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I'm still here.

Will update soon. It's been a year of pissed off, soap boxed and wanting a refund on my reconstruction. Etc.

Muthafuckas. Angry. Like nothing I ever experienced during the year of treatment or the year of sadness. Ready to move forward and I keep getting bitchslapped by the lingering effects...

Keloids. Depression. Lymphedema. Memory issues. General chemo-brain induced inability to focus. Fuck. This. Shit.

What do I do to make this better, hm? Keloids can be cut off (again), there's pills for depression, I'm wearing a compression sleeve and hoping to keep lymphedema at bay this time but there's nothing you can do about memory and focus. At least that I know of.

Pardon me, I'm going to go throw my shoe at a door.

Still here!

Life has changed. Life has not changed. Need some ACTION!!

Dang! Almost a week!!

Time flies, etc. etc. etc... Especially when you can't see and you are locked to the sofa with your leg elevated. But more on that in a moment!

Mom and I got to Houston last Thursday evening to the scent of natural gas when the garage was opened. Like a WAVE of the stuff. Like you are warned about. Thank goodness we got there when we did... got the dog out and the doors opened and Mom a glass of vino while waiting for the gas company to arrive to solve the problem. Since it seemed that everything was under control, I grabbed Mom's empty car and headed downtown to Discovery Green to kiss my BFF Katy and catch a bit of CJ Chenier. What a WONDERFUL welcome! Discovery Green is a welcoming parkspace with live music every Thursday and tons of other events (I'm sure I'll be writing about them).

It's kind of surreal for me, actually. After years of skating in a deserted downtown, it's become the cool place to be... close to baseball, basketball and (maybe) soccer. The Rice Hotel, which was deserted and crumbling for decades, is now an upscale condo bldg. The Music Hall and Coliseum have been torn down for... something, I'm not sure what. The old convention hall is now a multi-screen movie theatre (with cool offerings, I'm told) and an aquarium. And there's a Ferris wheel! Damn! Thank goodness La Carafe and Warren's and Treebeards are still there.

Friday... I came here to my office (Cedar Creek) then went to a local optometrist and ordered glasses, complete with new RX, thanks to my eyeguy in Oakland (who did a great job of getting them my script ASAP). Cute new frames voted on by everyone in the shop. :-)

Saturday ART CAR PARADE! Woke Janet up at 10a, curled up with kitty until she called back at 11a. Figured this would be my first year as a, shudder, SPECTATOR! Parked the car pretty damned close and ran into Heather and her doghouse almost immediately. And she invited us to ride with she and Zoe and a friend. Yea! Participant again! the car was ADORABLE, with a doghead carved from styrofoam in the front and a bone "yummy!" dangling above. We howled and barked and had Bella the Bassett howling with us. Such fun!

After the parade, Janet and I stopped by the Art Car Museum to say howdy to Noah and hit the facilities. Noah had a great job lead for me! Headed back out to have some food then go to The Blasters' show at Fitzgerald's, my old haunt/employer. Saw an artcar out front that I hadn't seen before. Look! Bright! Shiny! Object! Must take photo!! And I fell off the 2 level curb; new concrete construction giving way to the old bricked street near the Heights Blvd. bridge. Dammit. Twisted ankle, scrapes and NO PHOTO of the car in question. On the up side, I did meet an old friend that I hadn't seen in 25 years as a result of the fall. On the downside, nice man who helped me up stepped on my already broken glasses. Hence the blindness. (OK, I'm wearing my sunglasses which were ordered online and have a messed up lens configuration so I'm typing/reading with my head turned about 15 deg. to the left while I look to the right. And even then it's not quite right.)

The Blasters were enjoyed in spite of the messed-up ankle and blindness. Janet came and schlepped my ass and we had a great time with Penny and Pat and Les Grayums and Bill and Bettie and aw crap, I'm gonna forget someone, and Jesse Hernandez and Big Bob and Craig and Sara and, hell, THE BLASTERS! I was a complete dolt and danced in spite of the injury. Quel stupido! but I was happy and it was the first time I'd felt like dancing in years. Yea!

So, I'll save Sunday and beyond for the next post. Thank you for your support. ;-)

(I'm sitting here on my queen-sized bed at the Quality Inn in Durango CO wearing panties and a Utah Rocks! t-shirt - since they don't have ones that say Utah! Who knew?!... YET! - with kitty at my side and Mom in the other luxurious bed. 4 European square pillows each. Duvet with sheet on top and bottom of the comforter. Large flat-screen TV. Cute note by the sink that let's people know that if they love the sheets and towels enough to take them with them, they will be charged X$. Fridge and microwave. Hot tub. Free interwebs. HBO!)

(Oh yeah, one of the advantages of being 62+ means you get a lifetime National Parks card for $10... schweet! And I get in on her card when she's in the vehicle!!)

So Mom and I did Mesa Verde today. With the full intention of doing Canyons of the Ancients afterwards. Ha! Foiled again! From the beginning of the drive up the mesa, you get the most stunning views of the valleys towards Cortez and Durango. Crazy high-up huge valleys of green and lakes and further towards other mesas and the snow-capped peaks of the Rockies. Unbelievable views. You can see 4 states once you get up to Far View which is the Visitor Center and bookstore. I'd love to stay in the Lodge up here sometime... you can't even see the whole complex until you're on the way out! We decided to not take the guided tour of the ruins because you had to ascend/descend 5 ladders, a HUGE amount of stairs and crawl through small spaces on your knees. Knees being the figurative word here. Mom had ACL/meniscus repair a year ago due to skiing (and tripping over ancient curbs). Crawling is out for me due to skating and Ultimate damage. Two freakin' old ladies... but we DID meet a cute old guy from Georgia who was there with a tour (Elder Hostel) so I'm encouraging Mom to check out their tours... she wants to meet a nice, active man with whom she can explore the states... get a NP passport and start checking them off! :-) Lunch at the cafe up near the upper loop/museum. Split a Navajo taco. HUGE! Still tasting the chili... damn!

Left the park around 4pm... it's a big park and they're doing some roadwork so it took us over an hour to get back to the highway. Durango! It was an hour away and it's a cool town with a laidback vibe. We figured it would be NOOOO problem to find a pet-friendly hotel. Well, by #4 (Residence Inn who wanted $120 for a room PLUS $75 NON-REFUNDABLE pet fee!) we were a little discouraged but #3, a cool, expensive place in downtown Durango with loaner bikes and vintage gardens, went online and made a couple of recommendations. #5 didn't take pets. #6 was the AWESOME Quality Inn. LOVE! Ground floor room with parking space right in front of the room. And the room and sink and bath are all huge. For $79 including the kitty and breakfast. Schweet!

Kitty is now on Mom's lap... cute!

So, we got unpacked, litter box in the bathroom, food and water in her dishes (she won't take water in the car), clean t-shirts (purchased today) and undies (from the extra bags) and we were ready for dinner. Went through the local guide and decided on a place at the opposite end of town... specializes in New Mexican food... Hatch chilies and adobado and sopapillas and margaritas. House margaritas were a bad first choice while waiting for a table but the classico were good. Mom got a huge combo plate; everything was yummy... chili rellenos were... different. Had masa inside and more cheese out then in. I had blue corn enchiladas with red chili sauce. YUM! No leftovers were taken. A strange feeling for me. :-)

Tomorrow we need to make better time. Mom has to be back for a class on Friday morning. I need to be back for Art Car stuff on Friday. I need something weird to wear for the Art Car Ball! (WHY did I give the green feather thing to Dixie???!!!)

So, tomorrow we are going to get an early start (8:30; reasonable!) and hit the local bakery/homemade donut place across the street. And get a decent coffee without resorting to fucking Starbucks. We're going to head to Farmington then to Bloomington then down to Albuquerque then across to the TX panhandle. I want to stop at our family cemetery in Arlington TX for a bit... Lots of headstones in limestone so they are disappearing... my family history is rich and mysterious and I must know more!

Another day closer to Houston!

While I've done a great job at purging and packing, I still have a metric fuckton to do.

Managed to take la kitty to the vet today for shots, heartworm meds (requirement for Houston's swampy environs!) and microchipping. She's still outside moping. Double insult: leaving the harness on so she gets used to the thing. Will always have leash and harness on her while in the car/carrier. I'm deathly afraid of her getting out and lost.

Transfer med records to new oncologist at MD Anderson (he's the guy who Mom consulted re: my treatment plan) and GP at Baylor. Nice to have docs lined up because then I won't need 'em!

Couple of folks have VW mechanics to recommend.

Need to further cull down the clothes I'm bringing in the car to costume-y stuff for Flipside and 4th of Juplaya, hot weather clothing and an outfit for job interviews. Of course, I want to bring far too many shoes/boots... I am SUCH a ho!

Wine is allllll coming in the car so I don't have to worry about it being stored at proper temperature.

Bringing camping gear because ya GOTS to have the camping gear!

Now, should I bring the bunny suit or not? Big decisions!

Here I come!

You may have noticed that the name of the journal has changed. After a couple of years of life in flux and general lack of joy, I've decided to move back to Houston. Shop management just wasn't working out, I'd lost my spark, and so I'm no longer with the company. I went to Houston after a dear friend passed to regroup and mourn with my crew there. Ended up staying 3 weeks and decided that all signs pointed out to the return of the Texpat. It's the right time... everything is falling into place. I can stay with Mom until I get a job and find the perfect spot. The job market there is waaaay better than the bayarea and the state isn't going broke.

So excited that I'll be back in time for Art Car weekend, Flipside, Katy's coffeehouse opening and so much more.

More time with the family! Yea!

Hiring movers this time has cut way down on the stress level.

Go team!

the mind goes to organization

In an ongoing quest to be more organized (and spend less time packing for trips), I'm creating packing lists for camping and making up a kitchen and misc. stuff boxes. Oh to come back from a trip and not need to put so much crap away!!

I guess this is what happens when you're hopped up on vicodin and a cocktail or 2.

I had 2 new crowns installed today and my mouth feels CROWDED. Is this what happens when your temp. crown falls off over the weekend? I really feel for kids with braces...

Losing me

Something I realized lately is that people were worried about losing me to cancer. As in they thought I might die.

I figured this out recently at my friend Tom Kennedy's memorial. On the way in, there was a group of BR Rangers doing security and I got quite the hugs and inquiries about my health. Then I went in the warehouse and there was much more of the same. It's an amazing feeling to know how much people care in a very real way. It felt like the memorial was as much a celebration of Tom as it was of ALL of our lives. To have had Tom as a friend was a remarkable gift and the memorial provided an opportunity to feel grateful for him, our community, my health.

By the way, I never EVER thought mine was a losing battle. Not even for a minute.

Carpe diem, y'all.