Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Sing. Sing a Song

Music is almost always playing in our house. My son often has ear buds in. He'll listen to a variety of tunes. Often, he will listen to variations of the same song. We sing in the car together. Mostly, on those occasions, we are tweaking the lyrics to humor ourselves.

My kiddo was never in choir. The only concert he sang in was in 2nd grade Christmas. His struggle to maintain the choral stance on a riser was a true test. His Asperger's Syndrome diagnosis made it difficult. Still, he had love of music. He was in band (trombone) for a couple of years. It wasn't his true love, but he stuck with it until scholastic requirements meant he couldn't take band as an elective.

I have a love of musical theater and talked him into auditioning for a couple of shows. He enjoyed it. It is structured socialization. Plus, it was mother-son time without me appearing to be a helicopter mom striving to have quality time.

Mancub is now a sophomore in college. He transferred to the local university from community college. My sister took him to registration because it was a last minute decision to change schools and I was locked into my work schedule. He had been undecided on his major. After spending time with a guidance adviser she looked over his strengths and they declared communications major with a minor in theater. With that, he had to audition for a voice class. He surely wasn't expecting it nor had he prepared. I give him major kudos because I don't believe I could have gone into an audition cold like that. He sang "Amazing Grace." My sister texted me to let me know when he was in with the director of the program. Accompaniment was provided, but he sang for my sister acapella. She said it made her melt. He has a sincerity in his voice. You know his heart is in it when he sings. He doesn't belt out a tune, but he is fearless. His audition landed him in a voice class and he is loving it!

Tonight he excused himself to go practice upstairs. I tried to eavesdrop, but like I said, he doesn't sing loudly. I figured if he wants to sing for me he will.

Well, tonight was the night. After spending an hour or so practicing, he came downstairs and asked if I'd like to listen. Of course!!! He grabbed his music book and opened it up to the song of choice. Without music, he started singing a song they just started to learn: Irving Berlin's "Blue Skies."  My eyes welled up. My son sang for me. He stood before me and crooned a tune. Wow! No, this is not the first time he sang while I was around. It is the first time he sang just for me.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Hair Do Well

Years ago on this blog I used this image as part of my header. In the early years it was called WildHair. With that in mind, the wigs made sense. What brings it forth today? Well, I was perusing my blog image photo album.

Had I been consistent with writing a year ago, this image could have been used as I decided which hair style to don. Chemo made me bald. Most of the time I preferred not to put anything on my head because hot flashes were intense. Head coverings simply made it unbearable. Scarves and hats were my staple until I returned to work. Then, I really wanted to look less like a cancer patient and just blend in.

Wigs gave me license to be playful in a way I had never been with my hair in the past. I bought long, short; dark and light auburn; brunette. NEVER blond. Not that I didn't try it out. I looked washed out and terrible. My natural hue is salt and pepper. There was consideration given to sporting that shade, but why? Why not be adventurous? After what I had endured that caused me to lose my hair it seemed logical to be whimsical.

One of the first wigs that I bought was pixie cut auburn 'do. It was itchy. Wearing it longer than a couple of hours turned me into a lunatic of sorts. The second one was a Joan Collins Dynasty Collection -- Arlene. It was on sale and hard to pass up. The original price was $260.00, but marked down to a ridiculous $35.00. I quickly learned the cheaper wigs had more blank spots. On a gusty day it would be obvious. Anyway, the day it arrived I couldn't wait to put it on. Shake shake shake (that's how you style a ready to wear wig). It was cute and not itchy. It was my favorite. Wearing it made me feel beautiful!

When my chemo ended on December 17, 2014 and my hair began growing again, I took photos to mark the changes. I had some spotty fuzz that grew in after it was initially shaved off. It fell out easily, though. It took what seemed ages to grow out to a point where I'd forego hats, scarves and wigs.

I remember the first day of going to work sans faux hair. My son assured me my hair was thick enough that no skull was showing. His encouragement led me to skip covering it.  The weather was chilly so I wore one of my dozens of hats. Once at work I removed it and went about getting things ready to start the day. A co-worker came in and I nervously awaited her reaction. She confirmed that my hair was indeed super cute. That day and for many weeks to follow customers would remark on 'the lady in the lab' having such cute hair. One man asked to take my photo to show to his wife because he was convinced she'd look great with her gray hair cut into a pixie cut. Little did he realize what I had to go through to have the courage to wear such a short style. I wasn't about to tell him. No need to be a downer.

Now, I love my super short sassy style. It works with the wisdom highlights better than the shoulder length style prior to the big shave off. I call it my half a million dollar pixie cut.

All of this from stumbling across an image from days gone by.

Four of the six wigs I rotated. Fun stuff! They are going to a good home.

Alien me! My brows and lashes finally fell out a month before chemo ended

A little over a month post chemo

Me at treatment

Taken in late March. This is when I started free-skulling it. I felt truly beautiful.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Fall in Line

Today may be September 22, but this gal isn't succumbing to autumn just yet. Here in the Midwest we were robbed of summer. With June being one big torrential downpour, I demand a month extension of sum,sum,summertime!!

Like many people, my son and I were enslaved by the sump pump and overflowing water table. We don't live terribly far from the banks of the Kankakee River.We both got our share of exercise running up and down the basement stairs to jiggle the pump. Every 20 minutes day after day after day we dealt with that blasted thing attempting to prevent the basement from flooding and damaging the furnace. I guess the saving grace in all of it is that the under dwelling of the house is more like a constructed cave instead of it being additional living space.

I give you actual footage during a downpour that included tornado warnings. Eek! My son was a total champ. In some ways it was a blessing he hadn't found full-time employment. His round the clock job was manning the beast in the basement.

There was some consideration given to trying to block up the leaks, but fear of the whole wall crashing in kept me from literally toying around with it.

Anywho, I hold nothing against autumn. The temperatures are pleasant. I can wear sweaters, boots, tights. Bye bye razor!! The big downside to the leaf changing season is that it is too soon followed by winter. Winter. WINTER!! There is no win in winter unless you're my friends Chase or Jessica. Those goofs love winter because they get to ski. I don't ski. On a dare I made snow angels a couple of years ago. That's the extent of my sporting life.

While we are talking about fall, can we all agree that the pumpkin spice thing is way out of control? Yes, it smells yummy. Sure, I enjoy a little sum-sum in my morning coffee, but it is just a mixture of spices, y'all. There are quite a few fake products hitting social media. Such as, Playtex Pumpkin Spice Tampons, Sometimes I see a real product and shake my head. The mall where I work smells of a bakery on Thanksgiving due to all the pumpkin aromas being sold at Bath and Body Works.

As a kid, I loathed pumpkin pie unless half a tub of Cool Whip was on top of it. Now, it's a taste much enjoyed ... especially if cheesecake is incorporated in it. There's probably pumpkin spice flavored Cool Whip on the market now. Dare I search for it? Yes, I shall! Negatory. There is a recipe for pumpkin pie fluff frosting that involves pudding of that flavor mixed with the stuff. I would probably eat that directly from the bowl. As I said, it is not offensive to my taste buds. What boggles the mind is the near lunatic behavior over it.

Please don't think you're being judged if you go bonkers. It is just me not understanding it. It's me. Not you. No, really. I mean it.

As for lattes, coffee flavors etc, I am more of a caramel macchiato kind of gal. Or splash in a smidgen of hazelnut creamer to please my taste buds.

Back to summer. The fan is still in my bedroom window at night even if I have to throw on three blankets and burrow in to keep from freezing. My flip flops have not been retired to the closet. It is just too soon. September isn't over yet. Please, just give me that before putting Halloween decorations in the yard or stacking up the pumpkins next to hay bales on the porch. Let's remember that old man winter comes whipping around the corner long before trick or treat candy is marked down.

Sunday, September 20, 2015


Whoa! So much time between posts. What gives, man? 

A quick synopsis:

Blood work
No more cancer
50th birthday 

The most earth shattering event ... we cancelled cable!! I'm also no longer strapped to a wireless contract. I know what freedom truly feels like, kids. Although, Netflix has me wrapped around its little finger. For a time, Amazon Prime streaming held me in its grasp. Rather than renew, I sweated through the withdrawals ... or was that menopause? Anyway, Netflix provides us with plenty of entertainment. Cutting the cord was not nearly as traumatic as I had always pictured it being. 

When I called the demon company to cancel I was prepared for battle. If you ever had an AOL account and tried to end the relationship you know what I am talking about. You get passed from automated message to automated message that declares you're next to be helped. Then, a human being answers. However, you press 1 out of habit and accidentally disconnect. Enraged, you dial the 800 number and scream at whomever or whatever you hear on the other end. 

Luckily, it was a quick call with an immediate disconnection of the service. Voila! Internet service was retained, of course. Several programs are available online.Who knew?Facebook friends shared ways in which to get some television programming via a cheap antenna that doesn't require climbing on the roof to install. It was also surprising how many people were also cable free.

This new freedom isn't without frustration, mind you. Some networks require cable subscriptions in order to view programming online. Jerks. BravoTV is possibly the biggest arsehole of them all. At least of the networks I am rather embarrassed to admit viewing have such requirement. The shows are mostly reality based crapfests.  Yes, the not-so-real housewives of Orange County and New York pulled me into the vortex. Alas, it will be a year or so before Dramona, The Countless, and Scamra and I are caught up on who is the bigger bitchfaced liar pants. 

The worst part about not having BravoTV is that The People's Couch is returning for a third season and I will miss it! It is a hilarious program where a people are filmed while watching a variety of shows. The commentary reminds me of watching TV with my son or any one of my family members. 

Exhibit A:

I'll miss you Brandy& Julie; Emerson, Blake, Scott (and your sassy socks); Zeno Family; The Egbers; Cathy, Destiney; The Glammas; Amanda, Kenya; last but not least,The Resnicks. Hopefully, Bravo won't be greedy with you and I will get my fix.