Why Am I Here?

“Why am I here?”

 You would not believe how many times I say this these days.  No, I don’t mean that I’m getting all philosophical on you.  I’m talking I get somewhere and really don’t know why I’m there.  This happens almost every time I go to the garage.  My garage is where I keep glassware, canning supplies, and other kitchen related items that I don’t have room for in the house.  It’s also the home of our two big freezers.  So I go to the garage at least once a day.  And nearly every time, as soon as I step inside I say, usually out loud, “Why am I here?”  The garage sits about 20 feet from the house, which apparently makes for just long enough of a walk for me to acquire amnesia these days.  The problem is not that the required information doesn’t stick.  Oh, it’s in there, but good luck retrieving it!  Usually, within a minute or so of asking myself why I’m there, and after the application of much concentration, I’m able to remember why I came.  But not always.

 I try to warn people that I don’t remember things, but they don’t seem to get it.  They say things like, “I’m the same way!”  Ha, ha—no, you’re really not.  Thanks to tamoxifen, I just lose information in my brain somewhere.  It’s like my brain is the junk drawer of my body or something.  Sure, what I need is in there somewhere, but I’ve got to mentally dig through a bunch of twine, pencils, scotch tape, and a nut cracker to find it. 

 Two weeks ago I was driving into town to take Mini Me to piano lesson.  In a deviation from the normal routine, I was planning to run by Goodwill before hand and drop off some items.  So, we ride into town, pass the turn to piano, and head for the Goodwill.  Except as we approached the intersection where I’d need to turn, I suddenly did not know what I needed to do.  “Do I need to turn here?  I don’t remember where I’m going. Where am I going? Think, think, stupid brain, where am I going?”  Tick tock tick tock.  Finally, at the last second I remembered, “Oh yeah, Goodwill,” and made the left turn.  Then last weekend, I was getting ready to open a can of tuna.  I carried the tuna over to the drawer where the can opener is kept, but when I got there I just stared at the contents of the drawer.  “What am I looking for?  I need…something.  I must need it out of this drawer since I opened it.  What am I doing?  Uh…opening a can.  And what’s the tool I need for that?  Uh…”   Really, it should not take so much effort to remember that you need a can opener to open the can you are holding in your hand.

 Either of those things ever happened to you?  Probably not, unless you’re on tamoxifen.  They never used to happen to me, either.  Thankfully I have both a sense of humor and a supportive spouse.  A big reason why I‘m able to laugh at these incidents is because I cling to the assumption that once I’m off of tamoxifen, everything will go back to normal.  But it’s not all bad anyway, because like I said I have a supportive spouse.  Hubster has been great about recognizing that the tamoxifen has caused memory recall issues for me.  So, what’s he gonna do, get mad?  No, because I can’t help it, right?  I’m not forgetful because I’m an insensitive and self-absorbed lout who is too wrapped up in herself to remember to pick up Hubster’s toothpaste at Walmart.  Nope, it’s the drug’s fault–I’m handicapped!  And while I would never, ever exploit this, it does offer a certain advantage for those times when I am just an insensitive, self-absorbed lout who got too distracted by a new bottle of nail polish to remember the toothepaste.

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The Pink Mafia

There haven’t been too many haters show up here.  Except for Jamie, the person who told us all that we were collectively lame and needed to “get real” because we made fun of breast cancer Barbie.  Funny, I haven’t heard a peep out of ol’ whatsherface since I explained that I’ve got a 10 inch scar across my chest that gives me the right to dis’ BC Barbie all the livelong day.  Of course, it could be that she was just so disgusted by our fun that she’s never come back.  But I like to think that it was the verbal beat-down  she got that silenced her.  Take that, fun sucker.

 Sometimes, I write things that I know might provoke those humor vigilantes out there.  Of course, I do enjoy a certain amount of immunity.  You know, one of the perks of having The Cancer is the immunity you gain.  I think this may be rooted in the pity people feel, which would probably annoy me if I really thought about it, but I don’t.  I just enjoy the benefit. 

 In real life, the Cancer Immunity was way more powerful when I was bald.  Shoot!  You can get away with just about anything when it’s obvious you’ve got The Cancer.  If I were smart, I would have robbed a bank or held up Starbucks.  Chemo brain would have ensured that I forgot where I left the getaway car, and I’d have had to run away on foot.  Sure, I’d be easy to spot—you don’t see too many bald women running around with big bags of money slung over their shoulder (like a continental soldier)—but gee, can you see me getting arrested like that?  No way!  They’d feel too sorry for me. 

 But these days, I don’t get much protection from The Cancer Immunity, because it’s not obvious to the random person I run into.  Dang it.  I don’t want The Cancer, but I want Cancer Immunity forever.  I do get a little bit of that when I blog though, since the blog started because of The Cancer and I continue to talk a lot about The Cancer.  However, there is one fear that always looms over me when I post snarky things about breast cancer awareness: the fear of getting hated on by The Komen. 

 So, the other day when I got an email from Mildred Jones* with the subject line “Susan G Komen for the Cure” my mind flew immediately to all the smart-alecky things I’ve ever written about the pink ribbon, survivor walks, etc.  Oh crap.  It’s the Pink Mafia.  I’m in trouble now.  They’re gonna bring that pink ribbon cement truck over here and make me some new shoes to go swimming in. 

 I must just have a guilty conscience.  All Mildred really wanted was to see if I was planning to be a team captain at the Race for the Cure in October.  Guess she hasn’t read my blog after all. 

 *Not her real name, because like I said, I don’t want to anger The Komen.  Nothing to see here, Komen.  Move along.

Zumba vs. Chocolate Cake

I’ve been doing Zumba.  Much to Mini Me’s dismay, this has resulted in me gyrating at random intervals throughout the day.  I’ve always been a dancer.  Not in the coordinated, classically trained ballet dancer type of way.  Not in the Fame–I’m gonna live forever kind of way.  More like, in the shake your booty like you think you don’t dance like a white girl sort of way.  Only now it’s worse, because in addition to my old school 1980’s dance moves (think Carlton from Fresh Prince of Bel Aire at best and Bruce Springstein at worst) I have now added my Zumba moves including, but not limited to: gyrating, lassoing, Charro-style booty shakin’, and this strange tippy-toe mambo thing that is just fabulously fun when used while pushing a shopping cart.

 Oh yeah.  Because when I say at random intervals throughout the day, what I mean is at home, at the grocery store, at church, at a yard sale, in Susie’s pool, or any other place that I might hear music.  Or not.  Don’t really even need music.  Just having someone ask about Zumba is enough.  Or mention Dirty Dancing.  (Nobody puts Moody in a corner, heh heh.) 

 While it IS fun, the goal with this Zumba thing is to get in shape.  It’s supposed to burn, like, 400,000 calories in an hour or something, which is almost enough to counteract The Great Chocolate Cake Disaster of Last Week.  Because, friends, Moody has no will power.  None.  And so she usually tries to keep the danger items out of the house.  Things like Hostess Orange Cupcakes, that I like in spite of myself.  Things like really good bread.  Any form of chocolate.  When Mini Me asked, “Mom, can I make a chocolate cake?” I should have known that no good could come from saying “Sure.” 

 So, she made the cake.  A whole 9 x 13 inch pan of it.  And frosting, too.  And we ate some.  Then Hubster came home and hated on the cake, “I don’t like chocolate cake” he said.  Looks like it’s just Mini Me and I tackling this thing.  Again, no good can come from this. Mini Me and I ate some more cake after supper.  The next day, we had cake for breakfast.  Cake with lunch.  Cake as a snack.  Cake after dinner.  The following morning, Mini Me ate the last piece of chocolate cake for breakfast, proclaiming to me that she’d done it to save me from eating any more of it.  I am blessed to have such a selfless child, am I not?

 One cake.  Two people. Approximately 36 hours.  Did I mention that no good could come from letting her make a chocolate cake?

 As you can see, eating sensibly is just not how I roll.  Oh, I do alright most of the time.  In fact, I really probably eat better than most folks.  But man, when I fall off the wagon, I not only fall off, buddy I hit the ground running in the opposite direction, my chocolate smeared face contorted by maniacal laughter.  Anybody remember Mike Myers’ Hyper Hypo character?  That’s me. 

 So, if a girl like me wants to lose some weight, exercise in some form is a must.  Preferably something that I don’t totally hate.  Because I’m pretty good at avoiding things that I hate.  But Zumba has been great because it’s actually fun.  I’ve been doing it 2 times a week for about 4 weeks now, and the instructor is doing monthly weighings & measurings, so next week I’ll be able to let you know if all that booty shakin’ has been enough to counteract The Great Chocolate Cake Disaster.  Stay tuned.

I’ve Been Robbed

Perhaps you guys have seen the recent news story about an American family’s Christmas photo that mysteriously ended up in advertising for a grocery store in Prague.  Apparently, this lady had sent out Christmas cards with the photo of her and her husband and their two kids last year.  Recently, an old college friend of hers was bopping down the street in Prague, when he spotted the life sized image in a store window.  So he emailed her.  Turns out, she doesn’t have a clue how the picture ended up there.  (This scenario immediately made my think of the stolen video camera in European Vacation—but I digress.)

 I can guarantee that, in spite of having posted my picture on here numerous times, this would never happen to me.  Oh, I’m not saying that the Kroger of Lithuania wouldn’t cob onto my picture—you know, The Foob  may be hocking croissants in France this very minute. It’s just that if they did, I’d never know, because I certainly do not have friends fancy enough to be motoring around Europe.  Moody’s friends are lucky to get to the Indiana State Fair on vacation, let alone someplace exotic.   Deep Fried Twinkie, anyone?

 However, I recently discovered that, indeed, someone had lifted a picture off of this blog for use on another website.  A picture of me.  I first noticed this because WordPress keeps track of incoming links.  When I saw this one, I was like, “What is that?” and of course I clicked through to see for myself.  Turns out it’s one of those generic websites that purports to contain info about a topic, but is really just a collection of links to other sites.  Wanna know what this one is about?  Coloring Hair After Chemo.  Wanna know what picture they used?  Well, see for yourself.

 Um, yeah.  I’m bald in that picture—except for the maimed, purple and grime colored, rubber spiky ball I’ve got stretched over my cranium.  That’s great!  You have no idea how funny that is to me.  That somebody earnestly seeking information about coloring the hair they just spent the last 6 months growing would come across that picture just slays me.  Look at me—I even look like I could be trying to sell you something.  “Yes, ladies, with Dr Follicle’s Instant Hair Growing & Coloring System, you too can look like you’ve got a nasty purple spiky ball on your head!  [insert shiny tooth bling here] Simply apply the two-part formula, and then sit back and enjoy a glass of sweet tea.  By the time you’ve quenched your thirst, your hair will look like Molly’s dog chewed a hole in a purple, spiky ball and you pulled it over your scalp!  It’s that simple!” 

 (Also available in Canine  Breath Cancer Black, and Hot Flash Fuschia!)

Breath Cancer

As you guys know, I like to keep tabs on the Google search engine terms that land people on my blog.  It’s not that I’m all about the marketing or anything like that.  I’m not sitting around trying to figure out what keywords to use in order to generate the maximum amount of traffic.  Although, I do get immense pleasure out of being high up on the search results for Pete’s Pride Pork Fritters, and have been known to work a pork fritter reference randomly into just about any post.  This serves a dual purpose, by both bolstering my Pete’s Pride position on Google, and allowing an atrocious amount of alliteration.  Heh heh.  I am nothing if not and incorrigible word nerd.  But at least as amusing to me as the Pete’s Pride Pork Fritter thing, (score!  I just snuck in another one!) are some of the bizarre phrases that people Google in order to end up here. 

 Included on the list of recent searches was one for “breath cancer black rollerskates”.  Breath.  Cancer.  Now I’m not sure if this was merely a typo, or perhaps this person has a speech impediment.  I figure, I write like I talk, so why shouldn’t they, right?  Ah, but I suppose in that case they would have searched for “breath canther black roller thkates”.  So, okay, maybe that’s not what was going on with this one.  Maybe they really were searching for breath cancer roller skates (in black, please, because if breath cancer could be seen, it would most certainly be black or at least very very dark green).

 I’ve never heard of breath cancer before, but I’m by no means an expert on such things.  And, if it exists, why it sure would explain the halitosis some folks have.  Oh, snap, do you think my dog has breath cancer?  I bet there’s a special day for that, too.  National Canine Breath Cancer Survivors Day—a holiday that’s as much for those of us who have survived an encounter with our dog’s breath, as it is for the furry survivors themselves. You know, I seem to remember seeing breast cancer awareness kitty litter—how ironic would it be if that were Canine Breath Cancer awareness kitty litter?  Huh? That’d be a whole lot like lung cancer awareness Marlboros.  Maybe that’s why I’ve never seen it.

Where’s My Donut?

My girl Tanya sent me an email yesterday to let me know about the National Cancer Survivors Day—this Sunday!  So, I’m thinking, “As a breast cancer survivor, I already get to claim the entire month of October, so another day seems kind of greedy.  But gee, Cancer Survivor’s Day does sound mighty fun.  Especially if it involves free pedicures, lattes and donuts.  Which I’m sure it does, because otherwise what would be the point, right?  And I can overlook the having The Cancer waved in front of my face one more time, as long as there’s caffeine and sugar and hot pink nail polish.”

 So, I went to the official website for this thing.  And this is what I read:

“National Cancer Survivors Day is held annually in hundreds of communities throughout the world on the first Sunday in June. It is a symbolic event to demonstrate that life after a cancer diagnosis can be a reality.”

 Huh?  So, are they saying this isn’t for the survivors, it’s for everyone else so they can know we survived?  Is that really necessary?  I mean, do people think that you’re diagnosed and immediately drop dead?  What kind of made-up-after-the-fact holiday is that, anyway?  It’s like the Kwanzaa of disease days or something.  And where’s my donut?  I survived the filth-flarnin’ cancer, dadgummit, if you’re gonna have a day for me there’d better be a big fat wad of glazed, yeasty goodness at this deal.  My tolerance for being exploited for somebody’s do-gooder efforts is directly proportional to the amount of free coffee available, and the availability of a pedicure, chair massage, or some other form of pampering. 

 But, I see that this is a “symbolic” event.  I’m not sure that I understand that, but I think it means that while there isn’t anything free, there are plenty of items available for purchase, including a stylish visor.  (Think of it as your survivor colors—you know, like The Diablos or Hell’s Angels, only instead of looking scary and tough, you look like a dork wearing a hat that says “Woo hoo! I got The Cancer!”)  There are also these spiffy magnetic flag pole things for your car that look suspiciously like the little flags your car wears when you’re part of a funeral procession.  (Yes, really.)  And I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.  Maybe it’s not that they figure, “Well, you did have The Cancer, so you know it’s just a matter of time before you need this thing for your funeral.”  Maybe it’s because, like reusable water bottles, having your own funeral flag is the hipster thing to do.  So when the flagman comes around, you can say, “Thanks, but I brought my own.”

I Fed Josh Bell and He Liked It—the Taste of Raspberry Pastry.

Some people went to school with somebody who later became famous.  Or they have famous ancestors like John Hancock or Jesse James.  Options like that for me have pretty much been limited to the fact that Alfalfa from the Little Rascals was my grandma’s cousin.  And according to my grandma, after he became famous, he came to visit and tore up the family bicycle riding it on the railroad tracks.  Yeah, that’s pretty much the whole story.  Wow.  Aren’t you glad you know me? You want my autograph, don’t ya?

 But, folks I’m happy to report that I no longer have to rely on good ol’ Alfalfa to fulfill my famous-person-knowing needs.  That’s because one of my old friends is officially famous now.  In fact you may have even heard of him.  His name is Josh Bell.  Uh, no.  Not the violinist.  Yeah, I know, that would be very cool, too. Especially since I’ve harbored a secret crush on Joshua Bell the violinist since the time that I met him when he played with the Terre Haute Symphony Orchestra in approximately 1985.

That whole violinist thing has long plagued my friend.  Yes, much to his chagrin, they share even their middle name.  Hard to make a name for yourself when somebody else has already made a name for themselves with your name.

 However, in spite of such adversity, my Josh Bell has still managed to make a name for himself.  In the realm of poetry.  Indeed he’s a published author.  You’re impressed, aren’t you?  Is that better than Alfalfa or what?  And get this—he’s so stinkin’ fancy that he lives in New York City.  (All together now: NEEW YOORK CITY!!) And teaches at Columbia University.  You’d think that would make my Josh Bell-The-Poet too good to come home to visit, or that he’d be so busy buying black turtlenecks, and pipe tobacco and just generally being a cliché that he wouldn’t have time to hang with The Little People anymore.  (The Little People being me, not midgets, but I’m sure that he still manages to have time for both of us.  Generous as he is.)  Fortunately for me and my need to have a name to drop, however, that’s not the case.

 In fact, this past weekend I had the pleasure of spending some quality time with Not-the-violinist-Josh Bell when he came out for dinner.  And I told him, that just as my blog is number two on the google results when you search for Pete’s Pride Pork Fritters, so too, it would soon be one of the top destinations for folks searching for Josh Bell-The-Poet.  And he said, “Great!  I love pork fritters!”  (I know, it’s like every word from his poetic lips is the very nectar of the gods, huh?  Amazing.)  

So, while I’m sure this post won’t do much to promote whatever mystique Josh Bell: The Poet may be cultivating, I hope the fact that I make a killer black raspberry pie will guarantee that he doesn’t dump me to hang out with the midgets.  Or come back to break my bicycle.