Anniversaries

anniversaries

 

June 1st would have been my 33rd wedding anniversary and June 6 was the 5 year anniversary of his death.   5 years.  It doesn’t seem possible. It’s a blink and a lifetime. In 5 years I have found new employment, made new friendships and rediscovered old friends.  I have had to take on a bigger role in family members’ care – took a crash course or two to that end. Have proudly watched both of my daughters buy their first homes – completely on their own.  We recently visited my nephew in London where he is following his dreams and making his mama proud.

I am slowly building a life of my own and no longer feeling guilt for enjoying it. I’m getting closer to making a decision about my home.  I trust that when the time is right the decision will make itself.

Last year I had to say goodbye to the world’s worse dog and I miss him terribly.  He lived almost three years to the day from the time I wrote about his  cancer.  Comet  And it was a good three years.

Speaking of cancer and anniversaries, I am still cancer free and only have to see the oncologist once a year.  Still on medication for another ?8 years and probably longer since they keep moving the goal posts.  My diagnosis was 6 years ago and end of (the tough) treatment 5 years.  There’s that number again.   I’d play the lottery but I used up all my luck in high school.

Whenever I’m absent from the blog for any length of time I feel guilty for not keeping up with all of the wonderful bloggers I follow.   I’m going to sign off for now and do some catching up. I hope I find you all well .hugs_drib_cindysuen

 

 

 

 

 

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Being thankful

It’s that time of year to take stock of all we have to be thankful for.

I am thankful for friends and family who have stood by me through some pretty horrific shit.

I am thankful for those who removed themselves when they found they could not stand by me.

I am thankful for my continued health (5 years this month since my diagnosis) and the health of my children and parents.

I am thankful I was given a chance at a job I had zero experience with, where I get to make a difference in people’s lives every day.

I am thankful I live in a country where I can voice my displeasure and disappointment in the results of a contentious election without fear.

I’m thankful for the people who read, comment on, and like this blog and share themselves in their own blogs.

I’m thankful for the 50 years I had with my sister and the 30 years I had with my husband. I will miss them both every day of my life, but the memories will live on in my heart forever .

I hope you all have a lot to be thankful for today, too.  xxxooo

thankful-people

Anniversaries, loss and new beginnings…

I am approaching the dreaded block of time in June and July that drives home all I have lost.  June 1st would have been our 31st wedding anniversary, June 6 is the 3rd anniversary of his death and July 10th the 4th anniversary of my sister’s death.  My “cancerversary” is not until November when I will be 5 years cancer free.  My doctors tell me the clock actually started ticking after I finished treatment and I don’t get the official “cured” for some time yet.   I believe that I was cancer free when I left the OR.  All the rest was just insurance. That’s my story, anyway, and I’m sticking to it.

This year has brought more losses, not through death, but in some ways more painful and certainly personal.   It’s also brought some amazing and positive changes.  I have a new career working with the homeless community, helping them to achieve permanent, stable housing. It is the most frustrating and rewarding work I have ever done and I love every minute of it.  I still have my business, volunteer work, family and good friends to keep me busy and grounded, not to mention my animals.  Comet has survived two bouts of cancer and will be 14 soon.  He has a new pep in his step. Clover is nearly 10 and lame with bad hips.  She struggles to walk but is content laying in a sunny spot or just hanging with me. Sage, my stolen rescue kitty is still entertaining and loving.

I am approaching my formerly referred to “helliversary” with a lighter heart than I have the past few years.   I have set those who have passed, and those who have chosen to remove themselves from my life, free with love and gratitude.

I am also grateful for my readership who has seen me through cancer, highs and lows, loss and more loss and appreciated my cynical and often irreverent view on it all.   Seeing the humor in things is much easier and a lot less messy than opening a vein and blogging about it all is certainly a lot cheaper than therapy.   wellallhaveastory

15 Reasons Writing a Blog Makes you an Asshole

Last week I jumped on the 15 Random Things About Me blogwagon.  That was fun and I learned some things about many of the bloggers I follow.  Hence the blatant theft of the idea/title.

Today I had a light bulb moment when I was put out with someone and thought darkly “Don’t you KNOW I have a blog?”  I may or may not have offered him some free social media publicity if things were not resolved in my favor.   I thought it was just possible having a blog was making me kind of …. well… an asshole.

About a month ago I was in a snit because someone who should have been the mature person in the conversation, ie. not me, because he held a position of authority out sarcasmed me.  How DARE you, sir? Keep it up and you’ll be in the next blog.

I have blogged about things that bother me with little regard to the person I’m raking over the coals, though I do thinly disguise their identity.

I have taken Walmart, the Susan Komen Foundation, the clerk at the monument store, my doctors and the hospital where I was treated to task just to name a few.   With the exception of Walmart, I never would have said all the things I did in person, given the chance.   It’s easy to hide behind a computer screen (and be an asshole).

I know that’s not 15 things and if you are keeping count, who’s the asshole now?

On a more serious note, two weeks or so ago I had a moment of feeling sorry for myself at the tail end of a block of time I like to refer to as my personal 6 weeks of helliversary.. June 1 through July 10.  The blog post was entitled “My Reality” . I unlinked the post from FB. I  didn’t want my family and friends reading it and feeling guilty. I just really needed to vent.  A good friend did read it (honestly..I was shocked.. I thought family/friends only read this blog when I shoved it down their throats on FB) and commented in a private group.  I got a lot of support and several supportive comments here on the blog as well. But after a good night sleep I felt really uncomfortable.  I realized if I didn’t want the people I loved reading it, I shouldn’t be putting it out there so I deleted it.  I do want to acknowledge the bloggers that offered support.  I read your words and you made me cry. Nice job 😉

How has writing a blog changed how you present yourself to the world?  Does knowing anyone can read your words make you choose them more carefully or do you care if you offend?  Do you feel a responsibility to your readers to be authentic even if that means being an asshole occasionally?

15 Things About Me.

I always miss the memo, but it seems like a lot of the bloggers I follow have answered the call, so I’ll play!

1. I’m a thief.  My rescue kitty was actually stolen from neglectful/abusive owners. I’m not sorry.

2. If I had to choose only one source of entertainment between music, television/movies or books for the rest of my life it would be books. Hands down.

3. Until November of 2011 through June of 2013 I always felt like a pretty lucky person.

4. Even on my darkest days I always found something to laugh about. It was usually grossly inappropriate.  I’m not sure if that’s a sign of sound mental health or I’m batshit crazy.

5. I never lived alone one day until I was 50 years old.

6. My fuckit list is roughly three times as long as my bucket list and I’m okay with that.

7. I will probably never jump out of a plane.

8. I cry hardest over movies where the dog dies.

9. Hurt one of my kids and not only will I curse you to the seven layers of hell I will create a few extra layers just for you.

10. I am geographically challenged.  I can get lost in my hometown and I’ve never left. True story.

11. I think FB quizzes are stupid but I do more of them than you might think.

12. I once got a nun to say F you.  Granted, she was a former nun but it still felt like a win.

13. I’m not easily impressed.

14. I feel lonely sometimes but it doesn’t bother me enough to do anything about it.

15. One of my children is alive today soley because her ability to make me laugh slightly outweighed her ability to piss me off.

What are the odds?

I’ve never been much of a gambler, other than the occasional scratch or powerball ticket.  No interest in casinos.. all the lights and smoke and noise .. bah. I used to joke that I used up all my luck in high school anyway.  I don’t put a lot of faith in karma, fate, etc etc. Life is just what is.  Sometimes it’s great and sometimes it sucks but it’s the same for all of us.

I’ve been thinking a lot about odds lately though.  For instance.. what were the odds that my sister would die while I was undergoing cancer treatment? Probably not that high, but she did.  Afterwards I kept after my husband that we needed to update our wills, put our affairs in order “because you never know”.  But really, what were the odds it would happen twice in one family?  Apparently pretty  high since he died less than a year after she did.

What were the odds that a lump that was not there in the morning and actually clearly visible in the evening could be anything but a cyst?  It was cancer.  What were the odds it could happen again?  Greater than I thought.  Yes, cancer has struck my house again. This time it’s my dog.

Comet

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Comet came to us 11 years ago as the result of a bet with a 13 year old soccer player and her extremely warped coaches.  My daughter played on a travel team in a defensive role. Not really in a position to score.  She had been asking for a dog. Clearly we were not dog people. We were cat people.  Dogs were expensive and smelly and just a lot of work in general.   On our way to a tournament one weekend I said if she scored she could have a dog.  She didn’t believe me. Her father backed me up.  What were the odds she’d score?  They got significantly higher when she told her teammates and coaches about our bet.  Early on in the game we noticed a disturbing trend.  The whole team was feeding her the ball.  She not only scored, she got a hat trick.  We were the only parents not cheering. Actually there may have been some unsportsmanlike language from the vicinity of our canvas seats on the side line.

Well a bet is a bet and a promise is a promise, so I went to the local humane society with my list of conditions.  From my daughter the dog had to be black and white (like a soccer ball).  My husband wanted a male and it had to be at least a year old, no puppy.  I said it had to have blue eyes.  The odds of finding a dog that fit all that criteria were pretty low, right?  First trip to the shelter, 3rd cage to the right in the big dogs room there he was, bouncing up and down like a demented Tigger on crack.   Shit.  Wait, but what’s this? Oh.. he’s been adopted. Too bad.  Feeling certain it would never happen I told the staff to let me know if his adoption fell through and no, thank you. I don’t want to look at the other dogs. He’s the only one that I was interested in.  Two days later I got a call.  His new owner had returned him.  Sigh

So I went and got him and I’d like to say it was a perfect match and he was a great dog.  He was a dick. From day one.  The first thing he did was take a dump on my bedroom floor. Then he decided the recliner would work very nicely as his command central.  He would run away constantly. You’d see him hauling ass up the road, down by the river, running victory laps around the house. I started lying when neighbors would call to report a sighting. I’d tell them it couldn’t be my dog. My dog was right here.  There were times he was so bad I would cry because I didn’t think we could keep him but I knew he wasn’t likely to be given too many more chances.  I understood we were the third attempt.  On the advice of the staff at the humane society I bought a crate. I felt bad putting a full grown dog in a crate but after a while  he got used to it and would put himself in time out.  He hung out with me in my office. He was starting to grow on me.

After a time we couldn’t imagine not having him in our family. For the cost of some kibble, chew bones and a comfortable bed he has been a constant source of amusement.  He is terrified of cats, thunder, fireworks and the sounds of gunfire. He has a fondness for UPS brown. He barks like he wants to rip your throat out when you drive into my dooryard, but if you come in the house, invited or not, you are  his best friend and he will offer to show you where the best snacks are kept. He loves to ride in the car, even though 99% of his car rides end at the vet’s or kennel.  He has never put the two together.  If you put an item of clothing on him, he freezes and will not move until you take it off.  He doesn’t run away   anymore, but if he finds himself loose he will do one quick lap around the house and then throw himself at the door to be let back in.  When my husband died, he gave up his comfy bed and started sleeping across my bedroom doorway. He seemed to sense I needed him there.  My new bedtime routine is to move his bed from it’s usual spot in my office to outside my bedroom.  We sleep in a row with my little dog, Clover,  in her spot near the bed.

Comet’s tumor was found much like mine.  Not there one day and hard to ignore the next.  My long time veterinary clinic would not see him though I begged. I was leaving for Texas in a few days and he was to be boarded. While I understand a lump is not an emergency, I am a cancer survivor.  We don’t ignore lumps.  When I returned from Texas I made an appointment with a new clinic and they have been wonderful.  Sure this was just a fatty tumor, they biopsied it and got concerning results.  Surgery revealed a much larger mass than suspected and they could not get it all without causing muscle and nerve damage.   Pathology report came in yesterday and it is, indeed, cancer.  Good news, it is not the kind that metastasizes normally. Bad news, they did not get it all so it will likely grow back.  I’m taking a wait and see approach and for the moment he is doing great.  He had his stitches out today and carried on like they were killing him. Such a drama king.

While history tells me the odds are not usually in my favor, they have been in his and I’m betting on him to be around for a few years to come.

Christmas in July (August..whatever)

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Going through one of the many collections that have taken up space in my life and cupboards for nearly 30 years I decided to display the shot glasses on a little shelf.  I was washing them and reminiscing about where we purchased them. Some were gifts so I get to live those memories of trips to Paris and many tropical islands vicariously.   The best ones were the ones we bought on our own trips. New York, Boston, New Orleans, Texas, Florida. A few from his single days. Then there were the ones from Santa’s Village and Storyland.  Really? We bought shot glasses on these family trips?  I don’t recall doing that. I do recall wanting to drink. Badly.  For those of you who don’t live in New England, Storyland and Santa’s Village are in the beautiful White Mountains of New Hampshire located conveniently near each other. So near that after spending an entire day trudging through one, the little cherubs are sure to spot the one you didn’t visit.  Parents, you know how that goes.   We are approximately 3 hours away.  Most people would spend the night. Maybe do one park each day over a weekend. Not Mr. Frugal. He liked making it a day trip. We would leave the house at 6 or 7 a.m.,  my sister and her family coming along in their own car, drive for three hours, stop a few times to pee, eat, pee, puke (not me.. Thing 3). Finally we would arrive.  Complain about the gate fees, take a few forced family photos (one of them of my nephew even made it into the book Awkward Family Photos  – true story), walk until our feet were bleeding, buy over priced toys and souvenirs (I bet those shot glasses were not cheap!).   Storyland was just what you would imagine.  Like speed reading a children’s book on acid.  Santa’s Village (where we invariably visited on a day when it was 90 degrees with 100% humidity) had many of the same rides but with a Christmas theme, a fully suited Santa (he had to have a fan in his pants.. I don’t know how he survived otherwise), singing elves, mangy reindeer.  All the stuff of great childhood memories.   After a full day, we would pile the sweaty, tired kids into the car and reverse direction.. puke, pee, eat, pee.

So yeah, buying the shot glasses.. no memory at all. Wanting a drink (or three).. like it was yesterday!

If I had it do to all over again I would in a heart beat and I can’t wait to take my grandchildren. 🙂

Here’s the little prince  in the picture that made him famous. In my family alone we have about a dozen copies of this book.

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I’m sure he was just mad because we made him let the little one drive. She looks like she’s having fun, but she was probably talking smack every time they were out of earshot,.

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