Thursday, December 10, 2015

I Saw the Sign

It is FINALS week at my son's university, much like the majority of colleges around the country. He has always put forth a lot of effort to achieve good grades. There are times, despite his studying and perfect attendance, the good grades do not materialize. 

As a parent, I try to encourage him without nagging. He resides with me. I see him studying. He stays up late working on essays, homework, etc... I pray a lot for his success. 

Today happens to be my mother's birthday. She died from ovarian cancer in June of 1981. It doesn't matter how many years pass, I miss her. There are times it is even more painful. She loved to sing. Her passion for music has always been evident in my family.

On Facebook early this morning I posted that it was my mom's birthday. At the moment I hit send, I began to cry. It has been quite some time that I wept over missing her - not that it lessens what her absence means. I put out a wish for her to assure me she was with me.

Back to my son's final exams. One of his courses is a vocal class. It has been wonderful for him. He likes to sing, but now he does it with knowledge of proper technique and confidence. His final for this class required him to sing two songs. I was incredibly nervous for him. In my attempt to not appear as such, I babbled incessantly in the car on the way to drop him off. My hope was to take his mind off any angst he may have been feeling. 

As he got out of the car at the fine arts building, I wished him success. Before driving off, I looked to my left to see a single, bright red cardinal. I knew then that all would be OK. My son would sing beautifully because my mother was watching over him. The presence of a cardinal is believed to be the symbol that a loved one is with us. Mom. She came through for me. Mama was a songbird. She'd surely be with my boy.

I was in awe to see the beautifully bright cardinal in the de-flocked shrubbery in front of the fine arts building. So much that I didn't think to take a photo. I drove back around but it had flown away. Still, it was just the sign that I needed. 
Not the actual cardinal.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Give Me Asylum!

This post is from August 22, 2010! Man, what a difference 5 years makes. I've been through a lot in that time. One major change is that ... well, the change has occurred and the subject matter of the post below is moot. However, it is amusing to me all the same. I found it while looking through notes posted on Facebook. I didn't realize they existed anymore. I thought Facebook had done away with them long ago. Anyway, enjoy my ramblings about being 45 and facing hormonal changes. Also, enjoy my collar bones and singular chin in the photo to the left. I'd lost over 40 lbs. I'm mega fatter in comparison now. Sadness. Working on that again. 

Right to the point: I'm a girl who has needed a check up from the neck up. Thumbing through the Yellow Pages for a shrink isn't what is inferred. Although, that would probably do me a world of good. After all, there are plenty of reasons for the manner in which I act and react to situations in my life. Knee jerk reactions that often leaving me wishing I was someone else. 


The eight sided, fire engine red sign is held up in my mind. Maybe it is progress that I'm capable of catching my negative responses to even the simplest things. However ... you knew this was coming, right? This past week has been very trying.

Well, facing my increasing age is not something that weighs heavily on my mind.  Getting older means I'm still here on planet Earth.  Good, right? Yes, but as a woman it's often a battle of the hormones.

Guys, this might be the point where you wince or stop reading.  It is your decision, but it could get graphic.  I'm writing this from the top of my head and knowing which direction I'll take is a mystery.  If you choose to be brave and hang out for the duration, thank you for making like Alan Alda.

My age, which is 45, doesn't show on my face.  Genetics have granted me few wrinkles and decent skin tone and complexion.  As a little girl I'd admire my mother as she slathered Second Debut moisturizer to her face and neck.  I learned that moisturizer is key.  Unlike my beautiful mother, I do not smoke.  Diet Pepsi is not my primary source of hydration.  What is increasingly obvious regarding my age is what I consider my uncontrollable hormones.  Monthly uprisings cause me to question and doubt myself.  Being awakened at night feeling like someone switched the air conditioning off and the heat on.  The ceiling fan is switched to full speed after flinging the covers from my dampened hide.  Dear God! Help me get through this.

What's most difficult about this ever present change of life is not the flashes and night sweats.  Not even the sudden urge to burst into tears moments after wanting to rip someone's face off is nearly as damning as questioning myself.  Self-doubt becomes a heavy anchor tethered to my being and drags me to the deepest, darkest, cavernous place.

Logically, this lack of self-esteem is limited to the week before the dam breaks, if you know what I mean.  Hormonal surges get a choke hold on logic, unfortunately.  I'm not one who rushes to the doctor and begs for a magic pill to make me all better.  Please, don't immediately suggest it because I will toss a major league POO-POO! upon it.  Such things are a last resort in the Book of 'Riss.

Normally, I think I manage to have a handle on the overwhelming senses and urges.  The week of August 15-21 literally kicked my ass. Mentally and physically.  To put it bluntly, I felt like shit. From the roots of my hair to the tips of my toes it was crystal clear that it wasn't a case of mind over matter.  Not one spot of me was left out of the maelstrom.  Sometimes it sucks to be a middle aged babe. I had little patience for bullshit.  Give me a real problem to solve or offer consult, but don't whine, piss and moan about someone's petty crap! Mole hills turned into mountains!  I wanted to toss my cell phone into the river and shove my iPod earbuds in my ears so deeply to drown out the never ending parade of wah, wah, wah.  I had my own issues piling up and burying my spirit. 

What stinks about the entire thing is that all I wanted to do was lock myself in a room and chill. That, of course, is not what could be executed. What did I do? I put on a happy face and tried to see my way through the chasm of my hormonal misfortune.  The throbbing, pulsating three day headache had to be ignored because missing work was not an option.  It occurred to me that working out the tension would be best.  Not this time around.  It weakened me and even with the minimal effort I felt consumed by perspiration and exhaustion.  Nausea set in.


My son was sick for the first time in over a decade.  We're talking full blown, call the haz/mat clean up crew projectile vomiting in the bathroom.  Poor kid wasn't even aware what that sudden urge to purge felt like.  Home alone, he ran to the bathroom with only a moment to spare his stomach contents from expelling in the dining room.  So, with that in mind I considered that I, too, was getting the bug he had.  He was overcome with fever. I was not.  Plus, I knew Auntie Flo was just around the corner.

With all of this being said it has been made abundantly clear that while I say age is nothing but a number, it is significantly more than candles on a birthday cake or a crow's foot or two around my green eyes.  It is official.  Marissa Rapier has reached the era of being hormonally challenged.   

Here's a bonus side note.  I received a free music download on the package of tampons purchased the other day.  Woo! That almost takes away the angst ...................................... NOT!

But I do dig freebie tunage.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Doctor, doctor! Give me the news!

Today was my three month check-up. In August chemotherapy for breast cancer was completed. Oof. What a freakin' year that was for me ... for my son. Hell is a great way to describe it. I refuse to call it a journey. To me, a journey implies something fantastic and adventurous. Cancer and the treatment is torturous ride through hell. The only upside is that treatment is available, it was caught earlier enough, and I have decent insurance.

Something a lot of people assume about cancer treatment is that the patient will lose weight. Nope. Not always the case and certainly not the case for breast cancer patients. Weight GAIN is most common. Whoopie! Just what a gal wants. No appetite yet you pack on the el-bees.

So, I'm heavier than ever in my life. Every day is a reminder that although I am alive (thank you modern medicine), cancer will haunt me forever. Angst strikes at the most unexpected times. As anyone who has struggled with the scale, weight is difficult to lose, but it is one thing that is in my control. The lovely nurse practitioner at my oncologist office told me to focus on the things I can control. However, help is needed. This is not something that can be done all on my own. Admitting that fact, according to my oncologist, is the first step to achieving. Go me! I took the first step.

In response to my admission of needing guidance and accountability, the NP referred me to a nutritionist that will likely be covered by insurance. Woot! Another win. I told her that food is my lover, best friend and go-to drug.

Turning 50 brings a lot of junk. Oh, I am incredibly grateful to see the big 5-0! However, it also marks the year of the colonoscopy. Chemotherapy catapulted me into menopause, too. Who doesn't love a sauna surge a few times a day? No longer do I contribute to supporting the feminine hygiene industry. Another portion of my follow-up routine post cancer is getting all the lipids, cholesterol, blah blah blood work done, and yes, getting a camera crammed up my pooper.

As my dearest friend Tom reminded me, I have lost weight and got myself healthy before and I will do it again. I just need to start and not to pressure myself. I just need to start.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Boulevard of Broken Pumpkins

This was originally written October 24, 2009. It popped up on Facebook's "On This Day" feature. 

Today is Saturday and next Saturday is Halloween. I requested the day off. It wasn't really necessary since my son is 15 and no longer dresses up and sets out as a beggar for the night pleading for candy. Those days of knocking on doors and holding out your bag (in my case a pillow case) seem to be dwindling. Because of the lack of porch stomping, costumed children I make certain to buy candy we like. Left overs must be pleasing. 

It's a shame that the children of today have to miss out on the random hijinx of days gone by. Maybe I'm off base and the kids from less fortunate areas are taking a charter bus to the affluent neighborhoods. I know we weren't above that. We'd convince someone's parent or, more likely an older sibling who could drive, to take us out where it was rumored that full size candy bars were being handed out.

The last year I took to the streets on October 31 was my 8th grade year. I dressed as a girl from the '50s. I had borrowed an authentic poodle skirt years prior from a neighbor and failed to return it. So, that became the article of clothing that I would build my costume around. We always used whatever we had to dress up. If we purchased anything it meant a trip to the local Salvation Army Store. Very little money was spent on costumes. That is with the exception of my friend Renee'. She was an only child and always had top of the line everything. She set out with my 'hood friends and I that final Halloween. Renee' had long moved out to the budding suburban sprawl of Bourbonnais -- a town that has the French pronunciation phonetically spelled out on it's welcome sign. Ya know, so you realize it's fancy. Anyway, Renee' in all her traditionalism insisted on carrying her blasted freakin' orange pumpkin bucket she'd carried since she started trick or treating.

 My junior high friends and I were toting the respectable pillow cases. We were just slightly embarrassed to be strolling along with plastic orange pumpkin girl. It wasn't even a gigantic pumpkin. It was less than average sized and incapable of carrying the hefty load we intended to gather. Knowing this would be our final year to ring doorbells for free candy, we were determined to make it bigger and better than ever. No house would go un-treated. Not a porch we would not occupy (briefly). Pillow cases would be filled, dropped off and dumped only for us to set out again to collect more more more. Curfews? Bah!! It was a shop til you drop moment, baby.

Or so we thought.

Trailing a few steps behind we heard the whines of a pumpkin toting princess... "I'm tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiired." She was my guest! What the hell was I to do? I couldn't tell her to go wait at my house while I finished conquering the neighborhood and plotted to get a ride to another neighborhood. Doing my best sales pitch, I convinced Renee' that the end was near. She reluctantly followed but continued to lag behind.

Then. it happened. Like a lion attacking the weakest member of the herd, two boys came running from the darkness and ripped that little pumpkin from Renee's grasp. CANDY SNATCHERS!!!!!!! We all started screaming for help and Renee' was in tears. Not for the candy lost, but the single piece of her Halloween nostalgia. It was as if her childhood had been violently stolen from her hands. Her little pumpkin was gone. 

Sans a white steed and horns of triumph bellowing, a man came bolting from his house and a foot chase ensued down the dark street. A ruckus could be heard. Then, moments later a figure emerged from the shadows. The stranger was carrying a slightly tattered orange pumpkin. There was no consoling her. We thanked the man for his kindness. Rather than continue our quest for confections, the hero of the night safely escorted us back to our homes. Cradling the pumpkin now with a broken handle, Renee' called her mom to retrieve her.

We never did trod back out into the night. It seemed wrong even though our fun had been hampered by the less than enthusiastic Renee'. After we cut her loose we very easily could have taken our pillow cases back out for refills, but it was clear that our Halloween days were over.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Dirty Laundry and What's that Smell?

No. The Rapier household does not have a washer and dryer yet. The water that comes into my house is rusty. I don't want discolored whites. Orange, in this case, is not the new black. The plumbing and water heater are all relatively new. The pipes from the main water line to the house, however, is as old as running water, I am told. So, with that in mind, I do not invest in the modern convenience of having the units in my rental home. And no, I don't want to buy additional laundry additives that takes the rust out of the wash water. I did that when we lived in the country and it ruined my cottons. Sheesh.

For your viewing pleasure. He was not
at the laundromat today. He's on loan
from LovingMaleModels on
Today was a much needed laundry day. The idea of spending my first weekend off in over six weeks (last weekend) in a laundromat held absolutely zero appeal. Additionally, the weekends are the busiest time of the week to visit said laund-O-rama. Being there during a busy period takes a lot of patience. While I do enjoy people watching, watching people in close quarters while they allow their children to treat the facility as a playground tests what minuscule level of patience and tolerance that I possess.

Without mincing words, I had a shit-ton of laundry to do. The one thing a person without a washer & dryer knows is that you must own a minimum of a month's worth of underpants. The worst or most uncomfortable pairs are reserved for those has-it-really-been-a-month-since-we-went-to-the-laundromat occasions. Those crack invading, nearly thread bare skivvies are shoved to the back of the drawer or possibly cohabitating with the weird socks you bought for a holiday but have only worn once because when you did they made your feet smell like Limburger cheese. Thank the undergarment gods that the underwear do not have the same effect.

Speaking of smells. Upon entering the 'mat, a whiff of poo-gas invaded my nostrils. There were three women folding and fluffing in the area of the offensive stench. One of them was guilty of over fluffing her SBDs. Ugh. Talk about nasty. Even after walking in an out the automatic sliding door the fog of flesh melting stink remained. To find relief, I stuck my face in the box of Purex dryer sheets that is kept on hand in case I forget to add Downy to the wash. To avoid the eye watering essence, I moved to the opposite end of the facility. That, however, didn't prevent the possibility of crop dusting.

When we were kids and had abominable gas, my mother's response was to tell us to go poop. We also weren't permitted to call our gas farts. It was very Brady Bunchesque in that regard. Toots, stinkers, poots, but never ever farts. We couldn't say crap, either. To my mom it may as well have been the F-Bomb. My brother once had his mouth washed out with Joy dish washing liquid because he said dang it. He probably experienced a variety of soapy mouth washes before and after that, but it is the one time I recall. It is probably due to her strict policy on potty mouthiness that I cuss like Debra Morgan (Dexter-Showtime).Warning! that link is not meant for the faint of heart, children, grandparents, your mom or dad unless he was a salty sailor and definitely NSFW....put on your headset. Jeez, just don't click it. Well, don't click it unless you've seen Dexter. If you have seen the program then you get the reference and watching the video clip is unnecessary. 

So, yeah. I have clean clothes and another month's worth of clean underpants.