Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Missing My Little Guy...

For the first time in eight years, the house is quiet when someone comes to the door. And I don't have to watch where I put my feet when I stand up. And no one prances with joy when I get home.

Toby's last day was too gruesome and sudden for me to recount yet. The tears are slowing, but they still come often. Like right now.

Sometimes it seemed like his spirit was too big for his ten pounds of body. Like when he'd leap so much with excitement that he'd land on his back, even after he became a "senior" dog.

Sometimes he'd try to talk to me by sneezing, and would seem so frustrated when I couldn't understand him. His favorite time of day was family dinner, because he knew he'd get his chew treat. Sometimes we'd confuse him by having family breakfast, but he'd be so persistent that he'd usually get two treats that day.

One day when he was just a puppy, I got a call from a neighbor asking if we had a little white dog, because there was one in the street yelping in pain. I stepped out in the yard and saw that he was there, so I assured her that it wasn't our dog, ours was fine. He tried to run to me when he saw me, but collapsed before he could reach me. Turns out he'd crawled under the fence after getting hit by the car. Or maybe the bike. Nobody actually saw the accident. And it was a wonder he lived. He was only about 4 pounds at the time. But the doctor said he had road burn, so something must have hit him. He broke his leg, and had two subsequent surgeries. His back never was the same, but he didn't let that slow him down, until Thursday, when his body came to crashing halt.

And if there really is a doggy heaven, I'm sure he's tearing up the place.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

It's Official!

Today I decided that (drum roll please!) I am officially no longer bald! Or even mostly-bald! Or even partly-bald! Eccentric-looking maybe, but not bald. And I love, love, love hair. I love that I no longer feel like an invalid when I leave the house, or wonder what people are thinking when they look at me. And I totally love the way it keeps my head shaded in the heat and warm in the cold. Great invention this hair stuff.

This new crop is darker than my original light brown, and for some odd reason has less gray. It's also very straight. I've been told over and over to expect curl. And at this point curl would probably be nice, since what I have is growing straight out and totally ignoring my attempts at giving it a part or lying flat. But I've vowed never again to complain about hair. I figure there's no such thing as a bad hair day, as long as there is actually hair involved. So cheers to hair, bee-u-ti-ful hair!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Getting Emotional...

As I've mentioned in an earlier post, this chemopause I've been thrown in to has given me cause to fight my emotions in a way that brings back not-so-fond memories of my teen years. I read about one woman who says she's learned to look forward to these out-of-control because she feel victorious when she overcomes them. And I agree, once I figured out WHY I was freaking out over the littlest things, it became much easier to stay in control. And then I get to pat myself and the back and say "Good for you Suz for not stomping out of the room like a two-year-old in front of the whole fam because you burned candied nuts." Yeah I know, it doesn't sound like that big of a victory, but trust me, it feels like it.

So...one of my author friends Anne Bradshaw put this on her status on Facebook, and I was moved. I did have to wonder whether it covered chemically-induced temper tantrums, but I suspect it does:

“Almost every emotional problem can be summed up in one particular bit of behavior: it’s a person walking around screaming, ‘Love me.’ Love me, that’s all. He goes through a million different manipulations to get somebody to love him. On the other hand, healthy people are those who walk around looking for someone to love. It’s hard to learn, but it’s good when you learn it.” ~ Thomas P. Malone

Wow - how simple is that? How profound? From babies to hard-to-deal-with family members to chemo-brained cancer patients - just love me. And if you're the one acting bad? Go find somebody to love. Easypeasy.

Just when I think I've got this living thing figured out...something new comes along.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Getting There

Monday I went to the Draper Temple parking lot--which is really big and totally empty on Mondays--and Mags and I zoomed around for close to an hour. (That's what I've been calling her, now that we're on a less formal basis.) I imagined intersections, semis, traffic jams with stop and go traffic; and got pretty darn good, if I say so myself. But then, imaginary fears are never quite as effective as the real thing.

So Tuesday I gathered up all my courage and headed off with good 'ol Mags to the hospital in Murray, about a 20 mile drive. I got onto the freeway without a hitch and traveled along writing the rough draft to this blog entry in my head, how I'd say that I didn't have so much as a shoulder shrug, let alone a shake fist, pointed in my direction for the entire trip.

But then I get to the hospital, and there's a guy in the toll booth in the parking lot. I've been going to the hospital almost daily for about six months and there's never been a guy in the toll booth. But this time there was, and he waved me down to stop, which took me totally by surprise. He asks me if I'm a guest. And I'm wondering if he means guest in the way that restaurants call their customer's guests? Like, "Here, let's roll you inside this big tube and fill you full of radioactive material! But don't think of yourself as a patient, think of yourself as OUR GUEST!!!"

Or maybe he means a guest like someone who is there to visit a patient? The only thing I know for sure is that I'm not an employee. Maybe that's what he wants to know. Maybe he's just trying to make sure the employees go wherever they're supposed to. So I say, "I'm a patient?" (As if he can't tell, with the hairdo and all.)

That seems to satisfy him, and he waves me on, turning his attention to the car behind me. But I'm so distracted that I forget about Mags and her needs. And when I try to go on my way she promptly dies. Start, die. Start, die.

By this time there are a couple of cars behind me. Panic sets in.

The guy looks back at me and says, "You might want to try putting it into first gear."

I laugh, the nervous kind of laugh you do when you feel stupid. "Oh yeah, that's a good idea," I say. Silly Mags, so full of needs.

Then last night I took Brandon to the library. As he climbed into the backseat he told me he was kind of scared. I told him there was no reason to be scared. Embarrassed maybe, but not scared. When we got home he informed me that I was much improved. "All you have to work on now," he says, "is the clutch."

You here that Mags? That's all we need to do. Work on the clutch. I'm glad he cleared that up.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Me, Menopause, and My Magic Car

This is my new Honda Fit. I decided it's a car that needs a name, even though I don't usually name my cars. But this one has too much personality to not have a name. So I call it 'Magic'. It was called a magic car in one of the reviews I read, and it really does feel like magic. Even my hubby says so. See, it's this tiny little thing. Only takes up about half the space of a regular car in the garage (or it seems like it), but you forget that when you're inside. It just feels like a regular car with plenty of leg room, head room, and storage space. It's not till you get out that you go, 'oh yeah, this thing is tiny'.

So I absolutely love love love this little car. Except for one tiny little problem: I can not drive it.
Yeah I know, that's really a big problem.

The picture above was actually taken with the intent of posting it in the classifieds, which I haven't done yet. Because I really don't want to get rid of it. What I want is to love it unconditionally. But I think I have to be able to drive it for that to happen. If you remember, it's a manual. Which I don't exactly know how to drive.

So here's a bit of news, in case you're wondering. A 47-year-old woman who has just been put into chemical menopause with subsequent wild mood swings is NOT a good candidate for learning new tricks like driving a stick shift. Who woulda thought?

I'm really surprised there haven't been news headlines about this little red wanna-be car causing traffic jams at intersections around the city. Because that's what's been happening. The thing is, I do just fine in parking lots. I can stop and start and putter and all those good things. But get me at an intersection and well...it's kind of like the time I played a piano solo in church.

Anybody who was there knows exactly what I'm talking about. For those who don't, the story goes like this: I knew this song inside out and backwards. My fingers knew it better than my brain did. When I was at home, I could play it like nobody's business. But when I sat down in that church meeting to play, I went one note, two notes, crash. One note, two notes, crash. One note, two notes, crash. At that point I decided that my fingers were just not going to go beyond those two notes. So here's what I did: I walked up to the microphone at the pulpit and asked everybody to leave. Really. Not even making that up. I then explained that I was having serious stage fright and could do much better if they were all out in the foyer. I then begged their forgiveness and tried one more time. I made it through with just a couple minor flubs. One of my friends told me it was the first time she'd wanted to give a standing ovation while in church.

So now that you know that story about me and my quirkiness, this next one will make more sense. I've been telling this story for days, because when anyone asks about the car, someone in the house says, "Tell them The Story, Mom." And I proceed to tell them The Story. So I guess I need to blog about it. And THAT story goes like this:

After some serious parking lot practice sessions, I took my little new car out on errands, and was feeling pretty cocky about my stick-shift driving abilities. Until I get to an intersection that is on a serious hill. Anybody who knows stick-shift driving knows that getting started while on a hill is the hardest part. But I hadn't learned that yet. Not until I took my foot off the brake, the car rolled backwards, towards the car behind me, and then died. I tried again, and again, and again. But every time the car threatened to roll into the car behind me. Eventually that car went around me. And so did the next. And the next. All while I started and restarted the car. I eventually came to the conclusion that the car was not getting off that hill with me driving it. So I did the only thing I could think of. I got out, walked to the car that had just pulled up behind me, and asked the driver if he knew how to drive a stick shift.

Well, it just so happens that the driver was in his mid-twenties, and cute. The kind of cute that makes you forget for a few minutes that you're an old lady. An old mostly-bald lady. He also happened to be driving a very nice car. The men in my house can't believe that I didn't notice the make and model. But I didn't. Just that it looked very valuable, with lush leather upholstery. He (the cutie) was also very kind and did what his mother taught him to do with a lady in distress. He jumped out of his fancy sports car and told me to follow him. Yep. The poor kid told the crazy mostly-bald lady who was causing major traffic jams to drive HIS very expensive and beautiful car. I'm sure that later on he was whacking his head wondering what on earth he was thinking. But I jumped in and I drove behind him, muttering to myself, 'Don't hurt this car. Don't hurt this car.' He got me to a parking lot and was still very polite, but couldn't get out of there fast enough.

And now even though I've mastered hills, I still go into a panic at intersections, even when they aren't on a hill. I haven't had to ask any more strangers for help, but I've annoyed plenty of them.

And that's the story of me, menopause, and my magic car... still waiting on the happily ever after.

Proud Day

I've taken to going out in public without a hat - which is both liberating and intimidating. Nat's graduation was my first dress-up day that I dared go ala natural. But I sat through Jen and Mike's graduations with a hat one day and a wig the next. (or was it vise versa?) Anyway, both options were long and hot and itchy, and that was in the winter. So I left the hat at home and braved it. And since the day was about my girl and how proud we are of the young lady she's become... (have I mentioned she's headed off to BYU?)...it really doesn't matter what I was wearing!