Friday, January 10, 2014

The Movie That Nearly Ended A Marriage

Megan and Jason and I had dinner together last night and the topic of documentaries came up. I was going on and on about Walk Away Renee. A very depressing story of mental illness that I, of course, loved. Both Megan and Jason had horrified faces as I described the main plot. Woman gets shock treatments as a girl and is never the same. Son moves her all over the country to try and find the right facility to help her. It’s the feel bad movie of the year.
Anyway, I loved it.

This conversation lead to the story of “the day Jason was the maddest at me in our entire relationship”.

I had just found out I had to start chemo in a few weeks. I was still healing from surgery. Things were tough to say the least. All I really felt like doing was distracting myself with movies and Jason would patiently let me pick them and watch them with me. I was already sort of on thin ice for picking Up as a Sunday afternoon pick me up film. I was a hysterical sobbing mess about 30 seconds into it and it only got worse. Jason wasn’t much better. After it was over he just looked at me and said “JEEEZE CRESCENT!”

A week or so later I decided maybe documentaries would be better. We watched a couple that were just okay. Then I rented Dear Zachary and was nearly divorced by the end of it. Having been burned in the heart by Up, Jason sat me down and looked me in the eyes and said “before I agree to watch it….what is it about?”

“Well this guy gets murdered and his best friend tries to make a movie to show his still alive son what his dad was like. It’s supposed to be really sweet.”

“Hmmm ok I guess.”

If you haven’t seen it never do. NEVER! It’s not sweet. It’s the most depressing movie of all time.

Jason was already prickly about the murder part. He was angry that this crazy woman was still free and had obviously killed her husband. Then out of nowhere the woman kills the child. I know. I had no idea that happened AND refused to believe it. Jason slowly turned to me with rage in his eyes. “Are you kidding me?!” I said “wait…no. That can’t be what happens. I think it’s a twist.”

It wasn’t a twist. Jason was furious with me. It was hilarious. I felt like I had cheated on a math test and gotten caught, or stolen some lipstick from Walgreen’s or given my little sister that I don’t have a black eye from horsin’ around.

“WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?! WHY WOULD ANYONE WANT TO WATCH THIS AND WE ARE ALREADY DEPRESSED ENOUGH HERE! WHY WOULD I OR YOU NEED TO SEE THIS! Honestly Crescent…. I’m just really mad and disappointed.” I think we watched the end just for completion sake but he iced me out the rest of the day.

It still makes me laugh so hard to remember even though it was so not funny at the time. It was like poor J was just hanging on for dear life. Wife has cancer, she can’t have kids, starting chemo, just had surgery… but he always kept it together for me the best he could. He’d cook dinner. He’d drive me to appts. He’d let me cry so hard I sounded like a new born baby. He was amazing. Still is. But every man has his limit and Dear Zachary was Jason’s. Seeing something so horrifying and sad just lifted the lid off of his blazing hot hatred of anyone being treated unjustly. It’s one of my favorite things about him even though I have seen it break his heart a million times, the world being what it is.

Thankfully we did NOT get divorced that day. In fact I think that was right around the time I rented Old School and showed it to him for the first time as a peace offering. He laughed harder than I’d seen him laugh in years at that stupid movie. We spent the rest of cancer watching Anchorman, Step Brothers, Old School (basically three times a week) and every other 7th grade humor film we could find. We’d had our fill of real life and real injustice. It was time to usher in the era of fart jokes, prat falls and bits about darts in necks…and we’ve never looked back.

Friday, December 13, 2013

I Heard The Bells (aka The Bloody Nose That ALMOST Ruined Christmas)



When I was about eight or nine we were at my Mema and Papa’s for Christmas Eve, like always. It had mostly been a perfect night with cousins and food and presents and the loud, excited chaos that comes with being a child on that night. I was playing a game with my younger cousins that consisted of them being on one side of the room and me on the other and they would say “HEY!” and I’d say “HAY IS FOR HORSES!” and we would all DIE laughing and they would charge at me, full speed and we’d fall into a pile of hysterics. We did that for hours. HOURS!

Then at one point there was a collision with me and my cousin Josh and my nose instantly gushed blood. He cried because he felt so horrible that he’d hurt me. I cried because I hated that he felt badly. I think a couple other cousins cried just because the game was over. That was about the time Mema Allen announced it was EVERYONE’s bedtime. Adults included.

She strongly believed injury, excessive noise and crying was THE sign sleep was needed by all. Pretty spot on, really. Can you think of a time when that ISN’T the case? Me neither. So the cousins left for their close by Kentucky homes. We’d come from Wisconsin so we all had our rooms at the house. The house quickly became dark and quiet with just the soft sounds of adults getting ready for bedtime.

I started crying, nay (is for horses) sobbing, in my bed. I felt like my awkward clumsiness caused the end to the nearly perfect night. If I'd just been more careful. If I'd just ducked. If I could've just hidden my bleeding face from the adults...maybe we would've played at least one more round.

Crying in bed was a common thing around that age. I was a VERY early bloomer and was already feeling the ache and sadness of growing up. I wasn’t ready for it. Didn’t want it. LOVED being little. HATED what was happening to my body be it “healthy and natural” or not. Still…here it was anyway. Bras. Growing pains. Feeling chubby and gangly all at once. The burden of feeling boy crazy to the point of madness and wanting to punch them in the face simultaneously. It was brutal. I still haven’t really recovered.

It wasn't just my nose or the end of the night. I was blue about another Christmas almost over. Sad that I was pretty sure Santa and my mom had the exact same handwriting. Already missing a childhood that was slipping out of my grasp every minute.

Then I heard something that made me sit straight up. A bell noise. A lot of bell noises. Outside.

It started in the distance and became crystal clear. Sleigh bells. My first feeling was sheer terror. Someone was in the yard!!! At midnight! My heart was pounding and I felt like I was hearing a ghost, monster or murderer because there was no WAY it was who I thought it was.

I tried to regain some logic and thought it was maybe my parents. Then I heard them in the bathroom brushing their teeth on the other side of the hallway. It wasn’t them. It wasn’t Mema or Papa. Was this really happening? The stories were true?

Terror gave way to a warm blazing joy that felt near and dear to relief. I was relieved that I had no explanation. That I could just believe, at least for one more year. I’m not sure I’ve ever slept better in my life. The burden of growing up lifted. Santa had found me in Kentucky to remind me I was still little in my heart even if my body wasn't.

Of course now at 40 I know there isn’t really a Santa. I'm not really sure what there is, if I'm being honest. The past few years have shaken up my philosophy and faith in a thousand different directions and I have yet to land.

In fact the thought of the whole Santa in your house thing now sort of freaks me out. When we explained Santa to my whip smart nephew when he was about four or five (he’s now 22) his immediate response was “Mama. Board up the fireplace.” Smart kid.

Nevertheless I have no explanation for those bells that night. A neighbor? An older cousin? An inept home invader? Hallucination due to a crushed nose?

To this day I have no answers. I'd just assume keep it that way.

Friday, September 13, 2013

This song goes out to my leftness...

I had my first yearly ONLY mammo today and I was sweating it. Between being off of Tamoxofin for a year while trying to get PG AND the fact that I've had some pain in old left...well I was worried. Like up the past 10 nights worried.

Then this morning was like the Large Marge story because the weather was as it was four years ago when Megan and I went for my first mammogram to make sure that little lump was nothing. It was something. A big black something that kind of crapped all over my 35th bday. I kept thinking this morning, "I LOVE this fall weather so much......oh no...but wait...it was a day JUST LIKE THIS...." then I'd remind myself that science doesn't care about the Skilling forecast.

I was a thought machine on the bus going so far as to just really imagine what it would be like if they found something again and actually talking myself through it. "well you won't have to shave your legs again...that was pretty dope." or "You still have all those amazing friends and family around...I bet they'll be there for me again, if need be. That was also pretty fly."

But all that anxiety and meditation was for naught because...

All clear! They have a new breast imaging center at Rush and it's lovely. Girly, peaceful, relaxation screens everywhere. The new machines are spanky new and clean. The tech was chatty and sweet and had a mom who survived breast cancer. At one point she said, out of the blue, "You were just too young to deal with all this, weren't you honey." It almost made me cry but I rallied. The petulant child in me wanted to say "YES! I WAS! And it's actually been really really hard and stressful even four years later!" but I keep that child locked up in the basement with a Curious George book and a bottomless bowl of orange Gatorade so I just said what I always say "Actually it really wasn't all that bad" and that's true too.

HOWEVER I am so giddy and happy right now to know that nothing new has formed and that the pain I've had is just scar tissue and good old fashioned nerve damage. I had a doctor read the results that I've had many times. She always says my "odd name doesn't fit how I look" because she always expects me to be African American or Indian because they have odd names. I usually laugh like a robot as to not align myself with her collar tugging comments. Mild racist or not she's good at reading the images.

Today for whatever reason we just sort of organically decided to look at all my images from the tumor days to today. The scares...the scars...the memories. Afterwards I pictured us laughing like old friends while pointing in slow motion at the blurry and dense breast tissue I've grown to memorize. The giant gap in the left breast where the huge black and pointy tumor was. The healthy and much larger right breast that has been our rock through all this by staying in such great form, reminding me and lefty of the good ol' days when they were both matching friends.

I know they aren't people but I'm a people and those two big size D dungles have been with me from jump street. I love them and am just really proud of them today. Maybe I'm a little proud of myself too. I'm doing the best I can and so are they. Especially rickety old lefty. She's half the girl she used to be but still hanging in there.

Here's to you, ladies. We made it another year.


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Collateral Damage

This month's list of PMS shrapnel:

1. Two nights of lost sleep due to biting my tongue and then eating a ton of cherries and drinking a bunch of wine on vacation resulting in sore tongue that I was certain was late stage everything from the neck up cancer. The small sore has now completely healed which must mean I am a god like being that fought full blown cancer away in a mere 72 hours with nothing more than my will to survive.

2. A Bernie Taupin/Elton John tribute CD from the 90's that I loved when I was 18 and still living with my folks. With the exception of Sir Jon Bon Jovi's rendition of Levon it does not hold up and is really horrible. I listened to it in its’ entirety thrice.

3. After stomping around too much due to excessive amounts of internal anger at my fellow train riders I managed to rip my sandals to the point of no return.

3b. Hobbled to Payless to get a new pair and there was nothing in my size that I liked so instead of buying some that I SORTA liked I decided to buy a pair I hate with a white hot rage for ten dollars more.

4. At 3:46pm as I was typing the entries above I made the decision to eat hot wings again tonight even though I had them last night.

5. Almost signed up for piano lessons.

Much like Levon...I wear my war wound.....like a crown. God help us all.

Monday, May 06, 2013

Robert Seeger and Jeffrey Chambertain.......ARE....



FELINE EMERGENCY ANXIETY STOPPERS!

For some unknown reason I woke up today and instantly had a giant panic attack. I haven't had one in ages AND am not really feeling anxious about anything! I mean I always have a low level of panic about things like money, health, if we have enough noodles in the house..but this was outlandish. I felt like I was going to spin off my axis into the abyss and could NOT get myself talked down. I was so frustrated because I feel like panic like that is, obviously, all in head therefore easily stopped by using my adult brain. It just doesn't work that way, unfortunately. I never really bought into the whole anxiety overtaking your body and turning you, however briefly, into a sweaty, rapid breathing doom machine until I had one. I pretty much lived in one the year my mom had cancer. All my trust in the universe was out the window along with my ability to get through even an hour without becoming convinced to my core that every single person I loved was going to die that very day. Or I was going to. Or we all were going to. It was super fun.

I started taking Xanax twice a day but it just sort of turned me into a muted version of myself and didn't really relieve anything. It felt like it just chloroformed ragged the anxiety's face when they least expected it but it was fine when it woke up. Like Goldie Hawn in Foul Play. I feel like she gets the chloroformed like five times in that movie and she always wakes up perky and ready to karate chop.

Anyway, eventually it got so bad that I had to cry for the entirety of my Dad's 70th birthday party which really added a nice touch to the festivities my family had worked so hard on. After a very intense and needed talk with my sister (who is a therapist but also just a wonderful person and listener) I decided to stop taking Xanax and see a psychiatrist. She helped me find ways and times to meditate and changed my life.

However, those didn't work this morning. You know what did work?

these two dungles.


Usually in the morning they are insane. Yes yes...I know you are saying "well that's just how kittens are....I get it." No. You don't. They aren't normal insane they are like how a really bad actor plays insane in a really bad movie. Darty eyes....prone to violence against each other and toys...manic eating binges followed by tag team pooping and litter kicking. Point being, cuddling with me is very low on their To Do list at that time of day. Sun comes up they go batshit.

But today I came out and tried to calm down on the sofa by watching the sunrise and they both stared at me like they KNEW something was wrong and got up on my lap. After both of them marched on my stomach for about five minutes they BOTH curled up on my lap/chest and reached their paws out on my arm in a very human "there there" way. Then they fell asleep purring like crazy. And that did it. I felt the worry wash out of my blood stream and we all were able to sleep like that for an hour, all of us holding paws. It was a really sweet and bonding moment with them.

I know they are just cats and probably just wanted to take a nap because they played too much stuffed mouse throw in the night but whatever. It worked.

I still have that foggy drained feeling that you get after one of those sessions but thank God and feline it's over.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Orange Soda



If you would've told me in college that the most fun person in the WORLD to watch a scary movie with would be Jason Prah I would've slapped you in the lying face. But he is. He gets all....what's the word...bouncy? Hyper? I don't know but he does stuff like turns off all the lights and sort of squeals in my direction a lot to get me to be nervous.

Last night it was Paranormal Activity 4. I'm a huge fan of that franchise. They are silly but scare me and have no blood involved.

I get up to go make him some orange soda, which he was demanding in a horrible child's voice..."I WANT ORANGE SODA!!!" That alone was killing me. Then as I was finishing he got totally silent. I always know that means he's planning some big scare. For instance, during another horror movie night I went to the bathroom and when I came out he had actually LEFT the house. He was giggling hysterically outside the front door when I finally found him. So last night when I came out of the kitchen he wasn't on the sofa. I started nervously giggling then saw him sitting at the dining room table in the dark with his hoodie hood up over his face. It was a good one for sure but I was only scared for like .2 seconds because he started laughing right away.

Then during another soda/pee break HE got up to get some more soda and said "I hope nothing happens to you while I get more orrrrrrannnnge soda, dude!"

Silence then a loud PSSSSSSSSSSTTTTTTTTT and dripping sound as he opened the orange soda bottle too fast and it shot all over the floor and fridge. More silence then "WHOA!" He walked back into the living room then turned right back around "I need to eat more hot peppers".

I don't even know why I'm telling you all this but I just am. It was so comically wonderful and fun. He's the best. I guess that's all. And maybe just try and watch a scary movie with him sometime because it's like the most fun you may ever have.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Counting down.



76 days until springtime warms our freezing faces.