Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Thank you for being a friend

Things have changed around my house since my mom came to live with us in July.

First, Bill and I remodeled our formerly disgusting teenager room/dirty storage dump of a basement into a surprisingly comfortable bedroom.

Yes, we have stackable washer and dryer machines in our closet, but we've also got privacy and new carpet and a memory-foam mattress topper and a TV in our own room. (And it's remarkable how convenient it is to do the laundry right before I got to bed and never have to leave my room!)

In our almost 10 years of marriage, Bill and I have never had a TV in our bedroom before. What a luxury! I mean, I could totally live without it, but man oh man, it's so nice to be able to do my nightly yoga et al. while watching reruns of Top Chef in the privacy of my own room. (Yes, I do watch TV while I do yoga and it probably does spoil the centering/earthy goodness of yoga, but it's how I roll ... plus it's better than lying there eating tiny box after tiny box of Junior Mints while watching TV.)

I no longer have to worry about the neighbors making the unfortunate mistake of glancing in our windows while I'm in the middle of downward dog ... yeah, it's not a pretty sight. All those months of indulgent eating has made one wide, Haute-Mama derriere.

One of the best things that has happened is that Margaret no longer comes into our bed anymore.

No, silly rabbit, she didn't start sleeping in her own bed. That would be some kind of child torture to make that girl sleep in her own bed (according to her, anyway). Now, she sleeps in my mom's bed.

And you know what, I think it's great.

All those years of her stealthy moves getting into our bed and sleeping on the tiniest of slivers of mattress has made Margaret quite a decent bed companion. She stays on her side of the bed, leaving ample room for my mom and she's not bothered by my mom's TV.

Being that my mom still spends a lot of time in bed due to the pain in lower spine and hip from that stupid cancer, she had the TV on a lot for distraction and entertainment.

When it's time for Margaret to go to sleep, my mom doesn't have to turn off the TV. Instead, she simply tells Mar it's time bedtime and Mar dutifully places one of her stuffed "guys" over her eyes and goes to sleep.


It's crazy, but it works.

And I don't have a kid in my bed anymore.


But there has been one strange side effect from Mar sleeping in my mom's bed. Margaret has developed a taste for old reruns, most notably "Golden Girls."

You know, the sitcom from the '80s with Blanche, Rose, Dorothy and Sophia.

Yeah, that one.

In the mornings when I come up out of the basement on my way to work, I often find Margaret eating her breakfast in the living room watching "Golden Girls" instead of "Ben Ten."

It's not really appropriate for a 9-year-old girl, but the bawdy humor mostly goes over her head and Sophia's zingers make Margaret laugh out loud.

Plus she and I like to sing the theme song in duet. Let's all sing along: Thank you for being a fri-end, traveled down the road and back again ...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

More Mucha, more pain

Bill and I spent the weekend in Denver. His band had a show Saturday night and we stayed up late both nights having a good time.

And what's the best way to recover from a weekend of music, beer, friends and family?

Yep, spending five hours Monday getting tattooed.


And I'm not including set up time 'n' crap. Erik from the Raw Canvas got started and worked hard all afternoon. We took one break during which I considered running away, but the pain is so worth it.

Check it out:

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Silly girl, hooker shoes are for hookers

Last night the Riveter posse loaded up and hit the Social Distortion show at the Mesa Theater. It was a sold-out show and the place was hopping (but I have to say that Bret's crowd packed the front of the stage for the entire night).

Being the Riveter girls that we are, we got ourselves all gussied up, hooker shoes 'n' all — which seemed like a good idea at the time.

There were two opening bands and then Mike Ness et al. took the stage and rocked the hizzouse.

Man, they were good.

Bill and I worked our way to the front of the stage because that's where I want to be ... where the action's at. I clung to the rail as Bill deflected the moshers away. Ah, good times.

But as the night wore on, my feet wore down.

Four inch heels just ain't as comfortable as you'd think. And because I'm just not that smart, I agreed to stop at the Quincy briefly to check out local no-coast punk rock band, Loaded. 45, after the show. Our ride had to head home, so I nonchalantly insisted, "Oh, we'll just walk home."

I mean, we live downtown precisely so we can walk home. But walking home in platform stilettos after four hours of steady rockin' is an excruciating proposition.

I made it all the way across the street from the bar when I moaned in pain and took off my shoes. But the pain persisted and was exacerbated by the hard, pebbley ground.

Fear not, I'm married to a man that still believes in chivalry.

Bill quickly took off his Docs and passed them on to me.

So there I was slopping down the street in big Dr. Marten's while Bill walked along sock footed and carrying my hooker shoes.

So the moral that I'm gleaning from this story is that hooker shoes are for hookers who have pimps to give them rides home.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Friday, September 18, 2009

Giant Pencil ain't so giant anymore

Look at my not-so Giant Pencil.

It's down to 5" from its original 16" from a year ago. It's on the verge of wee-ness.

I should not be surprised by this considering I use this pencil everyday at work, including when I use it to do the crossword puzzle?


It's not wasting time at work, people, it's quality control.

Anyway, we're going back to D.C. next month and I'll make sure to get another Giant Pencil. I'll call the new Giant Pencil, Giant Pencil, Jr. or Giant Pencil V.2 or Another Giant Pencil and it will be glorious.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

They're coming to take me away ... except not

I wish the sand in my oyster was going to make a pearl.

But I'm probably going to end up with an ulcer.

Or a trip the "quiet room."

And you know what, a trip to the loony bin doesn't seem so bad today.

There'd be lots of sedatives. Mmm sedation (I should write a song about that). I could stay in my pajamas all day. No work clothes, no laundry, no crickets in my bedroom, no forgotten books or being late for stuff.

If movie depictions of asylums are correct, I wouldn't have to brush my hair and I could just wander around looking soulless — apparently I've already got that look down pat according to the coworkers who remind me daily of how wan and tired I appear.

No one would be disappointed that I'm not doing my Survivor Dorks game this season or that I still can't figure out how to play the guitar or that I couldn't take them to the park or shopping or that the Internet's not working or that there's a partially live, defeathered bird under my kid's futon.

I could get used to wearing white all the time, instead of black.

I wouldn't have to worry about the fact that all the cars need oil changes and to be cleaned inside and out or that the cleaning ladies didn't dust downstairs or that my ass is too fat to fit on my mom's toiletseat.

Of course, there would be downsides ... like other crazy people. I wouldn't want to have to be part of a crazy person group, I don't think. What if they wanted to touch me or tell me boring/crazy/poopy things? Or smelled bad?

I don't think I'd like that.

Also, what if they don't have nice sheets or I couldn't watch Project Runway? I know I wouldn't like that.

Oh, and I'd miss my kid. She's still a pill some of the time, but mostly she's awesome. So funny and fun to be around. She motivates me and even tells me it's all going to be OK. And my husband — he have to come with me because my favorite time of the day is when I get to cozy up next to him and go to sleep. Oh and my mom, just having her in my house makes me happy.

Yeah, and I've worked hard for all that I have and I'd proly get tired of sedation and Nurse Ratched, so instead I'll whine on my blog and then keep on keeping on.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The painting

I've been driving my mom's car to work most days. It's zippy and little and I like it. It doesn't match my work wardrobe like my Trailblazer, but the new Forester makes up for it by being utterly cute ... uh, I mean, because it gets good gas mileage.

I learned to love cars from my dad. He was a fanatic over anything with an internal-combustion engine. If I could afford it, I would get a different car every couple years. Believe me, I could go on and on about cars, blah, blah, but this post isn't about cars really.

I'm just trying to figure out a way to get to what I've been really needing to write. I've begun writing this many times over the last couple months, but the truth is mean and ugly and I wish I could kick it in the ding dong.

I've been driving my mom's car, because she can't.

She's sick.

That's how I always start out this conversation. Before anyone can ask if she's got the flu. I then blurt out, she's got cancer.

Just seeing that word written there starts to make me mad and sad simultaneously.

She's got bad cancer. In her bones. It metastasized from the bout of breast cancer she had several years ago.

And it sucks.

It sucks for so many different reasons. One of them being that up until my dad passed away a year and a half ago, my mother cared for my dad while his health failed for years. It was a torturous illness and after it was all over, my mom was free.

Of course, there's guilt to be paid for that freedom, but she didn't pick for my dad to be sick and she cared for him in a way that was truly heroic.

And now she's sick. With bad cancer.

She lives with us now and recently she's started doing better. Getting around better, feeling less pain, being more of herself.

She's still very limited in her activity. Sitting and walking are hard still. But we're finally seeing improvement after two rounds of radiation and some other treatments and handfuls of pills.

There are many women in my mom's situation — breast cancer which as metastasized to the bones — who live pretty darn good lives. We're working toward that. We're making progress. There is improvement.

And then a couple weeks ago, my mom got a call from a sister Cynthia (No. 4) in Denver. My grandmother, my mom's mom, was gravely ill. All six of my grandmother's children came to Denver to see my gramma. I brought my mom.

Luckily for all of us, gramma rebounded nicely and is back on Facebook (Hi Gramma!) with her new laptop computer. Progress. Improvement.

One of the side effects of the hurried trip to see my gramma was that one of my aunts, my Aunt Sandra — my mom's youngest sister (No. 6), who lived close to us as I was growing up and was much like a big sister to me — brought the painting she had painted for my mother.

For those unfamiliar, it's a view of the Santa Cruz Boardwalk.

And it's wonderful.

When it arrived at my Aunt Pat's (No. 3) house, we all took turns admiring it. I think we were all in agreement that it's very good and we're not just saying that because we're related to the artist.

When I showed it to Margaret, her first comment was fear for the safety of the people riding in the tram cars because there didn't appear to be any safety features (that's my girl, always on the lookout for danger).

I told Sandra about Mar's concerns and she agreed, admitting that she didn't have the time to properly restrain the people riding her painted tram. We are all related, aren't we?

As far as I know, no one in the family but Sandra has any of her paintings. The painting hangs in my mom's bedroom, next to her bed. And it looks amazing.

Sandra said she had fun painting and that she's eager to do more representation work.

I can't wait to see what she does next. And I can't wait to visit my gramma again and see my aunts and cousins again and for my mom to be able to travel more extensively and ...

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Ketchup gets a friend

Thanks to Emily who was kind enough to swipe Ms. Mayo to go with our lonely Mr. Ketchup.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Friends = awesomeness

These are our lovely friends, Jeff and Melissa. Jeff (aka Yuppie Jak) is a member of Jak's Skateboard "Team" (I use the word "team" loosely — very loosely) along with punk-rock legend Bill Halen (aka Jak's team legend Bill Halen).

Saturday, Bill and I took a few hours from our family situation in Denver to visit with Yuppie Jak and his uber-awesome lovely.

They took us to an amazing French restaurant, Bistro Vendome where we shared orders of mussels and pomme frites that were so good, I wanted to move in and dine exclusively on them forever.

Even though they were preparing to hike one of Colorado's famous 14ers the next day, they graciously ate and drank with us and we happily accompanied them in some pre-hike shopping (Hello REI, thanks for the smashing deal on skis and bindings for Margaret).

We ended our visit by viewing Melissa's show of paintings. I really enjoyed Melissa's paintings, as they're crisp details of cuteness work on a sophisticated level.

Looking at art is one of my most favorite things to do ... right next to visiting with awesome friends.