the Christmas countdown.

Jason diddled the bell.


We decided to have a "nostalgic toy" Christmas this year. Including:

Kerplunk!





Rubiks cube

Toy helicopter!

We had mimosas and played with our toys, had early Christmas dinner from Shari's and then passed out watching a movie.

After we regained consciousness, we got to talk with sweet Harper and hear some great songs and stories.

And then, only as it can on Christmas, the light turned to dark. 

A call from my Dad that our youngest nephew, 4 years old, was taken to the ER for a distended belly yesterday afternoon and is having his kidney removed today as I type. Said they found a tumor on his kidney, and it had to go. They say he'll recover well and quickly and live a normal life - one kidney less. 

In times like this, my first thought is to pray. 
Next thought: Pray to what?
I don't know. 
Pray to the Universe. 
Pray to God.
Pray to Mother Nature
 
Hell, I'll pray to the hobo on the corner if it'd help our little guy.


Friday, December 20, 2013

Classy Girls Don't Kiss in Bars

This song reminds me of the first time Jason and I went out. We went to a bar in Arlington, Texas in the middle of a weekday to play pool and have beers. We took turns picking songs from the jukebox and then laughed because we kept choosing the same songs as each other.

It was total kismet.

It was one of those things where I just knew if I kissed the guy, I'd never see him again.

And I wanted to see him again. And again. And again.

"Classy Girls" by The Lumineers



Well, she was standing in the bar
I said, "Hello, how do you do?"
She handed me a beer with a kangaroo.

She spoke of places I had never been
That she had traveled to
And we slow danced along to faster tunes

And I made her laugh, I made a pass,
I showed her my half dollar ring
She said, "That's pretty cool,
But classy girls don't kiss in bars, you fool"

(No they don't)

So later on the crowd calmed down
And I believe it was as if something drew me closer to her lips

So picture my surprise when I had tried to lean in for a kiss
And she just smiled and turned her head down

I asked her, "Why?" and she replied
It was nothing I was doing wrong, it's just what it is.
No, classy girls don't kiss in bars like this

No, classy girls don't kiss in bars
Boys will break their backs and hearts
But it's alright, the hardest part is through.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Discovering Maya Angelou



Previously, I had the same awareness of Maya Angelou as I had of Picasso, Gertrude Stein, or William Blake. I knew they made enormous contributions to the world of Art and I could reference their work. But I wasn't intimate with the creator.

Other than a few poems, I'd never really read much of Ms. Angelou's work.

Until recently.

I discovered Maya Angelou's new book Mom & Me & Mom at the library about 3 weeks ago and now I've read literally thousands of pages of her work. Four autobiographies, uncountable essays, poems, interviews - I can't get enough.

I grew up in rural Arkansas, only 30 miles north of Stamps, Arkansas where Maya Angelou was famously sent away to at a tender age of 3 to live with her Grandma. I've walked the streets that she grew up on and I didn't appreciate it at the time. I had no idea that such a beautiful, far-reaching flower could grow in such a barren, uninspiring, desolate plot of land. I would love to talk to Ms. Angelou about growing up in that miserable South. I can relate. My misery wasn't about being black, as was hers, but it was about feeling isolated and out of place, as was hers. Her writings have been a great source of strength for me lately. I laugh, I cry, I look for more books to read or interviews to watch. I guess there was a reason I didn't discover Maya Angelou until now.  I appreciate the discovery and can look back with unresentful eyes and better understand how my circumstances shaped the person I am today. It also helps me understand why I've been on the move for so long. Growing up with the knowledge that you will not settle to live in a place of misery carries down the road and applies to many other situations. When I get the feeling I had growing up - that I had to go - I know it's time to go again. I haven't felt that way for years now, so maybe that's why I'm just unearthing this valuable treasure. I don't have the urge to go so it's easier to reflect on why I always felt like I needed to.


This is one of my favorite Maya Angelou essays -  In All Ways a Woman.

In my young years I took pride in the fact that luck was called a lady. In fact, there were so few public acknowledgments of the female presence that I felt personally honored whenever nature and large ships were referred to as feminine. But as I matured, I began to resent being considered a sister to a changeling as fickle as luck, as aloof as an ocean, and as frivolous as nature. The phrase "A woman always has the right to change her mind" played so aptly into the negative image of the female that I made myself a victim to an unwavering decision. Even if I made an inane and stupid choice, I stuck by it rather than "be like a woman and change my mind."

Being a woman is hard work. Not without joy and even ecstasy, but still relentless, unending work. Becoming an old female may require only being born with certain genitalia, inheriting long-living genes and the fortune not to be run over by an out-of-control truck, but to become and remain a woman command the existence and employment of genius.

The woman who survives intact and happy must be at once tender and tough. She must have convinced herself, or be in the unending process of convincing herself, that she, her values, and her choices are important. In a time and world where males hold sway and control, the pressure upon women to yield their rights-of-way is tremendous. And it is under those very circumstances that the woman's toughness must be in evidence.

She must resist considering herself a lesser version of her male counterpart. She is not a sculptress, poetess, authoress, Jewess, Negress, or even (now rare) in university parlance a rectoress. If she is the thing, then for her own sense of self and for the education of the ill-informed she must insist with rectitude in being the thing and in being called the thing.

A rose by any other name may smell as sweet, but a woman called by a devaluing name will only be weakened by the misnomer. She will need to prize her tenderness and be able to display it at appropriate times in order to prevent toughness from gaining total authority and to avoid becoming a mirror image of those men who value power above life, and control over love. It is imperative that a woman keep her sense of humor intact and at the ready. She must see, even if only in secret, that she is the funniest, looniest woman in her world, which she should also see as being the most absurd world of all times. It has been said that laughter is therapeutic and amiability lengthens the life span. Women should be tough, tender, laugh as much as possible, and live long lives. The struggle for equality continues unabated, and the woman warrior who is armed with wit and courage will be among the first to celebrate victory.

Friday, December 06, 2013

Cold Jokes


Temperatures are dropping.

The wind is blowing.

Snow is falling.

It's time to find humor in an uncontrollable situation.

Let the cold jokes begin:

It's colder than a witch's titty.

It's colder than a brass bra.

It's colder than a well digger's ass.

It's colder than a brass toilet seat on the shady side of an iceberg.

It's colder than a penguin's pecker.

It's so cold that the local flasher was caught *describing* himself
to women.

It's so cold the "shrinkage" gave him a man-gina.

It's so cold we had to chisel the dog off a lamp-post.

It's so cold your false teeth chatter, and they are still in the glass.

It’s so cold the rock rattling around in your shoe is your toe.

It's so cold our words froze in midair and we had to put them in a frying pan to thaw them so we hear what we were talking about.

It's so cold even the dog wanted a cup of coffee.

It's so cold when I put on my coat to take out the garbage it didn't want to go!

It's so cold the hookers downtown are charging 20 bucks just to blow on your hands.

It was so cold tea cozies were being used for things that tea cozies should never be used for.

And finally,

Q: What do you get from sitting on the ice too long?
A: Polaroids!

Thank you ladies and gentlemen, I'll be here all week!

Ba boom ching!

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Landslide



"Landslide" by Stevie Nicks
I took my love and I took it down
I climbed a mountain and I turned around
And I saw my reflection in the snow covered hills
'Till the landslide brought me down

Oh mirror in the sky, what is love?
Can the child within my heart rise above?
Can I sail through the changing ocean tides
Can I handle the seasons of my life?
Mmm mmm I don’t know
Mmm mmm Mmm mmm

Well I’ve been afraid of changing ‘cause I
Built my life around you.
But time makes you bolder
Children get older and I’m getting older too

So…

I’ve been afraid of changing ‘cause I
I built my life around you
But time makes you bolder, even children get older
and I’m getting older too
I’m getting older too
So, take this love, take it down.
Oh, if you climb a mountain and you turn around
If you see my reflection in the snow covered hills
Well the landslide will bring it down, down
And if you see my reflection in the snow covered hills,
Well maybe, the landslide ‘ill bring it down.
Well, well the landslide with bring it down.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

When I come to terms with this...


When I come to terms to terms with this
My world will change for me
I haven't moved since the call came
Since the call came I haven't moved
I stare at the wall knowing on the other side
The storm that waits for me

"Parasol" by Tori Amos from The Beekeeper


When I come to terms to terms with this
When I come to terms with this
When I come to terms to terms with this
My world will change for me
I haven't moved since the call came
Since the call came I haven't moved
I stare at the wall knowing on the other side
The storm that waits for me

Then the Seated Woman with a Parasol
May be the only one you can't betray
If I'm the Seated Woman with a Parasol
I will be safe in my frame

I have no need for a sea view
For a sea view I have no need
I have my little pleasures
This wall being one of these

When I come to terms to terms with this
When I come to terms with this
When I come to terms with this whip lash
of silk on wool embroidery

Then the Seated Woman with a Parasol
May be the only one you can't betray
If I'm the Seated Woman with a Parasol
I will be safe in my frame
I will be safe
In my frame
In your house
In your frame