The Therapy Journals of the Fat-Headed Klingon Woman

One woman's journey to becoming Her True Self

Today…and Yesterday September 11, 2013

83. images of breast cancer http://goo.gl/K4dYp

Hello all.  Today is one of those days I sometimes have, where I feel like I have so much I want to say, and no real plan for how to say it.  Today is 9/11, and as I checked Facebook this morning, I saw the usual abundance of memorial posters and people’s memories of that day.  I thought about adding my own there, but I have a greater need to talk more about my yesterday than  the rest of the world’s today.

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Yesterday was highly emotional for me, but not for the reason you’d think.  Yesterday was the anniversary of my grandmother’s death in a car wreck with a drunk driver in Gallup, New Mexico.  She was 54.  She has been gone for twenty-six years.  In some ways it feels like just yesterday, but mostly it has been a lifetime.  Literally.  She passed away five days after my 15th birthday and I just turned 41.  All my milestones, all my moments, weddings, graduations, other various achievements, my children’s lifetimes…all that has gone by without her physical presence.  Not without her spiritual presence, obviously.  I know that part of her lives in all of us- me, my aunts, uncles, cousins, our kids.  Part of her influence, her passion, her bravery and adventurous spirit, her love and dedication.  All of that lives on in us.  Whenever I remember to think about it, I want to be like her.  I usually forget to think about it.  But she was an amazing woman, and worth aspiring to emulate.  There’s just really not much more to say about that.  Well, there is, but I want to move on to the main point.

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Even more than remembering my family’s blackest day, yesterday was also highly emotional because I spent the entire day waiting to find out if there was a possibility I might have breast cancer.  I went to the doctor last week on Thursday (my 41st birthday) because I had been having pain in my right breast for several months.  Not bad pain.  Barely noticeable pain.  Just a twinge every now and then.  Not much more than most women likely experience with PMS, but continuing on a consistent enough basis that I thought I should probably get it checked out.   So on Monday I had an ultrasound on the right side, and a mammogram on both.  And yesterday I waited.  I waited alone.  At first I tried to think positively, but the longer the day went on with no news, I began to succumb to fear.  My thoughts became more and more convinced that whenever the doctor’s office did finally call, they were going to tell me something awful.

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I called the doctor’s office a couple of times, the last being at almost 5:00, and the girl on the phone told me that they had the results of the ultrasound only, that the doctor had not had a chance to look at them, but that the summary showed nothing abnormal, and that therefore the mammogram would probably be fine too, unless something happened to turn up in the side that wasn’t hurting.  So after spending all day finding it harder and harder to breathe, I could finally relax just a little.  I still haven’t officially heard from the doctor, but the odds are that everything is fine.

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I am so thankful.  I am thankful that I didn’t have to find out I would be fighting for my life on the anniversary of my grandmother’s death.  But to have 9/11 immediately follow the day I had yesterday has thrown me into an emotional moment where I just feel very contemplative and quiet.  I want to think, but I don’t feel like I can think deeply enough.  I want to talk about loving life and living in the moment and appreciating your family and telling the people you love that you do love them.  All the poetic things that get spouted in this season and on these occasions.  But it all just feels so inadequate.  Nothing I can say can touch the depth of how much I want to honor Alba Dean Findley and all the victims of 9/11 by LIVING.  Just… living.  Really, truly, actively, living with fullness and joy.  How do we do that?  How many millions of ways are there to define the act of living?

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I don’t have the answers, but I plan to work on it.  Tell the people I love that I love them, no matter how scary it is.  Stop and smell the roses, literally and figuratively.  Appreciate every second.  Fight for the underdog.  Seize the day.  Be brave and fierce and fabulous, just like my grandmother.  I WILL honor the lost by living.  Really living.  I pray the same for all of us.

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Love and blessings to all.

Until next time,

D.

Note to all women:  stay on top of your health, particularly your breast health.  That is all.

ETA:  Here is a previous entry about 9/11, the Murrah building bombing, and my grandmother.

 

 

And Speaking Of… September 17, 2011

Hello all! You know, job-hunting is probably NOBODY’S favorite thing.  Am I right?  And I, being a normal-ish human like every other on the planet, am no different.  I truly hate switching jobs.  I hate being the nervous and inexperienced newbie, I hate applications and interviews, and I hate trying to fit in with new co-workers.  But finances being what they are, I took yet another step today in the process of getting a second/different job.  I told my current boss I was looking!  I know, ‘Yikes!’ right?  I didn’t tell him I was definitely going to find something else.  Oh, no.  I told him I was going to look for something to do in addition to working there, and I ever-so-gently indicated that if an opportunity to make more money elsewhere on a full-time basis presented itself, I would probably take it.  I just didn’t want him to be blindsided when I give my two weeks’ notice if I find something else anytime soon.

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And speaking of finding something else, or someone else, as the case may be, I had the opportunity to meet someone on Labor Day who I think might possibly end up in my life for a long time….  (Get ready for the ‘Awwwwww!’)  My baby sister has a new boyfriend.  She came home that weekend for Labor Day and my birthday, and she was accompanied by her new bf, Mario.  Ok, his name’s not really Mario, but that will be his Bloggy Code Name.  It originates from the fact that a friend of his phot0-shopped a pic of him on Facebook and made him into Mario from Super Mario Brothers, which I thought was hilarious, but if I were him, I would put a dead fish under my friend’s pillow for that one.  Anyway, we all got together at my other sister’s house on Labor Day.  We ate lunch, hung out by the pool, and visited.   As “Meeting the Family” events go, it was quite successful.  We all liked Mario, and Baby Sis reports he was not completely repulsed by us, so all is well, and they are free to continue to pursue their friendship with our approval.  Ha!  Like Sis would give two hoots if we didn’t.  She’s definitely her own person, which is one of the totally awesome things about her.  As for my previous statement that this person may potentially be in my life for a long time, it’s because they seem to be EXACTLY alike, and he is the Male Version of her!  It’s pretty cool, actually.  I’m happy for her, and if he ends up being The One, then that’s pretty darn cool.

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And speaking of people who are/were their own person, last Saturday was the anniversary of a memorable date among my family, and not for a good reason.  It was, in fact, one of the worst days of our lives up to that point.  On September 10, 1987 my grandmother, Alba Dean Findley, (aka Deanie) was killed in a car accident in Gallup, New Mexico.  She was an RN in the Traveling Nurses’ Corps.  She was simply an amazing person.  I have no doubt that if she had lived, she would probably have gone sky-diving on her 75th birthday or something.  I can’t really imagine her that age, because she was only 54 when she died.  Grammy was a huge influence on all of us who were old enough to remember her.  She lived her own life in a way that made her happy.  She embraced experience.  She savored beauty and sought culture.  She loved caring for people.  She tried to encourage her grandchildren to appreciate the things she enjoyed by sharing them with us.  She took us to classical music concerts and ballets, and took herself to the ancient ruins of Mexico.  She was beautiful inside and out, and I miss her.  In many ways, I would like to try to be more like she was, more brave and adventurous, more of a person who finds ways to create the life I want, in both big and small things.  I look forward to figuring out how to do that, you know?  Life is so short, it’s SO short, and we never know when it will come to an end.  I just don’t want to come to the end of my life and be filled with regret over the things I didn’t get to do, the chances I didn’t take, the love I didn’t express. 

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And speaking of coming to the end of life, 9/11 was last weekend as well.  I can’t really say anything about that historic day that hasn’t been said, except to share a couple of my poems as more vivid expressions of all the things I felt about those events, and also about the similar event of April 19, 1995- the Murrah Building bombing in Oklahoma City.   I thought at first that I was more affected by the Oklahoma City bombing than I was the 9/11 attacks, but I couldn’t find a truthful way to complete that sentence.  Each attack was un-imaginably tragic in its own right, and both affected me (and the country) differently.  But each one has its own place in my poetry, and here are two of the poems I wrote following both attacks:

Visiting the Bomb Site

Standing, staring,

peeking through a window of time,

the building rises before your eyes

as once it must have been.

Nothing remains but a pile of red dirt.

It’s natural here,

but seems to stand for something more,

for those who lost their lives,

as if the color came

from all the blood that was shed.

Standing, staring,

hands on the fence,

 touching the crumbling flowers,

reading the faded notes and prayers,

even viewing the destruction,

you see what Hatred did,

and what Love had to say about it.

DD…………………… 8-11-95  4:59 pm

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“Only To God”

What becomes of a people
whom tragedy befalls?
Where do they direct their monumental rage?
For fiery words and pounding fists
can never restore what was lost.
And where do they turn
for relief from sorrow, for balm of pain,
for even a moment’s peace?
When flowery words and philosophies
can never recall what has gone.

What becomes of a country
whose shores are invaded
by numerous enemies, hideous and hidden?
Where do they direct their revenge?
For flying missiles and political posturing
can never restore lost innocence.
And where do they turn
in their search for justice, to punish the evildoers,
when all the blood they can shed
will never be enough?

9/13/01 —————— 10:02 a.m.

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Until next time,

D.

 

Senior-itis = My Life In A Blender September 14, 2011

"I always try to balance the light with t...

Image by turtlemom4bacon via Flickr

Hello all.  The overarching theme for my life lately is ‘CRAZY’!  It has seemed like every time I’ve wanted to sit down and write here, I would be suffering from terminal scatter-brain-itis, and completely unable to translate all the things I wanted to say into a semblance of order.  So much has been going on-   I had my 39th birthday on the 5th, met my sister’s new boyfriend, started a fitness challenge at my gym, marked the anniversary of my Grammy’s death, marked the anniversary of 9/11, and dealt with The Boy’s “misdeeds” at school.   There has been so much I’ve wanted to say about all those things.  But on top of all that, I also happen to be the mother of two High School Seniors. 

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This is monumental.  There are so many things they need money for, so many issues like college applications, scholarship applications, ACT tests, deadlines, driver’s licenses, senior pictures, job searches.  The list is endless.  My brain has not stopped wheeling for weeks.  The problem is, I haven’t really started tackling these issues yet.  Daughter S. has not taken the ACT, nor does she know what college she wants to go to (other than the Dallas Art Institute, which is way out of range, both financially and transportationally.)   She hasn’t identified any scholarships she wants to apply for, and she doesn’t have her driver’s license, and she only seems to practice driving about once every three weeks!

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Daughter J. is a whole different set of stresses.  She has learning disabilities and most likely would not be able to handle traditional college.  There are agencies like the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation, which are in place for students like J., to help her with getting into either a vo-tech course or some other type of job training, and to help her find a job that suits her.  We haven’t talked to anyone from this agency, although her teacher did give me a contact name just last night.  The problem with Daughter J. is she sometimes doesn’t think in realistic terms.  She wants to work for Disney and sing and act.  She’s never acted in her life and never even done a solo in her high school choir class, but this is what she daydreams and fantasizes about doing.  I think her Plan B is to do something involving working with animals, like at a veteranarian’s office or something similar, but we haven’t turned in any applications.  (As a side note, I have to say I don’t know where J. gets her whole acting/singing fantasy.  It’s not like she has a mother sitting here singing Broadway tunes into her microphone fist and channeling Idina Menzel in Wicked!)

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So basically we are dealing with a lot of issues and a lot of questions and a lot of possibilities, but we can’t seem to lay out a plan and take the first step.  Part of the problem is financial.  I haven’t signed up Daughter S. for the ACT because I don’t have the fee.  I haven’t put Daughter J. in Driver’s Ed because I didn’t have the fee at the time a class was open.  We haven’t ordered their Senior stuff because I don’t have the money.  I’ve been needing to get a second job for a while now, but just put it off because I absolutely hate the thought of so much time away from the kids!  But I know I’m going to have to just bite the bullet if I want to get all this taken care of, because I can’t seem to depend on either of the people I’ve been married to, to help much.  Another part of the overall problem is transportation.  The girls can’t really consider getting jobs because the jobs they might want are in a nearby town about 7 miles away and they can’t drive and don’t have a car anyway!  That, and I feel like school is their job right now.  Daughter S. has a crazy schedule this year, a lot of hard classes, and I don’t think she needs to worry about a job at this point.  If she had her DL and a car and was running around all the time, I’d make her get a job to pay for her own gas, but since she doesn’t…

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I guess what I’m trying to say is it feels like my life got thrown in a blender and hit frappe’!  There are so many things I need to do, and not enough money or time to do them all!  As another example, I still have never cleaned out the garage and my mother is planning to have a garage sale at her mini-storage shed this weekend.  (I know, and here I sit blogging, right?)  I have continued my fitness journey and I am participating in a fitness challenge at my gym, which is a 7-week event where we earn points for showing up for workouts, turning in food logs, attending accountability meetings, meeting a personal goal, doing workout challenges, and for pounds lost and body fat percentage lost.   I’m planning to kick a$$ and take names in this challenge, incidentally.  I’ve logged my food intake every day so far (today is only Day 5.  Ha!) and I’ve gone to two workouts this week and I plan to go to two more.  At Weight Watchers this week, I lost 4.2 lbs, bringing my total since January 2010 to 116.2.  (!)  Unfortunately I still have between 95-98 to go if I want to be a WW leader, which I do.  I have to be in their recommended range, and that’s what it will take.  (Actually, I can get a note from my doctor if I hit a weight that is the best place for me and I can’t go any lower.)   We’ll see what happens.  I may be able to hit the Magic Number easier than I expect, now that I’m becoming an exercise person too.  (Still weird for me, that.)

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Next entry I’ll talk about meeting my baby sis’s new boyfriend and my Grammy’s death and 9/11.  I have a poem I’m planning on sharing that I wrote when the Oklahoma City bombing happened, that I felt fit on 9/11 just as well as April 19. 

Until next time,

D.

 

 

That’s Not a Euphemisim! August 20, 2010

Hello all!  I wanted to send my son’s teacher a note today:

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“Dear Teacher, We are late today because my son was hunting his lizard.  And that’s not a euphemism.  There is now a lizard loose in my living room.  And that’s not a euphemism either!”  *

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Yeah, The Boy was outside last night running around the neighborhood and he caught this tiiiiiiny little lizard, kinda like this guy:

View Image

which he immediately fell in love with and brought into the house, bound and determined to make it a good home (in a flap-top plastic box with a few tiny pebbles and some grass.  And some WalMart deli-sliced ham.  (In case Senor Tiny Lizard fancied a sandwich, I guess.) ) and they would have many good times and be lifelong friends forever. 

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But then this morning when he was supposed to be getting ready for school, Little Man took his new friend out of his box and was playing with it, pondering whether if you held it on the palm of your hand and then turned your hand sideways, would it stick.  And he made the mistake of setting him down (there was something about ants and crumbs in that story- I got lost there.)  And the next time he looked, “BAM, he was gone.  But I just feel that someday we will find him again.”  So said my 9-year old as we had to abandon the Great Lizard Caper and get in the car and go to school. 

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I hate to rain on his optimistic little parade, but I can almost guarantee we ain’t seein’ that lizard again in this lifetime.  Ok, 1) He’s REALLY tiny.  Like an inch long, tiny.  2) There is nothing for him to eat in here.  I don’t even know what a lizard that tiny would eat!  It’s not like there’s a little lizard buffet lying out in my front entryway with a sign saying ‘All You Can Eat, $5.95!  Lizards Welcome!’  and perhaps most particularly, 3) We have cats.  These cats are vicious carnivorous unmerciful critter-eaters.  They like crickets, wasps, grasshoppers, cockroaches, and the occasional rubber mouse.  It is too much to hope that they would suddenly become picky and discriminating when there’s a juicy little lizard involved. 

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In short, Senor Tiny Lizard has no hope.  One way or another, he is not long for this world.  Would that it were not so, but even if he managed to squeeze out from under the front door and escape to the outside world, he has nothing awaiting him on the other side except a porch full of ants who would love to eat him alive.   Either that or he will mysteriously survive unseen for years in our house and grow to be the size of a small alligator and take his revenge on Los Gatos by sucking their heads off in the middle of the night.  I know, pleasant thought, right? 

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Anyway.  Don’t ask my why I got all fixated on the word ‘euphemism’ today.  I just wondered what the teacher would say if I said we were late because my son was hunting his lizard.  Hee hee.  Ok, you can say it- I’m juvenile.  Besides which, it wasn’t even necessary to write a note, because we weren’t late anyway!  When we were backing out of the driveway, Daughter J. was being all self-congratulatory because we have gotten to school on time every day this week.  And dear Daughter S., bless her heart, said “It’s only the third day!” 

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Well it may be only the third day, but darn it, it’s Friday, and that’s always a reason to smile.  The kiddos made it through the first week, even though it was only a half week.  The girls were a little stressed about their homework assignment on the first day, which was a one page informal essay about “what you think it means to be an American.”  Well, there was much discussion about the subject and they finally finished their essays, but if I had known on Wednesday what I heard about on Thursday, (late in the game, I know, but whatev.) I could have told them they should write, “Being an American means being forced to sit by helplessly and seethe with rage as we watch while our misguided and clueless leaders who have no love or respect for this country despite their pretty lies and flowery speeches, honor and grovel to people who attacked and killed thousands of our citizens by building a place for them to worship right next to the scene of their atrocity, where some of them will undoubtedly thank their god for the victory.”   Right.  When is the next election again??

Until next time,

D.

Update:  Ok, I’ve done some thinking and reading about the above (so-called Ground Zero mosque, and I have some further remarks about it that I don’t have time to make now, but that will not be rooted in hatred, intolerance, bigotry or ignorance.  Stay tuned.)

 

 
The Therapy Journals of the Fat-Headed Klingon Woman

One woman's journey to becoming Her True Self

Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

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