Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Fa la la la Leo la la la Leo

This morning, I watched this NPR piece on Instagram explaining how over the past 2,000 years earth has shifted enough that the astrological signs we grew up with are inaccurate.

This is the new chart. If I weren't still a Leo, though barely, I'd reject it outright.

Anyway, in this new and questionable world, my mom was a Leo and my dad was a Virgo. I've always been super close to Cancers, Leos, and Virgos. But now my Cancer friends would suddenly be Geminis? Which I know nothing about.

I feel like everything I've believed is now thrown into question.


I cried and cried in acupuncture this morning.

It wasn't about the star chart. Just, whatever she unlocked opened a flood of emotion.

Like my acupuncturist turned off the light, closed the door, and I started sobbing. I couldn't really move, because you know, the needles. So I lay on my back and cried, tears pooling in my ears.

When I spoke to Nick afterwards, I told him acupuncture made me cry.

He laughed, and I said, "Why are you laughing?"

"She stabbed you with a whole bunch of needles. Of course you were crying."


I've been crying a lot. I don't even like Thanksgiving, but the holiday walloped me. 

'Tis the season.

After my mom died, I told the family that I wasn't doing Christmas. We were going away. And they could put up a tree and decorate if they wanted, but I wasn't going to.

I cannot bear the coziness of the tree with all the lights. I'm wrecked by the thought of all those sentimental ornaments.

I have so many memories of my mom in the red chair, enjoying the lights, cozying up with my kids.

My mom decorated gifts perfectly. Perfectly. And she was so happy to wrap for you. You could give her your gifts and she'd make them gorgeous, whimsical, lovely.

So I haven't done anything, and they haven't done anything, and it's been oddly liberating. 

We have a lone poinsettia from a crew fundraiser.

That's enough.


If you've ever been depressed, then this may resonate: sometimes you wonder if you're normal sad or not normal sad.

I'm sad, I'm very sad, but I'm quite sure I'm not depressed.

Like Peeta in the Hunger Games. Real or not real?

I think this is real sadness, profound grief.

Not that depression isn't real. But being depressed has, in the past, made me feel so sad when nothing calamitous had happened.

I don't feel hopeless. Just devastated.

Not every moment. 

But on the whole the holidays are brutal. There are so many memories swirling around.

There's a giant mama-shaped hole.


Which is not to say that all is darkness. We have joy!

We fly to London Friday night. 

A friend—in fact, multiple friends—pointed out that they have Christmas in the UK.

But I'm not trying to escape Christmas. I just didn't want Christmas at home.

None of our home traditions, no familiar decorations, no every-Christmas foods.

I remember my mom being unable to eat chocolate covered cherries after her sister died, because they were her favorite.

India wanted peppermint bark, because my mom bought scads of it every Christmas. She spent a small fortune on it.

I couldn't, I said. Maybe next year.

No North Dakota sticky buns. I've never  actually made them. 

Maybe next year. Maybe not.


Anyway, I'm just sitting around eating peanut butter banana toast.

Like the Leo I still am.

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Survivorship clinic

A month or so ago, I got a message entitled SURVIVORSHIP.

Which was a little alarming.

At first I was afraid, I was petrified.


This message was a notification for an appointment—now this afternoonat the Survivorship Clinic.

Do I turn right at the Pope to get there? I don't know.

If you google, you'll find that lots of places have survivorship clinics.

Maybe the name doesn't bother other people? I feel like this is tantamount to calling it the Hanging On By Your Fingernails Clinic.

The image that pops into my mind is Rose on the door, Jack in the water.

Which leads me to that long-ago "Loser" song by Beck. Because I'm bad at lyrics, I used to think that "soy un perdedor" was "boy with his head on the door".

It makes no sense. I know. This is not a prerequisite for me liking a song. I mean, MacArthur Park is one of my favorites. 

Spring was never waiting for us, dear...

I think this is attributable to ADHD-brain associations. I don't know.

What I do know is that I could make this kind of association and Betty would be right there with me. Maude can be right there with me.

Nick every once in a while makes the leap and knows exactly what I'm talking about out of the blue, and when that happens, it makes him nervous.

Anyway, my understanding is it's about living forward after cancer treatment.

Why not call it Quality of Life Clinic? That's a nicer imagine than SURVIVORSHIP.

But back to Jack.

One of my goals is to do ice baths. I know they're trendy. But they're also really good for you.

Since I would rather be in 100 degree heat than cold, and since I can be cold at 70 degrees, Nick is highly skeptical. He asked if we might hold off on buying the ice tub for a bit, until I've somehow proven that I can do this.

Which is reasonable. Our house is littered with my half-projects.

Although I'm fairly intent on this one. I've begun ending my showers cold.

When I was in Peace Corps training, the family I lived with had said they had hot water, but they did not. 

There were these immersion heaters that you would attach to the shower to heat the water as it went through. If your water pressure was too high, cold shower. Too low, scalding. And I had friends who had one that shocked you every time you turned it on.

So a hot shower was kind of a gamble.

But anyway, my family did not have hot water. So I'd go for a run early every morning, and jump in the shower immediately after, to be able to bear the Andean cold water.

Which is to say, I'm capable of tolerating extremely cold water.

We're going to England for Christmas, and I jokingly suggested to my friend Fiona that maybe I could do a cold plunge in the Thames. Although that might be kind of sketch, like getting in the Potomac?

She was all, yes, dodgy, do NOT get in the Thames! 

Dodgy! Such a great English word. One I need to work into my vocabulary.

Anyway, I know I can do the cold plunge, and breathe calmly. I can definitely be cold.

It's just that so far, nobody I know has seen me prefer it.


I'm strong and persistent. So I'll be hanging out in an icy bucket before you know it.

I'll be watching you all with the eye...of the tiger.

Friday, December 08, 2023

Crazy middle aged lady achievement unlocked

Oh my gosh. I just realized that I left you with constipation a long time ago and continued on my merry way.

I mean, merry if uncomfortably so.

That shit got resolved. No pun.

Also, I recently learned from a school mom friend that her brother passed away earlier this year. This year. This relentless, relentlessly terrible year. She said he used to say, "fuck that shit" and they shortened it to FTS. 

Her daughter made her an FTS bracelet.

I like this very much. 


I don't know if you remember when people started using FTW, which stood for For The Win. Except that I thought it meant Fuck The World.

Which seemed quite extreme. And most of the time made no sense. Even after I looked it up, I would forget.

So I might read, "Homemade brownies FTW!" And be very confused.

I don't know if people use FTW anymore, which is a shame now that I know what it means. Although I guess it doesn't really matter, because I rarely use texting shorthand anyway.

The other night I asked Jordan if he used the word "rizz" as I'd recently learned that it was the Oxford word of 2023.

I said, "Do you say rizz?"

And he was like, "Absolutely not."

"Why not? When you totally have rizz?"

"Because it's stupid."

He hates conversations like this.

I was standing on a ladder trying to organize our cupboards at the time. 

We had two whole cupboards with glass doors devoted to vitamins and rubbing alcohol and Wanda's monthly meds and lord only knew what else.

Actually, I now know what else. A lot of expired kid cough syrup. Every pair of prescription glasses the kids have every had. Costco sized ibuprofen, Tylenol, and allergy meds. My mom's medications. A million bandaids.

Also, dropper bottles for use after swimming that I labeled "rubbing alcohol for ears" but which Nick added a B to, so they now say "rubbing alcohol for bears".

Anyway, I have been trying to figure out where to put all of these medicaments and such because it is space we need for actual kitchen things. And also, Wendy walked into our kitchen a couple weeks ago and was like WHAT THE FUCK with all the medication?

Medication FTW!

And I was like, she's right! Why do we have 54 gallons of hand sanitizer? And then I realized it's because we also have Covid rapid tests. That era still kind of dominates our cupboard.

So there I am, on this ladder, and I'm like, "So, apparently Timothee Chalamet said he has no rizz."

Except that I don't really watch TV, and I've mainly seen his name written, because he's not someone I give much thought to. And while I love words, I'm bad at celebrity names. Like, I used to confuse Kelsey Grammar and Gelsey Kirkland.

So I pronounced it Tee-mo-tay Shalamamalamalay  because I couldn't remember if he said his first name like Americans do, or how many syllables were in his last name.

And Jordan was like, "FIRST of all, it's Tim-o-thy Shall-a-may. And second of all, I don't use rizz because it's stupid."

And I was, all, "But he has the accent mark!" 

Then I turned off the overhead lights.

And then he was like, WHY are you doing that?

Because I'd found eye drops in the cupboard, which reminded me that I have dry eyes, and while I was thinking about it, I should put some drops in immediately. So I turned off the overhead lights so I wouldn't be starting directly into them at close range from the top of the ladder.

I said, "It'll just be for a second. I don't want to stare into the lights."

And he was all, "I don't care about the lights. It just seems like putting in eye drops at the top of the ladder is a very bad idea."

He had a point. As I had to lean back to drip the drops.

I told him that he was exactly right, and this was one of those ADHD no impulse control moments.

Nick doesn't know thisalthough I guess he didn't but does now—and behaviors like this are exactly the reason he believes he's a more competent human being. I know he thinks this. I don't even think he'll deny it.

Fortunately, I managed to drip in the drops without falling off the ladder. I climbed down, and turned the lights back on.

No rizz.

Namaste, Chalamalamalay!