Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Oscars, and why you should hate yourself.

I've only had the Television on for ten minutes and already I'm being told what a failure I am. To be honest, I rarely watch network TV, and even rarely in the morning.  For some reason, I ended up turning on some "Morning TV" and first thing I hear is...

I should be dressing up and going to Oscar Parties. That's what the "cool" people do. 

I have never even watched the Oscars (or any award show) all the way through. I've been channel surfing and stopped for ten minutes to watch a certain performance, but... BORING. I am NOT the type to idolize movie stars. They are just people. As my dad would say "They all put their pants on one leg at a time." I think it's shameful that some famous people make millions of dollars to "act" for our entertainment, while there are people truly struggling, working their asses off to feed their family.

A party I can admire (from afar). A fundraiser for Center on Halsted, a lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community center in Chicago. Last year, $65,000 was raised for their many programs and services.

I'm not saying that entertainment isn't important, I love to relax and watch Supernatural or Dr. Who as much as the next Freak. It just bugs me that some "stars" make as much money per episode than teachers make in five years of work. But that's another story, another rant for another day.

Back to my failures...

So, there is a store in Downtown Chicago, where you can "rent" fancy, multi-thousand dollar dresses for a mere $50 to $500 for four days. Awesome! Perfect for those Oscar Parties I've never been to. Because...

You can't wear the same dress twice! 

Oh Sarah Jessica. How you disappoint us by wearing the same dress twice.

God forbid someone sees your picture on Social Media and you are wearing the same dress as in another picture! Or someone recognizes the dress from the last party you were at! Oh the horrors! The shame! The humiliation! Thank god there are websites that focus on this lack of good judgement. Thank god there are places where you can rent thousand dollar dresses for just hundreds of dollars for a few days! 

I should be envious of the starlets and the dresses they wear. I should want to be just like them! 

We should ALL aspire to look like this.
They are perfect. Their hair is perfectly styled. Their makeup is perfectly applied. Their dresses are perfectly hung on their perfectly shaped bodies. All regular women should all aspire to be just like them! And if a "Star" has the gall to show a flaw? If they have a wardrobe malfunction? Wearing the wrong shoes with their dress? Have the wrong hairstyle or earrings or clutch? Some cellulite on their thighs, or laugh lines or thin lips or wrinkles on their forehead?

Oh Jennifer. How could you?

Thank goodness there are "Fashion Police" to show us the errors of their ways! We as a society need to call them out and shame them for their indiscretion. Shame them for offending us with their humanity. Thank god for photoshop and eye bleach! 

Well, that's all the failure I can take for one day. Until lunchtime at least. I do have something more serious to talk about, more but that's for next time. Later Gator.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Back to the Mothership

Yesterday it was almost 60F degrees out on February 20th. I swear, it was Mother Nature's way of telling us to hang on, Spring is coming! Of course I packed up the dog and my little art journal (just in case) and headed over to the closest Forest Preserve/big park. We both needed to get out of the house and into the sunshine for a little walk. My back patio is still in the shade for a few more months.

Ruby had a VERY muddy walk, sometimes sloshing through an inch of water over the gravel trail. Her fur hanging down off her belly was soaked and muddy. Then there was the squirrel she HAD to chase through a couple inches of soggy mud, dragging me behind her.

So we HAD to sit on a bench in the sunshine (and on pavement) so she could dry off before getting into my car. Because guess who forgot a towel? We sat for about an hour in the sun. I had a lot of stuff to do at home, but I swear I couldn't move off that bench.

We people watched. We lake watched. The lake was defrosting, visible tracks in the ice were turning into sloshy shorelines. I watched as a parent sat and LET her children play on the soggy cracking ice.

I sat on the bench and watched people strolling by. Mostly middle aged couples walking hand in hand, talking quietly, or in comfortable silence. A young couple, he with a big blanket, she with an old fashioned picnic basket, talking about kayaking. Another young couple pushing a stroller with a very young baby in it. They were tired looking, she was a larger girl, who looked determined in her leggings and athletic shoes, to get some exercise. And he tenderly put his arm around her and leaned into her in such a sweet loving gesture, it brought tears to my eyes. He clearly loved her, just the way she was.

I want to be loved like that.

Observing, watching people walking by, I have never felt so disconnected from the world. Normally getting out and being in public makes me feel the opposite, like I am part of humanity. But yesterday it was different. I wasn't part of the world, I was looking at it as an observer, like an alien, taking notes in my head for when I report back to the Mothership. It was weird. It made me sad. Lonely.

I think maybe if I wasn't tethered to my 68 lb dog by a leash, I would have floated away, right then and there. And *poof* disappear among the clouds.

It's back to normal today, a "real-feel" of 35F degrees. Back to February.

Till next time...

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

A Timeline of Life... so far.

This is what 50 looks like. In my own skin, bare-naked face and un-filtered. In my before-life there was no way in hell I would post a picture of myself sans-makeup and un-photoshopped. This is the good thing about being 50, you stop caring so much about how other people judge you. (I imagine it just gets better at 60 and 70...)

Bare faced, scarred and natural.

Twenty years ago, I couldn't even imagine turning 50. 

Ten years ago, it still seemed so far away, but I still had time to live in the "before" and enjoy my life with my toddler and my husband. 

Eight years ago, when my oldest sister turned 50, I was all "ohmygod I can't believe she's so old!" (Haha. Love you Sis!)

Four and a half years ago, I wasn't sure I was going to make it to 50. Being diagnosed with cancer will do that to you. You start thinking about living and dying, and you start to feel grateful for each day you are given on this beautiful earth. 

No words.

Exactly four years ago today, I sat in the bathroom with a razor and shaved my head bald and bawled for all the changes I was about to go through.

Tried on a mohawk before taking it all off.

Three years ago I was busy looking at real estate in Maine, vacation properties, investments, summer homes to look at during our next vacation the following June. My husband finally convinced me that our dream could be a reality, we could retire to Mt. Desert Island and run our little business together, and enjoy "the way life was meant to be." 

The future was so bright...

Two years ago I was unpacking boxes in the 'new-to-me' home I moved into with my daughter, all my hopes and dreams and goals for the future shot to hell and shattered with one word. 

Celia's new bed.

One year ago I stopped crying. I bought my house. I traded in the marital car for something I chose for myself. I did a lot of soul searching and dreaming up new dreams. I made plans to do things I never had the opportunity to do before. I started to enjoy life again. 

Sign of the Times.

It's been a long road, this road to 50. It's been riddled with potholes and stoplights, u-turns and bridges over troubled waters. But I'm here. I made it. 

This is me, today. I have no idea what the future will bring. I try to let go of the heaviness and uncertainty, or else it will consume me. 


I try to be grateful for the things I DO have. Like my own home, my amazing daughter, my new dog. I have some pretty darn good friends, near and far. I enjoy cooking foods I want to eat, going places I want to go to, planning road trips and vacations to places I've never been. I no longer walk on eggshells, I am a whole person again. I am a survivor, I am strong. I'll see you in ten years. 

Well, really, I'll see you tomorrow.

Friday, February 5, 2016


My nephew wrote a blog post about ten little things that helped him get through the month of February, affectionately nicknamed "Grey Bucket of Suck Month." There is only one redeeming quality of February, it's my birthday month. That's about it though. I hate Valentine's Day and all the "if you love her, prove it" bullshit. People are sick and tired of the cold. If there is snow still on the ground, it looks like dirty sludge. And did I mention people are just tired of the cold? It's a month to "just get it over with" as far as I'm concerned. Good thing it's usually a short month! 

But... in the spirit of trying to be positive and grateful that we made it so far, I will give this a try. Ten little things to get us through this bucket of suck month. Okay, fine. Ten little things to be grateful for during the F month. Or maybe just things about winter that might be okay...

1. The layer of ice in the pond finally cracking and beginning to melt. 

2. But not so much so that the geese can't pretend to be Jesus and walk on water. I call them my Geesuses. 

3. And the ice puddle in the playing field is thick enough to pretend skate on, with pretend skates. And pretend falls.


4. Sometimes there's still enough snow on the ground to get a few last rolls in, before it turns to mush. 


5. Looking out the window and seeing tiny animal prints on the back deck.

6. Hawk visiting on a clear day, hunting squirrels. But not the fat squirrel that lives in the tree outside our window. That's Ruby's squirrel. 

7. Shadows. Each day is another minute longer, finally dragging us out of the long dark. But the shadows are still long and clear, the sun still at a low winter angle. 

8. Parks and outdoor public places are blissfully lacking in people. You can walk down a path without getting hit by a bicycle. 

9. Wildlife returns to the area after a winter of hibernation. The Canadian Geese come back in droves. (Of course there are always the lazy few who stay in the area.) The squirrels emerge from their leafy nests high up in the trees. The robins start hanging around with other birds of unknown origin.

10. Snuggling under the down comforter with my two favorite girls on lazy Saturday mornings. Warm and snug, sun streaming through the windows. Bliss.

I think the main thing that keeps me going during the month of February is the anticipation. I love the feeling of knowing something pleasant is coming. When you can tilt your head to the sun and feel warmth, not pain. Looking forward to that magical day when suddenly you smell spring in the air. The smell of fresh mud made by the ground unfreezing. Making way for the very first crocuses to emerge bright green. Daffodils to follow. I get so excited to those first few signs of spring. I know it's coming... I know it's coming. We just gotta get through February first!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Hello, it's me.

A message from the universe. 
I am not sure what to do. I have two blogs. And I've been neglecting them both. 

I first started this blog when I wanted to share my artwork and photography, but then how can I separate those things from who I am? I started sharing myself and random thoughts on life. I like that. I can write about anything I want. Specifically, LIFE. Haha. It's good to be adaptable. 

Do you get the Irony?

Then I was diagnosed with breast cancer and I didn't want to make THIS blog a "cancer blog" but I needed to process my experience with words and thoughts and pictures. And I wanted to share my experience because if I could help just one person get through their own ordeal, then Mission Accomplished. So I started Life, Interrupted which documented my cancer journey. I really love to go back and read things because it reminds me on my weaker days, how strong I am. I decided I am not going to take it down, because I still get a few readers there. But the last time I wrote was September 2nd, after my Oncology appointment that made me cry the Ugly Cry. I will probably continue to write on that one but keep it strictly BOOB related, which means every few months. 

Cracked and Broken but Beautiful. 

This year one of my intentions (I don't do resolutions) was to write more. Write anything. More. I have words in me floating around my head that need to come out. Usually it's while I'm driving down the tollway at 70 M.P.H. and by the time I get in front of the computer or have pen and journal in hand, most of those words have turned to jibber jabber, all the eloquence and cleverness having disappeared. 

I would love to write a book someday. But I don't know what the hell to write a book about. So I figured maybe a blog would be better because my ADD addled mind could write about anything that pops up for the day/week/month. 

Well, I won't get any writing done if I don't at least try, right? But I am warning you. I could write and show pictures about art and photography, feelings, thoughts on current events, fiction, divorce, food and healthy eating (yeah, I love taking pictures of my food. Sue me), stupid things that people say, being a 50 year old single woman who hasn't dated since 1985, etc. It could get ugly. Very. 

But that's me. 

Hello. It's me. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Wet Kisses and Warm Fur

I would like to introduce you to the new Love of my Life!

This is Ruby. We rescued each other. My last blog post I talked about possibly getting another dog to help ease the loneliness of the day. I had started looking half-heartedly, going to dog adoption events, of course I liked all the dogs I saw but I couldn't "see" any of them in my house or in my life. Until a rescue I followed on Facebook posted this picture of this beautiful Australian Shepherd:

I don't know what it was about her... but within about 5 minutes of  hearing her "story" I fell in love. After 9 months with a family, they were giving her up because they were moving and only wanted to take the puppy with them. For nine months, they fed her to obesity. Her records show she was of "normal stature and weight" in December 2014 and by September she was 20 lbs. overweight, and on what should be a 50 lb dog, that's pretty significant. The previous owner also said Ruby did not like to go for walks. Her Foster Mother took a picture of why that was:

Well, I wouldn't want to walk on those either, it was probably extremely painful to walk! I just knew that this pup needed to be with me. I kept up with updates on Facebook and kept falling, fast and hard. I think a week later, her Foster Mom found out that Ruby was also Heartworm Positive. I was heartbroken, for Ruby, but it in NO WAY affected my decision to give her a home. I checked around here and found a vet who could treat her very affordably, and we all decided that Ruby would come up to my neck of the woods for treatment. I picked her up on October 17th when I met J, the foster mom, halfway between Chicago and St. Louis.

I had NO doubts that I had made the right decision. This was the sweetest dog I'd ever met. I couldn't figure out why anyone would give her up. She is gentle and loving and attentive. She is a velcro dog and wants to be in the same room as me. She loves to go for walks. And given her issue with weight and overfeeding, she proved to be so well behaved around food. She eats fast, but after I set her bowl down, she puts her nose by my face and looks me in the eye as if to say "thank you." I tell her "you're welcome" and then she eats. I can put food on the nose-high living room table and she's never tried to eat it. I can drop things and she looks at me to see if she can get it. She is so NOT a mooch dog.

She is fully house trained and has never pooped or peed inside. Even when it poured one weekend, she held it for about 14 hours. She doesn't chew on shoes or furniture, or anything. Even bones :-)
She gives little kisses on my chin. She comes to work with me (right down to the basement) and I'll be working and she'll be snoozing, and she'll come up to be and put her paws on me and give me a kiss, like she's checking in. She is not a puppy anymore, we think she is about 5 years old, give or take a year.

We had a few months of fun before we had to start the hard Heartworm Treatment. This girl loves her walks and wants to run so badly. We took her to my parent's house in the country a few times and she had the chance to run a bit. And squirrels. Well, she is a Squirrel Hunter for sure. It's the only time she is still enough to get a nice clear photo of her. Like the above picture she is staring down a squirrel.

Yes, she has several nicknames! I don't compare her to Maddy, even though I've called her Maddy several times and they look very similar. Ruby doesn't have a tail though. She just wiggles her butt maniacally when she sees me. Her whole body shakes. She LOVES going for car rides, even if it means the vet. But mostly it's to the park. Look at the smile on her!

The best thing? She laughs at all my jokes.

She is at the vet right now, getting her third injection for Heartworm. The night will be very difficult. She had her second injection yesterday and was hurting all night. But that's it then. I have to keep her quiet and inactive for about a month, until the last of the worms die off, then she will be allowed to run like the wind and be a dog again. We might try going to the dog parks around here. She's okay with most dogs, for some reason, the only dog she barks at around here is a black Lab. She's not sure what to make with small dogs that yap in her face either, so she just gives them a warning growl and goes on her way. She loves kitties. She is also very protective of me. She will get between me and any other dog at first. She's sweet and gentle, but she can hold her own. While she doesn't automatically submit to other dogs, she is not aggressive either.

This summer I want to take a road trip with her. I also want to look into what it takes to be a therapy dog. Everywhere she goes, people love her. She won over everyone at the vet's office with her sweet disposition. I think she would do well as a fuzz therapy dog. I have big plans for us :-)