The Agreement

The Agreement

I was eating my toast in bed this morning when the whole fam damily showed up to watch. Since two members of the family are four-legged, it’s not uncommon to have all the company when I eat. That’s the agreement.

See also: that one time Dan made me a strawberry waffle.

But you know, sometimes I enjoy eating without the dog panting on my food. His breath is awful now that he’s getting wet food on the daily to sneak in his liver meds.

Izzy seemed to think I needed some alone time this morning though. She jumped down off the bed and swaggered out the door, catching Boomer’s attention first, and then Dan’s.

“I guess we’re just going to go see where she’s taking us,” Dan said from the hallway. “It’s a parade!” A few seconds later, I heard him plop down in his chair and settle in to watch an episode of The Orville. Boomer, no doubt, curling up on the floor beside him.

About that same time, Izzy popped back into the doorway, her tail a question mark. She confidently strode back to my bed and jumped up as I took another bite of toast. The she did what I call shrimp pose, and went to sleep at the foot of my bed. Leaving me unbothered until I was done eating.

When I finished my toast and caramel coffee, she got up and made her way toward me. She purred and slammed her head into my fist a few times. Then she eventually landed on her back next to my shins as I sat cross-legged on the bed.

It’s the posture she takes when she wants me to give her chin scritches and massage her front leg pits. I obliged, thanking her for her services and promising not to call her a jerk later today when she starts knocking over lamps and scooting the remote inch by inch across the nightstand until it falls on the floor.

Fucks Are Finite and I’ve None Left

Fucks Are Finite and I’ve None Left

For Patron fans of Who You Gonna Believe, I have some good news: I’m really, really close to dropping the next chapter.

For non-Patron fans and the morbidly curious, I have some bad news: that new chapter is not going to be available to you right away.

There are a lot of reasons for keeping the upcoming chapter Patron-only for now. Mostly, though, it’s because Patrons have always been given early, ad-free access to new content as a thank you for financially supporting me while working on myself and Who You Gonna Believe.

Chapters 1–25 of WYGB, I have decided, are so old now that they will remain free to read. (Also putting them back behind the paywall is tedious, and I don’t feel like doing it.)

Some might call this next installment my Me Too* story. The abuser’s identity, like Rodney’s, is masked by the obfuscation and omission of details. For my sake, not his.

Chapter 26, debuting in September, comes with a content warning for sexual and psychological abuse of a minor. It’s not graphic, but I understand the benefit of avoiding this kind of stuff until you’re ready.

There’s an introspection in memoir writing—mine anyway—that leads to new understanding, and as a writer I’ve had to decide how to handle that. I think the option-weighing is what stymied me for a bit.


Fucks are finite, and I’ve none left.

* This movement was founded by Tarana Burke. Please support Girls for Gender Equity.

Frappe Diem

Frappe Diem

I’m pleased to report to you today that I’m coming at you live and fully caffeinated. After one month and one day (I checked in the app) I finally had a caramel frappe this morning. Yay! We had a curbside grocery order to pick up, and since McDonald’s was on our way home…frappe diem, kids!

And there was a double points reward for ordering breakfast via the app. I may not be proud, but I sure am happy.

Something else that’s making me happy is anticipating today’s drop of the affidavit that led to the FBI obtaining the search warrant for Mar-a-Lago a couple of weeks ago. Yes, I realize it will be heavily redacted and that Trump only wants it to find out who squealed. Some people have TMZ and People Magazine. I have social media and the Associated Press.

Drywall is going up at the New Digs this week. I’m thrilled and hoping to get to $4,500 for the fundraiser before we move. It’s still too early to know when that might be, but if we get settled before the holidays, I wouldnt hate it!

I’m a little apprehensive about selling this house before the real estate market crashes, but with good reason. Selling the condo in Indianapolis after we moved here was an absolute trainwreck, and I don’t want a repeat. Not that I think it should be tough to sell here, but if lived experience has taught me anything? It’s to be wary.

Yesterday, I was so weak I couldn’t get myself up the single step into the house without Dan’s help, which had me worried. But it turned out to be a random migraine. The weather app wasn’t predicting precipitation, but when it poured yesterday afternoon, I was like, ohhhhhhhh. This morning I got out of the car on my own and made it up the step myself. When my inflammation recedes, my strength improves.

Shower Thoughts #5: Horses, Bullets, and Victimhood

Shower Thoughts #5: Horses, Bullets, and Victimhood

Another episode of my definitely very original Shower Thoughts series.

Am I an optimist, or am I just trying to make horses drink?

Now that I think about it, only one kid in class asked why the German citizens didn’t stop Hitler.

I used to think the phrase “hot and sweaty” was redundant, but life has taught me that “cold and sweaty” is also a thing.

Me to myself: What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?

Myself: Still a jumping jack.

I’d rather have a beer with Joe Biden than eat ice cream with George W. Bush.

Dan talking to our dog like he’s a human is one of my favorite things. “Hey, Boomer, want to watch a Sunday night movie?”

Scooby Doo by Doo where are you? We’ve got some work to…. Ahhhhhh! Make the music in my head stop!

Relief is looking back to discover you dodged a bullet. Empowerment is dislodging the bullets you took.

My experience is that victims don’t want to be seen as victims, but boy abusers sure do.

The Great Unblocking

The Great Unblocking

It’s been a while, but I slept like a normal person last night—from midnight to 8:30 this morning. I feel like a real person. I wrote something healing yesterday, and it took me all day. It needs extensive revising, but I’m not in a rush. Because I can’t do anything quickly. I’m just glad the Writer’s Block rolled out of the way.

It could become the next chapter in my memoir. Maybe. It’s a bombshell and a bit anachronistic. Predating the entirety of Who You Gonna Believe and also taking place in the present, it might be out of synch with my (so far) chronological story telling. But also maybe that can be excused by calling it a bold, artsy move?

I don’t know just yet. What I do know is that I didn’t set out to write it as a formatted chapter for Patrons, and to get it in shape for that will require using my laptop. It started as a simple post like this one, written on my phone. But I’m certain it requires a different treatment than this haphazard stuff I’m barfing up right now.

But enough of the vagueblogging. I just wanted to talk about the Great Unblocking without dropping spoilers in case I try to publish it. Here or elsewhere.

Today is August 21, and it would have been my dad’s 75th birthday. He didn’t like the spotlight much, so writing about him in too much detail seems unfitting. I will just say once again that I miss him. My grief isn’t all-consuming anymore, but it’s definitely not gone.

For breakfast this morning I had a cinnamon roll from the Meijer bakery and a small glass of the International Delight light caramel macchiato iced coffee stuff. I said I would report back on the coffee. It’s good. Better than the Starbucks bottled frappuccinos.

I don’t hate the SB fraps, but the bitterness of the coffee they use is amplified by my wigged out tastbuds. In contrast, the International Delight stuff tastes a lot less like its deconstructed chemical components.

It’s “light” because it uses less sugar than the original formula, but it’s still sugar. Still plenty sweet. Artificial sweeteners—like aspartame specifically—make me hungry, taste awful to me, and give me headaches. So if you want recommendations or reviews on anything containing artificial sweeteners, I’m not your girl.

My YouTube channel surpassed 13,000 subscribers this weekend. I’m trying not to feel pressure to make a video, but I’d be lying if I didn’t acknowledge feeling a little bit like I owe the world something. But, as I keep reminding myself, my equipment and art supplies are packed. Nothing significant is going to happen on that front until after I move. By that time, I should also be a CZT, and there can be something like a grand re-opening, right? I know I need to be patient, but being impatient is one way I know I’m still me.

Speaking of the impending move, Mom’s reporting in by text without pictures now to keep the reveal a surprise. Her text yesterday said that the yard stuff is done and the lawn has been reseeded. (Excavation was required to get an exterior door installed, so that’s a significant milestone.)

That’s all for now. I’m going to listen to some upbeat tunes and wiggle in place.

Level 2 Emily is So Zen

Level 2 Emily is So Zen

I spent just enough time on Twitter today to learn two things. First, Chuck Grassley told his constituents he was for a $35 insulin cap. After he literally voted it down in the Senate. What a tool. And second, the Inflation Reduction Act does allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices for disabled people too. Huge thanks to my friend Robin for letting me know.

I didn’t blog yesterday because—get this—I actually had a better day! Dan gave me his signature haircut (a WAHL with a #1 guide) outside, and I got about 5 minutes of sunshine. I think sitting in the blazing hot black metal patio chair freaked out my back muscles just enough to relieve me of spasms for a few hours.

I took full advantage by not paying attention to anything but the sensation of relief. It was better than taking off shoes that give you blisters. And when I couldn’t get back to sleep from 2 to 6 am this morning, I was like, “That’s okay. I will simply enjoy being able to feel my fingertips.”

Level 2 Emily is so Zen, you guys. As expected, my pain level is creeping back up today, but it’s still not as high as usual. So I tried replicating the chair situation a few minutes ago, but the sun was behind clouds, so the chair wasn’t very hot. I’ll try again tomorrow, but I have to be careful not to be out there too long or bad things will happen to my skin.

Taking drugs that make you photosensitive while being low on vitamin D is such a pain in the ass.

Dan got his first shingles shot today. For free because he’s covered—w00t! He was only gone about an hour, but he came home to find an absolutely elated dog waiting for him. They’re both sleeping now. But first they had to soak up some sun too.

Aside: as you can see in the picture, we are not getting much rain in East-Central Illinois this summer. The huge maple provided so much shade that it helped a lot. But it’s gone now, so this is what we get. Thanks, tornadoes.

In other health-related news I don’t think I’ve mentioned yet, I have been nearly passing out every time I get up recently. The blurry vision that fades to almost black. The muffled hearing. When I described what was happening to my PRN on Tuesday, she felt like it was orthostatic hypotension and she suggested getting up more slowly.

Which, you know, easier said than done when you have to pee at 6 am. But I also decided I’d try flexing my quads and hammies before standing or anytime I feel like I’m going to fall over. And what do ya know, it helps. And it’s 100% cheaper than compression gear or those air compression thingamajigs (kinda like this and a Ziploc bag had a love child) they made me wear in the hospital after brain surgery.

By the way those things feel fantastic the first two days or so, but by the third day you’ll definitely want to beg your nurse to “accidentally” stab them with an IV needle. I mean, allegedly.

She won’t though. Something about preventing blood clots. Pfffft.

Kiss My Astrocytoma

Kiss My Astrocytoma

I had a phone visit with my palliative care PRN this morning. Long story short I’m going to take a short course of prednisone during CZT training to make sure I can do the thing. Because it’s only a week’s worth of generic ‘roids at a low dose, my Rx only costs about $4.

Which brings me to the whole “Medicare can negotiate drug prices” part of the Inflation Reduction Act. I’ve read in a few places that it will benefit seniors specifically, but I’m not sure if disabled people on Medicare are just casually being erased from the headlines again, or if I’m still extra screwed. I’m trying to find an answer.

This is just one reason why I’m still engaged politically when I should be “focusing on getting better.” My shingles vaccines, which I’ve mentioned before, cost $200 EACH, for example, and I’m not allowed to make enough money for our household to survive or they’ll cut my disability income completely and we’ll have even less than not enough.

Maybe if the “safety net” wasn’t an all or nothing proposition?

Bottom line, if anyone out there wants me to shut up about it already (and, yes, people do sometimes say it out loud) they can kiss my astrocytoma.

I’m relieved it’s only $4 for this prescription. The antibiotic ointment my oncologist prescribed a couple of weeks ago cost $35. Not exactly in the budget, and I prefer to put my creativity into Zentangling—not wondering how to afford medicine.

I know these posts aren’t fun for people to read. They are much less fun to write. But no one is going to do it for me. This is as boot-strappy as it gets for the girl who grew up in the most polluted county in Indiana. (In case someone tries to blame my cellphone usage for my brain cancer again instead of spending equal time wondering if our environmental regulations are too lax.)

I know, I know. Blaming me is so much easier.

Pointless Ramblings for Sunday, August 14

Pointless Ramblings for Sunday, August 14

Don’t read too much into the cow. I just like the picture.

First of all, I want to say I bought an 18-pack of Fairlife chocolate protein shakes on sale a while ago. I’ve been having one a day for a little over a week, and my fingernails are amazingly strong.

I consider myself an authority on protein shakes, so I’m giving them my official endorsement. They taste pretty close to chocolate milk too. As long as I don’t have them after something really sweet.

Chocolate and I have an on-gain, off-again relationship during treatment. Sometimes it tastes fine and sometimes it tastes weirdly bitter and unnatural. Milk and cream make it more palatable, so maybe the whey protein source is what’s doing the trick?

I will still buy whatever’s on sale, because my budget doesn’t have a lot of wiggle room, but damn my nails are tough. They might get long enough to measure coke.

Coke. Crack. Crack is whack.

Speaking of crack. The McDonald’s near me is listed as “new” on GrubHub now, and it’s not delivering during breakfast hours. Man, screw them. Trying to get me to consume frappes after 10 a.m.

Not going to do it.

Feeling sorry for myself, I asked Dan to pick up some of those bottled frappuccinos this week. They tasted weird, so now I’m moving on to International Delight caramel macchiato something or other. I’ll report back on how that goes, but I’m not a fan of large containers of liquid given the neuropathy and weakness in my hands.

I guess this is officially a post about shopping.

Because Zentangling has been a struggle the last couple of days, I got my hands on some pencil grips. If that doesn’t help, I could potentially just draw with crayons for preschoolers.

But seriously. Affordable art materials designed for people with arthritis and neuropathy. Why is this not a thing? Or if it is a thing, why hasn’t anyone told me?

There’s a new Zentangle Project Pack video that just dropped, so I’m out for now.

Enjoy your Sunday and remember: friends don’t let friends eat pumpkin spice Oreos.

Zentangle Practice: Like Starting from Scratch

Zentangle Practice: Like Starting from Scratch

I’m trying to ease back into daily Zentangle practice without making a huge mess of my desk or unpacking too many supplies. So I picked up a Zentangle tile yesterday and today to test out some new-to-me media that came in the CZT supply kit.

It turns out that I’ve lost a lot of dexterity in my dominant hand being away from making videos for basically an entire year. So I’m exploring how to embrace shaky, inconsistent lines. At least until I can improve upon them. Accepting wobbly line work is the easy part.

The difficult part is stopping my eyes from rolling around in my head when I look down at the paper. It helps a lot if I keep the tile away from me a bit, but my habit is to nearly put my nose on the paper. I like to really get in there for precision, which isn’t a great habit for filming anyway. Unless I want to cut a whole lot of the back of my head from the footage. So breaking the habit will be to my advantage.

But can I do it?

I do have the old portable drawing table my brother gave me to elevate my drawing surface and get a more suitable angle, but that’s also packed away. It would help my posture, and since I don’t have the overhead camera angle to consider for the webinar, it’s potentially a good idea to ease some of the stress in my neck and shoulders.

I’ll decide whether or not to have Dan set it up for me when it’s closer to training next month. Right now I just want to take a few minutes each day to hold a Micron again. But, also, considering how I want my desk set up isn’t something that I can put off until the last minute. I’m slow. Made slower by constantly having to pivot when something no longer works for me.

Amazingly, my YouTube channel has kept growing during my year-long chemo hiatus. I’m approaching 13,000 subscribers despite saying the police suck at wellness checks and noting how Trump bungled our COVID response—and on a platform rife with complete jerks.

Watch out for more Tangled Talk episodes. No telling who I’ll piss off in the future.

So. Maybe it would be 20,000 subscribers by now if I was willing to color inside the lines. Can you imagine though? If I stop ruffling feathers, that’s how you know I’m dealing with some stuff.

For now, I am content to spend more time blogging, but after we move, lookout YouTube. Speaking of the move, Mom told me this morning that she’s going to be more selective about the pictures she sends me so the big reveal will be more impressive. She did text me this and gave me permission to share it.

Seeing how she sent a picture of a window being installed where one didn’t exist before, the overall impression I’m getting is that really dramatic things are happening.

Also, I gave her the fundraiser status, and she was pretty impressed. I feel like being a professional beggar is how I can contribute. Cancer gives you all kinds of new life skills. Who knew? (Spoiler: literally everyone who currently has or has ever had it.)

Thanks to all of you for helping out. Enjoy your #Caturday.

You might also like: How to Draw Zentangles – One Zentangle a Day

Warning: Political Rant Ahead

Warning: Political Rant Ahead

I tried a little Zentangling today while shit was going down and asked Dan for the highlights of today’s news dump. Then I went poking around for details when I felt like I could handle it. So, political rant incoming.

Doxing FBI agents the day after a field office was targeted seems dangerous and intentional. But what do I know except that everything I’ve ever suspected of Trump has been confirmed.

I don’t have any words left for how strongly I despise the people who keep enabling him and equivocating about why it’s totally okay that he keeps breaking the law.

Meanwhile MTG is tweeting to defund the FBI* like she’s clever, and she’s bragging about drafting articles of impeachment against Merrick Garland. It’s impossible to take her seriously when it comes to actual governance. They didn’t strip her of all her committee assignments for nothing.

Susan Collins, the woman who pretended Trump shouldn’t face any consequences because he’d “learned his lesson” is in a hardhat scolding the FBI for doing its literal job.

And Ted Cruz, the Senator who flew to Cancun when Texas was in crisis and then threw his daughters under the bus when he was called out for it, is barking about who’s not actually working because they’re working remotely because “Nancy Pelosi allows it.”

Nevermind that the McConnell Senate vowed not to pass so much as a fart for literally decades.

It’s a fucking circus of Republicans trying to distract us from Trump’s mounting crimes while Trump insists on being the center of attention by claiming someone ratted him out, but also he didn’t do it. And also he’d have handed over the stuff if someone had just asked. But also everything was definitely planted.

I can only conclude that Republicans are scared they could be targeted at any time, and they’re terrified he’ll accuse them of disloyalty next, effectively letting loose his Proud Boys and 3%ers like they’re Ramsay Bolton’s dogs.

Which, you know, might be the most self-aware any of them have been since, well, ever.

Of course the list of chickenshits is much longer, but I’m already tired of this exercise.

People who voted for Trump and now want sympathy for being duped can continue to claim they didn’t know, but only if they had their heads so far up Tucker Carlson’s ass they couldn’t see daylight for four solid years.

And that’s its own kind of crime.

Petition to legally redefine sodomy.

Anyway I know this political rant isn’t helping anyone but me. I just needed to vent.

*But, she has clarified, only the anti-Trump FBI. Fascist much, Marge?

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