The Boss of Everything

Youngest grandson, seven, called me this afternoon and wanted to know would I come pick him up “now or later, whichever is best for you” and take him to Game Stop to buy a Skylanders figure (pricy video game paraphernalia,  don’t ask).

Seems his older brother was invited to a friend’s house for the day and since he wasn’t invited and didn’t have anywhere to go it was only fair that he get a toy to compensate for this cruel injustice.

I asked him what Mom thought about this scheme and did she know he was calling me.  He said, “Well, Didi, since you’re really the boss of everything, you can tell Mommy what to do.”

Just wanted to let y’all know in case you thought you were the boss of everything.

Shouldn’ta left your keys out, Pops

A golf cart. Photo courtesy of a Google search and Allstate.com

One summer, when I was 10 or 11, my older brother and I “borrowed” our father’s golf cart from the cart shed at the country club1.  It was my brother’s idea.  I was just along for the ride.  Or not, as it turned out.  (My father was playing golf at the time.  He played golf so much I thought that’s what he did for a living.)

I wanted to drive the cart so I kept trying to grab the steering wheel away from my brother.  We fought, the cart swerved, —  lookout! lookout! — my brother lost control and I went flying off the side, hit my head on the concrete in the parking lot and blacked out.  I don’t remember anything after that.  I’m sure I got in trouble, but I’m also pretty sure I milked it the whole way.

Aside from the dementia I will surely suffer as a result of this wholly avoidable accident and ensuing brain damage, it might also explain my overall quirkiness, which includes a fun talent for making shit up — book titles, colors, songs, character names — that I’m sure will come in handy later on when the dementia hits and my mind is cooked cabbage.  (If cancer doesn’t get me first.  What a fun future:  dementia or cancer.)

As an example, these are book titles I wrote down on the notebook beside my bed.  Tell me you wouldn’t be dying to read these:

Any Number Less Than One

Paltroi

Twilight’s Blessing of Carnage

Vuk Proleo:  The March Backward for Hungary

Zan Coco Sayer:  My Years as a Feather Girl

Don’t ask me what any of them mean.  Have no idea, I just make them up.

I’m guessing they are trapped in that space that was damaged when I blacked out, and they seep into my consciousness periodically, in a pathetic attempt to escape the curcoil of my mind. Maybe. Curcoil, another word I just made up.

Also.  Don’t even challenge me to a game of Balderdash because you’ll end up on the pavement.  I mean it.  Champeen.

Yeah, I spent my childhood as a country club brat.  Until my father left us.  With nothing.  Thankfully, I had a resilient mother and some straight up kick-ass grandparents who together saw to it that we had fine childhood.

Am I still here?

Well hell. It looks like it.

In that case, might as well try a new look for the blog so you won’t notice that I haven’t written anything in a month.

The Two Things page may not get updated anytime soon because now that a walking mental disorder and his presidential* shitshow have invaded our national psyche like a black, fetid plague, I’m having trouble piecing together even one good thing to enjoy about life, except going to sleep at night so I don’t have to think about the havoc he’s wreaked on decency and democracy in less than a month.

So, random …

. . .  For Cancerland residents (think of us as a retirement community in Arizona), tonight’s ALCF Living Room (Addario Lung Cancer Foundation) had an informative session on liquid biopsy.  Even if you aren’t a resident and you like science, it was interesting. Biology is a thrill, I tell ya, a stone thrill.

. . . Today my grandson wrote a letter to NASA asking if they could build a cloning machine. If they could, would they please send him one as soon as possible so he could “clone mommies.” This after his mother could not extend their Legos session to forever because she had to cook dinner and was just one person and, therefore, could not play with him and cook at the same time.

. . . When you get old, here’s what you spend your money on:  car repair and plumbing, and the occasional grocery sack or two of food. Over and over and over again.  That’s it. That’s your life.

. . . Oh wait. I just thought of one good thing:  Melissa McCarthy on SNL. Brilliant.

. . . Oh, here’s another:  Maru the cat.  (H/T to Roxie D. at Zuzu’s Barn)  Note: You might not find this funny or even remotely interesting if you do not have a Scottish Fold cat, or if you are not a cat person, or if you are not addled and strange like me, a shell of a person now reduced to sharing cat videos.  If so, you are excused from watching. No hard feelings. I understand. However, my daughter has a Scottish Fold and they are the comedians of cats. Really, they’re hilarious.

. . . Oh, and my friend Jerry’s Greek Lemon Rice Soup. Stuff’s addicting. I don’t eat animals, so I use Edward & Sons Not Chick’n Cubes, which my husband cannot discern from chicken broth and I don’t tell him.

So, there are three good things, but that’s it. That’s all I got today. Well, it’s not all, but it’s the best of what I got today.  Trust me, you don’t want the dregs.

Words and pictures

My blogging buddy and friend over at BrainPickles ended a recent email to me with this favorite:

‘When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,’ said Piglet at last,  ‘what’s the first thing you say to yourself?’

‘What’s for breakfast?’ said Pooh. ‘What do you say, Piglet?’

‘I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?’ said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully. ‘It’s the same thing,’ he said.’

*****

I know I’ve been out of touch lately, but what happened to the verb “lend”?  Did we lose it?  Or ban it?  Or lend it to someone and they never returned it?  Best I can guess is it’s been replaced with “loan,” which I thought all these years was a noun. You don’t use nouns as verbs, do you?

And “snuck”?  When did that replace “sneaked”?

******

Recently the 7-year old grandson and I were in the final moves of a savage game of Go Fish.

I asked for all his Whales.

He pulled 3 Whales out of his hand and slapped them down in front of me.

“Dammit!” he said and laughed nervously.

Seven years old.  Dammit (the children’s spelling). The mom reflex kicked in.  But, as I started to open my mouth to chide him for his language I thought, so what? Dammit is a perfectly fine, cathartic word I consider appropriate if you have to hand over 3 Whales when you’re this close to skunking yer old Didi at cards.

Whose sensibilities would I tell him we shouldn’t offend? The Bible thumpers who think cussing is a sin?  Please.  They’ve offended me  enough already.

Go for it kid.  Dammit.

******

Anita at SciFiKnitter shared the best response I’ve heard for the stupid question that perpetuates the stigma of lung cancer, “Did you smoke?”

Does it matter?

She attributes the response to Deanna Hendrickson, of LCMSChat.
Thanks, Deanna.

******

I’m thrilled for Jimmy Carter and his great test results, but words matter.

******

Seems Jimmy Carter and I both got good news last week. I had my first PET/CT scans after completing treatment. The original tumor, which was quite large, is gone and there is No Evidence of Disease (NED).

I want to be clearer than Carter’s people were.  No tumor does not mean cure and that there are no cancer cells in my body.  They could just be small and hiding, ready to grow again.

What these pictures mean is I’m in “remission,” according to my oncologist, so today and every day it stays that way is mighty fine with me. Dammit.

******

My daughter is really, really good at voices — imitating and making up her own. I’ve always wanted her commit this from Auntie Mame to memory so she could entertain her old mother (which I’m sure some of you are thinking about now, doesn’t take much.)

“Bunny Bixler and I were in the semi-finals—the very semi-finals, mind you—of the ping-pong tournament at the club and this ghastly thing happened. We were both playing way over our heads and the score was 29-28. And we had this really terrific volley and I stepped back to get this really terrific shot. And I stepped on the ping-pong ball! I just squashed it to bits. And then Bunny and I ran to the closet of the game room to get another ping-pong ball and the closet was locked! Imagine? We had to call the whole thing off. Well, it was ghastly. Well, it was just ghastly.”

Two Things

  • Auntie Mame
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See all Two Things

Dancing

This post has nothing to do with anything, just a particularly sweet memory that surfaced today.

And since I got nothin’ else you want to hear about  —  unless you want to hear about the setbacks and side effects of cancer (and I assure you, it’s always something gross or annoying, if not possibly life threatening) — I figured this was the better choice.

It’s from a post I wrote about Phil Everly’s (Everly Brothers) death last year.  If you can’t relate to the memory, just enjoy the song. If you have babies or grandbabies, scoop ‘em up and kiss ’em until they push you away.  Dance.  Dance by yourself.  Dance with a partner.  Or your dog.  Just dance.  Sway.  Twirl.

Phil Everly died yesterday.  (January 2014)

When my grandson was a baby, he was often fussy at bedtime.  Sweet and soft in his pajamas after his bath, I’d take him in my arms and dance to this song.   Warm and smelling like baby soap.  Back and forth, back and forth, 1-2-3, turn.

I don’t know if it was the music or the movement or the vibration of my chest as Don and I sang the low part and Phil handled the tenor, but it worked to ease his fussiness (okay, most of the time).

Toward the end of the song he’d close his eyes and give in, him to baby dreams, me to the moment.  Me, not knowing how precious those moments would be later on.

Things change. The baby is a young boy and I have cancer.

And you’re gone.  So, thanks, Phil, for the gift of the beautiful harmony you and your brother gave the world.   But also for the music for some of the sweetest, most cherished minutes I’ll ever have.

Minutes now memories, now magic filling my soul, whatever happens.

Be here now.

Promise

in spring
in an open field
barefoot in the diamond dew of morning
we walk, our fingers locked
your little hand, mine bigger

silently, suddenly (what joan didion calls ‘the ordinary instant’)
a narrow stream of water appears between us
you on one side now
me on the other
bread and butter
our fingers locked
and warmed by the sun

we stop and laugh at the water
coming up now around our wiggly toes
and then we keep walking
you on one side, me on the other
bread and butter

the water deepens
the stream widens
pushing us apart so that
our fingers no longer touch
what should we do?
you say jump over on my side!

but somehow I know I cannot
still reaching out for your little hand
I say you go on
I’ll catch up when I can
and I’ll watch you
even when you can’t see me

I promise