Tuesday, March 29, 2011

You Smell Like A Monkey

Well, she did it. My little sister turns 50 years old today. Plenty of people said she couldn’t do it. Most of those people were doctors. Idiots! They watched her go through six brain surgeries, a total hip and femur replacement, brutal back surgery including rods and bolts and who knows what else. Then there was the chemo, the radiation, steroids and drugs that would have surely killed a person with any sense. Luckily for us, my sister never had the sense to give up. She is, after all, a Casas/Walter. What is a Casas/Walter, you ask? A fighter!

Speaking of fighting, here are some of the things I am thankful for today on Kelly’s 50th birthday.

~ I am thankful for a sister that is well enough to drive me insane with her constant interfering and bossiness.

~ I am thankful for a sister that is well enough to answer the phone when I call, give me advice I don’t ask for and get mad at me when I don’t take it.

~ I am thankful for a sister that refuses to give up whether it’s about getting her point across, getting people to do things her way or living through another day.

Kelly, I cannot imagine my life without you in it. I know I have threatened to never speak to you again, smother you with a pillow as you sleep and crimp your oxygen hose. Ok, I know I have also posted unflattering photos of you on this blog, written things about you that make you look beastly and maybe even exaggerated a time or two in regards to your fangs. In my defense, I just can’t help myself. You make it way too easy to do. Stop playing right into my evil, blogging fingers and I’ll quit. Maybe.

Anyway, I love you and hope today, your 50th birthday, is everything you want it to be and more. I hope you find nothing but happiness in the days ahead with the people you love the most. I hope I’m one of those people. Most days.

One last thing! Please send Kelly a birthday wish.
Make sure and tell her I sent you.
It will drive her crazy make her day.  :-)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sundays In My City

Sundays in my city is about
hanging out with the people you love.

It's about playing inside when it's chilly

and outside when it's not.

Sunday means telling the same old stories,

singing the same old songs

and loving every minute of it.

Sundays in my city is about hugs

and dinner,


and relaxing.

The best part about Sundays in my city however is the napping.

Stop by Unknown Mami's blog 
and tell us what's happening in your city.

Unknown Mami

Saturday, March 26, 2011

We Got It Goin' On At Least Eight Times A Day

I work in a store where there are a bazillion televisions, all playing the same video all day long. That means that whatever is being played that day will repeat approximately eight times while I am there. Not only will I see the video eight times a day, I will also hear it eight times a day. The last two weeks I have seen and heard Bon Jovi Live at Madison Square Gardens eight times every stinking day. My brain has been Bon Jovied at least eighty times in the last two weeks. Eighty freakin times, people.

The first few days of listening to Jon and Richie were great. My co-workers were even making fun of me because of how much I was enjoying the music. I was constantly movin and a groovin to the tunes. For a few days anyway. Then I started wanting to scream every time the dang thing came on. I mean seriously, I get it. The boys are pretty and great to dance to but please, enough already.

Jon Bon Jovi, you are a middle aged man. So shake your money maker all you want, you are still old. The women who have been throwing their undies at you all these years now wear Dr. Dentons. Do you really want those flying through the air like massive parachutes? I mean, come on already. Face reality, man. And Richie Sambora. Please. You give love a bad name, bad name.

I might just be tired and cranky. Yeah, tired of listening to two wrinkled, old men try to convince me I was born to be their baby. All I want to do when they start singing is Runaway. When I heard Whole Lot of Leavin for the fifth time today, I could only nod my head in agreement. Please, leave already. I really try to Keep The Faith but It’s My Life and having to listen to this day after day is no Bed of Roses. This constant diet of Bon Jovi is Bad Medicine. I may be Livin On A Prayer right now but I have to hope there is a Disney movie in next weeks line up.

Anyway, Have A Nice Day.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Time Waits For No Blogger

One of the really tough things about having a blog is that I am constantly writing posts in my head. I write them in bed late at night while Bob snores like a freight train next to me. I write them driving to work, on my lunch break, at the bank, in the bathroom and while counting down the drawer at the end of the day. I also write them in the middle of family conversations, while taking my shower, visiting the dentist or just about any and every other scenario you might imagine. It’s maddening but I have not a clue on how to stop. The truth is, I have always written in my head like this, since I was a kid. The only difference now is that I post many of these musings on the Internet for all the world to see. I wonder what Freud would say about that? Probably not much since the guy is dead. Just pointing out the obvious, folks.

The other tough part about being a mental writer is …wait, that doesn’t sound right. Anyway, the thing that drives me madder than I already am is that I have some pretty interesting things going on in my life and in my head. Stuff some people might actually want to read if only to say, “Can you believe the crap this chick writes? Unbelievable!” There is where the difficulty begins and ends. Actually living this insanity on a daily basis, writing it down in my brain and then not being able to find the time or energy to actually write it down. I am honestly not whining about not having time to write. I honestly don’t have time to write lately. It’s starting to annoy me because of all the stories being written in my brain. It’s seriously getting crowded in there.

Anyway, I have been thinking of ways to find more time to write.

1. Hire a servant. He must cook, clean, do farm chores and laundry. Grocery shopping is expected. He would also have to do all the extras like remember birthdays and throw elaborate dinners because that would also be expected. It would be crucial that he be ready, willing and able to jump in the car and take the soon to be 13 year old and her friends on their constant excursions. And listen to their ear-splitting laughter while driving without driving off the road or into a brick wall. Although he may consider both options just to shut them up, he would not be allowed to exercise either option. He would also have to keep a smile on his face at all times while making sure everyone in the house is clean, fed and happy. I would want him to be sort of like a wife, that way I wouldn’t have to pay him either.

2. Clean out our bank account and run away to Europe where I can sit at a little sidewalk café, eating hunks of cheese and bread while writing the memoir of my life. This might not be a viable option however as I believe a ticket to Europe might possibly cost more than $83.47, so scratch that.

3. Get up two hours earlier every morning so I can be alone with my thoughts and write. The only problem I can see with this option is the getting up at 5 am part. I sincerely doubt my brain would be awake. Although, now that I think about it, my writing might be a whole lot better if I wasn’t actually there when it happened. This could work.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Who Needs Disneyland?

A few nights before Kelly left Oklahoma to head back to Houston, she took us all out for dinner. She is extremely generous like that. You never want to say you like something or need something because sure enough, the UPS man will be at your house a few days later. Anyway, we all went to Mimi’s Café and had a great time eating, visiting and laughing as usual. When it was time to go, we realized the infamous Oklahoma wind had kicked in and Kelly had left her jacket in the van. Bob, being the best husband/bro-in-law ever, took his jacket off and slipped it on my sister as she sat shivering in her wheelchair. Finally ready to face the quickly cooling air, I ran to the van, pushing Kelly in front of me. I am not saying I pushed her in a straight line exactly because, well, if I was in a wheelchair I would want it to at least be a fun ride while being pushed so I did unto my sister as I would wish done unto me. She did not appreciate my extreme sense of kindness and willingness to emulate one top notch rollercoaster ride. Some people have no sense of humor.

Anyway, once at the van, we realized Bob had the keys and was nowhere to be found. We also realized his flimsy little windbreaker was not breaking the wind. We came to this realization through hearing Kelly’s teeth chattering during her tirade about me trying to kill her by pushing her off the curb or something along those lines. Whatever. Being the amazingly kind, considerate and selfish, I mean, self-less sister that I am known to be, I took off my heavy coat, wrapped it around my poor, little, shaking, baby sister. That’s when it happened. As I dug through my purse, trying to find an extra set of keys that would hopefully open the van door, Kelly began to slowly roll away. Towards the parking lot. With moving cars in it. As soon as I realized, through her shrieking, what was happening, I turned and made my way to her before she entered any actual danger zone.

“Oh my gosh! You just tried to kill me!”

“Whatever. You’re fine.”

“If I had rolled into that passing car, I could have been killed. What were you thinking?”

“I was thinking I better get my coat back before it gets blood on it. That’s the only coat I own.”

“When is my flight home?”

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


This week has been one of extreme highs and lows to say the least. The lowest low is what has happened and continues to happen in Japan. Watching the news and seeing the faces of suffering is more than my brain can comprehend at times. I cannot begin to imagine living through what the Japanese are now dealing with. Every time I turn the news on and see those beautiful, stoic faces, I think of the multiple Japanese exchange students who lived with my parents and with Bob and I through the years. I cannot help but wonder where Noriko, Yoshi and all the rest are today. My heart aches for the entire country as I know many other hearts do as well. I especially find myself sad when I see the elderly, so confused and alone, having lost everything. How I wish we could go rescue them and make it all ok again.

So what to do? Having gone through our own loss in the May 3rd tornado of 1999, I remember all too well the incredible kindness of so many. One group stands out in my mind and that is the American Red Cross. They were there from day one providing for all our immediate needs and continued to be there for months after. Looking back, I really don't know what we would have done without all their help and the help of so many others. I bring this up in the hopes that you might consider giving to the Red Cross as a way to help those in Japan. Please consider it. We can all make a difference together.

Now for the highs of this last week. Kelly spent the entire week here in Oklahoma with my family. It was wonderful. She was wonderful. I didn't want her to leave. Ever. She did leave however, yesterday. Her husband, David, flew in late Sunday night and they both flew to Houston early Monday afternoon. Then late this afternoon, Kelly went through her clinical trial radiation procedure. My stomach was in a knot all day and I had a bit of trouble thinking about anything else. Anyway, finally this evening, I was able to get David on the phone and immediately asked how Kelly was.

"She's great!"

"Really? Great?"

"Yeah, we just got back to the room and everythings good."

I told David I would call Kelly tomorrow and hung up the phone feeling relief flood every pore of my body. This was a high well worth waiting for. 

MDAnderson is the only hospital worldwide running this particular trial at this time. Kelly is only the fourth person to undergo this procedure. The risks were explained to us as definately there but the possible positive outcome is where our focus remains. Where it will always remain.

Anyway, this last week with Kelly provided for some very entertaining moments. Who knows, I just may tell you a few of them in the days ahead.


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

It Just Keeps Getting Better and Better

Sorry I didn't get the promised update posted yesterday. Seems the hospital had Butts and Ashes blocked as I could not get on no matter how many ways I tried. I actually found this rather amusing. I mean, seriously think about it. This place is brimming to the rim with butts and, well, you get it. I understand I am often found by people searching for pictures of butts. I could verify that for my readers by telling you some of the search phrases used by people. Oh yeah, it's all here on my dashboard. But then you would all be completely disgusted with me instead of the usual tolerably disgusted and I wouldn't want that to happen so let's just say there are some sick minds out there on the web and obviously MDAnderson thought I was one of them so they blocked me. Until today anyway.

So anyway, if you don't mind, I will update you on The List tomorrow because I seriously need to update you on Kelly today. I mean, this is not an opportunity that comes around just any old day and I don't want to miss this chance to make fun of  update the latest on my poor, little, helpless sister. Yeah, that's it.

Ok, so Kelly is no longer considered a candidate for surgery on the cancer that is eating away her vertebrae so dangerously close to her spine. This whole scenario has been quite distressing, of course, to all of us. Then last week, MDAnderson called and informed Kel that she had been selected to participate in a clinical trial. She would be the fourth person to go through this procedure and they felt she should see good results from it. She agreed and so here we are back in Houston.

This time it is just Kelly and me. Why our family would entrust my baby sister into my hands is inconceivable to the sane mind. Like I said in this post:

Let’s think for a moment about all the people who have moved in with me or I moved in with them so I could take care of them:

Aunt Sisi ….dead.

Bob’s mom, Lucy….dead.

Our mom….dead.

Uncle Louie….dead.

Our dad….dead.

Face it. My track record for keeping people alive is nothing to brag about.

Anyway, they still picked me to be her traveling companion/caregiver/hospital jester/slave. I can proudly say, I have not killed her. Yet.

So this morning she went in to be fitted for her full body sling and face mask. No seriously, she really did. She had to wear nothing but a pair of socks, biking shorts and a sports bra. Then they placed her on this special foamy pad thing, molded it to her body, wrapped her in plastic wrap, sucked all the air out of the wrap until she looked like she was shrink-wrapped and that's when the real fun began. They then placed this warm, wet mesh looking thing over her face and upper chest and let it harden until it looked sort of like this.

That's when all the crying and hyperventilating started. They thought it would be better if I waited in the other room at that point since I couldn't stop. I'm kidding. I was just fine. Except for the wanting to drag my baby sister off that contraption, run down the hall screaming and hide her somewhere safe. Other than that, it was all good.

Anyway, an hour later she was all fitted and fine and ready for her actual treatment next week. So, here we are getting ready to head back to the airport to fly to my house for the next week. Did I mention I HATE FLYING??

Oh, one other thing. Her newest doctor, the one over this whole clinical trial thing, is a big, tall, drink of Chemo. No seriously. We thought McDreamy was all that until we met McSteamy.

Dr. Blue Eyed, Six Foot Five, McSteamy

What a great personality. What a good sport when I told him about the blog and McDreamy. What a guy to do a little happy dance when he heard he would now be crowned McSteamy of Butts and Ashes. As long as he didn't kill my sister. She added that part to the deal. He agreed to her terms so it's all good.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Amelia Earhart Flew and Look Where It Got Her

I am running around this morning like a headless chicken, trying desperately to get ready in time to head to the airport. My sister Kelly is heading back to Houston today and I am meeting her there. It seems like just weeks ago that we were there because we were. Have I mentioned how much I hate flying? How it makes my hands and feet sweat, my head swim with vertigo and my stomach turn to knots and that’s just thinking about flying? It gets worse once I am actually on the plane. Let’s just say, I am the gray-faced, white-knuckled, hyperventilating woman you never want to sit next to when you fly. You’re welcome.

Um, yeah. I already feel better about flying. NOT!!!

So here is the latest dealio with Kelly. It has been determined she is not a candidate for surgery after all. She has, however, been accepted into a clinical trial. Remember, this is MDAnderson, the nations #1, best and brightest, cutting-edge, top shelf, yada yada yada, leading cancer research hospital in the Universe. Or something like that. The fact is, four years ago when every “leading” doctor and hospital in California was telling Kelly, “There’s no hope. You are history, sister. Buh Bye”, my older sister, Char and I were researching like crazy, desperately trying to find another answer. We found that answer at MDAnderson. Not only have they kept Kelly alive and kicking these last four years, they have also given us hope in some of the most hopeless situations. God bless em. Oh, and God bless Dr. McDreamy, too.

The actual McDreamy of MDAnderson. I hear he has skills, ladies.
 MRI skills, Gamma Knife skills, brain surgery skills.....

Speaking of McDreamy, do you think it’s wrong that I recently told him we call him McDreamy and that I blog about him as such and that I post his picture on the web for all the world to see? Kelly got all weird and embarrassed when I spilled the beans to McDreamy about my two, old, wrinkled sisters obsession with him. She also turned three shades of red when I told him how much I appreciated their obsession as it made for great blog fodder. His reaction? The dude was excited. Absolutely giddy, I tell ya. He loved it. Couldn’t wait to tell his wife. Wanted to know how many readers I had, etc. So McDreamy, if you are reading this, I would like to say thank you for keeping my little sister alive. I am grateful, even on the days when I would like to strangle her, I am still thankful. I would also like to say you’re welcome for the free advertising on this blog. You may want to remember that when you invoice her next bill. I’m just saying.

Ok, so I need to go finish the laundry and get my bag packed. Then I need to find a valium or two. Oh, and by the way, I will be updating The List on Monday. I have a thing or two to tell you all on that front. Life is never boring when you’re me and that, my friends, is the truth.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Two Days Late But Not A Dollar Short

Ok, ok, so I know I was suppose to post this on Monday and today is Wednesday. Working these long hours is not conducive to blogging. They aren’t fitting in so well with eating, sleeping or laundry either right now. I may need to get a real life one of these days but for now, I’ll just be thankful I have a job.

So without further ado, let’s get to the winner of the $45 CSN gift card. My sister Kelly read through all the great comments and called to announce the winner. I knew the minute I answered the phone who she had picked because she was laughing so hard she could barely breathe. As a matter of fact, she mentioned something about losing control of certain bodily functions upon reading the winning comment. Of course, I reminded her that at our age, not much was required to produce that effect. I’m just saying. Anyway, take a gander at the winner and see if you can keep a straight face. I mean this gal makes me look normal. I love her.

I post this knowing full-well I'll probably suffer the wrath of PETA for it....

My sister (who is 4 years younger than I am) and I were often left to our own devices growing up since my mom was divorced and working full-time and going to school. Both of us really wanted a dog but my mother refused and finally compromised and let us get gerbils.

Being little girls (I was 10 and she 6) we were afraid to pick them up with our hands and would often grab them by their tails when we took them out of their aquarium. One day we were playing with them and my sister grabbed one of the gerbils by his tail and said "Hey, watch this" and proceeded to swing Mr. Gerbil around like a lasso by his tail. All of a sudden Mr. Gerbil became a tiny furry missile and shot across the room landing on the wall. I looked at my sister and she had this stricken look on her face and was holding one skinny gerbil tail in her hand.

Both of us were speechless and horrified. I ran and picked up Mr. Gerbil who was quite stunned by the sudden smack into the wall and probably feeling quite a bit of painful remorse at the loss of his tail. We took him in the bathroom and I cleaned his little stub and we used Band-Aids to fix his tail. My sister cried the entire time, these big honking sobs, and I kept telling her "see, he's fine, he'll be okay". He actually was...of all our gerbils, "Stubby" lived the longest.

My sister and I both work in the same place now...she's a police sergeant and I'm a dispatcher. I'm actually known as the "instigator" at work...they call me "the pot-stirrer" and the "liar" because I often tease my coworkers.