Friday, April 30, 2010

It’s My Party And I’ll Cry If I Want To

My younger sister Kelly is getting ready to head back to Houston on May 11th. She will be having another major surgery at MDAnderson on the 17th. Specific procedures must be done ahead of time however, so she needs to get there a week early. Nothing too scary. Just save your life kind of stuff. No big deal. After all, she is a pro at this after twelve years.

Last February, we spent a few months at MDA for her fifth….or was it her sixth?….brain surgery. November the year before that, we spent months there for her total hip replacement. The cancer had literally done away with her left hip making walking impossible. Although Kel has been fighting this damn disease for over twelve years, it’s really the last three that have been the toughest and most life altering.


Way back in the beginning, when Kelly was first diagnosed, our parents were still alive. It was really hard to watch them fall apart as they watched their baby go into that first brain surgery. Kelly was only thirty-six and in the best physical condition a person could ever imagine to be in. It all just seemed so wrong. One of the laws my little sister passed at that time was this: I was NOT allowed to cry…..ever. Everybody in her hemisphere was crying over her situation. She wanted….needed….me to be strong, in control and most important of all……funny. That’s right. I was hired to entertain her troops. I had to keep people smiling and focused on the positive. That included updating her blog with my take on her misery. You can only imagine!


Anyway, I have done a bang up job of not crying for the last twelve years. Ok, maybe I had a tear or two over my sister but never….and I mean NEVER in front of her or most anyone else. Until this week. This week something unexpected has happened. I have lost control of my Kelly tears. Like at the vet’s office the other day. I stopped by to pay a bill and our veterinarian, Elizabeth, who has known me and my stoic ways for sixteen years, asked how Kelly was doing. I. Came. Unglued. I couldn’t speak. I was absolutely blubbering, red-faced, snot-dripping blubbering. It wasn’t pretty. I told her Kelly was fine and I was just distraught over having to pay the bill. I’m stupid like that. Just ask Kelly.


Then there was today. The icing on the cake. I called Kelly because I was really ticked off about something. I told her, “I need you to talk me down.” So, she did. And everything she said made sense and I told her so. Then I started to cry. I. Mean. CRY! There was no stopping it. The harder I tried, the worse it got. She kept telling me to stop stressing over the wedding and life crap and blah, blah, blah until finally, the truth came out.


“Kel, I am so mad at you! I am really (insert wailing here), really (insert snot-dripping wailing here) mad at you!”


“Wha……you’re mad at me? What did I do?”


“I am really mad at you for being sick (insert loud blubbering) and I want you to stop it right now! I can’t take anymore. And I want you to stop it. I mean it. I’m getting really, really pissed off so just stop it…..ok?”


This is when Kelly started to cry and said one of the stupidest things to date. Oh, and believe me, she has said some pretty stupid things before but this was the prize winning hog of them all.


“Well, I don’t want to be sick anymore either and it’s about time you cried!”


WHAT!!!


THE!!!


%@&#($&&!!! ....HECK!!!!


For twelve freaking years you have pounded my head against the wall all the while making me repeat, “Not allowed to cry. Not allowed to cry. Not allowed to cry.” You are a moron!!! Have I ever mentioned that before? Well, just in case I haven’t…..YOU ARE A MORON!


So, in celebration of our new found understanding, I have a special post I am preparing just for you, Kelly Jeanne Casas. Oh yeah…..it’s on baby!!

I love you ..... but it's still on! Bwahahahahahaha

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Wanted: One Talkative Cabana Boy

So, after my last post, I noticed people requested to hear Bob’s side of the story. I, for one, loved the idea. Think about it. Bob giving his side of the story would mean he would actually have to share what is going on inside that brain of his. This was going to work out better than I could have even imagined. Or so I thought.

When Bob walked in the door Tuesday night he was laughing as he asked,


“So, are you ready to apologize?”


That’s when I started laughing.


“Apologize? For what? For telling the truth?”


Ok, so now we are both laughing hard enough to make it difficult to speak but not too difficult to chase each other through the house pushing one another. Yeah, we are quite mature like that. Of course, our twelve year old is also laughing and running with us by this time even though she has no idea why.


Anyway, when I told the Great Orator that people were requesting his side of the story, he was thrilled. He promised to let the entire blog world including “all those blog people of yours” know the truth once and for all.


Waiting.


Waiting.


Waiting.


Finally, last night when I asked him when he planned on responding to my post, I got this shockingly uncharacteristic reply. (sarcasm most definitely intended)


“Sorry. I got nuthin.”


Point proven. Case closed.


One last thought. This may be why middle-aged women leave their husbands after 35 years for talkative Cabana boys. I’m just saying……




Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Personal Message To My Husband

Hey, you are NOT my husband, so stop reading this. Now!

Ok, Bob, it’s just you and me, baby. Seems I have been having a tough time talking to you lately. Like last night. Remember? Before you started snoring like a freight train? Five minutes after your head hit the pillow? Right after this little gem of a conversation?


“Bob, don’t you ever just want to pour your heart out to me? I mean, like all those deep things that are hidden inside and you just want to share them but you’re afraid? You know, like a little boy?”


“Um…..I think I may not be as deep as you think I am. Goodnight, baby.”


Fine. At least now we understand each other. Mr. Shallow. Mr. I Have No Feelings To Share. Mr. Snore Like A Freight Train.


Ok, maybe that was me snoring because I think I woke myself up due to the volume regardless… I have spent the morning thinking about your statement. Here’s what I have to say to that. You better watch this little video and then come home singing like Rob and playing like Carlos. I have your guitar out and ready.  ?Comprende?







Te quiero, Roberto

Monday, April 26, 2010

Simply Stunning

I am really hot and bothered this morning. No, seriously, I am mad enough to spit nails, breathe fire, see red and all at the same time. Have you seen the latest about the good Samaritan left to bleed to death on a street in Queens? It is enough to make you cry and I did. Seems a woman was being mugged and this homeless man stepped in to stop the assault. He was stabbed by the mugger and left to die. For over an hour. As people walked by. And took his photograph. And lifted his body, saw the blood and walked away. What the hell has happened to us?…..hell being the keyword here. Have we become so numb to evil acts that we can just walk by as someone helplessly bleeds to death right in front of us?


I am going to tell you all something right now. I will never, and I mean never, walk by. I can’t. It’s not the way I was raised. It’s not the way I raised my children. It’s not the way my grandchildren are being raised. I would rather get hurt or even die doing what is right than to live a safe life that I am ashamed of.

I do not regret for one minute, the time I moved a battered woman and her baby into our home. Yes, her six foot tall “husband” came to my door looking for her. Yes, he threatened me. Yes, I was scared. But guess what? I never showed my fear. What I showed that woman beating coward was claws and fangs. And he left. Without another word. Because that’s what cowards do when confronted by a short crazy woman. Now do you think that six foot man was afraid of me? Not for a second. What he was, was stunned. Stunned that someone would stand up to him and speak the truth. And the truth, as spoken to him that day, was that he was not getting into my house to get to her. Not without a fight. And if he chose to fight, he better make it a good one because I would go down to the end fighting like a crazed lunatic to protect that woman and her son.

I don’t regret jumping into the middle of two grown women fighting as a group of men stood by watching and laughing. I could not walk by the “entertainment” of seeing one woman pummel another woman at the beach. Sorry, I’m just strange like that. Was everyone involved drunk? I am pretty sure they were. Does that matter to me? Not in the least. All I saw was someone being hurt while others watched and it made me crazy. So I grabbed the injured girl by the shirt and pulled her back while stepping in front of the other girl. And you know what happened? The other girl just stared at me and the idiot men got quiet. Because I am so big and bad and brave? Hardly. It all stopped because they were all stunned that some ridiculously short, round, middle-aged lunatic would actually step in. Do I think they listened to a word of my tirade against the inhumanity of man? Puhleeze! They laughed in my face and walked away. So I won. They. Walked. Away.

I don’t regret confronting the man who was beating his girlfriend in public. Yep, right there in the Taco Bell parking lot. Sitting in his truck. Beating her. So when I confronted him, he stopped and stared at me. Because he was stunned. Because other people had just parked, looked at them and walked inside to order their tacos. And when his girlfriend didn’t want to come with me, she was stunned that I gave her my phone number and told her I had a room for her when she finally got sick of being hit.

I am not telling any of this so you will think I am wonderful or crazy or desperate for therapy. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what you think of me. It does matter what I think of me, however. It matters when I am laying in bed at night trying to fall asleep. It matters when I look in the mirror. It matters when I look into the faces of my husband and children and grandchildren. What I do, what is in my heart towards my fellow man, matters.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

You Are Such A Boob

Ok, gentlemen, before reading any further, I must warn you, there are indeed references to breasts in this post. I say this due to the fact that my last breast related post seemed to have sent some of you men over the edge. I believe there were comments along the lines of, "Please! Somebody make her stop!" So, you have been warned.


My sister Kelly has made her decision and is going to have spinal surgery on May 17th. The surgery is scheduled at MDAnderson in Houston. None other than the infamous Dr. McDreamy will be performing the surgery along with his usual cast of characters assisting. This is not your regular, run-of-the-mill back surgery. Oh no! This is a major, remove that tumor, rebuild part of the destroyed spinal column, my back surgery is better than your back surgery kind of dealio. Kelly always has been a show off and insists on doing everything in a far superior way than the rest of us peons.




Anyway, Kel and I have been conversing on a daily basis about deep life issues. I mean, time is short and you never know what might happen so you need to say the important things now before it’s too late. So that is what we have been discussing. Deep important issues…..like, what the hell am I suppose to wear to my youngest son’s wedding next month when I am so dang fat that I can’t even fit in a tent? And my hair! Has anyone seen my hair lately? I have never met his fianc├ęs family and I was hoping not to look like the witch from the wizard of Oz at our first meeting. At least the witch was thin. I guess looking like a witch would be ok if I was thin. Did I mention I’m freaking fat? But I digress.




Kelly, of course, barely hears a word I say. Why? Because it’s all about her. Kelly, Kelly, Kelly. All she wants to talk about is how mad she is that she won’t be at the wedding and how my son is like a son to her and how sad everyone is going to be that she won’t be there because she is the life of every party. Yeah, you’re the freakin queen of the May, Kel. How will the wedding ever go on without you?



As if that isn’t bad enough, she pours salt in my big, fat, bad hair wound and informs me she has asked McDreamy for a favor. Could he do a boob job while he is in there anyway? And that jerk of a doctor says, “Sure, Kelly. We can do a boob job for you because after all, you are the Queen of the May.”


So, now I have to go to my sons wedding looking like Jabba on a bad hair day. My sister, the Queen, won’t be there to garner all the attention which means people might actually see me which makes me feel nauseous even thinking about it. And if all that isn’t bad enough, by the time this stinking wedding is over, Kelly will have perky girls once again and I will just be left looking like a boob.




Kelly, I know you are reading this blog again so I have one thing to say to you. I love you and I would trade places with you in a New York minute. Yes, I am that desperate to get out of going to this wedding.

Monday, April 19, 2010

We Remember ~ April 19th, 1995

We moved to Oklahoma August 15th, 1994. Being native Californians who had never pictured ourselves living more than five minutes from the beach, the move was quite a shock to everyone, including us. Regardless, we quickly settled into our hundred year old home in our new town of less than a thousand people. It was such a change but one we knew we could get use to. I was the first to actually make the move to Oklahoma with our children. I had gone ahead so the kids could start school. Bob had to stay behind for months, waiting for his early retirement papers to come through and our house to sell. Finally, when the new year began, we were all together again as a family. It was an exciting time in our lives for sure.



Around mid-February, Bob realized he had lost his social security card sometime during the move. We made the trip into Oklahoma City to apply for a replacement card. Exploring our new state was so thrilling. There was so much to see and do. The downtown reminded us of a mini version of downtown Los Angeles, only much cleaner and friendlier. The art deco buildings were beautiful and the tree lined streets were so inviting for a walk. This particular day, we parked near the Murrah building and went in looking for the Social Security office. Once inside, we quickly found the office. At the counter, a very personable woman helped Bob fill out the form for a new card and we were on our way. We knew being Oklahomans was going to agree with us.



Only two months later, I was at our kitchen sink doing dishes when a neighbor ran in the backdoor. She was crying, saying something about a bombing and that I should turn the television on. As I stood in the living room with Bonnie, listening to the unbelievable news of the Murrah Building being bombed, I remembered Bob was working one street over from Murrah that day. I ran to the phone, feeling as if I were running in slow-motion. Before I could reach for the receiver, the phone rang. It was Bob letting me know, although he was shaken, he was physically fine. I desperately wanted to go downtown and help. All I could think about was that friendly woman at Social Security who had helped us. I know this sounds crazy but I even dialed her number twice, praying she would answer the phone. I knew she wouldn’t but I so wanted her to. I could not stop crying and felt the world had truly gone mad.



A few weeks later, I had the opportunity to work a crisis hotline for anyone effected by the bombing. My first and last call was with a young mother who had lost her baby in the Murrah building. His name was Tevin D'Aundrae Garrett and he was only sixteen months old. I will never forget that call. It only lasted about forty-five minutes but it changed my life forever. Never had I heard such anguish as I did that day. Listening to the sorrow in this young woman’s voice was almost overwhelming. All the training in the world could not have prepared me for such grief. As I listened and did my best to comfort her, knowing there were no words that would ever fix this kind of pain, I knew that I was an Oklahoman that day. This mother and I would forever be connected by this horrible tragedy. It was not the way I would have wanted to come to realize I truly belonged to this land but I do. And for that, I am thankful today.


Tevin D'Aundrae Garrett

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sundays In My City

It has rained steadily for the last three days.
 I decided I would go for a walk in the rain and simply enjoy it. 
So, Bob and I enjoyed our farm this Sunday, walking in the rain, together.


We crossed the meadow


and walked across the dam.


We checked on the creek


and followed it through the trees


all the way to the spring.


Then it was back across the meadow filled with wild flowers


and through the trees


to the pond.


Finally, soaking wet, we walked through the Redbuds


and past the Walnut tree, back to the house ....

together.


Unknown Mami

Friday, April 16, 2010

Well, The Good News Is.....

My older sister, Char, called last night to let me know she and our younger sister, Kelly, had arrived home. They had been in Houston for Kelly's regularly scheduled appointments at MDAnderson. Usually I wouldn't get a call until a day or two later, so I had an uncomfortable feeling when the phone rang and I saw the caller ID late last night. Char started with, "Well, the good news is..." I know whenever she begins a conversation with those words they are sure to be followed by bad news. I was right.

So the good news is, Kelly's brain tumor has not grown nor has the one on her chest wall. Her hip looks good and she is actually doing better than she has for quite awhile. She is walking with a walker, has dropped a lot of weight since they lowered her steroids and overall, is feeling good. Now the bad news. The tumor on her spine has grown. The doctors feel certain if she does not have surgery to remove it immediately, there will be a life-altering impact. I'm going to call her today and ask what that means exactly. If it means she will suddenly be twenty-five, a true blond and weigh what her drivers license says she weighs, well then, let the sucker grow. But if it means anything else, then please, please.....have the surgery.


Just think of all the positives. First, and most importantly, you will wake up to this.




That's right, Kel. Dr. McDreamy will be the first face you see. He will be close enough to smell. Remember that McDreamy smell of his. Yum! Just like formaldehyde. What girl wouldn't want to get a whiff of him?


Let's see, what else? I know! After the surgery, we will buy you new tennis balls for your walker. I think these scream KELLY!




Ummm.....and.....I know there are more reasons. Wait. Let me think. Oh yeah! I know! You were talking about making babies the other day. Remember, when I started gagging and had to hang up because the thought of you people doing that made me nauseous? Well, if you have the surgery, you could actually feel good enough to bring a new life into your home. Yeah. A boy. A sweet, McDreamy boy. He might even look like this.




Well, without all the glimmering, white teeth and the facial hair. That usually comes later.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Keeping Abreast Of Things

As I stepped out of the shower this evening, something caught my attention. Well, actually, two somethings. I don’t generally make a habit of looking at myself naked. It’s just too depressing … and scary … and horrific … and mentally challenging … and, well, I could go on and on. But tonight, there they were and I couldn’t avoid them. When, in the name of all that is holy, did my girls morph into my mother’s girls? Seriously, there is just something not right about this situation.




My mom was hot. I mean it. When the old bat was my age, she was still a looker. I remember how I was always really enthralled with her cleavage. Bernice Casas might have seemed like a prude to some people but that woman knew how to dress. She was gorgeous and when she and my dad went out on the town, she was amazing.




The thing about my mom and her perky girls was this: She never breastfed. She thought it was gross. Monkeys breastfed. Cows and horses did it. She, being prim, proper and perky, would never stoop….or droop….to such a thing. She was well into her later years before her girls packed up and moved south.




Being the idiot rebel of the family, I chose a different lifestyle from that of my mother and sisters. I was all about reproduction and lactation and not shaving my legs. Yep, me and the monkeys. We were quite the mothering models. Lamaze and La Leche would have been my children’s middle names if their father hadn’t had better sense than I do. Ok, prepare yourselves. I am about to confess something that is sure to send some of you ….maybe even most of you …screaming as you reach for your DO NOT FOLLOW THIS FREAK ANYMORE button. I not only breastfed my babies….yep, here it comes…I breastfed other peoples babies. Is that my daughter-in-law Amy I hear wailing and gnashing her teeth?




Hey! It was the ‘70s. And there were sick mothers with sick babies who needed a little help. I’m all about helping people. Never mind.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

With Apologies To The Animals

Sung to the tune of House of the Rising Sun
(work with me, people!)

There is a henhouse in Piedmont
They call the Rising Sun
And it's been the ruin of many a poor rooster
And God I know I'm one




My mother was a chicken
She layed a thousand eggs
My father was a ramblin' rooster
With Orange and Yellow legs



Now the only thing a rooster needs
Is some grain and an enemy
And the only time he's satisfied
Is when that enemy is me



------ organ solo ------
(use your imagination....sheesh!)


Oh mother tell your chickens
Not to do what I have done
Spend their lives in sin and misery
In the HenHouse of the Rising Sun



Well, she's got one hand on the henhouse
The other hand on the ax
I'm goin' back to the kitchen
To be fried to the max



Well, there is a henhouse in Piedmont
They call the Rising Sun
And it's been the ruin of many a poor rooster
And God I know I'm one



Ok, so this is ridiculous. I had to vent. That blankety blank rooster attacked me....again! My leg is bruised and my hand was actually bleeding. Cannibal! No, I didn't really chop his head off and fry him....




.....yet.

We got chickens to have fresh eggs for our family and to share with those in need. Why we agreed to take the rooster I will never know. He is so gonna get it one of these days.




And yes.....I scream like a girl. But I kick like a mule. Just ask the rooster.



Monday, April 12, 2010

The Three Stooges Minus One

My sisters are in Houston. Every three months, Kelly flies to MDAnderson for her regularly scheduled poking, prodding and face-to-face with her doctors. This includes visiting with Dr. McDreamy. Ok, that's not his real name but it's what my two idiot sisters call the brain surgeon who got up close and personal with Kelly's gray matter. Now, I am not saying the guy isn’t pleasant to look at…and charming….and funny…..and, well you get the picture. What I am saying is this: My sisters are old enough to be his older sisters, or aunts or one-time babysitters. They are old. I’m talking wrinkles and gray hair under all that dye. Please, you two. STOP ALREADY!

The truth is, I may be bringing up their ridiculous, giggling teenage girl behavior because I am a bit jealous. Not of them seeing McDreamy but that they are there together and I am not there with them. I guarantee they are acting stupid, laughing at everything and everybody. Insults are flying between them like plates at a Greek wedding, then they are laughing like mentally defective hyenas all night when they should be sleeping. And they are talking. They are talking about me because I am not there just like I am talking about them right now because they are not here. Yeah, I am jealous because they are together and I wish I was there.

I always went with them. I never missed. Ever. Until this last year. Things changed and life happened and my two evil sisters started going to Houston without me. Ok, it was my choice to stop going and Kelly punctuated that decision with her agreement that she didn’t need me there. Oh really? Well, fine. I don’t care. I didn’t want to go anyway. It’s too embarrassing to be seen with two old, wrinkly, dyed hair bats that giggle over Dr. Doogie Howser. That’s right! I called McDreamy, Doogie!

Besides, I still remember the last time the three of us were at MDA together. The two “intelligent” ones conversations were too deep for a moron like me.

Queen Kelly: “I mean it! You need to listen to me.”

Old Gal: “No I don’t. I’m the big sister.”

Queen Kelly: “Yes, you do too! A, I’m the boss and two, you’re not.”

Of course, being a moron, I always found these deeply philosophical debates hysterical which irritated the fire out of Old Gal, who would then make comments such as, “ ....and YOU better not blog this!” I believe this was followed by something about me being a “blogging wench” or some such thing.

Yeah, I am jealous. Old bats!