Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Everybody Poops

The girls have wanted a dog for ages. Seriously - at least a year - which, in iPhone times, is equivalent to at
least three years. We spent a week up north and the resort owners have a dog.

All week we heard how great dogs are and what amazing dog owners they will be, so I decided to test them.

Enter Dozer.

Dozer is pretty much the best dog in the world. Calm, well-trained, doesn't bark, submissive.

The girls fell in love. Brushing him and throwing the ball, giving him treats and applauding his tricks. We went to the park, we went on walks.

Once a week here we have Poop Camp, which means cleaning the cat litter boxes and the guinea pig cage. We discussed family responsibilities, as they fought tooth and nail over who had to carry in the bag of guinea pig bedding. I pointed out that I don't even like their guinea pigs, but I help them clean that funky-ass cage every week.

"Then you can carry in the bedding," suggested one kid.

This was not how I imagined things. Instead I handed them plastic bags and began pointing out piles in the yard.

Much wheedling and bickering commenced. It was critical that the number of turds were fairly divided and negotiations turned tense. It went unnoticed that I matched them two turds to one. I even picked up the fresh warmies.

As they gagged dramatically, I reminded them that if we get a dog, this is something we get to do every single day. Steaming summer piles and frozen winter piles.

Suddenly their love for Dozer diminished and they changed the subject. "Let's go swimming!"


Dog Test Results: Epic Fail

I miss my imaginary future dog already.






Thursday, June 26, 2014

An Ode to SuperMoms

Let's go to the lake, I said.

Let's take the girls, I said.

It will be relaxing, I said.

As a singleton, going to the cabin meant laboriously packing the essentials: clothes, swimsuit, vodka.

As a pseudo step-monster, I've been packing for a week. An infinite number of tiny panties, bug spray, sunscreen, towels, goggles, books, puzzles, games, crafts and food. Oh - and a 79-piece first-aid kit that I expect to use in its entirety.

I made a detailed list of items each girl needed and told them to please go pack. When I came to check on them I was informed they had no clean underwear, their clothes don't fit and also, critically, does the cabin have wi-fi? Then the 11-year-old zipped the 9-year-old into a suitcase and called it a day.

We're at T-minus 48 hours and I'm fairly certain we're prepared. I have approximately two U-haul loads of shit packed. I just need to add the last minute items - food, meds, and the 412 items the girls will undoubtedly unpack tomorrow.

Yesterday I accompanied the girls and their mother to a dance competition. If you don't have a child in dance, let me explain: 800 squealing girls, 14 hours and all the glitter in the world. Seriously. There's a shortage now.

I marveled at how Autumn had come prepared for every conceivable issue - extra clothes, snacks, picnic lunch. She didn't even take Xanax (or if she did, she didn't tell me - or share.) She makes it look so simple. By the time we got home I was so exhausted I was seeing double and I slept until 2 PM today then spent the afternoon doing laundry and vomiting.

She? Got up this morning at 6 AM and went to work.

She is not human. She is SuperMom. And a kind one, at that. Normally Fridays are our night but she offered to take the girls so Paul and I could have date night tomorrow.

Date night will be amazing. We have reservations with the couch, party of two. I fully expect we'll both be sound asleep by 7 PM.

Because come Saturday? We're off to the lake...to relax.

I am not a SuperMom, or even a mom. I love those girls to the moon, but as I delve deeper into this world of parenting, I am constantly reminded that I will never, ever be as good at this as she is. Today I congratulated myself for finally figuring out how to tell their underwear apart - we just bought new ones and I marked them with a Sharpie. I was so proud of myself and it only took me a year to figure it out.

I just pray I can get through next week without causing irreparable damage to her two beautiful children.

Friday, June 13, 2014

What Could Go Wrong?

It's a sweet, sunny Friday in sweet, sunny Wisconsin.

This summer I'm helping watch my boyfriend's girls since he - you know - works. Both he and the girls' mom have full-time jobs and I don't, so I offered my dubious housewifely services. These consist of:

 - Refereeing and mediation
 - Spreading nutella and toasting bread (only the good bread)
 - Random somersaults with the girls
 - Cleaning various owies and praying no stitches are needed

Last night the girls called to ask if they could have friends over today.

Of course.


But then it hit me.

Four girls, ages 7-11...

Friday the 13th...

Full moon...

What could possibly go wrong!?

In 120 minutes we've choreographed and filmed four videos including American Idol auditions and a red carpet appearance, had two snacks and been to the park twice. It's 9:26 AM and so far there have been no casualties. I consider this a win.

Check back at 5:00 PM. I may be howling at the moon.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

God is Laughing

Don't tell me God doesnt have a sense of umor

Monday I woke feeling lousy - as in, worse than my normal everyday lousy. Tremors, nausea. A few minutes in the sunshine and I brokw out in hives everywhere. Then the headache.

An ice pick behind my right eye triggered the vomiting and I like to do things in a big way. So I barfed so hard I saw stars and then passed out.

Vomit, rinse, repeat. Except I didn't rinse, I just heaved all over myself. And the floor. And the rugs.

Several hours passed in a fog on the floor and I wanted to crawl to my phone but fifteen feet was insurmountable.

Mama Bird came home and by then I was soaked in sweat and starting to convulse. She called 911 and I'm told that the firefighters were hot. "Hotter than Chicago Fire hot" was the direct quot.

I was blinded by my headache so all I saw was a brief glimpse of knees and suspenders. I asked Mama Bird later why the doctor wore suspenders. Nope, those were the firemen, though Mama Bird sad the doctor was pretty cute too.

God is laughing.

As I writhed on the gurney sobbing in pain I kept trying to ask why they wouldn't give me a muscle relaxer. After the first shot of Valium and muscle relaxants I apparently told the nurse I loved her and passed out.

Ten minutes later I was howling for more and evidentlly I was then max dosed on both Valium and whatever else they were giving me. It barely touched the pain.

I don't remember much more of Monday. I don't recall the ambulance at all and I wasn't really coherent until pretty late.

I remember begging God to let me die.

I remember my mom rubbing my contorting muscles and Paul holding my thorbbing hand.

And I remember that they told me the spinal tap would hurt so much but it was kitten kisses compared to the pain of Lyme diesase.

God is laughing.

It's been 36 hours and I can finally open my eyes with no sunglasses. I can see again but its blurry. The aftermath feels like I was beatn with a sledgehammer.

Diagnosis: Muscle Cramp

Because the doctors don't kno w what a lyme herx is? Because this is in my head?

God is laughing.

While I convulsed in hte bed begging for pain relief, the hospital brought in all the important forms. HIPAA and financial counsel - "Oh, you don't have insurance!?"

(I've been waiting on MnCare's paperwork for months and my COBRA ran out. That's half the reason I went off my Lyme meds. The other reason is they cost a fortune that I don't have and I merely throw them up anyhow.)

God is laughing.

This happened Monday.

Today is Wednesday and I already received a letter in the mail re: payment.

I bet my Muscle Cramp will cost well over $10K including my EMS limo. Thousands of dolars and I didn't even get a lousy t-shirt. From what I hear the only entertainment on Monday was the firemen so of course I'd go  blind and miss it completely.

I'm two years into this latest bout with Lyme disease and I swear it's killing me. Slowly, painfully, physically and financially. For certain I thought Monday was my end.

My mom thought she was going to lose me.

We're not laughing anymore

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Self-Correcting

And as it always does, the world humbled me as soon as I pitched a fit. Some resentment squeaked out of my last post like a fart. 

I beg your pardon.

I was in pain and nauseated and crabby and frankly vile, and I pulled out some old photo albums to cheer myself up.

This was the first picture I selected for Throwback Thursday.


It made me laugh because, as always in the group shot, I was doing my own thing. In this case the thing happened to be batting my eyes at Anders. He lived down the street and sometimes we walked home from school together.

It was love.

Except that it was unrequited.

I saw this today and I'm so happy for him.


Photo: Lavender Magazine 2014
READ THE LOVELY ARTICLE

I'm proud we live in a world that is beginning to accept that nontraditional families are no different than traditional families. Some of them suck and some of them are really doing things right.

We have a long way to go but this article made me hopeful.

I have a nontraditional family, too. Don't we all? By blood and by marriage we are fishermen and bankers, nurses, academics, accountants and bums (moi). We are painfully white and nut brown. We are educated and not. We are strong and soft.

I'm a pasty Norwegian. My boyfriend is part Native American. He has two little girls, one a spitting image and one with freckles and bright red hair.

We're not blood.

They have a mommy, a great one, but I get to be part of a part of a bigger, crazier family now. A family of mom and Dave and dad and me and aunties and uncles and grandmas and grandpas and three cats and two guinea pigs and a lizard and hermit crabs and a bulldog. (No, not a bulldog. But I'm trying.)

Their girls know they are so loved.

I imagine Baby Hugo will grow up feeling pretty loved as well.

Thanks, Anders, for the pick-me-up. I needed a reminder of what's important because I have a lot of good in my life now in between the barfing. I ought to focus more on that.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Fool Me Once

I haven't been writing because I mostly feel like crap. When I don't feel like crap, I spend my time with my loved ones before I revert to feeling like crap. Then I lay in bed feeling like crap and thinking I should be writing but not knowing what to write about that doesn't sound crappy.

Some of you have reached out to me in concern over my silence and you're sweet for doing so. Thank you. I didn't go anywhere.

I'm here.

I've just been terribly busy laughing and barfing and sweating and crying and writhing. And thinking....oh, but there is time to think when one spends 60% of life in bed. So much thinking.

I think I have reached the conclusion that I am a fool.

Stay with me, let's review some recent evidence.

It's been one year since Wild Bill picked me up on the corner with my belongings. He took me to get my PICC line installed. (Is that the word when they thread a tube into your heart? But anyway, he picked me up crying on the curb.)

This morning Wild picked me up on another curb but I wasn't crying. I was barfing. Luckily I am wearing this shirt today.

I cannot even make this shit up.

A year ago, I walked out the door a newly divorced woman with Lyme disease. I left behind the giant flat screen TV I'd won because...well, it would be mean to take it from him when he loved it so dearly and couldn't afford a new one of his own. This past year, while y'all helped me pay for my Lyme drugs (yeah - the ones I throw up on the sidewalk...sorry), you'll be happy to know that he too has made ends meet. Thank goodness I left him that big TV to go with his brand new Playstation 4...and new motorcycle.

I'm a fool.

But I guess at least I'm a kind fool instead of a mean fool?

I always say that I'm not poor, I'm broke. There's a difference. Poor sounds lacking, needy. Broke is just numbers. I live check to check on long-term disability insurance right now and reviewed my balance online the other day.

Four dollars and change - I was golden until my check arrived!

Except that long ago, I authorized a FIVE DOLLAR monthly contribution to the Human Rights Campaign. Which posted and threw my bank account in the hole.

For a buck.

And an overdraft fee.

I'm a fool.

But I guess at least I'm a fool who supports equal rights?

THIS IS MY LIFE, PEOPLE!

I do one stupid thing after the next.

I was never going to change the world with my brilliance, but this is getting ridiculous. Last night Mama Bird and I met old friends to catch up on our news.

Friend 1:  I'm beautiful and blonde and help raise my adorable niece and nephew!
Friend 2:  I'm so in shape I run 100 miles at a time!

Mama Bird:  I'm gonna be a grandma!

Me (wearing a broccoli floret in my hair):  I'm pretty certain I'm mildly retarded from the Lyme.

Mama Bird:  She's not kidding.

Then she said it...

Something I've been denying to myself since 2012...

But it's true...

Mama Bird: Neil told he knew her cognitive abilities were deteriorating. He now smokes her every time at Words with Friends.



Monday, April 7, 2014

Check Yoself Before You Wreck Yoself: A Springtime PSA

It's fifty-five degrees outside, perfect for a meandering walk or a bike ride. Perfect too, apparently, for
another day on my knees in front of the toilet.

It's been over a year since my diagnosis.

Thousands of shots.

Thousands of pills.

I stutter and tremble. I've pissed myself, crapped my pants, convulsed, seized, cried, drooled and I vomit more often than many people sneeze. At times I've been unable to grip a pen or to spell my name.

All because of an itsy bitsy filthy little tick the size of a poppy seed.

I remember crying in relief the day I got the diagnosis. Finally! An explanation for years of bizarre medical troubles. Finally! A path back to normalcy.

Because A leads to B, right? Diagnosis begets treatment which provides recovery. RIGHT? I'm learning that it's not that simple, especially when the infection has spread to one's central nervous system. After thirteen months of hardcore drugs my systems are exhausted, my bank account is zero and my improvements are modest albeit certainly appreciated.

I'm weaning myself off all the medications to give my body a break. I need to reassess. I need time to decide what's next. I was told that recovery is a marathon and I don't know which mile markers I've passed, but I'm sitting down for a bit on the curb.

As the weather turns warmer and you head outside, I beg of you:

CHECK YOSELF BEFORE YOU WRECK YOSELF

If you find a tick on yourself, proceed immediately to your doctor and do not pass go. Do not leave their office until you have a fistful of antibiotics. I wouldn't wish Lyme Disease on my worst enemy. Had I been treated initially, as a child, I might have been spared this hellfire. I can't change that but I can shout from the rooftops so it doesn't happen to you.

Actually, that's a lie. I can't shout.

But I can stutter and d-d-d-d-ammit, I c-c-c-care about you. W-w-w-watch for these tiny m-m-m-monsters.




Friday, March 7, 2014

Cowabunga

It's easier to ask forgiveness than permission, so let me start with an apology to everyone who demanded I check with my doctor before participating in a Polar Plunge for the Special Olympics. (I also feel the need to clarify that I was raising money for the Special Olympics, not competing in them - because as my brother says, I'm no athlete.)

My cousin caught me in a weak moment on a day I felt good - and once I'd said yes, I was screwed. I couldn't back out at that point, so why ask the doctor if my death was imminent or merely a possibility? Some things are better left unknown.

And so it was that my soft spot for Daryl and my inability to admit to poor judgment led me to the precipice last Saturday.

Paul and I stood with him at the edge of the hole in the ice, the three of us with linked hands and fluttering hearts, the wind like icy knives. It was two degrees below zero, but if we were going to die a frozen death, we'd go out holding hands and knowing that we were loved.


Except that at the last minute, Daryl released my hand and briefly had 
second thoughts - about either loving us or jumping in the 33-degree water. 
Or possibly both.


He mustered the gumption, though, and I love the look on his face as 
his legs hit the water and he realizes what he's done.


The look on my face, however, cannot accurately depict the horror that is Lake Calhoun in Minnesota in March after the coldest and snowiest winter of my life.

People asked what it felt like but I can't really tell you. I wasn't there.

When my body hit that water, I left this world. I didn't feel pain then, because I'm pretty certain I died. My legs buckled and I went under (which was NOT part of the plan) and when I came back up I was astonished to realize I was blind. Or maybe my eyelashes had frozen together.

All I knew was that I needed time to think about it and what better time than the present? So I stood there in the frigid water, leisurely contemplating a life of blindness. Paul pulled me out before the medics could. He said I was just standing there with a dazed look on my face. I don't remember that. Or the people. Or the cameras.

But I absolutely remember the numbing pain of getting out of icy water into the windchill of ten below zero. All that pain that I couldn't feel? In the water? By golly, here it was!

It was worth it, though, right?

It was for a good cause, right?

Once warmed and dried, the trauma behind us, I swelled like a peacock and thanked my cousin for inviting me to be a part of his special day. I asked how he decided to select me for the task.

My pride was popped faster than a soap bubble when Daryl admitted he'd invited damn near everyone he's ever met.

"Nobody else was crazy enough to say yes."








Friday, February 28, 2014

Just in Case

This time tomorrow I'll be walking the plank.

A cold ass ice-plank that ends in 32-degree water.

Since I'm hoping not to die of a massive heart attack brought on by shock,  I packed meds to last through the weekend. This morning - just as I was about to write another fundraising plea -  I heard a crash from the kitchen and found a naughty orange kitten playing hockey...with my drugs.

Paul and I picked up as many as we could find and blew off the floor dirt (free probiotics!) and now I have to reassemble my dosing schedule. And before you get all judgy about swallowing dirty pills, let me point out that you're looking at roughly a thousand dollars worth of medication.

Anyhoo, back to the fundraising.

I can truthfully tell you that without the love and support of many, I wouldn't be here today.

Last year a benefit was hosted in my honor, to raise money for my Lyme drugs, and I said all along that I won't be at peace with that until I've helped to 'pay forward' every one of those dollars to another cause. So while a jump in an icy lake sounds fairly close to my idea of hell, it's something I can do with and for my cousin Daryl, a special Olympian.

All moneys raised support the Special Olympics programs that enrich the lives of disabled athletes.

I'm no athlete but I've learned plenty about being disabled and you know what? It sucks.

It sucks to be dependent upon others.

It sucks to be in constant chronic pain.

It sucks to feel like everything is so much harder than it ought to be.

It sucks to feel alone in this world.

The Special Olympics have provided ways for my cousin to shine and to feel a part of something bigger than himself. He's so excited that Paul and I are joining him this year and I have to admit I'm pretty excited too.

A baptism of sorts, a rebirth.

Or possibly instant hypothermia culminating in cardiac failure.

If it's the former, I'll see it as a sign of better things to come. For Daryl. For me. For you. For anyone who has ever felt ostracized by life.

If it's the latter, please have Chad Daniels and Pete Lee officiate at my funeral. And Leslie - I'll need you to clean out my nightstand drawer, kay? Thanks.
 
 
 




Monday, February 24, 2014

Dunking with Daryl

1983-ish
Every summer we spent two weeks at our grandparents' lake house, a bunch of wild little cousins.

Daryl was the adorable curly haired tot who wet the bed on my brother and took the rap for all of our transgressions. There was a hard wooden time-out bench in the kitchen and Daryl spent the bulk of his summer vacations there. If I pinched my brother Neil or wouldn't share a toy, Daryl had to take a time-out. If Dana bit me, Daryl served the time.

Thirty years later he's an Olympian and he's asked me if I will jump in a lake with him.

In Minnesota.

In March.

To support the Special Olympics.

I figure I owe him a solid and when my guy said he'd jump with me, I had no choice but to say...

"Of course I will jump in an ice-cold lake with you, Daryl!"

Shit.

I support friends and family when they do charitable things but I can't ride a bike 150 miles or run a marathon. I'm too weak to walk for three days. Or miles.

I've been holding down my bed since Christmas, and trying to hold down all the meds. I've contemplated death pretty seriously - not in an active or dramatic I'd like to jump off a bridge way, but rather in a defeated my body often feels like it's going to quit on me kind of way. I get a burst or two of energy each week where I feel decent for a few hours, and therein lies the trouble.

Daryl caught me on an afternoon when I felt 60% normal, which was a 60% improvement over previous days. The Polar Plunge sounded invigorating. Exciting. Something I could actually accomplish, as it will require only fourteen seconds of energy. A chance to pay it forward just a tiny bit.

A chance to feel alive instead of just existing to fill a bed.

Then I realized that hopping in a freezing cold lake sounds pretty much like hell. But I'm locked and loaded and have decided that it's a worthy cause - hypothermia be damned. And also my boyfriend's kids will laugh at us if we punk out, so there's that.

Won't you consider supporting our insanity and - more critically - the Special Olympics? My guy and I are jumping for Daryl's team and you can donate to any of our pages - it all goes to the same wonderful organization.

 
 
 
 








.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

She Talks to Angels

2014 has started out harsh.

I started a new drug combo the day after Christmas and have spent all but two or three days since then flat on my back. The yellow liquid looks like acrylic paint and it tastes like pennies and the herxing has been spectacular. I see double a lot now.

Three weeks ago I was supposed to have dinner with my friend Gretchen but neither of us felt up to it, so we agreed to reschedule. Last Friday I spoke to her and I knew it would be the last time. After battling cancer for several years, Gretchen's body gave in.

This is the letter I wrote to her small son.
________________________________

Dear Wylan,


I’m writing you a letter because I talk kinda funny. Your mom talked funny too there, for a bit, huh? See, I knew your mommy back when we were not much older than you and I want you to know about the kind of kid your mommy was.

When I was nine I had really long pretty hair like your mom used to but I whined a lot about combing it. My mama warned me that if I didn’t stop crying about it, she was going to cut it all off but I was a kid so I cried anyhow. She cut off my hair and we moved and the kids at my new school had to ask if I was a boy or a girl.

But your mommy was my friend right away and she didn’t care what I looked like. We had sleepovers and rode our bikes and played games. We read books together and talked about everything important like God school and boys and Guns-N-Roses. We liked to walk barefoot and sing songs. One day it was raining and we sang her favorite song, She Talks to Angels, at the tops of our lungs while we splashed in the puddle.

She keeps a lock of hair in her pocket
She wears a cross around her neck
Yes, the hair is from a little boy
And the cross is someone she has not met
Not yet

 
The little boy is you, Wylan.

She was smart and curious and we got in lots of trouble growing up together because we liked to explore and try new things. Here are some things your mom might have forgotten to tell you not to do.

Don’t climb out the window onto the roof. Don’t prank call boys. Don’t smoke and don’t sass the police officers who yell at you if you do. Don’t skip school or drink screwdrivers without orange juice because you will throw up and it will sting.

Even though we got in trouble sometimes, we were mostly good kids. We went swimming and put lemons in our hair and wondered if we would ever get a tan (we didn’t). She played the piano almost every time she was at my house. We wrote very important notes to each other in class and told each other’s MASH fortunes. I was there when your mommy first fell in love with your daddy.

I know something special about your mommy, Wylan, because I got sick too. We talked about it. Even though sick people sometimes are too tired to play with you or talk funny or have silly hair, the special times with you are extra awesome because of it. So I bet every hug and kiss and game of Legos lately has been your mommy’s favorite time with you.

When your mommy left this world, she met the angels and they let her pass her mommy wings to some of us here while she’s gone. Your mommy has so many girlfriends, like sisters, and we are all your mommies now - every single one of us. We’ll help your daddy take care of you until we all see your mommy again.

Lots of love from one of all your mommies,


Tricia

__________________________
 
A celebration of Gretchen's life will be held this Saturday. I'm looking forward to seeing so many of the other mommies.
 

 

 

Monday, December 23, 2013

My Holiday Card

I've been MIA. First my hands went numb which interferes with my words per minute, then it seemed like I'd best say something important since it had been so long. That paralyzed me, as I have little to say of importance, ever. Next I got caught up in the wonder of the holidays and spent my whole ten hours of energy this past month baking cookies, making presents and rolling around in the snow like a Goldendoodle.

So we'll just call December a wash and this my holiday letter mmmkay?
 

Merry Christmas, friends!

I'm allowed to begin with Merry Christmas. Not because my butt is in a pew every Sunday but since that's what I've always said. And if you celebrate something other than the birth of Christ and the resurrection of Santa Claus, feel free to pretend I wished you a happy whatever offends your tender ears least.

2013.

The first year I attended more funeral services than weddings.

The first year I haven't worked since I donned a chicken hat at Cajun Joe's when I was fifteen.

The year I lost my job, marriage, driver's license, car and complete control of my bladder.

The year I found my boyfriend, and two girls who inspire me to do great things, like get out of bed when it hurts, because sometimes there are waterslides that need to be ridden or giggles that must be unleashed. I don't like the word soul mate, but I think he is my puzzle piece. We seem to fit.

The year I was diagnosed with Chronic Lyme Disease, which depending upon who you ask may or may not exist. I've seizured and stumbled and passed out and drooled and pissed myself and cried and I explode from everywhere like a nuclear bomb. I've slept, at best calculation, 6570 hours this year - or 273.75 of the past 365 days. I've wished I were dead at times. I've felt like I am already.

After 1080 injections (precisely) and 7500 pills (conservatively) I have definitely made progress, as detailed in the graph below.
 
 
During my peak health and energy this year I decided to return to school and enrolled in the massage therapy program at Northwestern. I was a schoolgirl for six weeks before puking, pooping myself and collapsing in exhaustion. I memorized a hundred flashcards and received a bill for four grand. For that I'm now qualified to work anywhere within walking distance where the hours are noon to two three days a week and I need to recite the bones in the human body. Also I have my fond memories of being an A student (except that one stupid class) and a sick Trapper Keeper.
 


I'm in bed today with double vision and itching red-hot tender legs debating whether to begin swallowing the latest drug in my cocktail, which looks radioactive and unfit for human consumption. On the plus side, it ought to drive that graph further upward and if I happen to catch anthrax or plague I'm already covered (seriously). Downsides include rupturing tendons and further numbness and nerve damage. Also, at $65 a dose, vomiting is a concern. Some helpful folks have suggested that if that happens I can always Play Dog.


But for all this griping, 2013 has been amazing as well. I have been lifted in love countless times. That progress on the graph? From IV meds that aren't covered by insurance. They were paid for with the generosity of friends all over the world and pumped straight into my heart for almost five months.

I owe thanks to so many, many people. For driving me everywhere I went. For encouraging me. For donating to my Lyme benefit. For hugging me when I drooled. For laughing with me. For loving me even when I'm broken.

I have big goals for 2014. I'm going to speak again without a stutter, so I can practice lines for the school play with BF's daughter.  I'm going to get my driver's license back, so I can go pick up my own prescriptions. I'm going to figure out what kind of work I can do with my spectacular resume.

And I'm going to remember to stay humble and grateful. Those were the themes of 2013 and I can't lose sight of that as I get stronger. I have a lot to repay.

Be well, all of you, whatever you are celebrating lately.



Monday, December 2, 2013

Cyber Monday

Thirties, dark and snowing.

Perfect day for cyber shopping, there are no crowds in your pajamas (we hope). I've compiled a handy list of folks I know who make cool stuff and sell it online. You're welcome.

10. My friend TJ Lubrano paints the prettiest watercolors ever - buy a beautiful hand painted card.
Illustration: TJ Lubrano


9. You need a Chad Daniels standup CD for your car. You'll be laughing too hard to care about Monday morning meetings.

8.  Bodylish bath goodies are made by a friend of a friend and they smell yummy enough to eat.

7.  Delphine French twists mad jewels when she's not hanging from a tree.

Necklace: Rebecca's Whims
6. Another delightful choice for comedy is Pete Lee. Watch a video or two. Buy a t-shirt.

5. Serana Rose of the Show Devils. This freakshow dolly whips up funky hairpieces and curios when she's not chewing on chainsaws.

4.  Rebecca's Whims is the shop to find handmade baubles you can't live without.

3. Good nature photography never goes out of style. Grab a calendar for your office.

2. Matt Johnson's prints are fantastic for kids' rooms or for gamers and they're priced to snatch.

1. There are twenty remaining copies of my book Confessions of a Recovering Cynic. Follow the link at the top of the page to share the magic.
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