Double Out

Yes, it’s been a very long time.  Did you miss me?

I just realized it’s been 3-1/2 years since my last post.  I do believe I’ve now taken slacking to a whole new level.  Go me!

Actually, I haven’t been slacking, I’ve still been writing, just not here. Kind of left you hanging, didn’t I? I think I just had a hard time transitioning this blog and its audience to a more broad, less cancer-focused venue once all the drama calmed down.  Also, I have been doing a goodly amount of freelancing, and sometimes that doesn’t leave me a whole lot of time to write for fun.

In the meantime, I have miraculously managed to, for the most part, become known around these parts for something other than having The Cancer.  Oh happy day! In fact, there are a whole lot of folks these days who have no idea that I’m a cancer survivor.  It’s really quite awesome.

That’s why what I’m about to do is super scary.

I am incorporating some of the best posts from this blog into my official writer blog.  In other words, I’m coming out of The Cancer Closet.  This also means that those of you who have heretofore not known my real life identity now will. Let the stalking begin! (Common side effects of stalking me include dog bites, vehicular homicide, and gunshot wounds.)

While I don’t want The Cancer to be my identity, the fact is that I wrote some pretty awesome stuff here.  I also had some pretty awesome readers.  I’ll likely be taking this site offline in the near future, but as my writing career continues to grow, I’d love to have you folks along for the ride.

Check out my new site at and leave me a comment if you feel like it.


Target Audience

Dear Target,

I think it’s safe to assume that by placing the toilet handle 4 feet off the ground, you are attempting to encourage people to use their hands, rather than their feet, to flush the toilet.  But it’s like this: No one wants to touch that handle.  Because we all know that everyone who may have previously touched it has just finished using the toilet, and has not had the opportunity to wash their hands.  Unless, of course, they’ve washed them in the toilet.  Eww. 

Target, I know you pride yourself in being higher class than Walmart.  As I write this, I’m sitting here in Bloomington where you are held in such high regard by the college students that you are constantly packed, while the Big K next door is a ghost town.  So why then, can you not spring for some automatically flushing poopers?  Walmart may not have a Starbucks inside it, but at least it has those!

Sure, right now I can Karate Kid that handle with ease, even if is chest height.  One of these days, though, I probably won’t be able to do that anymore.  At least not without risking grave bodily harm.  Is that what you’re counting on, Target?  That Myrtle and Esther, and one day even I won’t be able to can-can kick flush the toilet?  Maybe you figure that for every stubborn person like me who refuses to flush with her hands, there are at least two who can’t reach it with their feet.  

But I’ve got news for you, Target.  When I get to the point that I can’t kick that high, I’m not going to use my hand.  I just won’t flush.  And I know I’m not the only one.  Those automatic flushers sounding like a good idea yet?

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The New Phone Booth

The invention of the cell phone has made it possible to reach someone anywhere, and at any time.  Except, of course, if you’re trying to get a hold of me, and I’m at home where cell signal is restricted to the bathroom and kitchen window sills, and the southeast corner of the living room.  But hey, you should always try the house first anyway.  Archaic, I know, but believe it or not I find the old land line to be quite satisfactory for at-home communication. 

 Folks see cell phones as a necessity these days.  It’s like everyone has forgotten that us grown-ups grew up just fine without carrying a phone.  That’s fine and dandy.  Don’t go anywhere without your phone.  After all, your car might break down. Or more likely, you might have to call your husband while both y’all are in Super Walmart to find out where he’s at. 

 But it’s gone beyond a necessity or convenience or whatever—it’s an addiction.  How else do you explain people who MUST answer the cell phone?  No. Matter. What.  Really, you don’t own the phone—the phone owns YOU. 

 Just the other day, Mini Me and I went into the restroom at Macy’s.  It’s a small restroom, with only 3 stalls.  All 3 were full and another lady was already in the queue.  As we stood waiting, one of the potty occupants was carrying on a conversation on her phone.  “Well, Jim’s going to have to have another surgery.  Mmm-hmm.  He’s already had 3 open-heart surgeries, you know…blah blah blockage blah blah…” Mini Me and I looked at each other and smiled.  I’m sure Jim would be thrilled to know that you’re sharing all his business with random strangers.  Strangers, I might add, who are grateful that Jim’s not having a vasectomy or a colonoscopy.  Our amusement was quickly interrupted, however, by the ringing of another phone in one of the other stalls.  Doo-dee-doo-doo-dee-dee-doo, rang the phone, followed by the sound of purse excavation, urine hitting toilet water, and finally, “Hello? Oh hi!  Yeah, I’m at the mall.  Mmm-hmm…”  

 Okay, really ladies?  Could it not wait?  You’re not 911, you don’t have to answer the phone.  Good grief!  Call them back when you’re done.  And get out of the daggone stall, so some of the rest of us out here peeing our pants due to a combination of full bladder and suppressed laughter can actually use the place for what God and Macy’s intended!

Soylent Green May Be People, But It’s Good Eatin’

A few months ago I picked up a package of noodles at a market in Bloomington.  Costing only 99 cents, and in a package that is labeled, simply, “Instant Noodle”, these Chinese made starch strings are one of my new favorite foods.  I can’t imagine what would make them as good as they are. I mean, they’re noodles, nothing exotic about that.  Nonetheless, when cooked, they have an awesome chewiness which, with the addition of a few vegetables, and a savory sauce makes for a very quick and yummy lunch.  I jokingly dubbed them “Soylent Green Noodles” because they’re so good, I figure they must have some mysterious secret ingredient.  And if they are made of people, I don’t even care.  Because they’re tasty.  Of course, I don’t really think they’re made of people, but they do come from China, the land of overpopulation and lead toothpaste, so it’s probably possible.

 Over the past several months, I’ve kept a supply of these noodles in the cupboard, picking up new packages as needed.  And last night, while I was in Bloomington, I picked up another package as well as a package for my friend Pat, because you know what they say, “Canniblism loves company.”  Today, I was talking to Mini Me about the Soylent Green Noodles.  She asked, “What’s Soylent Green?” and so I proceeded to explain to her about the movie, and its plot, concluding with my very own impression of Charlton Heston wailing, “Soylent Green is PEOPLE!  It’s PEEEE-PLE!!”  Then I explained that I’d jokingly called them that, with the comment that they’re so daggone good, I don’t care if they are made out of people.

 When I finished, she said, “Oh.  I thought they really were made out of Soylent Green, I just didn’t know what it was.”

 It’s people.  And it’s good eatin’.

Cloudy with a Chance of Overreaction

I refuse to grocery shop today, and you can’t make me. 

 First of all, it’s not my normal grocery day, and secondly, even if it were I think I’d still put it off because everyone is shopping today.  You see, it’s going to snow, and there is a certain segment of the population who still seems to think that we’re living back in the days of Laura Ingalls. Like in the days before grocery stores, when prairie dwellers’ lives depended on what they stored up for winter. They stock up for a snowfall of 3 to 5 inches like it’s the impending doom of Y2K or something, with bottled water, and enough toilet paper to stretch to the moon and back 6 times.  And like Y2K, the coming “winter storm” will probably not live up to the hype, but even if it does—People, it’s 5 inches of snow, not 5 feet!  Relax–most of you live in town, anyway, so your streets will be cleared in a day or so.

 But like weather-induced lemmings, folks will run off the cliff of sanity straight into the depths of bread and milk hoarding.

 My naturally rebellious nature simply won’t allow me to go there.  I refuse to be swayed by the mass freak-out.  In fact, I triple dog dare the storm to dump enough snow to truly snow me in, if it thinks it can.  And even if it does, that’s okay too.  Why?  Because I’m smart enough to actually keep some extra food on hand at all times.  Genius, isn’t it?  And you know what else?  I even go so far as to keep basic staples on hand, so that if I would happen to get snowed in without bread, I could *make* bread.  (What?! That’s just crazy talk!  I mean, nobody’s actually made bread since back in days of Laura Ingalls, er, hey, wait a minute…)  Time consuming, I know, but we’re talking about being snowed in, so presumably we’re stuck there with nothing to do but bake anyway.

 As much as I doubt that we’re in for the new Blizzard of ’78, I’m going to leave you with a recipe, just in case.  It’s a muffin recipe, which is like kind of a cheater bread, since it requires no yeast or rising.  Who knows, you might even have time to make this without being snowed in.

Mandarin Orange Muffins 

1½  c flour

1 ¾ tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp allspice

¼ tsp nutmeg

²⁄3 c sugar

¹⁄3 c butter, melted

1 egg slightly beaten

¼ c milk

(1) 10 oz can mandarin oranges, drained


¼ c melted butter

¼ c sugar

½ tsp cinnamon

Sift flour with other dry ingredients.  Combine butter, egg and milk, and add to dry ingredients.  Mix until moistened.  Fold in oranges.  Fill greased muffin tins ¾ full.

 Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  Remover from muffins tins and dip tops in butter, then in cinnamon-sugar mixture.


Mini Me went to school this year. As you may recall, we’ve homeschooled up until now, and it’s been an adjustment, but it was time. She’s done pretty well with school, gotten good grades, survived being called a loser for helping someone else, made some new friends, become known for her graffiti art skills, and narrowly escaped getting in trouble for possession of a Sharpie. She’s got some teachers she loves, and some that she could take or leave, and none that are really bad. However, this grading period has landed her in a health class with a teacher who is a cancer survivor. Mini Me knows this because the teacher has mentioned it in class. Every. single. day.

I know a couple of people like that, too. Thankfully, I’m not trapped in a room with them for an hour 5 days a week. I would be hoarse from singing “la-la-la-I-can’t-hear-you” all the time. So, I feel Mini Me’s pain, but it also makes me laugh, because, well, better her than me.

Anywho, so this whole kid-going-to-school thing has left me without a day job, so to speak. Over the holidays I worked a seasonal UPS job (more on that at a later date), and I’ve been doing some freelancing, which is fun. I’d like to do some more of that kind of thing, and the way to get better at writing, and also to keep the flow going, is to keep writing. So, my goal is to write every day. At least every week day. That won’t always mean I’ll write here, but it will probably increase the frequency of my posts, which, let’s face it, have been pretty darned infrequent over the past few months. Of course, some of that is because I don’t have any funny cancer stories to tell since I’m not very cancery these days, and The Foob has gone to Florida for the winter with all of the other snowbirds. I can only get so much mileage out of those quarterly doctor appointments with Dr Birhiray.

That leaves me with a few options for this blog. I could write about whatever strikes me as funny in regular, non-cancer life. Or I could write about food. We all know I love that. I could write deep, inspirational posts. Okay, yeah, that’s probably going to happen, with the frequency of a leap year or something. I could just retire, but I do enjoy the blog, and my readers so I don’t really want to do that. And as I said, I think I need the exercise anyway.

What say you, my readers? Any of the above? A combination? Please let me know.

Dear Pat,

You asked me what I’ve learned from The Cancer, and it didn’t bother me in the least because after all we hadn’t seen each other in over 10 years, and if you hadn’t brought it up, The Cancer might have sat there in the booth casting its elephant shaped shadow over our conversation. It’s an interesting question, for which you may have expected a clichéd answer, but might have suspected that’s not really what you’d get from me. Sometimes people say that having The Cancer has made them appreciate life more. Well, I don’t think I had a lack of appreciation for life before, but I told you what I didn’t appreciate enough: nose hairs and eyelashes. It’s astounding how much stuff gets in your eyes without lashes to protect them, and it’s crazy how many random nasal drips you have when there are no nose hairs to keep them corralled.

I told you about being follicularly challenged, but our conversation moved on to other things, and later I didn’t really feel like I’d given you a good answer. Thinking about your question, I remembered that when I was in the middle of that summer of chemo, I was waiting at the orthodontist one day and decided to write down on tiny Post-its some things I had learned. I only found two of those, but the central theme was the same for all of them as I recall: Your life is now. Sounds strangely like a Mellencamp lyric, perhaps because it is.

At any rate, if there is one thing that I’ve learned—not from The Cancer, but from God, who allowed me to go through this process—it’s that we don’t get to pick our situation, only what we do with the moment. And there is value in every moment. I don’t mean that in a sappy “life is precious because The Cancer tried to kill me” sort of way, but in a “we need to make it count” sort of way. What I wrote on that first Post-it was this: Say the kind things you think, but don’t always communicate. Don’t waste an opportunity to show love to people.

We don’t have to do what the world considers to be something big with our lives. Sometimes the small things are really the big things. But we need to do those now, because we have no guarantee that we’ll have the opportunity or ability to do them at any other time. So, that’s the big lesson, according to me. I hope I’ve answered your question a little better this time. Thanks for making me think—I’m so glad you’re my friend.