Arsy-varsy

ar·sy-var·sy

/ˈɑrsiˈvɑrsi / [ahr-see-vahr-see] Informal.

adjective
1.
wrong end foremost; completely backward: an arsy-varsy way of doing things.
adverb
2.
in a backward or thoroughly mixed-up fashion: The papers are all filed arsy-varsy.
Also, ar·sy·ver·sy /ˈɑrsiˈvɜrsi / [ahr-see-vur-see]

Source: Dictionary.com

No doubt you noticed that I didn’t publish a blog post on Sunday as I usually do. I felt really bad about it too. I pictured you sitting by your computer just waiting for my post, wasting a whole beautiful day, while I just lay in bed and did nothing.  I apologize for that, and I think I’ve decided not to make promises I can’t always keep. If I don’t publish by a reasonable time on Sundays, just go on ahead and enjoy your day. Don’t worry about me…I’ll be fine…

I wanted to talk about books. A lot of us share a love of reading, so we scour best-seller lists, we join book clubs and we just generally talk about what we’re reading when we meet. Sometimes it’s a real challenge to find something suitable for your current frame of mind.

For example, last night I started reading Cockroach by Rawi Hage; by all accounts a very good book, and one I had to wait several months to get from the library. I quickly determined, after only a few pages, that it was not the right kind of book to be reading in my present state. You would think the title would have given that away, wouldn’t you? On the heels of the week I just went through, it was an especially bad idea.

Here are some of the things that happened last week:

    • I asked Franco to buy me some popsicles and he came home with an industrial-sized box of those mini freezies that don’t even taste good;

freezies

    • I finished book number four of the Harry Potter series. This is good. My daughter, Julie, insisted that I must read the entire series. So what does she do? She gives me books 1 through 4 and then SKIPS number 5 and goes directly to number 6. Just when I was really, really into it. She says she loves me !?!?
    • One day, I was in so much pain, I had to be brought to the local hospital by ambulance only to find out that my cancer has migrated yet again. This time it has found a new home on a bone in my rib cage, very close to the spine;
    • And if all that wasn’t enough, I asked Franco to buy me some Kraft Dinner and he brought me home the white cheddar kind instead of the original.

PicMonkey Collage

I know right? But it’s my own fault.  I should have been more specific about the popsicles and the K.D.  Franco is from Spain, where they don’t even have Kraft Dinner. How was he expected to know?

Julie, Julie, Julie, it’s okay. Franco will get Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix from the library and all will be well.

As for the cancer, I’ve decided to rename it Roaman Carcinoma. He certainly gathers no moss. But you see, that’s the point. I can’t let Roaman get the best of me. There are simply too many books left to read. I’ve got a list as long as my cancerous colon of tomes that I want to crack. I keep hearing that heaven is wonderful, but will they have all the books there? A lot of the books I read have sex and violence in them (and that’s just Harry Potter). I find it hard to accept that God will allow that.

Big Apocalyptic Voice: God will not censor!

Me:  S-s-sorry?

BAV: No censorship in heaven!

Me: Oh my gosh. Is that..? Could it be be? Are you…?

BAV:  Yes, it is I, James Patterson.*

Me: Mr. Patterson, I can’t believe you’re taking time out of your busy schedule to interrupt my post. I’m so flattered – I might even finally read one of your books.

And yet, I still can’t see me trying to sneak a Jackie Collins by St. Peter.

St.P.: What’s that you’ve got there?

Me: Oh nothing much, just a book by J.C.

St.P.: Liar! Your filthy book is dropping nasty words all over the freshly cut grass. Either go downstairs to read that or take this old Dean Koontz

A lot of us like to hoard our books. We read a good one and then put it in our own personal library, because there is a miniscule chance that we will want to read it again someday. Possibly, we just want people to see what we have on our shelves, so that we look smarter than we are. “Like wow, John has Anna Karenina on his bookshelf and it’s in the original Russian.  Yes, it’s right there next to Green Eggs and Ham.”

A few years ago, after having moved my bunch of books from home to home and really never reading a single one over again, I decided to make a clean sweep of it. I made four or five trips down to the parking level of our condo and left all my beautiful hard covers on a shelf that people use for just this purpose. When I was done, my arms hurt and I was tired, but I felt good. I was doing my part in sharing my love of the written word.

An hour or so later, there was a knock at the door. Franco answered and there stood our super, loaded down with all the books I had painstakingly transferred downstairs. He said “Look what I found! I know your wife likes to read, so I picked them all up for her.” It was all I could do not to take them back.

* Any reference to James Patterson interrupting my blog is complete fiction. Also, I have read a few of his books.

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Butterfly Kisses (gag!)

It’s Father’s Day, and I can imagine that Bloggers the world over are writing posts about their Dads. I know you’re worried that you’re going to have to read a bunch of mushy father/daughter stuff, like how we used to take walks after supper in the summertime, how he used to like to hear my childish poetry, how he protected me from the big bad principal one time, how we would ask me to sing a certain song…
crying-and-snifflingOh dear, there I go again….

Dad was a little guy who came across as a big burly guy. He was really strong; 5’4” of muscle and grit. As I recall, he could deliver a pretty hard punch to the jaw of a ten-year-old little girl. I hasten to point out that this wasn’t his fault. When someone’s messing around and giving you little jabs in the shoulder, step aside. DON’T DUCK! I can’t stress that enough. I managed not to cry, because he already felt horrible about it and we never played that game again.

A lot of people found him to be a difficult man to deal with. He didn’t trust anyone and as far as he was concerned, everyone was out to part him from his hard-earned money. In my late teens, I was treated to a distressing example of my father’s er…obesession, when two men came over to talk to him about reinsulating our house. They were charging a very minimal cost, because the government was paying the bulk of it for homes over a certain age. Naturally, my father wanted a better deal. What if he only got a portion of the insulation done, what would it cost him then? Same price. What if he did some of the work himself, how much cheaper would it be? No cheaper. The deal was the deal and was already much less than he would have paid for partially insulating or even doing the whole job himself. This made no sense to him whatsoever. If you get less, you should pay less right? Wrong!.

Them:   All your neighbours have signed on already sir, why can’t you see what a good deal this is?
Dad:    If all my neighbours decide to jump in the lake, should I jump in the lake too?
Them:  I don’t know about your neighbours sir, but you should definitely go jump in the lake.

We sure showed them, wearing our extra sweaters and thick socks all that cold winter.

Dad was a real estate agent and often drove clients around in his impeccably clean car. His cars were always pristine, inside and out. One of my friends had the misfortune of losing control of his bike while riding down our street one day. He crashed it into my Dad’s car. So, here is my friend bleeding and extremely upset over his wrecked bike and there was my Dad yelling at him for putting a scratch on his fender. If that had been me, I would have first found out if the guy was okay…and God help him if he was.

Dad had his own special chair. I know, I know, your Dad did too. One weekend, my parents decided to go away and leave all five of us in the responsible, loving care of my two eldest sisters. It was the 70’s. What on earth were they thinking?  Of course, they decided to have a party. Of course, my parents came home early. I’ve never seen a house empty out so quickly, but not so quickly that Dad hadn’t noticed that a “long-hair” had been sitting in his chair. For a month, that’s all we heard about. Every time Dad went to sit in his recliner to read his “Press” or watch his shows, he reminded us all of how betrayed he had felt that someone had allowed a long-hair to sit in his own personal chair. Something tells me however, that if someone had told that long-hair how much gas had been passed in those very cushions, he might have picked my Mother’s chair.

I am the quintessential Daddy’s Girl. I’m not embarrassed to admit it. Though my Dad has been gone almost five years now, he’s still very much a part of my life. I miss him like crazy right now. When I really feel I need him, I think back to the big hugs he used to give me. Even in his 80’s, he could still lift me right off the floor. I imagine one of his hugs and I actually feel him nearby. What should be my last chemo session is scheduled for July 29th, the day he would have turned 94, and I know he will be right there next to me, lending me his great strength.  I hope you’ll indulge me in a short letter to my father.

Dear Daddy,

I love you, I miss you and I really need you to know something I should have told you when I still had you with me.
Remember the weekend that you and Mom went camping and when you came home you found the back door was broken? You thought I might be frightened by that and tried to fix it without me noticing there had ever been anything wrong. That was so sweet of you.
I guess I should have told you that I had forgotten my house key on the previous Saturday night and my friend and I drunkenly took turns yelling “Wonder Woman!” and bashing the door until it broke. I think I missed out on an important father/daughter moment.

dad.jpg

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I’m Too Sexy!!

I’m too sexy for my chemo bag. Not that I’m especially sexy, but I am particularly not sexy when I wear my at-home chemo bag. For two days out of every fourteen, I am hooked up to a portable pump and I.V. bag of chemotherapy which I wear strapped around my neck as it administers, over the course of 46 hours, more chemo in addition to that which I receive in hospital every other Tuesday.

You know that I love to share, and why should this be any different?  I was going to take a bunch of selfies with my new BFF, but I just wasn’t up to it.  So, I used a cool little program called pic.monkey, which I guess is supposed to be like Photoshop but it’s free. I like free stuff, don’t you?

I got the idea for this post from one of my favourite Blogs called The Ugly Volvo where she did a great exposé on diaper bags.  Just becaue I gave you the link doesn’t mean you shouldn’t read mine first.

Frist let me show you a proper picture of this wonderful, handy-dandy bag.
bag with strap
Is it cute or what? Notice the bold white writing of the logo.  I know it looks kind of blue there, but it’s actually white.  The designer – you can see his iconic initials there – Curt Fuffle Pookie Love, has obviously designed it to be the fashion sensation of this decade. These bags are so sought after that they are numbered like fine works of art.  I was hoping that mine would be between 1 and 25, but these things go like hotcakes, and number 471 it is.

Anyway, I do get a different one every two weeks, so who knows? Maybe I’ll get luckier next time, but I suspect that the smaller numbers go to the illuminati of cancer patients. What? Moi jealous? This week’s bag featured some fraying around the edges, so it was perfect to wear with my distressed jeans. Not to mention that my distressed jeans fit in very nicely with the rest of distressed me.

The popularity of this bag keeps growing.  Why just last week, one new bride refused to walk down the aisle without it. She insisted on dragging it on her train for everyone to see.
baby on gown with bag
What a testament to true love that is. You can see for yourself how this baby fits in anywhere, and goes with anything.

I haven’t taken mine out in public yet, but I plan to soon. I’m worried someone will try to steal it from me. I bet you’re coveting mine right now.  It’s not very practical though. Nowhere to carry your credit cards, not even a little makeup compartment.  In a pinch, you might be able to fit a lipstick, but that’s about it.

Paris Hilton won’t go anywhere without hers.
pariswithbag

She won’t even let her little doggie anywhere near it.  It’s been reported that Tinkerbell, umm, tinkled on it and Paris almost turned her into just so much fairy dust. Princess Pigelette positively hates it and tries to eat it at every opportunity.

Princess Pigelette

Watch it Paris, Pigelette is at it again!!

Hey Lindsey Lohan, I just know that ain’t really chemo in that bag.

lindsaylohan9

That’s not her brand of poison when she’s behind the wheel is it?

I have to admit that I like a nice bag, just like every other lady, and some men, I know.  Check this out!
PicMonkey Collage

Well this post has definitely been about trying to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, don’t you agree. Let’s face it, it’s an ugly bag and I would challenge anyone (Michael Sebastian?) to come up with a nicer bag and donate it to the Canadian Cancer Society.  I bet there could be some pretty decent publicity in something like that.  Let’s not forget the various ostomy bags that people need.  How about something a little nicer to store your s–t in?

Some people call my chemo poison, but for the moment it is the magical elixir that I am counting on to restore me to good health.  The bag or packaging matters very little to me, so long as it’s there when I need it. Nobody is too sexy for this bag. Cancer doesn’t care who you are or what you look like.

Can I just take a moment to comment on the wonderful nurses from CCAC who come to hook me up to my at-home chemo?  Each one I’ve met to date has been unfailingly kind and caring. I just can’t say enough about them.

I’ll tell you about the fantastic care I get at St. Michael’s another time, but let’s just allow CCAC to shine for the moment.

Also, I wanted to say that my old folks, staff and other volunteers whom I miss so much, have not forgotten me. Well, some of them forgot me from week to week, but that’s just one more thing about aging. You can look at it as a loss, or you can look at it as getting to become friends over and over again. I prefer the latter. They sent me a beautiful card with many signatures and messages telling me they miss me too, and asking me to get better and come back. It’s hand-made and all the more special for it. It will be a cherished possession forever.
Mariann card
Thank you Mariann Home!  I truly love you and be ready, because I’m coming back with some old/new fun music.

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Is it 1984 already?

In the 1970’s when I was studying George Orwell’s 1984, my English teacher tried very hard to impress upon his students how very oppressive it would be to live in Orwell’s world. I didn’t really get it though: someone watching my every move, listening in on everything I said, telling me how to speak and to whom. That wasn’t Big Brother,that was just Dad

What has brought on these Orwellian musings you ask? Well, I guess I’m getting older, wiser…paranoid. For the last while, someone has been watching me. And if you want to know the truth, I find this doubleplusungood. I keep finding her lurking on my computer screen. She hides behind my other panes and when I try to shut down, there she is staring at me. How long has she been there? What does she want from me? Why is she covered in plastic wrap? Or is that her skin she’s peeling off? So many questions…so few answers.

Can someone please tell me who this woman is?

old lady

Maybe it’s a result of the drugs I have to take, but lately I think she’s actually been following me around. It starts first thing in the morning.  I’m casually pouring my cereal and that feeling washes over me.
ricekrispies

 

When I’m out and about town, I see her, with her deceptively kind eyes; mocking me! The children on the school bus stare at me as I stand there shrieking and pointing. “Look, it’s her! Get her away from me.”
ray.sd23.bc.ca, jpg
The nice police man tells people to move along. “Show’s over. Nothing to see here.”

 

It’s gotten so I can’t watch the news, without her rearing her plastic-covered head.
theroyalpost.com
She’s a Duchess fergodsakes!  Have you no shame?

 

And this? Johnny Depp? Now she’s really gone too far!

masspictures.net

NOW THAT’S JUST WRONG!!!

 

Has anyone thought to tell her that she doesn’t actually look 35? Just between you and me, I think even 57 is pushing it. Crows are flocking, yes flocking to spas to get pedicures.  And yet her fame knows no bounds.
TIME

She seems to be trying to tell me something, or could it be “sell” me something? Back off lady! I’m not interested in your miracle creams or serums. What’s wrong with aging anyway?  I used to be afraid of aging, but now I’m afraid I might not get that chance.  And even if I could reverse the effects of aging, what self-respecting grandson wants to deal with his friends talking about his GILF?

Let’s face it, if we are fortunate and live long enough to get old, there are going to be some signs. You can try to mess with Mother Nature, but you gotta be very, very careful.
mary dailymailcoukcharlie mccarthy icollectorcom

WHO’S THE DUMMY NOW? HMMM?

 

I resolve to think of myself as a fine, pure linen shirt. You’re not supposed to iron those, you pay extra for the wrinkles.
linen shirt

Trust me, I found that out the hard way while working at a high end ladies clothing store. “Why are you steaming that suit! You’re ruining it. Crumple it and go home!”

That’s how I now feel about myself. Wrinkles and any other visible reminders of the passing of precious time will be welcomed with open, and possibly flabby arms

 

 

Now if I could just learn to love the extra few pounds that I’m carrying around. Oh, I still have my lovely hourglass figure, it’s just that these days I have a little too much time on my ass.

 Know what I mean?

hourglass

 

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Chicken soup

Love you too, Jo!