Monday, November 19, 2012

The Beautiful Music All Around Us: Field Recordings and the American Exp...

A beautiful book and fascinating topic by Stephen Wade. A must-read for anyone interested in traditional music.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Touring Philly in the Dark

Tonight we experienced BQ's Famous Tour of Philadelphia that introduces every attraction with "Somewhere around here is ____." and "If it wasn't so dark you could see ____." Some things we did not see: a giant paintbrush, a giant three-prong adapter, a giant broken button, the LOVE sculpture, a fake airplane crash, Lincoln with the feather pen in his right hand, a Calder sculpture, the sculpture with a different head, and the statue of Billy's Penn pointing at Liberty Park.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Friday, November 16, 2012

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Dad demands apology

If you haven't heard about the twit heard round the world, you will soon. This article was written prior to Ann Coulter's comment last night and is even more relevant this morning. Dan Niblock is my hero of the day.
Dad demands apology from Ann Coulter for using 'retarded' as an insult - TODAYMoms

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Working Out "Ducks on the C"

FAQ: How do you work out your band arrangements?
A: Sometimes it just falls into place, sometimes it takes a bit of compromise. Recent exchange at band practice...

Bass: Everyone does an F chord there - it's boooorrrring. Try a C chord. 

Guitar: I will die a thousand and one deaths before I put a C chord in this tune. It's just plain wrong.

Mando: Try Am7?

Bass and Guitar: No.

Bass: (In charming Scottish brogue) Come on, just once.

Fiddle: Let's just play.
Guitar: Fine, just once...

♫ ♬ ♪ ♩ ♪♫ ♬ ♪ ♩ ♪♫ ♬ ♪ ♩ ♪♫ ♬ ♪ ♩ ♪♫ ♬ ♪ ♩ ♪♫ ♬ ♪ ♩ ♪

Guitar: C chords are the bomb! We love C chords! Do it again!

Mando: :: ♫ Db7, ♫ D7, ♫ ::

Everyone else: Stop that right now.

Visit my new band website: Coracree

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Master Coaster

I'm looking into the Master Cleanse Diet, but I'm not so sure it's for me. In the meantime the book makes a dandy coaster.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Like we needed to be told this....

Normal uterus in the female reproductive system 
Golden ratio discovered in uterus
Belgian gynaecologist measures reproductive organs of 5,000 women and finds that the most fertile have 'mathematically perfect' dimensions

Golden ratio discovered in uterus | Alex Bellos | Science |

Scene from the craft store...

Emma overhears a woman yelling at her football-jersey, crew-cut husband to get some fancy scrapbook paper
    her: Get the kind that sparkles.
    her: No, wait, not sparkles...
    her: Shimmers.
    him: [under his breath to Emma] Whats the f***ing difference...
    Emma: .....?

Friday, June 15, 2012

Renowned Hoo-Ha Doctor Wins Nobel Prize For Medical Advancements Down There

From the Onion: 

"We should be encouraging an open dialogue with our young women, one that isn't constrained by some outdated facade of 1950s morality," Lazoff said to a crowd of people looking down at their shoes. 


Friday, June 8, 2012

Lady Business 1 - Stupid Cancer 0

I had a follow-up today with Dr. J who poked around, peered and prodded and said I'm healing up nicely. The pathology reports were in and they confirmed that the cancer was confined to the cervical canal, and was .5 cm x 1.3 cm. No cancer was found in the uterus, ovaries, tubes, surrounding tissue or in any of the 27 lymph nodes he removed. (No wonder I felt like I had been kicked in the gut by a horse.) He'll take my results to a pathology review at the end of the month to run the diagnosis by other doctors to see what they think, but he's pretty damn confident I won't need any further treatment. Yippee! I'll need follow-up visits with him every three months for two years and, if all stays clear, I'll drop back to every six months. I'm back at work, sit-down computer stuff only, and no dancing or heavy lifting for a couple more weeks, but then I should be good to go!

Here are some things people have wanted to know:

As if...
Do you feel like something is missing? 
No, in fact there is a lot of swelling after a surgery like this, so there's a bit of pressure, bloating and tenderness. Kind of like the worst PMS ever. With cool scars.

What happens to the place where the uterus was? 
I'm assuming the other abdominal stuff sort of slurps on over like jello on a warm day. The uterus isn't all that big, so it's not like there is a big space in there to be filled up.

Do you have stitches?
There are internal stitches that will dissolve. Externally I was super-glued closed. I love that. I feel like a big walking craft project.

How's the whole bladder thing going?
This is the hardest thing to deal with. He spent 4-1/2 hours rummaging around in my abdomen, so predictably there is some nerve trauma. Once the Creepy Catheter was out, I had to learn to pee again. You know how newborn babies cry and you have no way of knowing if they're hungry or tired or wet or in pain? Well none of the nerve signals from my nether parts were what I was used to feeling - my Lady Business would start howling and I had to figure out what the heck it wanted me to do. Let's just say each trip to the john was a new adventure. Hey, at least I'm not incontinent.

What does it feel like?
I won't lie, it frickin' hurts and certain things hurt more than others. Driving sucks, walking is hard, but playing guitar is fine. Painkillers are the best invention ever, right after super robotic surgery. I get tired at unexpected moments, but less so every day. I have some hypersensitivity which means stretch pants and granny panties for a while, but to be honest that's how I dress most of the time anyway. As the nerves sort themselves out and come back to life, I experience new and different pains. Good because I was spared having to feel all the pains at once, not so good because I'm really ready to stop taking painkillers.

How does it feel to be a Cancer Survivor?
In a celebratory moment I sent a message to friends that read: "I didn't just survive cancer - I took it out back and kicked its malignant ass." I was Indiana Jones shooting the guy with the whip - my treatment was quick, aggressive and, most likely, very successful.

In the past couple of weeks I've been thinking a lot about my identity as a cancer survivor and realized that I don't feel all that comfortable wearing that label. The main reason is that there are people, including several close friends, who have my undiluted admiration and respect for the horrific treatments they were willing to endure in order to beat cancer, including repeated rounds of chemo, radiation and surgeries. Some survived, some didn't, but they all fought like hell and I'm in awe of their strength and courage. Compared to what they went through, my treatment was a minor inconvenience. I am undeniably privileged to have access to the best health care, full insurance coverage, flexible work hours with sick pay and an absolutely astounding community to support me. I didn't survive so much as lay back and let people feed me soup and chocolates for a couple of weeks. Assuming the badge of Cancer Survivor feels a little like wearing a T-shirt proclaiming "I Survived the Tea-cup Ride at Disneyland" or getting a Purple Heart for a paper cut.

Technically, yes, I survived cancer, but I'm not sure I want to shape my identity around not dying of a disease. There are so many other parts of my life that are way more important to me - family, friends, music, dance, art....Cancer Survivor is just way far down on the list.  I also discovered that it galled me to think of it as "My Cancer". That little f**ker invaded my Happy Place and I couldn't get rid of it fast enough; the last thing I want to do is sound attached to it. My mom suggested that if I'm ever tempted to discuss cancer with possessive language, that I consider using the phrase "My Beloved Cancer" instead. Thanks, Mom, as always, you know just the right thing to say.

Also I don't look good in pink.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Part 6: The Catheter and the Hat

OK, just one more post about Creepy Catheter and then I won't bring it up again.

Yesterday I had a post-op appointment with Dr. N because my surgeon Dr. J is out of town this week. The receptionist scheduled it for the hospital closest to my house, but I'm not sure she was really clear on what I was supposed to have done.

The waiting room at this particular Cancer Center was ginormous and science fiction surreal, except for the obligatory TV blaring in the corner and the unsettling Cancer Magazines scattered across the tables. I give the receptionist my name and she says "I don't work for Them, but I'll let Them know you're here." Mom and I sit down to wait. And wait. Aaaaannnnnd wait. Every 10 minutes or so someone would come out of the back wander around the waiting room, watch the TV for a while, ask if I was SallyAnne and then wander out again. Eventually the doctor comes out and starts heading for the exit. I say to Mom, "He doesn't look too tough, if you create a distraction I think I can take him down before he reaches the door." Considering the catheter and incisions, we thought better of it and he returned a couple of minutes later.

I was called back to the examining room and the nurse took my vitals and described the process of removing Creepy Catheter and left me to change. Dr N. turned out to be absolutely delightful. He went over what he was going to do in plain language and used just enough humor to put me at ease without feeling forced. Also I'm a sucker for an accent and the streak of New York City coloring his commentary just killed me.

A Foley Catheter is an ingenious device. A thin tube is inserted through the urethra and into the bladder. After it's inserted a little balloon on the end in the bladder is inflated with water, holding it in place. The other end goes to the urine catching bag. When it's time to remove it, they deflate the balloon via a special valve and pull the tube out. Here's the thing, though, they needed to know that after they removed the tube, my bladder was functioning and I could fully empty it when I peed, otherwise they were going to have to reinsert the tube. This was completely unacceptable to me, particularly because I was unconscious when it was originally inserted.

The only way to be sure was to fill my bladder to almost bursting with a measured amount of water via the tube, take out the blasted thing and then have me pee into a urine catching "hat" to measure the amount coming out. Dr. N starts squirting water in and he says "You should start feeling like you have to pee." A little more, and "If you were watching TV you might consider peeing at the next commercial." Still more and "Forget the commercial, you have to go now." "OK now you're starting to curse me out in your head." A total of 200cc and he deflates the balloon, pulls out Creepy Catheter and sends me off to the bathroom, which is down the hall, around the corner and down another hall.

As I sit up, the water is threatening to squirt out and I say, "Gimme a paper towel" slap the sucker between my legs and go dashing down the hallway in my TSA socks, robe flapping in the breeze practically knocking over radiation patients in desperation. On the way the nurse says, "Gee I hope nobody is in there." Yeah, you think!?

The bathroom was open and she put the pee hat in the john and left me to it. I was determined that unholy piece of aquarium tubing was not going back in. Sure enough I must have pulled excess water from my kidneys and even my swollen feet because 200cc went in and 250cc came out. "Pee on Demand" now gets added to my list of superpowers.

One last bit of fun with the pee bag before I got rid of it. I wore mine strapped around my shin the same way we wear Morris bells and so thought it would be entertaining to give it a May Day Makeover.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

It Takes a Village to Kick Cancer's Ass

Since I first started blogging about my Lady Business I've been absolutely floored at the outpouring of love and affection I've received. It's been a veritable avalanche of emails, fountain of Facebook posts, cascade of cards.


I hear from family and friends that they are thinking of me, sending me healing energy, holding me in the light and praying for me, all of which are a beautiful blessing and a powerful gift. I also hear that their friends and family are doing the same. My mom got word that a whole order of Catholic nuns she works with are praying for me, by name and very intentionally. Never before in my life have I felt so nurtured and cradled by a community.

My community is my source of strength and wisdom and the main reason I can see the funny side of a crappy period in my life. I depend on my community to help me reconnect to my strong self when it gets too hard to do on my own. Recently a friend called from Vermont to ask how I was doing and see if there was anything he could do to help, and all I could say was, "Darlin', you just did it!. You thought of me, connected with me and sent me energy with a phone call. Honest to God, it's the best help ever."

Having said that, I've gotten some really wonderful gifts from my "village" and I'm thoroughly enjoying all of them.

There have been bunches of gorgeous flowers...

Chocolate! (and if you think we have gotten too much, you can think again!)

Books and a relaxation CD

Thoughtful, useful things like chapstick, handmade blank notecards, pens and soup

Jewelry and an inspired gift of a Make Your Own Mosaic Kit

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