pWdumaNjA-6CEEBhRoD5euxNETs When All This Actual Life Played Out: December 2016

31 December 2016

Long black road: An end that's an end in itself - 2016


Newport Beach, California (with bonus Catalina Island in the distance)
31 December 2016

You gotta get up in the morning
Take your heavy load
And you gotta keep going down that long black road.

I'm not sure that I've ever been happier for a year to end or more apprehensive about the one that is about to begin.

Perhaps it's just best to leave it at that.

Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone6. We went to the beach despite the storm. Go listen to some good music: "Long Black Road" from the album Zoom by ELO.
For the feed reader folk (because you don't see this on the blog sidebar): Talk to me: OutOfTh3Kitchen at gmail dot com. For additional information on this site's cookie usage, go here.

27 December 2016

Get out of my house


Around the neighborhood
10 December 2016

Everyone was tweeting The Oatmeal yesterday, wherein 2016 was being told "Please get the fuck out of my house."

I couldn't agree more.

The year started with my kitchen sink backing up New Year's morning. It has never looked back, and boy, backed up plumbing. What a metaphor for the year.

***********

Sometimes, I hate being right. Honestly, it's not often that I like to be right and I tend not to be someone who uses "I told you so." But Milton's latest round of tumors are indeed a recurrence of the original cancer. When the vet called last night to check on him, he told me the pathology was back, faster than either of us expected. And I could tell by his tone the news was bad. We are both at a loss as to how to proceed. Milton recovered so well from the first surgery, but we can't allow him to be cut open every 2-1/2 months. Chemo isn't effective against this cancer and I wouldn't do that to a cat anyway. Radiation can be effective, but anesthetizing an old cat 4 times a week is just as likely to kill him. And I suspect that it would be cost prohibitive. So I'm leaning toward enjoying the time we have left.

The last two nights, Milton has crawled under the bedcovers to sleep with me, something Doodle always did, but Milton has never done. The first he snuggled into my chest, with his head under my chin, front paws on my upper arm, and he purred until we both fell asleep. It was almost the same position he took up when I first held him as a 5-month-old kitten and decided to take him home with me.

***********

I was a newly minted teenager when Star Wars (the actual, original film) came out. And of course, at 13, I thought Harrison Ford was about the most awesome thing on the silver screen, so forget what turned out to be the awkwardness of that whole Luke/Leia thing. I wanted to see Han and Leia end up together. Tonight, reading appreciations and obits for the late Carrie Fisher (gods, it kills me to write that), everyone is going on about how she was such a tough princess, and what a surprise that was, blah, blah, blah.

To whom was this a surprise? Not me.

At 13, I watched a tiny, beautiful woman with a crazy hairstyle and a seriously scary polyester dress lay waste to bad guys, spar with the good guys and generally take care of herself. I didn't look at her and see possibility; I looked at her and saw "of course."

So, thank you, Carrie Fisher, for being reinforcement of my own prevailing notion as a girl that women do what they need to do to get through the day, whether with a blaster or with a smack on the lips for luck. You were gorgeous, talented and thoroughly no nonsense.

Of course.

***********

And really, 2016 needs to go. Now.

Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone6.
For the feed reader folk (because you don't see this on the blog sidebar): Talk to me: OutOfTh3Kitchen at gmail dot com. For additional information on this site's cookie usage, go here.

25 December 2016

Another Christmas in the books

 
25 December 2016

Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone6.
For the feed reader folk (because you don't see this on the blog sidebar): Talk to me: OutOfTh3Kitchen at gmail dot com. For additional information on this site's cookie usage, go here.

24 December 2016

Conehead under the Christmas tree

 
Just a little gift
24 December 2016
 
I couldn't leave it on a sad note.
 
Happy Whatever.

Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone6.
For the feed reader folk (because you don't see this on the blog sidebar): Talk to me: OutOfTh3Kitchen at gmail dot com. For additional information on this site's cookie usage, go here.

A place in the sun

 
Sore and sleepy
24 December 2016
 
Not one tumor, but three. Encapsulated rather than encroaching. Possibly benign, possibly a different cancer provoked by an immune system run amok.
 
He and I had the "Cat Camping Adventure" in the family room last night. I slept on the floor; he slept under the table, until it was time for a 3 am snack.
 
He is running and jumping. The new incision is about a third of the last one, but stapled up nonetheless. The vet called a bit ago to inquire after his welfare and laughed when I told him that a hopped up on morphine Milton ran out of his carrier when I got him home. So no worries about hitting any nerves. Still barely a hitch in his giddy up.
 
Waiting on biopsy results.
 
Merry effing Christmas.

Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone6. I dislike Christmas for a lot reasons, not least of which is that it always tends to be freighted with emotional baggage that has nothing to do with the holiday itself, but is exacerbated by its proximity to the season.
For the feed reader folk (because you don't see this on the blog sidebar): Talk to me: OutOfTh3Kitchen at gmail dot com. For additional information on this site's cookie usage, go here.

20 December 2016

I am Naughty Cat



Milton, misbehaving
2 December 2016

So 18 days ago, he was leaping into the spouse's cubby. There is often "field food" there--meat sticks, beef jerky, the stuff that guys who work outdoors keep around when they don't want to worry about getting lunch. The goodies get hidden these days because the cat will go after it, but he remembers it used to be there and always hopes we'll slip up and leave something tasty.

Milton has been just nuts since he recuperated from surgery. Kittening, running around, playing with toys, just a cat filled with joie de vivre. I dared to hope.

Hope ended Saturday night when I found a lump in his hip near the surgery site. Injection-site sarcoma is very aggressive, and even though the post-surgical margins were clear, we knew there was still a chance of recurrence.

I dragged him into the vet this morning. Dr. K wants to save this guy as badly as I do because the first thing he said was, "It's mobile and flexible and I say we take it out right now."

("Right now" means Friday morning. He was so adamant that I sort of thought he meant he was going to open up the cat then and there.)

There is a chance, just a chance, that it's scar tissue. I think the vet and I both know that it's not--I'm not even willing to entertain the idea, frankly--though Milton's behaviour has remained happy. The vet made the point that the cat responded so well to the first surgery that it's worth it to pop out whatever is in there. I even said the word "radiation."

This is the terrible, terrible place that medicine takes us. I watched in horror three years ago as my father-in-law died by inches after an incredibly invasive and probably worthless surgery. When my dog had brain cancer, we managed her tumor successfully and palliatively for six months and let her go with love when it was no longer manageable. By the same token, my cousin was just "cured" of the cancer she's battled for 13 years with one of the new immunotherapy regimens. So it all remains something of a crapshoot and the line where one abandons hope and let's nature take its course becomes more and more vague.

And it's back to calculus. I am so attached to this little stinker, but I know he's almost 16 freaking years old. He's been incredibly healthy for the majority of his life and he recovered so well 3 months ago. I don't want to overtreat him and increase his misery while decreasing his quality of life, but I have to do enough.

My standard has always sort of been "would I do this to myself?" With Mitzi the answer was clearly no. If I were 80+ years old and diagnosed with a brain tumor, I'd book myself on a long cruise and have them throw me overboard when I croaked. That is the truth. But if I had a single tumor in my hip and had to have another removed periodically? I'd probably do that until it didn't make sense to.

The vet promises me that this incision should be small, just a couple of inches. It may buy him another couple of good months. For now, I think we can all live with that.

Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone6.
For the feed reader folk (because you don't see this on the blog sidebar): Talk to me: OutOfTh3Kitchen at gmail dot com. For additional information on this site's cookie usage, go here.

19 December 2016

Last chance final hours don't miss out


From a freeway bridge
Orange County, California
21 November 2016

The holiday emails are sounding desperate this year. Stores are sending me messages 3 or 4 times a day...Last chance! Final hours! Don't miss out!

Somewhere, somehow, I am going to find something funny in this damn year.

Time is running out!

************************

Early last month, D. texted me to tell me she'd gone to the screening of Time Stand Still, a little documentary about that band we followed around a quarter of the globe. I had some perfectly good reason for not going to the screening that I don't actually remember, but it probably revolved around one of the multiple productions filming here or the spouse being out of town for two weeks or something.

Anyway, the daughter and I didn't see it until today, and it brought back all the happy and a good deal of the sad, but the part that had us shrieking was the footage they showed from the Rock Hall of Fame Induction. Because we were there, part of the screaming throng that answered Jann Wenner's "...and from Toronto..." It was very cool to hear it after having been a part of it. So cool, in fact, that we had to rewind and replay it several times.

(...laughing...)

Anyway, I've done a pretty good job of not going to the shows that are being filmed (to the bewilderment of many, but reasons), so it was sort of odd seeing the bits of the Forum show, knowing that D. and the daughter and I were in the audience. And the daughter recalled the sobbing men who high-fived us and hugged us after "Xanadu." I remembered discovering how hard I was crying during "Losing It" without ever realizing until it was over. And watching the fastest 3 hours fly before my eyes.

For years, I've dreamed about waiting in front of an empty stage, waiting and anticipating, but always waking before the show begins. And now the dream is so poignant, and I wake with a real sense of loss.

I said it elsewhere here, but it was true: in 2002, a lot of us realized we'd been given a gift. I intended not to squander it, and I don't believe I did. This year, as never before, I've seen the signs everywhere. Life is short. Don't waste it. Enjoy every sandwich.

Last chance. Final hours.

Don't miss out.

Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone6.
For the feed reader folk (because you don't see this on the blog sidebar): Talk to me: OutOfTh3Kitchen at gmail dot com. For additional information on this site's cookie usage, go here.

10 December 2016

Hazy California winter

 
Orange, California
10 December 2016