Sunday, December 28, 2008

Jackson Gems

First I promised a picture of Jackson in some of the new clothes his Omi gave him for Christmas.

Jackson has had some pretty funny things to say as of late. Today for instance, I was drinking a cup of faux coffee of the international foods persuasion. I don't do it very often and I was surprised by the little buzz it gave me. I said to David "Coffee makes me high." Jackson heard this and came running excitedly over. "Does coffee make you high, Mama? Are you high up, all the way to the sky?"

I asked him this morning, as I do once in a while, why he came to my room last night. He always has interesting answers so I keep asking. Today his answer was skeletons. There were skeletons in his room, yellow and green ones, and he had to run to my room where we all hid from them. He didn't seem particularly scared talking about it, but it just convinces me more that he has the same tendency toward nightmares that I have. Or there really are skeletons in his room. Not sure which.

I am pretty happy with the new camera I got for Christmas. It is so small and easy to use. And it takes pictures much faster than my old one. Which means that I am more likely to get the boy actually looking at the camera for the split second he gives me to take the picture. But even the misses are better looking with this camera. It makes me look like I can take a decent picture. I like it. Here is one of my favorites and it was a technical miss.

And I took a couple of movies with it, but my laptop can't play them cause they are MP4's which I don't know anything about, but apparently need a differnet player to see them on my system. I will have to download one soon cause I shot a great video of Jackson looking for Aunt Elaine in a drainage ditch. Not sure why he thought she was in there, or what he thought she was doing, but the video is cute. I'll post that for you, Elaine, if I can find a player.

Tomorrow I am going to work to finish the playbill and then I am off again til Friday. I hear rumor of a cavort for New Year's Eve, as is tradition, but have not yet gotten the evite. Hint. Hint.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Good Holiday!

Another Christmas has come and gone with much food eaten, many gifts given and received and lots of family time. It has been a good one. This year is a little different than last year. I have hair this year. It is at that floppy, limpy stage of growing out, but still, hair.

Jackson was a lot of fun this year. At DAvid's folk's house on Christmas Eve, he learned that presents keep on coming, even when you are happily playing with the new toy you already opened. So we gave him a break, let him play with his toys and then let him finish opening gifts when he was ready. He was pretty happy and he behaved so well with all the people and the noise and talking and laughing. I was pretty proud of him.

On Christmas day we headed to my Dad's place and spent the night there. Jackson got to play with his cousins, Emma and Grayce. He sure loves the company of other kids. It is nice to watch him play and negotiate and have a good time.

This afternoon after we got home, we went through his toys in his room sorting out the ones that we can donate or get rid of. He has lots of toys that will stand the test of time, like his many matchbox cars, and then he has toys that came with happy meals or were a dollar at Walgreen's and I couldn't say no. And we were easily able to create some space for all the new toys he got for Christmas. I could have culled many, many more toys from his toy box, he was so ok with it, but I didn't want to go overboard. Every once and a while I would pick up a toy I was sure he didn't care about, and he would protest. But all in all, he was really awesome and not at all afraid to give up something he doesn't play with anymore. It made me happy. It doesn't mean anything probably, but I felt like maybe we haven't spoiled him too rotten if he wants to donate some of his toys to other kids to play with. Heh, he was so ok with it, David and I kept explaining over and over what donate means, we weren't sure he understood.

Thanks to everyone for your generosity and love this year as always. I feel very lucky to have way more than I need and most everything that I want. Not much more I can ask for.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Perks of a Son

I was out shopping with Jackson yesterday and had just finished in a store that had no public bathroom when Jackson started pee pee dancing fiercely. The boy needed to go and he needed to go now. The store we had come out of - not saying where for secret husband present reasons - was very crowded and I doubted I could get one of the sales clerks to understand that we needed a toilet and could care less if it was employees only. So being the MacGyver mom that I am, I improvised. I pulled the empty coke bottle from under the back seat of the car, turned the dome light off and explained to my bewildered son that I did indeed want him to pee pee in the bottle. He didn't object and seemed to enjoy the novelty. He even wanted to examine (shake) the bottle afterwards, which of course, I didn't allow. I was instantly grateful for this neat-o benefit of having a son.

We went as a family last night to a 'waiting for Santa party' that my friends throw every other year in which attendees wear their pj's. I was going to go by myself, but Jackson heard me on the phone with my sister talking about the party and was devistated when I said he was staying home with his dad. I told him kids weren't invited, that it was a grown-up party. He cried and cried and said "I am invited, mama, I am invited." We were driving home at the time, he and I, and when we got home he refused to get out of the car. He was so sad and cried that he was staying in the car and going to the party with me. David decided, what the hell, he'd come too and bring Jackson. And Jackson was a really good boy, even though it was way past his bedtime and he was sleepy. He is such a sociable boy and charmed his way around the party. David took him home and left me there to hang out longer since was having a good time and the boy needed to go home. There were several Round Rock based friends there and I could ride home with any of them.

I had a really good time and lots of good conversation. Unfortunately I had a few glasses of champagne after having had a few glasses of wine and it was simply too much and I made myself sick. Like a teenager. I ought to know better. I paid for it for half of today and my stomach is a little tender still. But I had a great time and Andy sent me this picture he snapped of us in our pj's. If you look close, you can make out the blue stitches still in my cheek.

Which come out tomorrow morning! Yay! I really am ready for the itchy stitches to come out. The scar looks really good and I think I am going to be really happy with the way it looks. Hell, it already looks better than it did. The incision line is still red/pink, of course, but the texture of it looks better and the dimple is gone. It does dimple slightly when I smile, but that is ok with me. That is how a real dimple behaves. It was the dent that was there when my face was at rest that I objected to. So I am feeling good about it and can't wait til tomorrow when the blue stitches are gone.

Friday, December 19, 2008

I hate cancer

Last night my dreams were a mish-mash of the too much going on in my head. With my scar revision and Jackson being sick this week I have gotten behind where I want to be on the playbill for the next show at work. And I learned yesterday that a young woman I know is dealing with her husband's recurrent cancer that has him very ill and bed-bound and her two daughters, one two year old and one two months old.

I dreamed I went to work in the evening to work on the playbill but instead of going to the theatre, where I work, I went to the hospital, where I used to work. And I couldn't find my office. I wandered the halls of the place, which looked like the maternity unit I worked in, but housed cancer patients instead. And I kept opening doors looking for my office, for my computer, so I could get the playbill done. I kept apologizing to the nurses and the patients and cursing the 'chemo brain' episode that had left me unable to find my office. In my dream I finally called Sonja, my boss at the Palace, to ask her if she could please tell me where the office is, because I seemed to have forgotten the way. She was no help. She said she didn't know either. Then I woke up.

It didn't even occur to me in my dream that I don't work at the damned hospital, I work at the theatre. My dream self would have felt so much better had I realized that in the halls of the maternity-slash-oncology ward and said "Duh, I don't have an office here," and then trotted off to the the car and driven to the Palace.

Cancer on the brain. I tell you it's, a killer.

Ha Ha. It's a killer.

I have been thinking about this super-cool young mom who is in the incredible position of being bodily care-taker of two very small children and a very sick young man. His cancer is rare, treatment is a crap-shoot. And she feels guilty for not being sick. She told me the she gets a break occasionally, but he doesn't. He is stuck with cancer 24/7.

Survivor's guilt is a bitch. I have it in droves. On Planet Cancer tonight - the Myspace for the young adult cancer community - I learned that an 18 year-old I have been following has died. He has been slowly dying on his couch in Australia for months. His body betrayed him worse every day, but his mind was vital and scathingly humorous and his was wisdom far beyond his years. While I am glad he isn't in pain anymore, I am more than pissed off and devastated by his death. I never chatted much with him. I read all his postings and comments and blogs, but I kept my distance. It was survivor's guilt that made me not want to draw his attention. I somehow didn't want to rub it in his face that I am sitting here today healthy and 32 and he won't see 19. I finally commented to him when he blogged Tuesday that it would probably be easier on his little brothers if he gave up being at home and went inpatient. He broke my heart and I wrote to him simply "You are awesome and you don't deserve this. I fucking hate cancer." He wrote back to me on Wednesday, "Thanks Marsha, awesome too." He was beyond complete sentences. He died yesterday. Goddammit.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A plea for help

Jackson has been sick for the last couple of days. Running fever off an on and his voice is almost gone. Laryngitis, I guess. This morning his fever was gone but he started throwing up. So it was another day of no school and I stayed home from work to take care of him. my the afternoon he was doing much better and had stopped throwing up. He wanted desperately to get out of the house so we went shopping a little.

I was looking for gifts for my 5 and 7 year-old nieces. Wow. Is there nothing left in the world for little girls to wear that doesn't have Miley-effing-Cyrus's face on it? Really? Every damned top, dress, night gown, underwear, sweatshirt and toy has Miley's ass face plastered on it. (Oh wait, there were some things that didn't have Miley on the - all the High School Musical crap. But that is another rant.) WTF? I thought Britney Spears was talentless and over-exposed way back when. I didn't think there would ever be a teen girl more insidious, but from the loins of Mr. Achy Breaky sprang the star a new generation of kids can't escape no matter where they go or what they do.

All I have to say is, if we all collectively stop paying attention to Miley Cirus - stop buying her albums, clothing, Hannah Montana wigs and posters, lunch boxes tampons, etc. If we all, at the same time, start rejecting anything with her grinning mug on it, perhaps we can make her go away. What do you say folks? Can we all come together and make the world a better place? A place where we don't teach our kids that an ugly blond wig makes you unrecognizable and that mugging for the camera is just good acting? We can make a difference, you and me. We can end this now if we just try. What do you say?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Success at the plastic surgeon

I have a new set of stitches on my cheek this evening. Blue thread. Yup. Blue. I asked the doc didn't he have some red or green for the holidays? But he didn't. So til next Monday i will sport blue stitches. Not all the way across the incision, just at the ends, the other stitches are internal. Not sure exactly how that works, but I don't have to know. That is what I pay the doctor for.

It was pretty quick and after the painful numbing process, it wasn't much more than uncomfortable. This afternoon, when the anesthesia wore off my face was pretty sore and throbby. But a darvocet took care of that and I am doing ok now. And the dimple is already gone. I don't look pretty, but I think I can see that this will eventually be an improvement to the scar I had. He oriented it more into my natural laugh line so that it should blend in there better. I don't know how these doctors know how to do that, but I am glad they do. Take a scar that I don't like so much and change where it points and how deep it is and turn it into a scar I like better. Cause there will be a scar. No getting around it. But I have hopes that after it heals it will be a reminder of what I have been through, but not something that distracts me every time I look in the mirror.

I just hope it doesn't hurt too much tomorrow. It seems to have the potential to hurt pretty good and I fear what sleeping on it will be like.

Jackson curled up on the couch with me this afternoon and snuggled up like he couldn't get warm. But he felt to me like a heat lamp. So I checked his temp aaaannnd it was 103. Shit. He wasn't complaining but he just wanted to lie on the couch with me and snuggle. It was about then that my cheek started hurting so I called David to see if he could come home a little early to help out. Jackson perked up after some tylenol and motrin brought down his fever. His voice is a little husky so I suspect he is fighting a cold. But it doesn't seem serious. If he has fever in the morning he won't be going to school. He probably shouldn't go anyway, not sure what the fever rules are. Is it 24 hours?

I don't have to go to work in the morning so we will most likely be staying home recovering, the both of us. Or maybe doing a little Christmas shopping if we feel up to it. Then to the Palace to work if we can manage it. Me and my stitches. If you see me out and about tomorrow, please don't stare. Or if you have to stare, please compliment my blue stitches and the blue eyeshadow I will likely wear to coordinate my look.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas is coming

Tomorrow is take two of my scar revision procedure and hopefully there will be no reason to delay it again. Cross your fingers for me.

This weekend we went to my Dad's house for the annual Christmas party he throws for his employees. Dad made sure Jackson had a present under the tree to unwrap when the employees and families got theirs. He was really good waiting all day to open it. He would ask periodically if we could open presents yet but managed to hang on until it was time. My dad gave him a huge monster truck pulling a trailer with a smaller dune buggy thing on it. Jackson loved it of course. David and I were less than pleased with the amount of space it will take up in our home. The toys take over Christmas, indeed. But Jackson is very happy and that is all that matters.

This morning we were in my Dad's kitchen talking about Christmas being almost here and Jackson was confused. "We already had Christmas," he said thinking of his new truck-pulling-a-car loot. I am amazed at this fleeting moment of time. Jackson thinks Christmas is over. We had a party and he got to unwrap a new toy. One present and he is happy. This moment in time will soon be erased by the glut of the actual holiday. We will have three more Christmases, complete with multiple presents, toys, clothes, everything a little boy could want. We are a family blessed with more than we need and like many, we give, give, give for the holidays. It is fun and frivolous and the giving and receiving of shiny wrapped presents to and from the people we love is a national past-time. At this moment in time one wrapped toy made him think that Christmas is over and he is happy. I hope we don't cure him of that with our three Christmases. I hope to be able to keep some of that innocence intact. We have to teach him that having so much is nice, but not the end-all-be-all of life. We have to somehow help him become a person who appreciates what he has but is happy in lean times and in times of plenty.

Heh, this may be a moot goal as we as a nation may be heading into some seriously lean times and the lessons I want to teach will be taught to us all through a forced lifestyle change.

All that aside, I really am enjoying this season with Jackson. He is able to express the wonder of it all this year. The lights and the tree and everything. As we drove to my Dad's on Friday night, we drove through several small towns and many of them had lots of lights and decorations up as a township. Lampassas really impressed Jackson with lighted decorations across every intersection. "Wow, I like this place," he said as we drove through. We so need to take him to the trail of lights in Austin. If the little lights of Lometa and Lampassas make him happy, that will really flip him out.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Food sharing

Jackson is always indignant whenever I eat anything and don't offer him any. Everyone knows mommies everywhere are the designated food sharers, they rarely get a meal all to themselves. But I admit that I do sneak things that I don't want to share when I think he isn't looking: candy or chocolate usually. I got some nice chocolate truffles for my birthday that I keep in my fridge and slowly eat after he goes to bed. And this chocolate would be wasted on a kid who likes whatever waxy crap he got for Halloween. But I am not above dipping into that Halloween candy when I think I won't get caught.

Like last night when Jackson was in the bathtub and his daddy was washing him. I got into the candy bowl and fished out a piece of gum - one of the really sour kind that makes you pucker for a minute. I love those. Jackson got out of the tub a little sooner than I expected and, as is his ritual, came running naked into the living room to find me shouting "Mama, I'm out the tub, I'm out the tub!"

He saw me sitting on the couch chewing something and his eyes immediately narrowed.

"Hey, what do you have in your mouth. Say ah! Say Ahhhhh!"

He hopped onto the couch next to me, tried to pry my mouth open and ordered me to show him what I was eating. I was totally busted. Thankfully, he easily forgets such things if you tickle the crap out of him. I'm still not sharing my chocolate.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Music, books and buddies

Jackson is in his bed trying not to fall asleep. As usual he calls out to me cause he knows I can hear him from my perch on the couch in the living room.

"Do you love me mom?"
"Yes baby, I do."
"I'm Glad. Mommy, are you glad?"
'Yes, I am glad."
"I'm glad too."

He will be quiet for a few minutes and we'll do it again. A few minutes ago I went in and covered him as he requested he asked me what I was going to do. I said I was going to get my jammies on and read my book on the couch. With a glass of wine. I didn't tell him that part though, just the book part. When I came out of my room having changed, he called out to me again.

"Mommy, do you have your book?"
"Yup, I sure do."
"Are you gonna read it?'
"Yup. I sure am."
'I'm glad. Are you glad too?"
"Yes, Jackson, I am very glad."
"Me too, mom. You can be my buddy."
"Ok, son."
"You're my best buddy in the whole wide world, mommy."

Sigh. It just doesn't get much better than that.

We went to the Christmas Parade and Stroll in Georgetown today and had a good time. The pic is Jackson waiting for the parade. They had a big free kids area with moon walk jumping things and machine spitting out some fake snow off and on. And turkey legs. I bought a huge turkey leg and ate a third of it. Good Things David's folk met us there and Lou was more than happy to take the turkey leg off my hands. We decided not to stand in line to see Santa Clause. We were pretty tired from chasing/keeping track of/entertaining a three-year-old for three hours and standing in line for an hour for something Jackson didn't even care about doing was not on our fun list for the day. He could barely wait in line for the moon walks and he desperately wanted to jump. We might get a Santa picture elsewhere this year. Or we might not. Either way, no big deal. I love Santa Pictures but we are just not interested in the possible ordeal of it.

David's folks came to dinner afterwards and it made me glad we have already gotten our Christmas tree and decorations up. We have lots of nice decorations and it sure is a warm, inviting room all lit up with Christmas lights. Makes me want to sit here and put on some music and blog or read with a glass of wine instead of watching TV. I am pretty blessed. I have a good home and family and everything I need or could want and today I am healthy.

Last night David took me on a date. Dinner and a movie. We saw Cadillac Records which is about Chess records from the 50's: Muddy Waters, Howlin Wolf, Chuck Berry, Etta James and the like. Man do I love that music. Blues, soul, real R&B. Right now there is a little Janis Joplin playing on my stereo. She owes much of her sound to those people. In fact, I heard a Lady who grew up with Janis say on NPR that one of Janis's things was to do a near-perfect Etta James voice when they were cruising around drinking. And you can hear that in Janis's music. Etta, I mean. You can hear Etta in Janis. Anyway. The movie was great in that the music was fabulous and there was some seriously good acting - Jefferey Wright as Muddy Waters, Gabrielle Union, Adrienne Brody, Mos Def as Chuck Berry. And Beyonce' was not bad as Etta James, although I don't think she really sounds like Etta.

It did totally make me smile that she had to strait sing the songs like Etta did. I mean that she didn't sing At Last with so many trills and runs and arpeggios making the melody unidentifiable as is the modern pop singers habit. They have to show off, they can't just fricken sing the song and let it be. Etta James threw in her riffs and runs, but never did they detract from the song, they added to it, embellished. Pop singers today don't know how to do that. They ruin great songs by showing off. So hearing Beyonce' sing it strait was awesome. She sounded good.

Tomorrow I have a lunch date with Andrea' and a play afterwards. Right now I have a date with my glass of wine and my book and there is currently some Van Morrison on my shuffle. (Thanks for teaching me about great music, Dad.)

Monday, December 01, 2008


My scar revision has been postponed because of...wait for it...a pimple. Yuppers. My complexion is nice and clear for the most part except for the odd here and there breakout. But my face chose to day to bust out with one of those big old under the skin cystic pimples that hurt like crazy. And it is sitting millimeters from the spot that needed cut on. And since we don't want to risk infection - especially since that is the problem that scarred my face in the first place, the doctor postponed my surgery for two weeks to allow the toxic pimple to eat shit and die.

Good thing I had cancer and went through chemo and lost any and all dignity through that process or I just might be a little humiliated to admit that a pimple sabotaged my plastic surgery. Of course it did. My pimples are always trying to find ways to insert themselves into my life story. It goes like this:

"Hmmm, here I am, a pimple, deep under Marsha's skin. How can I totally disrupt her life in a way more profound than any pimple has ever done? How can I become immortalized in blog? Maybe I will wait till after her final chemo and erupt into a serious infection that hospitalizes her twice and leaves a dimpled scar that must be fixed in a year. Ooohhh! Ooohhh! Ha Ha! And then when she goes in for a scar revision, my brother will erupt nearby causing her to reschedule! And then she will have to blog about it, thrusting my brother into blog stardom! Yeeeeesssss!"

So there you have it. Muthufuckin pimples. You effin win. Two more weeks. I get my scar excised in two more weeks. Thus allowing two weeks less healing time before Christmas so that my facial wound can once again take center stage in the holiday photos. Last year, band-aid. This year, angry red scar. Dammit.