Archive for October, 2011


In which the veil is thin

October 29, 2011

I’ve heard it said that the veil between the living and the dead grows thinner around Halloween. I’ve also heard it said that you shouldn’t flush prescription medication down the drain, and that one can never have too many table lamps, so I’m just trying to show that there’s a lot of information out there, and caveat emptor, or whatever.

The veil does seem a little thin today, though, in a way I can’t quite explain. All day, I’ve had the distinct feeling that my grandmother has been hovering closely. And she’s dead, this is not something that could be cleared up by closing the blinds and pretending no one is home.

My brother and I hung around together this afternoon. We went thrift shopping downtown, where a parade of happy little costumed kids went from store to store collecting candy. My powers of shopping have not quite returned — maybe that’s why I dream of it so often — and I was tired after a short while. And bought nothing.

My brother and I were going to watch a movie, but he was too tired, so I’m going to bed and am watching “Chinatown” with the cat.

As I was getting ready for bed, the song Please Tell My Brother by Golden Smog popped into my head, specifically the line, I feel your love and I feel your ghost.. The singer is talking about his mother, but the words echoed how I’ve been feeling about my grandmother all day. She was not what I’d call effusive emotionally, but she was loving. And she was steadfast. And today, I feel her love and I feel her ghost. If you don’t know that song, I recommend it to you. It’s a simple, beautiful tune, and sounds great on an acoustic, if you’ve got one at the ready.

Listen, dear mother, I miss you the most
And as I travel from coast to coast,
I feel your love and I feel your ghost.
Listen, dear mother, I miss you the most.

Just a little October feeling. Forget it, Jake: it’s Chinatown.


In which I am chided

October 28, 2011

Most of my dreams are about shopping or amusement parks. This may point to an exceedingly shallow character, I am not really sure.

Anyway, without getting into too much detail (boring) I will just mention that in last night’s dream, a woman in an exquisite Hermès suede-and-leather cloak took me aside to tell me that I was wearing too much perfume.

I have her warning in mind as I go out to greet the world, “Beautiful Dreamer” sounding on the City Hall carillon.


In which I can and I can’t

October 27, 2011

A perfect autumn day is creeping in through the curtains, but I’m staying in, in my flannel sheets. I’ve been out once already today, to my therapist and to the Von’s, and that was about my limit. I do want to note that I wore my brand-new grass-green tall Uggs on this errand, a gift from my aunt, and I’d do it again. I don’t really care how hideous Uggs may be: you get yourself a little chemo-induced neuropathy, a kind of numb-yet-burning sensation, and see how comfortable a pair of heels is.

Anyway, this is not a complaining post, it is a beautiful day. My cat was quiet during the night. Mostly. And I am texting with my friend Traci, in SF, about Murder, She Wrote.

I want to hop on the city bus and go down to the most wonderful store on earth, which just happens to be in San Francisco: Gump’s. I mainly bought stationery and the heavenly Agraria bitter orange potpourri, and the occasional baby gift, but here’s the thing: no matter what you buy there, I don’t care if it’s an olive fork, get it gift-wrapped. Their wonderful, durable gold-topped boxes can be used to store your many loose items. I store, in a small Gump’s box, all my Barbie shoes. For example.

All this by way of saying that I have real things to write about, but my brain got sidetracked and hopped on the 2 Clement, a bus line my ex-husband and I invariably pronounced as if it were French: deux Clément and headed to Gump’s.

Where is your brain today?


In which there is flannel

October 23, 2011

My ears are ringing, pretty loudly, but not quite drowning out the bad Lifetime Network movie on to provide noise to keep my mind from wandering to places where it should not go. Oh, and the cat is also purring. I like that. It might be my favorite sound, aside from the purely theoretical sound of me winning a jackpot in Vegas.

Yeah, that wasn’t really funny, but that’s kind of how I’m rolling today, a grey day, a quiet day.

I’m happy because my aunt came by today and tidied up, and in the process, changed my sheets to my flannel set.

My outfit this evening is something you should note, because all the smart fashionistas will be sporting the look this season: a navy blue sequined t-shirt emblazoned with an anchor, and a rainbow-hued pair of very short shorts in a large and intrusive plaid, which are not only ruffled at the hem, but made of flannel. I think the one color they don’t contain is: navy blue, but trust me, I look fantastic.

Once, last winter, when I was really out of it on chemo and morphine, I wore pretty much this exact outfit, plus a vintage ski jacket and silver ugg boots, out to dinner with my mom and her husband. Jealous? Look: I live in a small town, and I like to exist on fashion’s razor edge. It’s my form of community service. You’re welcome, Ventura!


In which it starts to suq

October 22, 2011

For those of you who are my personal biographer(s), please note the fact that I am a shitty Scrabble player. (Except don’t say “shitty,” say “indifferent” or something that implies a lack of interest, rather than a lack of ability.) I’m currently losing online, after three turns, by a margin of 75 to my friend Jen’s husband, Mr K. He is one of those devious Scrabble players who think about their word choices and place them strategically, i.e., as the game should be played, instead of looking at the tiles, which are arranged to spell the word TO, and playing that wherever possible. He just played the word SUQ, which not only increased his score out of my reach, but sent a subtle message. (Biographers, please title this chapter “Violet’s Vietnam.”)

Speaking of sucking, this is apparently the time when my liver decides to act up and let me know it’s there, a.k.a., Fuuuuuuck, where’s the Percocet?

I was paging through the November issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine, yeah, I have a subscription and don’t throw shade at me if my grosgrain-ribbon festive Thanksgiving wreath is perkier than Reese Witherspoon in “Legally Blonde 2,” because nobody likes a hater, hater.

Anyway. I was paging through this magazine, and came across an ad for some prescription drug that featured a woman holding a black-and-white drawing of a liver. I left the magazine open to that page so that I would have a visual reminder of what a healthy liver looks like, for meditation purposes. Because, like, I’m not really religious? but I’m more spiritual? #totallyoriginalhumor ¥hashtagsareso2009

Anyway again, a little while later, I looked over and my cat had stretched out his left arm, and put his paw directly on the drawing of the liver. Clearly, my cat has healing powers and was sending me a message that he is sending Mariah Carey-worthy unicorns of love and health to guide my way. Thank you, cat!

Because about ten minutes ago, I had a very distinct thought that I cannot possibly go through this chemo every six weeks. I can, of course, especially if it works, but right now, I feel like someone punched me in the ribs thirty times and then pushed me out a second-story window, and I landed on a unicorn horn right where my liver is and bled strawberry milk.

Maybe I don’t need any more Percocet, actually.

… or do I?


In which I sleep it off

October 22, 2011

I slept so well last night, so blissfully well. I woke up a couple of times, once when my cat insisted that although it was 4:30 in the morning, he wanted to play right that second. I gave him some food and a pat on his stripey head, and sank back into my bed, wonderful bed. It is so relaxing, I might just sleep all day.

On Thursday, I went into the hospital for the chemoembolization procedure on my liver. I stayed overnight, for observation, but my doctor said things went well. He is a fantastic doctor, and very kind and professional.

And now, I think I will sleep some more.


In which I buckle down

October 18, 2011

I’m going to confess to a little bit of pride in myself this morning, and the reason it is just a little bit is that what I actually accomplished was, by any standard, minor-to-insignificant, and involved making a couple of phone calls. I didn’t even have to change out of my pajamas.

I have a horror of navigating the phone systems of big organizations, which makes the task of getting information from, say, my doctor, feel next-to-impossible.

But this morning, in my pajamas, I got in touch with the radiologist in charge of my procedure on Thursday and pumped him (not in a gross way, let’s keep it PG-13, please) for every shred of information I could about anything I could think of. This probably does not seem like much of an accomplishment to you, and I don’t expect it to, but normally, when faced with dealing with a large and bureaucratic institution, I go with the flow and assume that things are being taken care of, tra la la.

Ok, the big self-congratulatory portion of this entry is over, and now I will add that the information I gathered from my two stupid phone calls is augmented and bolstered in every way by the friends I have out there, who spend their own time looking up information online, calling various cancer centers, putting their heads together and dividing up tasks, and in general being my support and my advocates in ways that I can’t imagine, and some that I probably don’t even know about.

I don’t really know what’s going to come down the road, but I know that I don’t have to face it alone, and that thought gives me comfort and optimism. Unless I become a radiologist myself, I don’t know what else I can do to foster my healing, but I feel like every little bit of encouragement I get, every postcard I receive, or email, or bit of information about possible treatment, adds to my cure in ways I can’t fathom.

I have to run, now, but I want to add that my radiologist told me this morning that I was “so healthy,” and that my liver function was “awesome.” we just need to get these tumors out of the way, and I appreciate any good vibe you care to send my way.

This concludes the Oscar acceptance speech portion of this entry. Tune in tomorrow, when I’m back to my usual complaining about stupid vanity plates I saw on the 101, and talking about my cat. (He’s so cute!!!!1)