Weekly Writing Challenge – I Wish I Were…

. . . able to quit my job and be a full-time college student again.

Now, I doubt I’m pining for what you think I’m pining for.

Midway through my freshman year in college, the first love of my life died in a motorcycle accident.  I managed to stay in college another year before I realized I just couldn’t finish that just then in my life.  So I quit, became a baby nurse, and then a nanny, and after that, my life went another way.  The first part of my college “career” was pretty much the same as high school – cliques and not really feeling like I fit in – but with alcohol.  The second part is a blur, as I sleep-walked (is that a word?) through my life mostly (but not entirely – I’ve forgotten my roommate’s name, but will never forget the night she came into my room to find me crying in a heap on the floor, picked me up and held me until I stopped and when I finished, left the room, closing the door behind her – all without saying a single word) alone because people assumed at 17 years old I couldn’t possibly have loved my man as much as I did or been as affected by losing him as I actually was.  The truth is, his death changed the entire course of my life.

So, no, I’m not just wanting to throw off my adult responsibility to go back to some (for me, imagined) free time with no real responsibilities.

Over the last couple of years, I’ve taken the odd college class here and there – two online and one live and in person at a local community college.

I miss being able to focus on something (with a goal – somehow wandering around on the net isn’t quite as satisfying to me in the same way) that is so unlike my real life.  I’ll admit it, I’m bored with my work.  It requires a specialized knowledge base, and technology is infiltrating it too which is interesting for me to watch (being a bit of a tech geek), but I’ve been doing it for 14 years now (with a stint of something else tucked into the middle here and there).  In that time, any intrinsic pleasure I’ve gotten from it has long since faded away.

I will say that if I have to work, I’ve landed at a pretty great place to do it, so I am grateful for my employment, managers and colleagues.  It’s still not the same as wanting to come to work every day for the work itself.

I realize I’m making choices here, and I stand by them; that doesn’t mean I don’t wish some things were different.

Between a mortgage that’s upside down, a year or so of un/under-employment that ended about a year ago but we’re still digging out from, and being in primary breast cancer treatment which my budget did not have room to accommodate four months ago when I was diagnosed and still doesn’t have room for, I doubt (unless I win a big lottery) that my ‘wish’ will ever come true.

I was 38 years old when I bought my first house and survived keeping it despite Hubby having an accident 3 months (yes, not a typo) after moving in, breaking his back and having his own year-long healing hurdle to overcome, and despite being un/under-employed for a year quite recently.

When I was looking for work that would financially replace what had been lost, Hubby (last love of my life) wanted, more than anything, for me to find work that would make me happy.  He explicitly told me that he would be willing to change our housing situation to meet that goal, for which (among other reasons) I will love him always – but I wasn’t – I’d worked too hard to get it and keep it through one hardship already, so this is the choice I’ve made, and some days it’s harder to remember why I made it than others.  I do the best I can at this, and lots of other things, every day.

Bottom line – I wish I were able to quit my job to go be a full-time student, have that intellectual excitement and stimulation again and finish my degree . . . but not enough to give up my house.

I’ll have to keep looking for ways within the structure of my current life, or find something else I’m willing to change, to get that need met.

Copyright Ridingthebcrollercoaster.com 2012 All rights Reserved.


Daily Prompt – “National Bathrobe Day”

National Bathrobe Day is a Holiday that pops up in my life on an irregular basis.

It has actually existed for a long time, long before I got the above name from an ex-boyfriend.

The best celebrations of National Bathrobe Day take some preparation…

– a market run is made to ensure all possibly desired foods/libations are at hand in the house

– it used to be a run to the video store (yes, that’s how old – and beyond – this holiday is) had to be done to rent videos for falling asleep to and other forms of time wasting

– one’s coziest pajama’s or other night/loungewear has to be freshly cleaned

. . . because here are the rules:

1.  There is no answering the phone.

2. There is no answering the door.

3. There is no leaving the house.

4. One must relax, whatever that means to the practitioner, for a whole day.

5. If one has made an error of epic proportions and forgotten some essential item for proper celebration (which item and its essentialness is Completely determined by the practitioner, in her sole discretion) – one May slink out the door to acquire said item, But one May Not actually wear outside clothes to do so (sweats/loungewear and slippers permitted Only – no jeans, real shoes, female upper undergarments, etc.).  Hence the pre-planning.

Why do I think we need National Bathrobe Day?

Because sometimes we all need to give ourselves permission to deliberately, consciously, (temporarily) crawl into a cave of our own devising . . .

. . . to stop the constant doing . . .

. . . to allow for some deep breaths . . .

. . . to give ourselves a chance to get bored once in a while . . .

. . . to allow ourselves a space where we answer to Nobody but ourselves for just a little while . . .

. . . to occasionally take a fucking nap . . .

. . . to allow ourselves just to Be, without a purpose or goal . . .

. . . just because.

SNL (1975-1980, 1985-Present): October 27-28, 2012

Who gets the reference?

This has been a rough one – again.

[Friday Night:

– took phone call from Dr. Rex Hoffman while standing in Costco, thereby ruining the upcoming weekend, which had looked promising after the catharsis of sending the email Thursday night, and was now a total loss
– emailed MOnc requesting a phone call this weekend]


– coffee
– took call from MOnc re how to handle Dr. Rex Hoffman issue
– trip to Oak Glen, CA with Hubby [See “General Gratitude – For Small Things That Help Me Get Through A Day“]

Our shopping list:
– peach fruit-only preserves/sourdough bread at Mom’s Country Orchards
– Apple Blossom Honey (in place of the Buckwheat I was looking for – Buckwheat only available from April to July – except for the Buckwheat honey I bought in October 2012 <shrug>]
– apple turnovers from Apple Annie’s Restaurant & Bakery
– jewelry from That Jewelry Lady
-pulled pork sandwich and Jonagold ice cream (made on the spot!) for lunch in the courtyard at Snow-Line Orchard
– apples, granola, apple wedger, cider, apple cider mini donuts and apple cinnamon bread from inside Snow-Line Orchard

– dinner on the way home with Hubby at Maria’s
– quick stop at the market for a few basics
– unpacked the truck of our ‘haul’ onto the kitchen counter [I figure Sunday is time enough to divide up, freeze, put away, etc.]


– coffee
– blogging
– sharing on FB [Different content on each platform]
– brunch @ home out of the freezer with Hubby
– more blogging & sharing on FB
– packed apple gift bags for Mom, Dad & someone at Hubby’s work, plus packed up granola bought in Oak Glen for someone I work with
– dinner & Phillip Island MotoGP on tvC

I Don’t Always Have to Say It Myself

Observations from the Kitchen Sink of Life posted on the value and catharsis of storytelling.  I’ve tried to explain this to people, but this post did it so beautifully – explaining for me why I’m here, on WordPress, and at large on the internet.

My favorite parts:

. . . Then there are events that grab you by the shoulders and shake you violently, or even pull the ground away from beneath your feet. The landscape changes rapidly and dramatically, as if by an earthquake. The flow changes course so rapidly and so fundamentally, that it transforms you all the way down to the fiber of your being. When you regain consciousness, when you reconnect with the Earth beneath your feet, you see a vastly different landscape. Familiar in some ways, but different nonetheless. You just buried a parent or close friend, you just heard a devastating diagnosis or somebody you trusted shattered that sacred bond. . . .

Some events shake harder than others.

. . . Some friends, people who have always loved you for your essence, will be able to keep walking with you in your changed landscape. Other friends will evaporate and become echoes, pictures in that scrap book. . . .

I’ve heard this about a cancer diagnosis, and although I’m deliberately holding off on making permanent decisions until at least after the ‘magic year’ is over, I can already see this in play in my life.

. . . Story telling is a powerful way of processing experiences, of transforming karma. . . .

. . . We tell our stories to process, to celebrate, to educate, to discover, to reach out. Because we choose to, because we have to. . .

Yes, that’s why I’m here, on WordPress, because I have to tell my story to survive it.

And the ending paragraph:

. . . Telling your story is a way of saying “this is who I am”, “this is the journey I traveled, this is how I got here”. Naming that journey and the most significant events on that journey opens up space, liberates and is an essential part of processing those events. The most beautiful and powerful gift somebody could give you for telling your story is saying “I see you” (in one of many ways you can say this). But even if you don’t get any feedback, just the mere act of telling your story is  healing.

All of it, but particularly the last line, yes, please, yes.

Read the rest of this great post at The Importance of Telling Your Story.

Copyright Ridingthebcrollercoaster.com 2012 All rights Reserved.

Schedule: Week of October 22-26, 2012


7:00am-8:00am Drive from Home to ROnc
8:20am-9:10am CT Simulation for Radiation Therapy, including getting tattoos
9:10am-915am Drive from ROnc to Starbucks to get coffee
9:25am-9:40am Drive from Starbucks to Work
9:40am-1:30pm Work
1:30pm-2:00pm Lunch [Short – to make up work time stolen by medical appointments]
2:00pm-5:30pm Work
5:30pm-6:30pm Drive from Work to Home


8:05am-9:15am Drive from Home to Work [With 1 stop to get gas for the car]
9:15am-1:00pm Work
1:00pm-2:00pm Lunch [Shopping at H&M – got a few good lightweight t-shirts for winter layering & 1 scarf] [Oh, and the first time I’ve taken an hour for lunch maybe since I came back to work after my surgeries on September 10, 2012.]
2:00pm-5:30pm Work
5:30pm-6:50pm Drive from Work to Support Group [Jack in the Box dinner & Starbucks coffee in the car on the way]
7:00pm-8:30pm Attend Support Group
8:30pm-9:10pm Drive from Support Group to Home


8:25am-9:25am Drive from Home to Work [I actually made a conscious decision this morning to accept being late to work so I could clean up my bedroom (clothes needed putting away, my bag needed to be fully unpacked from my overnight stay at Mom’s last week) – to take some time all for myself to do something I wanted to do, even if I could only steal a few minutes.]
9:00am-1:30pm Work
1:30pm-2:00pm Lunch [Short – to make up work time stolen by a few minutes of ‘me time’ this morning]
2:00pm-5:30pm Work
5:30pm-6:30pm Drive from Work to Home


7:10am-8:20am Drive from Home to Physical Therapy [Why can I not get my ass out of the house on time to make it to physical therapy on time?]
8:20am-9:00am Physical Therapy
9:00am-9:20am Drive from Physical Therapy to Work [Driving through Jack in the Box on the way to pick up a Platter for breakfast – OK, I’m aware I’ve now gotten fast food twice already this week, and it’s only midday Thursday.  Apparently, I’m wearing down a bit this week (well, no wonder, see “Dr. Rex Hoffman – Office Visit – October 22, 2012“) and putting healthy food in my face is something that is suffering for it.  Hopefully, I can find some energy somewhere to fix that.]
9:20am-1:30pm Work
1:30pm-2:00pm Lunch [Short – to make up work time stolen by medical appointments]
2:00pm-5:30pm Work
5:30pm-6:30pm Drive from Work to Home


8:10am-9:15am Drive from Work to Home [With 1 stop @ Starbucks for the weekly coffee treat – don’t tell anybody it’s my third Starbucks this week!]
9:15am-1:30pm Work
1:30pm-2:00pm Lunch [Short – to make up work time stolen by medical appointments]
2:00pm-5:30pm Work
5:30pm-6:30pm Drive from Work to Costco
6:30pm-7:15pm Shopping at Costco [Including a 2nd phone call from Dr. Rex Hoffman which, after starting to feel better after posting last night and therefore looking forward to an actually relaxing weekend unlike the last one, ruined this one too, See “Dr. Rex Hoffman – Phone Call – October 26, 2012”]
7:15pm-7:30pm Drive from Costco to Home

Additional Tasks Accomplished This Week:

– walked at least 20 minutes each day
– blogged
– managed to carve out a whole hour for lunch at least one day
– used my hasn’t-happened-in-several-months one-hour lunch to practice some minor retail therapy
– cleaned up the bedroom
– wrote a scathingly honest email to Dr. Raul Mena, Medical Director of Cancer Services at Disney Family Cancer Center at Providence St. Joseph Hospital in Burbank [Hm, after going anonymously under the radar and promising pseudonyms, I’m blatantly and completely naming names all of a sudden – Please See Rule -1 and Rule 0 and “Dr. Rex Hoffman – Office Visit – October 22, 2012“]
– remembered to write & leave a check for our every-other-week housecleaners

Dr. Rex Hoffman – Office Visit – October 22, 2012

First things first, I have No qualms at all about the level and quality of medical care Dr. Rex Hoffman of the Disney Family Cancer Center at Providence St. Joseph’s Hospital in Burbank, California provides.

But medical care and patient care are not the same thing.

Also, this is my own personal opinion of my own personal experience including quotations from conversations I, myself, participated in (which, in accordance with California law – were Not recorded, so my quotations are recollections to the best of my ability).

I absolutely allow for the fact that other people may have other experiences with this doctor, and in fact, fervently hope they do!

And now on to my visit with Dr. Rex Hoffman at 8:00am this past Monday October 22, 2012, which has so far (midday Thursday as I begin this blog post and finished it Friday midday) colored my Entire week, as told through my email to the Medical Director for Cancer Services of the same medical facility:

Dr. Mena Attachment A:

What Part of ‘I Work For a Living – Because I Have To’ is Unclear?

Dr. Mena Attachment B:

Dr. Mena Attachment C:

So, after finally finishing writing, and sending, the email to Dr. Mena – I felt better.

It wasn’t just the writing, but the actual sending, that let me release at least some of what I had been holding on to all week.

We’ll see what this weekend feels like and what I decide to do on Monday – show up for treatment (of course it just so happens that Dr. Hoffman will be at a national conference in Boston when I begin my treatment on Monday – and I would not have known this if I hadn’t made a stink this week – but it’s a bit tough to be there to enforce the policy when he’s 3000 miles away – hehehe), or punt and start from scratch to find somewhere else to have the treatment.  I’ll let you know next week.

My New Ink – The Tattoo I Never Wanted

Tomorrow I’m getting at least six tattoos.  I’ve never wanted even one.

This has been all I could think about since Friday night when I got home from work and my mind shifted gears from workweek to weekend.

I have numerous piercings – multiples on each ear, and one in my navel.  I’ve always been okay with piercings because I figured if I ever got tired of them, I could take them out and they’d close up and disappear.  Realistically, I’ve had some of mine for so long now, I could take my jewelry out today and they’d never close up as long as I live.

Still, I could see where a small hole (or even more than one) could easily be overlooked by a casual glance.

Tattoos are something else entirely.  For all intents and purposes, permanent – forever – no changing your mind down the road.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I am not globally anti-tattoo.  In fact, I find some tattoos, in some places on the body, on some people, very sexy.  I’m talking drop trou in the middle of a busy street at high noon sexy.

So if you’re getting an anti-tattoo vibe here, it is solely about Tattoos and Me, nobody else.  My generally applicable and very strong pro-choice stance extends to tattoos as well.

But I got breast cancer.  And the size and type of my cancer allowed me to choose lumpectomy with radiation therapy instead of forcing me into losing my entire breast (or both of them) by mastectomy.  So next up in my treatment program is radiation therapy, which requires tattoos.

The tattoos are there for a couple of very important reasons.

During therapy, mainly to make sure the therapy is delivered as close to identically each day (five days a week for 6-1/2 weeks, mind you), to simultaneously kill any remaining cancer cells in the area of the former tumor, and to spare as much healthy tissue as possible.

After therapy, they serve both as a roadmap to your prior treatment (should recurrence occur, or you change doctors, for example), and to mark off what I’m calling a future “no-fly zone.”  After some casual internet surfing it seems to me that tissue is really only supposed to undergo radiation therapy once, so even if recurrence happens in the same area, the tattoos mark out the ‘no more radiation here please’ territory.

I have been repeatedly assured that these tattoos will be small –  more (if applied by a women) or less (if applied by a man) the size of the head of a pin, or about 1mm (or so I’ve heard from a casual survey of the unbelievable number of women in my extended sphere of friends and acquaintances who have already fought the fight I’m in now – I Never knew how many people in my life had been through this deal until I entered it myself).

Still – permanent, never wanted one.  Fucking Cancer!

Since they are (theoretically and ideally) very small, I suppose I could actually have them removed, or skin-color tattooed over when my radiation therapy is done.  But anytime I’ve seen this on the net (on reliable websites), it comes with a clear warning to carefully discuss this your MOnc before having them disappeared, for the “after therapy” reasons spelled out above, of course.

So, as of today (Please See Rule # -1), I plan to keep my radiation therapy tattoos.  Goddamn Big Girl Panties!

Having resigned myself to getting and keeping tattoos I’ve never wanted wasn’t doing the trick.  I was still feeling pissed off and unable to wipe this tattoo thing from front and center in my mind.

So, what is a girl to do?  Go get a tattoo.

Wait, what?  Sounds crazy, right?

Well, not in the world according to me.  Here’s how things stand from my POV.  Never wanted a tattoo.  Got cancer.  Cancer treatments require tattoos.  Technically, I have a choice about doing treatment (getting tattoos) or not, I suppose.  Realistically, I don’t have a choice (See “I’ll Take Red Please“).

I do, however, have an actual choice about whether to get a non-cancer-related tattoo or not.  For all intents and purposes, there are really no consequences if I do or don’t (as long as I choose type, size and location wisely).

I could not let go of being pissed fucking off about cancer forcing me to get my first tattoo.  When I “acted as if” the cancer tattoos were Not actually my first one, my mind and heart calmed.

So today I went and got my first tattoo.  Here’s my new ink:

Um, yeah, that’s right.  There’s no picture to show.  I went to a tattoo shop in town that was recommended to me by someone I trust.  I was told to see the owner – Dave.  Unfortunately it appears Dave is on a tattoo hiatus.  I asked my friend if he would trust my body to Molly and he said yes.

It just so happens that on this particular day, there was a once-a-year festival being held on the street directly in front of the tattoo shop.  We made it in there, but the festival crowd was generally not the same demographic as the folks who get tattoos.

Maybe that’s why Molly seemed entirely uninterested in getting me what I wanted, or in the reasons I was doing this.  Maybe she just didn’t care, period.  In any case, I Do realize this is a permanent deal and chose not to do it somewhere and with someone I am not comfortable.

My first thought about this not working out as I had planned was – well, please see Rule # 0.  So I just figured when I got the “on purpose” tattoo (vs. the “they’re required for treatment” tattoos), I’d just warp time and Decide it was my first tattoo.  Hubby said, yeah, I could do that.  I can construct this blog/site world anyway I want to.  It’s all mine.  He also said I could just have the “on purpose” one be the one I wanted, as opposed to the ones I don’t.

We’ll see what I decide to do (or not do).  As of this moment, I have five new tattoos (it just so happens I have a freckle/mole just where one of my tattoos was going to be, so I didn’t have to get that one – who knew?), and this morning was just as hard as I was afraid it was going to be.  Since then, I’ve cycled back to crying about every 20 minutes or so.  And even finding a private corner to let the bawl out isn’t materially helping.

Remember that roller coaster analogy?  Seems to me like today is one of those down days.

SNL (1975-1980, 1985-Present): October 20-21, 2012

Who gets the reference?

This has been a rough one.  As soon as I got home from work on Friday, and mentally left this past workweek behind me, there was only one thing I could see ahead – Monday and the tattoos I’d have to get for my radiation therapy.  I’ve never wanted a tattoo.  Please see “My New Ink – The Tattoo I Never Wanted.”


– coffee
– was interviewed by S (with interview trainee L observing) as part of the Mya Research Project being conducted by UCLA to help tailor future resources to better meet women’s emotional needs in the first year after diagnosis – for those who come after me.
– blogging
– reading
– watching TV


– coffee
– blogging
– thinking about tattoos
– brunch @ Thelma’s Morning Cafe
– errands [vape store, tattoo shop]
– coffee from Starbucks
– dinner & Sepang, Malaysia Moto2 on tv