Wednesday, March 30, 2005

What did you just say to me?

Knowing what to say when someone drops some stinkbomb of news on you is an art not many of us have mastered. We fumble around like pigs on rollerskates hoping not to be eating a lunch of our own feet, dressing on the side please. Of course, it can be darn near impossible to say just the right thing, so we rely on the popular fall-backs of "I'm sorry" and "I'm really sorry" and my personal favorite "Well fucking shit". Reactions to words are unpredictable, but being armed with some information in your bag of tricks can be more helpful than you know.

Even though I'm talking about my own personal experiences with cancer, and the people I encounter in the world who find out about it, I think this can be applied to all kinds of situations. Accidents, disease, a really bad hair day. Take it how you'd like.

If there's one piece of advice I can give to anyone who's on the outside looking in, acting in a supporting role to someone you know with cancer, being a good listener is the best gift you can give. My boyfriend is the best. He's sensitive and intelligent and incredible. But even he didn't know what to say when I was floating through last week scared beyond the ability to exist as little more than an automaton. And then when I had to make the call on Friday that the news wasn't very good, I was worried about how he'd feel, knowing that this man I love would be on the other end of the phone feeling helpless and stupid.

I told him, all you need to do is say "baby, I love you, and I'm here for whatever you need". "We'll get through this together". And that's exactly what I heard. Done and Done.

That's the best you can do. Let the person know that you're here to help and take their lead. Listen to their fears and keep your trap shut when the inclination to spew some well-intentioned cliché pops into your head. A person who's facing treatments, surgery, pain, life-altering permanent changes, asshole doctors, possible death, and everything else that comes with a serious illness has enough to worry about.

They don't need to be arguing with someone on the phone who's supposed to be giving support. They don't need to be comforting the person who doesn't have the hospital wrist-band hanging from their arm. And they don't need any more balls of shit to juggle.

There's a lot of good information out there to help you learn how to deal and how to approach a person who's faced with cancer. Do your homework. Don't be one of the bazillion ignorants out there who speak out of their asses. It's stressful for all involved, and the patient isn't the only one who goes through it, I realize this, but you know what? The patient is the main concern, not you, so it's just too fucking bad if they're gonna get a free pass for awhile.

Here's an example of just some of the retarded things I've heard since my diagnosis:

"Well, at least you'll lose some weight with the chemo, right?" Um, I don't get chemo and I have thyroid cancer. You know, that thing that runs your METABOLISM. The thing they're SHUTTING DOWN. Weight gain, you jackfuck, is in my future, but thanks for one of the most cold-hearted crap things anyone said to me.

"That doesn't sound so bad." Surgery and radiation? Oh yea, you're right. IT'S A FUCKING PICNIC.

"You're lucky." Golly, you're right, I feel lucky. Thanks for reminding me. Can you please hold this WHILE I PUNCH YOU IN THE FACE?

"You have the 'good' cancer." I do? If it's so good, why don't YOU take it.

"It's OK to be afraid but don't talk about it." Wow, thanks so much for calling. I'd just been thinking that I wanted to spend a good portion of my day arguing with something who's head is up their ass.

"I stopped talking to you because I didn't want to hear you complain." Oh yea, because being terrified that you're going to croak in your 30's and confiding to your best friend of 30+ years was SO stupid. What was I thinking? How dare I want to talk about things like not being able to brush my own hair for 2 months because I'm so weak I can barely walk. Look at me, the big BABY.

"You still don't feel well?" Um, no. I just had a major organ yanked out of my neck, an organ you DIE without and I can't take any medication until I'm more than half dead so they can give me a dose of radiation so powerful that I'm QUARANTINED in my own home for 10 days and I have a list of side-effects a long as my puffy little arm and I'm taking care of myself and will be trying to find the right dosage of medication that takes, on average, 2 years to get right. So, no, after only 3 months I'm STILL NOT FEELING SO HOT.

"If it were me, I'd just..." Oh please. Please don't ever say this one or you are more than deserving of a pole up your anus. I'm not you, you stupid fuckwad.

"This hasn't been easy for us either. Driving in this traffic is very stressful." That one was my mother. Thanks mom. Traffic really compares to surgery for cancer. You. Poor. Thing.

And the worst one of them all by a landslide:

"I promise, it's nothing."

Don't ever, ever, EVER tell someone that you promise them anything. You can't. Unless you're God, you can't. It's not a confidence booster. It's not something you can deliver. It's not fair.

I was told the same thing by my first doctors, and it wasn't nothing. It was something. A big fucking something. I was told that again last week. "I'm sure it'll be clean". Oh yea? Are you sure? Can you put that in writing? Are you willing to tattoo that on your forehead? I know it seems like a statement like that would be comforting, but it's not. Not to me anyway.

I give people a lot of slack and understanding, especially strangers and those who don't know me well. I get it. I know you feel helpless and it's scary to know someone who's sick. I know it. All I'm asking is that you take a minute to think before speaking. To ponder for a second who you're talking to and what their personality style is. I'm a soldier. I don't want to be told to "remain positive". Fuck you. Do you tell a soldier to stop and smell the roses? No. You tell them to be on guard, be prepared, and go in fighting. I'll do the positive thing when I'm good and ready.

Take the other person's lead. Listen. Offer your help in any way they need it. That's the best thing you can do. Don't cut them off. Don't be afraid to talk to them or send a little note telling them that you care and they're in your thoughts. That's a kind of medicine not available through modern science. Trust me on this.


Saturday, March 26, 2005

Besides that Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?

Praise be to Jebus for drive-thru's and chocolate. Inhaling that Big Mac after 10 days of garlic-drowned crap was a divine experience. Although they totally fucked me on the fries and my little red carton was only half full. Bastiges. I also made sure the very first thing that dissolved on my tongue was a Dove bar. It served so many purposes...

Before I get to the meat and potatoes (mmmm, potatoes), I first must thank each and every person who sent thoughts my way, lit candles, used their super vibe powers, wrote me directly, left comments, or crossed multiple body parts (hope there weren't any injuries). Call it prayer, call it what you will, but I'm living proof that it does work. It's sustaining and important, effective and so incredibly appreciated. Seriously. I can feel it. And i'm SO blessed with the friends I have and the strangers who care. Love you guys.

Here's the deal. I have a shadow. God Dammit. A shadow. In my neck. Looming about like a ghost trying to make trouble. Crap. Fuck. Ballsac. Crap.

What this means, I'm not sure. My scan wasn't clean. It wasn't necessarily positive either. It's a question mark. I hate question marks. They're the total fag of punctuation marks. With it's bulbous head and fancy half-swirl. Homo. I officially hate them. For prosperity's sake and pure spite, I will replace them with the ampersand in this post. Fucker question marks. (And please don't get all bent out of shape because of my disparaging homosexual remarks, I have the blessing of my lovely and very gay best friend).

Here's some medical stuff:

Thyroid cancer is a very slow growing cancer. Many times someone will die of other causes and during a CSI moment, they'll discover thyroid cancer. The kind I had (have&) has a very low mortality rate. Going through all of it sucks ass and changes your life forever and is scary as all fuck, blah blah blah. Most of the medical profession treats you like you have a cold, which needs to change or my foot is going to find itself up so many asses, and I don't have that kind of time or the proper footwear.

You have to be scanned for the rest of your life, but here's the rub. If they find something, they don't know if it's cancer or not. But the treatment is the same. (A hefty dose of radioactive iodine, quarantine, weeks off of my life-sustaining meds and months and months of nasty side effects of pain). They will just assume anything found on a scan could be cancer, even if it's benign tissue. Not a great deduction, in my opinion. Radiation is no picnic, and preparing for it, not-to-mention the 12 months of recovery (ha ha, there's irony for you) are horrible. I have yet to recover from what I want through over a year ago.

The scan is not supposed to be the only tool. There's a blood test that they use as the second marker telling the story. I have anti-bodies, so my blood tests are useless. My body started fighting the cancer and released a bunch of virus-killing anti-bodies, but since cancer isn't the flu, all it does is leave them floating around like fembots when you're looking for a real girl. She's got a nice rack, but it's made out of plastic. So, they can't tell if I really have cancer cells or not. Technology Shmology.

So, here's my plan. There will be no falling apart. There will be no doomsday speeches. There will be no more obsessive, ruminating thoughts about this subject. There will be no more "life on hold", existing in a state of paralyzing fear, floating in a state of limbo. There will be no more feeling like shit almost every day. There will be no more beating myself up like Mike Tyson on crack. There will absolutely, positively, one hundred fucking percent, be no more blaming myself for this cancer. Amen. ~Bow~

I'm not sure what happened when I was standing in that hospital hallway being told of the shadow. I felt hot tears start to fall down my cheeks. I could feel the panic gripping my chest. I had to pull myself together to get a blood test and I did. I walked out of the hospital with a bandage on my throbbing needle-poked hand fumbling for the chocolate that I no longer wanted.

I made a couple calls and as I was telling the story things started the change. I somehow knew this would be the outcome and as my tears dried up, a newly found peace took over. I just knew it would turn out this way. I was only relieved with my clean scan news last year for about 2 days when the overwhelming fear set back in. Listen to your gut people. It knows.

I started to think about my life and feeling so unbelievably trapped all the time because of the cancer. And I'm done. I'm fucking done! I don't want to be scared anymore. I don't want to feel like I've been slapped in the face by some imaginary force every time I hear the word cancer (20 times a day). I don't want to wonder if I can make plans for the weekend because I'm not sure how I'll feel. I don't want to live with this particular shadow over me. I might have one in my neck, but I don't have to fucking live under one anymore.

Of course I'm not so naïve that I think this is some newly adopted full-time attitude. I kind of woke up with an optimism hang-over this morning already. Most of the time I'm a realist. Proudly so. Sometimes an optimist, more often a pessimist. But usually I don't look at a glass to judge whether it's half full or half empty. I simply say, it's a glass, it has water in it. Sometimes I appreciate whatever measurement of liquid refreshment it will provide, sometimes I'm resentful it's not pure Vodka. I try to be a straight-shooter, light on the BS, heavy on the matter-of-fact. And it's time to apply it to this aspect of my reality. The reality I'll be dealing with for the rest of my life, but it's going to be my life.

I had this strange sensation wash over me as I was making and receiving calls and answering questions to my on-line friends. I'm O.K. I'm really O.K. Somehow I don't think this spot in my neck is anything to worry about, but if I have to be treated, it will done on my time-line. Hey doc, I can pencil you in sometime in October. I will control what happens to my body, as much as I can, and I will do my damnedest to control what happens in my mind. I'm totally kick-ass and it's time I make that my mantra instead of "oh shit oh shit oh shit".

I'll be waiting to hear from my endocrinologist to see what he's going to recommend, but in the meantime, I'm good. I'm loving my friends. I'm looking forward to being good to myself to the core. Not just with new shoes and sparkly jewelry, but with a much nicer inner voice. I'm so in love with the most beautiful man on the planet it's sick and I can't wait for the future.

And to the cancer that has interrupted enough of my life in the last 2 years. You can't hurt me anymore. Take that, asshole.

**All the feelings and sentiments stated here are subject to change. I'm still a kook, afterall. Heh.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Today's the day

Wish me luck. Send a good vibe. Cross a body part. Please?

Awash with fear but hoping for the best.


Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Baby, can you spare a yolk?

You know when you're restricted from something you want it all that much more, even if it wasn't anything in the forefront of your mind? Someone tells you not to think about the color blue and suddenly you're barraged with all things blue and into your mind pops the memory of that hideous, dingy aquamarine sweater your Aunt Helga knitted for you and forced you to wear at Christmas dinner your junior year in high school when the boy you had your hormonal hots over was coming by and your hopes of being kissed in the night mist on your driveway were dashed because you looked like a blanket from a yard sale. Not that that happened to me.

And we all know the story of the Stay Puft Marshmallow man. That was a disaster.

This phenomenon is bad enough for innocuous subjects such as tasteless clothing and obscure movie villains, and can cause a perfectly well-balanced and utterly groundedly sane person such as myself (stop that laughing this instant) to develop a noticeable twitch and crazy eye, but have the object of your restricted desire be FOOD, and people, blood could be shed. Justifiable blood.

In order to prepare for my scan on Friday, I have to deplete my system from as much iodine as possible. I could get into a lengthy explanation of thyroid cancer and all that rot, but not everyone is as interested in the subject as me and there's no short version. They use radioactive iodine in scans and treatment, so you want any cells that may be floating around to be "starving" for the stuff, therefore, you can't eat any nor can you get any on your skin. Guess I'll have to cancel my iodine soak later. Shoot.

As I previously mentioned, you would not fucking believe how much shit has iodine in it. Anything that comes from the sea and anything made with anything that comes from the sea. Ever see the word "carrageenan" on your Ben & Jerry's label? That's made from seaweed folks. Yep. That's right. Seaweed. For those of you who poo-poo sushi and swear to never put anything remotely related to fish past your precious lips, if you've eaten ice cream you have ingested seaweed. Ha ha ha. Seaweed eater.

I also can't have iodized or sea salt or anything containing those, dairy, egg yolks, dye #3, molasses, rhubard (I know, the injustice. I don't even know what rhubard looks like, but alas, don't give me any!!), anything manufactured or processed (did you catch that part? This means if someone besides me made it, I can't have it. Wanna come over for dinner?), any meat that has been injected with broth, soy in any form (gag), beans, potato skins, and the worst of it all, chocolate.

I'm not just a label reader now, I'm a label scrutinizer. I'm forced to cook, which I suck at, and I'm eating about 500 million pounds of plain pasta with non-iodized salt and olive oil a day. That's so not on the South Beach plan. Organic, raised on the non-stressful plains of Iowa massaged daily by virginal Swedish massage therapists and completely tasteless Zen beef that cost approximately $20.00 a pound. Home-made bread that I refer to as "the brick", although today's loaf could be re-named "the disintegrate". And the occasional cucumber slice.

This. Blows.

I can't eat normally until after my scan on Friday and I've been on this stupid, stupid diet since the 14th. I've been on a million diets and this one is by far the worst mind-fucking, crappy, bland, nearly impossible one to follow. I thought Weight Watchers was bad. With the points and the counting and the slide rule and the algorithm charts of the cellular breakdown of fats to consider. OMG! I just ate a peanut! How many points is that?!? What a pain. For any person who thinks about food more than normal, why do they create a program that makes you think of nothing but? Now, it's not like I can switch to low-fat, low-sugar, normal food. Noooooooo, I have to follow this obscure low-iodine crap and now I'm obsessed with food, worse than usual.

And this leads us full-circle back to my current dilemma. I can't look at anything that deals with food. Commercials, print ads, billboards, cat food. All that dripping pepperoni on pizzas and happy people stuffing their faces with juicy burgers and bright orange Doritos. Those Aussie Outback bastards and their steaming steaks and tight asses. Jack and his damn chicken Chiabata. And the California cheese cows. Those god damn cows.

And of course, my stomach has to pull it's normal deviancy and behave like the schizophrenic that it is. I'm starving ALL THE TIME and it's upset ALL THE TIME.

I've taken to fantasizing about what my first non-restrictive meal is going to be Friday afternoon. A few days ago it was a restaurant-style burger and fries. Then it morphed into a Big Mac. Then it switched to a big salad, then onto a gooey burrito with sour cream and red sauce. Today it was Subway, which might not sound like much to you, but when you've been eating nothing but a 1/3 a cup of plain rice and 4 ounces of baked chicken a day and STILL NOT LOSING A FARGING OUNCE, Subway sounds like La Cirque.

I know this is all necssary, and I've put myself on the strictest regime rather to be safe then sorry, and it's only 10 days out of my life, but damn. It feels like time is standing still in my kitchen and the devil is my bread machine. I feel sorry for anyone who gets in the way of my hoovering maw on Friday when I make my final choice of fare. Step aside people, this chick needs some fucking cheese. Seriously, look out.

I would punch a child for some Taco Bell right now.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Existence Interuptus

As you can see, I successfully loaded Haloscan, without hair pulling or screaming even. Triumph number one.

I was going to try and fake it for the next week, but it doesn't seem to be working. To be honest, I'm preparing for another cancer scan on Friday and facing some scary days. Freaking out that using an experimental drug will kill me, render me a drooling fool or make me grow a tail. Not to mention being forced to eat this stupid retardo diet of no iodine. You would not fucking believe how much shit has iodine in it. An all-whites egg omelet is not appetizing. Looks like scrambled jizz and tastes about as good.

I could say that I'm just not myself, but that would be a lie. I am myself. I'm handling this as best I can. There are moments when I'm downright freaked. Moments when I'm fine. A tear or two here, a laugh or three there. Nervous, anxious, O.K., not O.K. Times when I want to write, to chat, to read, then it all swirls down the drain and I need to disconnect again. Re-charge.

This is something I'll have to face forever, so I will get used to it. I will learn how to do this. But this experience it another new one and you'll have to forgive me if I trip my way through it trying to get my footing. Attempting to pull myself out of the quiksand, get a grip on the crazy and be able to write, but I'm not sure when that will happen.

Meanwhile, please check out the links on my sidebar. There are some great writers over there and some people that I love like crazy. (The good kind of crazy, not the I-eat-lightbulbs crazy). Take care of yourselves and I'll try to pop in on your blogs when I can. God knows I need a ton of distractions this week. Or attempt to draft something coherent myself if there's a break from being a deer in the headlights.



Sunday, March 13, 2005

Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Have credit card - will slice you

Shopping. Ohhhhhhhh, shopping. How I love thee.

Shopping. Ohhhhhhhh, shopping. How I hate thee and make me want to claw at my own eyes and purge the moldy carrot stick I ate for lunch and take a blow torch and burn down an entire indoor mall and all of its contents and mock snotty sales girls as I watch them cry salty tears while their Louis Vuitton handbags go up in flames and all of their size minus-5 jeans smolder into a melted, lycra lump and write a scathing letter to the clothing designers who are clearly smoking meth when they designed the putrid poo they have the nerve to call fashion and hunt down and find the marketing genius's who decide to make it nearly impossible to find one fucking shirt to wear to one teeny tiny fucking sushi party this weekend without having to tear apart rack after rack throwing clothing onto the ratty stained floor because I have to have the arms of an octopus, the dexterity of a safe cracker and the eyes of a god damn microscope to find my fucking size!!

I decided to go the mall last night because it had been awhile. And even though I love my Target, there are certain requirements of my life that only the mall can fulfill, and it makes me feel tingly in my naughty parts. I had a specific goal since I needed to pick up some supplies at the MAC counter, readying myself to brave those scary goth girls with their jet-black hair and chartreuse eye-shadow.

I had changed into my workout clothes, since I had planned on walking after I got home from work, but I didn't look like a total skank. Not exactly Nordstrom-worthy, but nowhere near K-mart caliber. A'ight? Of course the second I breezed through the doors into the high-brow department store I was waiting for the Not What to Wear crew to ambush me before I hit the escalator. Or at the very least, end up in the back pages of Glamour with a big black bar over my eyes, displayed as an example of "What chubby girls should never wear to uppity stores let alone in public".

I was saved by my cell phone and put my paranoia temporarily at bay. I farted around for a bit while chatting, mocking and laughing, and I found one of my favorite shirts on sale. Score! I finished my convo and headed downstairs to cosmetics. I scanned the MAC counter to see if there was anyone remotely human to deal with, and before I had a chance to make my choice, Elvira popped in front of my face and I tried not let my head visibly snap back in horror. Seriously, being edgy and different is one thing. Looking like you got drunk and fell onto a makeup pallet is another. That was some wild-ass stuff my little make-up girl had going on.

I already knew what I wanted but needed some help choosing a lipstick color. I had heard about a certain light shade I was interested in and plucked it out of the stand on my first try. It was pale and shimmery and looked pretty good on the stick. Normally the sales girl inquires right away if you'd like to try something, but of course I had to ask to try it on and she looked at me for a moment as if I'd demanded to finger her ass instead of test out a tube of lipstick.

I figured this excursion was going to be a chore with witchy woman. I applied the new lipwear and looked into the mirror. It was the exact shade of my lips, not an easy feat mind you, and I mentioned it. Elvira spurts, "It's a nude shade, what did you expect?" OK, I'm in a pretty good mood after getting not 1 but 3 calls from friends today, and I have some chocolate in my future, so I'm going to let that little snip go and spare you a nasty poke in that psychedelic sarcastic stupid eye of yours. Beeeech.

I decided to move on to my next quest. I've wanted to be able to wear classic red on my pretty pouty pucker all my life. You know, get that dramatic-starlet-from-the-50's look. But I can't. I just end up looking like I got into my mommy's make-up. Or a whore. A bad whore. An off-the- strip Golden Nugget Vegas whore. So my next choice was dark red with blue tones. (Chicks will know what I'm talking about).

Elvira was busy juggling me, the phone, and bitching with her co-workers over "Miffy" and her "big fat lie" about "stocking the drawers" cuz "she totally di'int". Umm, sales people? When there are customers in ear shot, keep you crabbing pieholes shut. We paying patron's don't give a flying fat that Miffy lied to you, or that your boss is a menopausal hag, or that your yeast infection hasn't cleared up. We don't want to hear it! MmmK?

The lipstick choosing turned into color arguing. Hey, Kelly Osborne's love child, I know what the color red is. I had the 88 Crayola box you twat. This is not red. It's brown. No, I don't like that. No, that's not what I meant. I also know what plum is. This is dark red. Not plum. The kind of dark red I'm looking for. But thanks!

She actually told me at one point that I didn't want dark red. Oh really, I said, I don't? No, you want plum. OK fucker. We had the plum conversation a minute ago. I want deep red. That's purple. And I already own that one. Ya coont.

She walked away for the 10th time to go do whatever and I found one I liked all by myself. Elvira don't know shit. And getting her to help me find the matching liner was ridiculous. It's not like she had to fly to headquarters and retrieve it. This only required bending over. She grabbed the liners and just kept shaking the jar at me, telling me that it's my choice what color I want. No shit She-Rah. But can you maybe spare a brain cell and narrow it down to a couple that match so I'm not lining my beautifully blood-stained lips with frosty orange? Jaysus H. on a popsicle stick. I'm paying you money. I'm not asking you to physically lick my sphincter, so could the word courtesy enter your vocabulary?

I wrapped things up at Nordy's and cruised around the mall a little. I went over to Sephora but it was too bright and shiny and I got scared. Some places you shouldn't go into alone. You need to have a buddy there with you to talk you out of unfortunate choices and keep lying sales people from talking you into those rainbow moonboots with the sparkle ties and the perfume that makes you smell like a cinnamon roll. (One should never smell like a pastry, flowers yes, breakfast, no). Plus I was completely ignored in that store so I left.

My next stop was a chocolatier that I'd been told about earlier in the day. How this place has escaped my radar I do not know. It was a charming little store that had a display of very exotic, hand-made chocolates, a drink and goodie bar, specialty wines, books, gifts, etc. Very Chocolat sans Johnny Depp. I'll write about this later, but they had some ca-razy concoctions. Cheese, pulverized chilies, small furry animals. I lie, but really, they were freaky. I tried a goat cheese one and it wasn't so bad, until I chomped on a pepper. Then the effect was ruined. But I'll try it again. It's chocolate after all. I'd eat a piece of dog-shit if it was covered in chocolate.

Next I went over to Robinson's May. That's like Bloomie's for those not familiar with California malls. I didn't need anything but thought a new shirt for the party I'm going to this weekend would be fun. The second I walked through the doors my eyes experienced an assault I should file suit over. It looked like Easter had exploded in there. Everywhere I turned I saw BRIGHT yellow, BRIGHT pink, BRIGHT green. I wouldn't have been surprised if I'd seen a giant bunny folding pants. And this is where I will break my own rule and use the phrase GAH! Because there is nothing else that will suffice. GAH!

It's stuff like this that makes perfectly sane people talk to themselves and make uncontrollable faces of disgust. And don't you say "nah ah" to me cause you would have too!!

I knew I was up for yet another retail challenge, weeding through this neon nightmare to find something black, or at least decent. A salesperson swooped down on me, while I was blanching over an orange shirt with white polka dots, and tried to talk me into buying something colorful. I thought her use of the word "colorful" was interesting since I'd been thinking the word "horrendous". Paired with puke and no fucking way not on a bet. But at least this woman wasn't looking at me like a had a third tit growning out of my forehead.

As I was searching for something black and/or appropriate, I found myself getting very anxious trying to figure out the damn sizes of this shit. Who's the genius who thought it a good idea to put the size on a tag and face it towards another tag with the designers uninteresting blather on it? I had to turn around like 100 tags and I already had my hands full with my other purchases and the chocolate I was trying sneak into my hungry maw. Then another shirt I liked had a dark brown tag with miniscule dark brown letters showing the size. Shoot. And I'd forgotten my black light. FUCKERS!

I finally found a few things, in 3 different sizes because GOD FORBID there will actually ever be in the whole damn world some kind of standard sizing that's somewhat bloody accurate. And it didn't cost me a kidney in exchange.

As I made my way home, sighing with incredulity and wishing mild harm on those who run this particular industry for make it so fucking hard for consumers to purchase anything, I thought to myself, when I'm ruler of the world, shopping will be a pleasant experience, jeans will actually fit, and J Lo will be eaten by a pack of rabid beavers who've escaped from her fugly over-priced clothing sweat shop. And then life will be good.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Technology Shmology

Blogger is being a booger. Can't get into comments. Can reply. Can't read 'em. Can't open other people's to be a sneaky snake and see what other people are saying. Can't leave 'em. I've got nuthin! Half my posts won't go through and since I'm still posting whitey's, I get the double shaft with no reach around.

So I see you down there. I really like you down there. I really want to say something to you down there. But I can't! Or it's so much of a royal pain in my big white ass, I run out of patience before I follow through.

Switching to Haloscan this weekend. I swear. I'll do it this time. I'll figure out where the code goes, by golly, or I'll hurt someone trying.

Dear Internet Gods That Control Blogger. Please post this. PLEASE. Thank you.


Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Pin the tale on the bride

Like most of us, I've been to many a nuptials. Weddings of all shapes and sizes. Big budgets to medium budgets to holy crap I can't believe I'm losing a Saturday to this shit show budgets. White doves cooing in the background to shoo-ing flies off my deviled eggs in the blistering sun while tipsy nana walks around with her couch-patterned dress tucked into her pantyhose.

For some karmic-kick-in-my-ass reason, I've been the guest at more than my share of truly unbelievable crap occasions. Seriously, one is bad enough, but I've gone to more than a handful. A big fat handful. And I have license to be judgmental about this. I've been married and I threw one hell of a party, making sure the guests who spent countless dollars and expended abundant energy on my special day were amply taken care of with food and fare. So if you don't have the common sense to plan a party that provides a fucking pooper to your patrons, you're gonna be written about on the internet and made fun of by me. Hard.

Here's just one example.


Once upon a time I was invited to a co-workers wedding. This particular fringe friend of mine was a teacher's aid at the school where I taught and shall we say, not of the highest taste. Used toilet as a planter in the front yard kind of taste. Not that I paid that much attention to such things, since we did have a job where we were subsequently covered in kid stink and all that goes with hanging around rug rats all day, but one notices a leather patchwork sling purse when black microfiber Calvin Klein is the current fashion of the day. And in order to slightly protect her identity, we'll call her, ahh, Tarlene. Yes, poor, poor Tarlene.

Young Tarlene was positively desperate to get hitched. You could see the bridal heat emanating from her head like steam floating up between street grates. I sometimes thought that her level of obsession had become so high that she would continue to talk about getting married even when she was alone. And I pictured her wearing a pair of pants on her head as a mock veil twirling in her bathroom mirror chanting "I'm a pretty, pretty bride".

She waited until her boyfriend of 2 years mumbled the word "marry", perhaps in his sleep, and she pounced on him like a hyena on a fresh kill. Tarlene wasn't as happy about her impending union as she was in a great hurry to have it, transpire just in case her betrothed changed his mind. She was proud of her months of manipulation with the end result being her tiny diamond chip around her left ring finger and a fiance interesting in nothing more than how much beer he'd be able to drink after he peeled off his monkey suit.

We had a lot of meetings at our school, a lot, and our director would order goodies and such from our cafeteria to keep us from getting restless, or to keep our mouths shut, whichever, and everything was served on black plastic. Black plates, forks, knives, etc. One day as we were all still munching away and enjoying a celebratory cake for Tarlene, she began to frantically run around gathering up our used utensils, and such, proclaiming that we "MUST SAVE EVERYTHING". I didn't think much of it at the time since this was a school and maybe it was for an art project or something.

Tarlene also took the opportunity at this meeting to hand out invitations, I'm assuming to save on postage. We all quickly tore then open to ogle the design. (Chicks are in to these things). I had to stifle an involuntary grimace upon viewing the, ah, artistic choice of the invite. You see, I was planning my own wedding at the time and recognized this particular illustration right away, since I myself had looked at approximately 50 thousand invitation catalogs so far. The note-card was one I had physically blanched at when I saw it. Shiny, embossed, red and black roses with gold stems bleeding down the cheap paper. Black roses. Black. Yes, I said black.

On one of our maaaaaany wedding conversations, Tarlene shared with me her brilliant plan of buying a wedding dress 18 sizes too big off of a clearance rack and was going to have an aunt alter it. Said aunt didn't have any experience altering wedding dresses, or apparently running a sewing machine, but that was the plan. Her big day was getting closer and I asked how the alterations were going and all I received was a strange look. Something like a cross between deer-in-the-headlights and sniffing a turd. I didn't take this as a good sign.

The summer wedding was only a few weeks away and would take place at my local lake/park. Wait. The lake? In June? On a Saturday afternoon? Outside? At the lake? I've been going to that lake since I was 6 and there's no place for a wedding not to mention that it can soar to over 100 degrees in the summer here. The whole place is hilly and it smells like fish bait. All. The. Time. Oh my god, I realize, this is going to be something all right.

Finally, the big Saturday in question arrived and Tarlene was on cloud Prozac. She left work early in the week to prepare and we all wished her well. I'd made arrangements to meet up with my co-workers at the lake a little before the ceremony and when I arrived I was immediately stuck behind a line of about 30 cars trying to get into the park. The city had begun charging non-residents to enter the lake, something our little Tarlene failed to mention to anyone, but alas, we all got in safe and sound and to the tune of a 4 dollar "use" fee.

I parked and trekked up the hill to the ceremony site where all the shenanigans were to take place. That's when I stopped dead in my tracks and surveyed my surroundings. Dogs barking, children screaming, frisbees flying, boats buzzing, geese honking, music booming, super-soaker water fights streaming overhead, men laying in the grass with their own personal 12 packs, and a 6 sound car alarm blaring non-stop. Eee eee eee, wah-ooo wah-ooo, reh reh reh. Repeat.

I found my friends and a word we did not need to pass between us. It was all laid out in front of our eyes. We made our way to the brown gazebo, so delicately decorated in red and black streamers with those huge pop-out wedding bell things. Red and black streamers. Black. Streamers.

The groom showed up and looked like he's 4 seconds away from a heart attack. Did I mention it was bout 98 degrees? In the shade? While we're all standing around for what seemed like forever and finally there must have been a bat-signal that the bride was a'comin 'roun the moun'n and a roll of plastic sheeting was strewn across the grass to make an aisle to the gazebo. I saw the problem in this little brainstorm right away. Plastic sheeting over grass and a hefty girl in heals does not make for a good combo.

An RV slowly made its way around the driveway and stopped. Yes, I said an RV. The passenger door opened and out slid Tarlene in her humongous wedding dress. Her little pointed headpiece all crooked on her glistening, sweaty forehead threatening to take an eye out. She seemed to be gathering her wits about her while obviously bitching at her driver and trying her best not to let anything fall completely off her ample frame.

A boom box was started but the music was unfortunately in the middle of the wedding march. We all waited patiently, stifling snorts, until the tape was re-wound so they could finally get this nightmare underway. And as I predicted, Tarlene, on the arm of her profusely sweating papa, took her first steps and was promptly skewered into the plastic thus impaling herself into the grass like a psychotic meringue lawn ornament.

Our bride is rescued and tiptoed her way to her beloved. I don't remember much of the ceremony, except for some annoying kid shaking a plastic barney bank full of coins with his mother doing nothing about it then watching him eat shit off a bench. Total face plant into some mud. It was classic. Of course all of cold-hearted teachers didn't move a muscle to rescue the little spaz while he screamed like a stuck pig.

The groom never looked his bride in the face but he made it through without croaking. The minister forget some words but it was all finally over and we all headed to the grooms parents house for the reception and hoped to be rescued from this infernal heat and served some well-deserved refreshing drinks.

We caravaned over to the grooms parents house, in a not-so-great part of town. As we all walked up towards what seemed to be the right place, we witnessed a number of picnic benches on the front lawn. This is when we all realized we'd be spending some more quality time outside in the lovely fucking heat. But at least there was a serve-yourself keg pf Budwiser with plastic cups piled on top! Classy! No munchies, just booze.

We started drinking and waited for the happy couple to get there. They literally took 2 hours to arrive at the "reception". By the time they made an appearance, we were all pretty liquored up, on the edge of heat stroke, and starving.

The food call went out and in our drunken haze we made our way to the backyard, where we found a lovely spread of lettuce in a tupperware bowl, a few industrial-sized squeeze bottles of dressing, chips (not even ruffled) some bar-b-que'd chicken that had been carved outside complete with the discarded carcasses piled on the grill, potato salad being enjoyed by our insect friends, and I shit you not, make your own sloppy joes. Yes, you read correctly. Close your mouth. SLOPPY FREAKIN' JOES. An orange extension cord wound its way from the kitchen window and across the grass to a big ole' crock pot of bubbling, congealed meat with a bag of buns to accompany this five star fodder.

It was all I could do not to piss myself from laughing. We loaded our plates with whatever didn't look like it has succumbed to e-coli and went back to our picnic bench, where I enjoyed some close, personal contact with the neighbors cat who chose to seductively wind around my legs begging for a chicken bone.

We finished eating, I think, I was drunk, and an announcement was made that the cutting of the cake would soon commence. I thought, now finally, some cake will make this day from hell better. Because when does cake not make it all better?

Since I've eluded to the fact that Tarlene's chosen color scheme was, for fuckssake, black and red you can imagine what might be coming next. We shuffled our inebriated asses over to the cake table and that's when I saw it. There, in all its splendor, flanked by 2 large plastic red vases stuffed with black, silk roses, was Angelina Jolie's wedding cake. Count Dracula's confection. Damian's desert.

A 3-tiered cake covered in blood red and black roses. Red and black roses. Black. Roses.

How they got this monstrosity made I'll never know. I was not about to consume the rose of death even if it was made of pure sugar. No f'n way.

And right beside the cake was our used and recycled, and hopefully disenfected, black plates and utensils from the school.

We stuck around to see the bride and groom stagger on the oil-soaked driveway to their first dance. If I remember correctly it was something romantic like Smack My Bitch Up, as on-lookers smiled widely with black teeth stained by the death roses. After pinning my dollar on the groom and giving some congratulatory hugs, my friend and I got the hell out of there and made our way to a local bar for some much needed AC, a decent drink, and a hearty laugh.

Good times.

I know why the caged bird stinks

Freedom is a futile goal. To be truly free to be yourself in even one relationship, one occasion, one situation. It’s a nice concept, but just doesn’t exist. Unconditional acceptance is a lie.

It’s amazing the mental bars we can contain ourselves in. An ideological prison locking us down. Entirely of our own making. Well, that’s not always the case. There are circumstantial components beyond our control sometimes. Some of these being for our own good and safety. No-brainers like rules and laws of society so it’s not cool from someone to walk up and bust a cap in your ass for no good reason.

What I’m talking about is the ability to be completely yourself. To let all ideas and thoughts spill out of your vault and allow yourself the breathing room we all desire. To be unafraid to voice your worries and concerns. To share your hearts desires. To abolish worry and pre-conceived judgments, even from someone you trust, or try to trust. Letting fears drown in the pool of faith.

The darkest secrets should be kept in the closet with the skeletons. But being comfortable enough to spew what’s on your mind is, for me, a palatable desire, yet an unobtainable one.

The internet isn’t a safe enough place to do this. Trolls will always be around to shit on your heart’s texts. Your family won’t listen since they have too much history with you under their belt and their listening skills shut down far before their mouths begin to run. Your friends, no matter how accepting they appear to be, have lines that you can not cross or they will be gone. Your lover will only take so much before they’re out the door muttering under their breath that you were a crazy pain in the ass.

I equate this kind of peace of mind to a lazy day with bright skies and a cool breeze. The kind of day that allows you to take the deepest, most fulfilling breaths. A calm you feel to the core of your soul.

I’m standing in a dank room with cigar smoke choking the atmosphere and someone just farted.