murphyormel

wacky reflections from a nutcracker wannabe

Category: Humor

Anything happens all the time. 

May you meet Joy in 2016.

May you try new things, laugh a lot, sit in quiet a few minutes each day, kiss someone special, journey toward good health, look inward and remember why you love what you do and who you are beyond a title, make new and loving friends, take silly photos, be creative in your own way, truly hear the beauty of a wind chime telling you a story, read for pleasure, feel grass under your toes, ask for hugs early and often, do the thing you think you cannot do, love who you are today, and never let age trump adventure!

Follow your bliss, be bold, trust a higher power knows us, and be your best self.

…..Because “anything happens all the time.*”

Joy says so too.

Metta and Merry 2016,

Mel


Pixarwikia.com: Meet Disney’s Joy** (Inside Out)

* a favorite movie quote: “This is where I leave you”

George was curious. So too am I.

Many of us grew up with Curious George.  Learning, discovery, adventure, and observation through wide eyes and creative wonder.

So why not me too?

  • The U.S. is one of the most obese countries in the world, and we proudly brand drive-thru “fast” food.  NOTE: We are sitting while we order AND drive with food in our laps. How about a running path around the nearest Taco Bell?
  • Why do they tell me to print my photos for safekeeping after years of floppy discs, zip drives, DVD’s/CD’s, external hard drives, jump drives and now ‘Clouds’ of all shapes and service?
  • Why when you sell a home must it look ‘lived in’ but not as if YOU live there?
  • Ever notice how easy it is to mimic a friend’s linguist tendencies? For example, an uptick at the end of sentence instantly trying to sell you a statement as a question? (NOTE: Same approach works with adding, “right?” at the end of the same phrase.)  And worse, we nod in agreement, as the approach works.
  • Is it just me, or is the premium retail outlet’s name, “White House, Black Market (WHBM)” slightly, well, awkward?  I have some gorgeous suits from WHBM, but sitting down to approve that brand name certainly should have raised some eyebrows, right?  Even an acronym with BM offers the marketer in me pause.
  • How did my clothes become cool ONLY during high school homecoming spirit week? I am not old enough for my sweet girl to go through MY closet for old school, ’90’s theme’ day.
  • Why do 14-year-old teenagers insist on only yelling or texting to have a conversation from a different room? Normal decibel or same room is rarely a first choice.
  • Our sweet adopted (and former puppy mill mama), Lou, has heart-breaking separation anxiety.  Amazingly, lying under my feet plus this pheromone collar stop the shakes. She can also sleep sitting up and instantly wake running for the food bowl not seen yet heard.  She ironically doesn’t require a text or megaphone to know dinner is ready.
  • Why do college textbook writers insist on creating definitions for lingo that will NEVER be used in the real world? What marketer is ever going to be the Board of Director’s rock star by reciting three paragraphs that essentially means, Be the Brand.
  • Why do socks disappear?  We all know they do and still no one knows the answer.
  • How can there be so many television shows themed with wives…sister wives, retro wives, wife swap, basketball wives, angry birds, oops- wrong medium, similar concept.
  • Isn’t an antique store a fancy way to say “the next home for my leftover and/or mismatched purchases?”
  • Is Snoop Doggy Dog a real name, and if so, why doesn’t American Express show me that on the card in its promo efforts?  Just to see the staffer take that application would make their past advertising campaign “Priceless” once again.

Enough curious observations for this George today.

Mel

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Laugh yourself to better mental health.

Sometimes comedic therapy is all we have…

  • …those infamous bacon and hot pocket skits compliments of Jim Gaffigan. (Ok, anything Gaffigan!)
  • …Old men in skinny pants
  • Freudian slips said to your own mother: “sure, we would like to come over for Sunday dinner if you aren’t doing someone.”
  • …I recently (mis)heard a student tell my class their passion: collecting vintage wine and handcuffs, when instead he said cuff links. (And yes, I apologized profusely as the class laughed and immediately called my supervisor to report myself.)
  • …really, really bad tattoos. Likely, a decision made while you were liquored up while friends both encouraged the poor choice and enjoyed selfies with you.
  • …leggings are not actual pants. How did this ridiculous fad reach all sizes of people, now complimented by lace up wedges and a crop top? (Yes, I am presently in another airport.)
  • Algorithms, robot arms, living with your mother, just the sound of meat called brisket and/or the “wallowitz coefficient” to supplement a new view on Superheros thanks to The Big Bang Theory. 
  • How is camoflage a fashion statement outside of the forest? We see you.
  • …”Literally” everything Rob Lowe says on the classic, Parks and Rec.
  • …that the ever changing rules in U.S. healthcare are proportionate to the ever changing rules social media brings parenting today’s teen
  • …my 70+ yr old dad has been pulled over by local law enforcement on an early morning for driving (puttering) too SLOW on his scooter
  • My sweet niece practicing yoga, singing Happy birthday in Italian, or making a sand castle for her Auntie M 
  • A good friend’s son jumping head over tail on the family dog or writing a story about aliens just because he knows it is ok to play, take risk and be his best self without judgement
  • How about those blue-tooth ear pieces colleagues wear 24/7? You speak only to have them reply to their call but smile at you
  • This is almost as good as finding yourself leaving a voicemail BEFORE the beep, because the recording is so real.
  • Hearing my daughter tell me her life is over, because I shut down Netflix for month one of high school as we test the grade waters.
  • Shag carpet and shellac still exist in the RV world and actually win for aesthetics in the “I have disposable income so let’s trade up of late age road trips.”
  • And because I am sitting directly next to a wannabe LA based actor with the the most nasally, startling voice EVER, cheers to karma for bringing us laughter when we least expect.

Breathe deeply, laugh hard and be well. 

Mel

  

the missed sniglet: travel snobbery

A friend is headed abroad this week, and he texts me that he is (impatiently) waiting out a flight cancellation. Seriously, he tries to blame me for his travel misadventure?…Ha! Those days are long gone for this traveler. I live in the moment when in an airport. The panic of lost luggage, battery depletion on my iPod, missed flights, and even crazy weather are child’s play compared to what I’ve enjoyed.

But his frustration forces reflection on the concept of travel snobbery, a missed 80’s sniglet:

  • You get the call. Flight changed. Forced to rebook with an automated voice machine. (Anxiety begins)
  • This changed flight requires a new plane due to maintenance needs. All signs of making the next plane are unpredictable. (Anxiety increases)  Personally, I like my planes to fly, so I am just happy to be told in advance.
  • Almost to the terminal, but wait, the TSA line is backed up…and these are NOT high priority travelers. These are mixed up, newbie’s in the wrong line. What’s that, travel snob? “The security guard is letting them through anyway. I hate that. I paid for this, and I earned it.”  (Yes, you did, and the newbie’s are laughing their way to your gate before you even remove your shoes.)
  • Before you board, you stop by the fancy-schmancy lounge where woven steel reinforcement and raw timber pillars offer relaxation in a carefree natural environment so you can escape from the real world. Grab that $400 orange with cell phone to ear, and soak up the free WiFi with the other travelers who also seek the “I never stop working” appearance.
  • Seating rearranged. If you are one of those elite, ‘double dog dare platinum ruby diva royal’ frequent travelers, you will still have plenty of time to hoard overhead space for your larger than appropriate suitcase AND carry-on, but uh-oh, a seating snafu places you in the middle seat. The flight attendant can only offer a warm cookie, but he promises to shine those travel loafers. Probably best to just focus on the overhead as the win and bunker down.  (Heart beat increasing, body heat building as the regular joe’s of travel start to board.)
  • Seated. Middle seat. Ok, so this placement becomes critical pending seasonality, duration of flight, size of passenger in A-B and/or C seating.

This is my friend’s current challenge.  A bigger, well, manly man and expert traveler, he has won the middle seat for this particular flight, and he is not thrilled. I am encouraging the brighter side…

  1. You can head-bob in two directions, save yourself the neck pillow purchase AND awaken both fresh and symmetrical….just borrow a neighbor in both directions.
  2. No need for freshening rose spray to moisturize, just lean in for the experience of what an old colleague liked to call “bobo” (body odor). Nothing like the experience of buying airplane scent full of breath, body and stale air.
  3. Enjoy the primary love language of touch each time you cross, uncross, swivel, twist and recline near your new neighbor friends.
  4. Embrace the headphone splitter with both neighbors and get three movies off the list in one fell swoop.
  5. Ask for a tip each time the window guy needs his beverage refilled.
  6. Place your man purse anywhere you like, because well, you are big, and no one will tease you (out loud).
  7. And best yet, engage your aisle neighbor in the standard new traveler questions, such as “What do you do?” “Where are you headed?” “Do you own cats?” each time you need your overhead man purse or a trip to the restroom.

Live in the moment. Make a new friend. Be gentle with the new travelers. Offer to take down an elderly lady’s bag. Look at this as an experiment in a return to the days of ‘regular joe traveler.’ No expense account. No fancy lounge. Just you, a suitcase and a smile.

Cheers to the golden moments of travel misadventure and 80s sniglets.

Mel

qld-tourism-best-job-600x400p/c: learn.burnside.school.nz

* Sniglet is a neologism, popularized by comedian/actor Rich Hall during his tenure on the 1980s HBO comedy series Not Necessarily the News. Each episode of the monthly series featured a regular segment on sniglets, which Hall described as “any word that doesn’t appear in the dictionary, but should”.  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sniglet)

“I was daydreaming in Mass and decided you shouldn’t talk in the car.” – daughter

thank goodness we have silliness to offset our vulnerable days.

And yes, we all have our own curious observations, but I feel drawn to pen/paper to share, 1. so my aging brain doesn’t forget, and 2. to validate we are all one in silliness….

– What is the new attraction to emoticons at the end of every text or Instagram post?  I recently found myself downloading very sassy ones (and actually paying $).  Seems like I’ve crossed into addiction.

–  One probably shouldn’t decide MID-tattoo that tipping up-front makes more sense than once the one hour, under the knife experience is complete.

– Why do I repeatedly have to tell my 14-year-old that “leggings are not pants”?  (And don’t judge me as a helicopter mom, my not so baby girl is 5’7″ blonde, blue-eyed, full-lipped, slender and looks about 21!  You too would make her change.)

– Ever notice we put food in a fridge that is magnetic, but we don’t use old style thermometers, because of mercury? (Again, it becomes clear why I’m not the sibling with the PhD in radio-chemistry.)

–  Why is it that those days when you feel a little cloudy or words don’t come as smoothly are always the wrong days?  Teaching last week, I was high on the flaky dial. Words weren’t coming, concepts didn’t land as I like, and I left my phone at home. As I finally had to admit to my class that I was not 100% “on”, one of the students noted my shirt read “Find your center”.

–  Why is it we all just feel smarter in a book store? Don’t even have to read, just drink a coffee and the magic happens.

–  Is it wrong for a mom- in advance of an early “hang out with the new boyfriend”, to give advice on how to french kiss?  No one told me in 8th grade, and Bobby Brown scared the hell out of me with that tongue.  I didn’t want her to be “Bobby Browned”, so I explained the technique, complete with use of the word “retreat” and “engage”.  Sounds a little creepy on paper now that I type this note.

– When my baby was little, I knew I had limited chances to coach a team that required real knowledge, so I signed up to be an asst. coach for 1st and 2nd grade girls soccer.  So, with a “how to” book in hand, work colleagues drawing me drills on cocktail napkins, and a positive attitude, I coached the 1-7 “Pee Wee Fireflies”.  No, we weren’t the winningest team, but I’m confident I received more hugs than EVERY other team with a dad coach.  Moms, go for it!

– What’s up with this bizarre magnetic connection to our phones?  Remember those strings grandma tied on your mittens through your coat sleeves?  Last night, my daughter came home to tell me she lost $20 in change from dinner at the mall, so when I asked if she had her phone, she said, “of course”.  Magnetic connection to a phone but not money?

–  Why is a pile of completed books on my nightstand an accomplishment, but I never once took a photo of the 30+ bags of leaves I raked every year for years when I owned my last home?

– Holy Thursday Mass: “I was daydreaming in Mass and decided you shouldn’t talk in the car when we pick up (boyfriend).”  Next Day:  “I’ve changed my mind and think you should talk. Here is what you can say….He plays hockey and…….his mom does yoga.”  Day after “date”, “Why did you say that?  If it isn’t on the approved list, please do not say it at all.”

And so my friends, I now know why chauffeurs have a plexiglass shield between themselves and their passengers.

Cheers to moments so curious they can’t help but make you smile….

Mel

reading glasses do not alter curious observation.

curiosity killed the cat.

  • What the hell does that even mean?*
  • Why is the first time your teenager tells you, “you are the worst mom, ever”, your therapist tells you, “congratulations, this is healthy development and a necessary separation for her growth”?
  • How is possible to be terrified and excited at the same time?
  • How is gray hair a sign of wisdom?
  • Why does “doing the right thing” sometimes hurt so much?
  • Why is learning to breathe a technique?  (And lol, there are many that I teach that DO actually work to either heat up the body or calm.  (Let’s just say Nadi Shodna in traffic looks like I’m picking my nose.))
  • Why does “fake it till you make it” actually work?
  • Why doesn’t the St. Louis Bread Co / Panera Bread market a ‘morning happy hour’ or ‘speed dating’ concept for the 70+ crowd?  I’ve been there with my mom.  She talks to strangers naturally, hugs and touches shoulders of those she doesn’t know well, enjoys the low key coffee and pastries.  It’s perfect.  They talk about their ailments, what cousin’s cousin’s children are married or single while they pass around grand-baby photos with their shared reading glasses. The coffee wraps could be used for collecting phone numbers.
  • Why is being with the people we love the most in the world, and who love us to infinity as well, so darn stressful at a holiday?
  • When did I become the subject of my own teaching on “the dark side of consumerism”?  Yes, binge-watching Netflix newly released, ‘House of Cards’ in one weekend should be a text-book case study.  The a-ha moment in class as I admitted my addiction stunned even me.
  • Why can’t Apple add a photo feature so my male, British speaking Siri is looking at me when he speaks?
  • Why doesn’t the school system allow the parents a choice in our children growing older?  I offer every year, but no.
  • Why is it easier for me to trash the greasy, thick, sloppy, ‘left in sink’ too long pan, than wash?
  • Or better, rerun the dish washer so you can postpone emptying?
  • Why does mouthwash taste so awful?  And for that matter, the prep beverage for a colonoscopy?  Seriously, markete(e)r friends, simple economics…. consumers pay a price to meet a need. Price increases as demand increases.
  • Why did anyone let me buy a condo with a balcony outside my soon-to-be high school blonde beauty’s bed room?  (Probably not appropriate to use Rapunzel and “conceal and carry” in the same sentence. It isn’t like I’m a stranger or ever a saint to the teenage sneak factor.)
  • How can I remember details of a professional contact from five years ago: know their political affiliation, connection to others in my network, what Board positions they hold, recall what school they graduated and know they are cousins with a hottie who has a knack for great jokes, but ………I can’t remember what I made for dinner last night?
  • I have convinced myself grapes with pizza is a meal.  Not really a question but probably should be.
  • Why is laundry, picking up the dog poo, or unloading groceries called a chore for the teenager but it is real life for the parent?  I call it, “You live here, you help, you eat.”
  • St. Murphy struck on St. Patrick’s Day.  Why did my teenager find the container of corn in the microwave 24 hours AFTER it was to be a compliment to our evening meal?

And finally, why DIDN’T my $4K lasik procedure guarantee that BAM, one month after my early 40s birthday, I wouldn’t need these silly readers to make my curious observations?  When I had to wear glasses, I disliked them. Now, I forget they are on my own head.

Cheers to never-ending curiosity,

Mel


* Wikipedia:  Curiosity killed the cat” is a proverb used to warn of the dangers of unnecessary investigation or experimentation. A less frequently seen rejoinder to “curiosity killed the cat” is “, but satisfaction brought it back“.

The corn.

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lunkheads. we see you.

…from the lens of a gym girl.  And magnified.

we wear headphones for a reason.  And we laugh when we get in our car.  Just sayin’.

  • The charts the trainers give you are for recording reps/machines/body focus- not phone numbers, though GoPro and Match.com might want to consider a partnered after-market attachment.
  • “Disgrosting™” to quote my daughter.  Clean up your own pool of wetness post machine.  The gym staff can’t make enough cash to cover you.
  • There is no track at my gym, boys.  Stop walking laps, winking and waving to “cool down” around the cardio area. Walk your damn selves outside!
  • Tanning inside a gym environment?  Not my thing, but lol, boys- 1. It doesn’t count for strength training, 2. Completely counter-intuitive.  Hand over cash and ask for cancer?  You are in a health club!
  • The pool is for swimming laps, not flat back free-floating to see if your belly sticks up higher than your head.  It does.
  • Please do not wear your compression stockings on the treadmill next to me.
  • And for goodness sakes, hold on to the side rails when you check your iPhone. 1. You can’t hit the emergency button when you are flying off backwards. 2. A phone in a gym? You go there to enjoy a break from the outside world- not bring it in!
  • Full out hair and makeup at 5:30pm on a Monday at the gym says, “I want a date, I’m not really here to work my abs.”
  • Gym architects, placing the adductor and abductor machines face on to the loft of lunkheads above and between sets?  You are either a brilliant macho lunkhead yourself, or you failed to ask your mom how that might be offensive to women. On the upside, if a gal chooses that machine on a busy, weekday night, you might have a chance for a post-workout cocktail.
  • Seriously fellas, the sleeveless, cutout 80s t-shirts?  If you were that ripped, you wouldn’t need to show so much skin.  Mystery, men, mystery!
  • I am confident there are mirrors in both the locker rooms and free weight areas. Your hair should not look perfect, and your shorts are yes, too short.  At some age, there really should be an above knee requirement, not unlike work or school dress codes.  Again, “disgrosting”.
  • ‘Buy ’em or grow ’em- they are still your own.™’- my personal thoughts on breast augmentation, but please girlie, be careful of the tip-over factor when stretching pre-workout.
  • And men, when you stare at her purchase, at least pretend to be lifting something other than your package.  The “rearrangement” can wait.  (NOTE: iPhones are present as listed above)
  • I do absolutely adore the completely confident man or woman rockin’ with their earphones to their own beat, as if they own the place.  You do always make me smile.  Thank you.  Own it!

I tease from my lens as a long-time gym girl, but these are all realities.  So too is the newbie gym rat’s New Year’s resolution that starts to stray about now (mid-March); thus, sending all of us regulars to the gym on a 70s weekend day like today.  We are happy you have joined our squad of silliness. Stick with it- if even just a small percent of you keeps coming back, we are a healthier whole. Plus, the merchandise is always a bargain when you join.

But karma plays the game, as just today as I was giggling about how many funny things I try not to see as a gym girl (so of course I can write about them), and I realize I am just now old enough to need my reading glasses for my locker numbers. 🙂

And yes, I AM the girl who sprained her ankle on the stairs AFTER a workout, AND who injured my other foot after dropping a motorcycle, only to have a gym staffer step on it while I was wearing a big damn BOOT.

lunkheads, go do your thing.  Just know I am not the only one laughing on the drive home.

Flex and smile,

Mel

A fork. And a road.

There isn’t just one fork. Or even one road.  There are many.  And how do we- ok, me- choose?  The metaphor with which we are most familiar is “a deciding moment in life or history when a major choice of options is required”.  I like it, but why can’t I choose more than one road? Life is indeed beauty full, and I have many selves in me. There are no limits to our adventure or misadventure. We own our own path. We look back, or we move forward. We make the bucket list and truly feel the heartfelt, deep-down, pure joy of these choices as achievement of each is granted.

I am only half way through my spiritual life in this body, and frankly, I find myself needing more roads, and I guess a few more forks about now.

I have the best gift ever given in my daughter; I’ve been gifted love by more than one man; my family is proud of me, regardless of my silliness; I’ve had the world series of roles in my full-time professional marketing life with amazing experience, global travel and friendships; I get to teach college students about a craft I adore; I was privileged to study and practice my way through 100′ of record-breaking Massachusetts snow to get my RYT (registered  yoga teacher) and soon actually teach one of my greatest passions; I’ve zip lined; partied with celebrities; enjoyed my share of girls’ road trips and ridden motorcycles. I’ve hiked fantastic scenery, tubed in pouring down rain (while pulling a tube of adult beverages), and I’ve crossed my fingers (and sometimes eyes) along slippery rain forest ridges in foreign lands.  I’ve stayed in ritzy hotels, foreign castles and down-and-out filthy motels that rocked. I’ve eaten dishes I couldn’t define or pronounce but expensed with the best of my colleagues.  Crab legs in a dive bar and plain old veggies at galas. An Airbus, many a truck stop, deep-sea fishing, and para-sailing in perhaps unsafe conditions.  There have been moments with the law. Moments I reveal with my parents one misadventure a year (reduces the chance of shock). And oh so much fun along the way…..

So what next?

1.  Continued clean eating.  Cheers to the Ayurvedic healing science I am taking one day at a time.  Can’t say I own a neti pot yet, but who knows.

2.  I will keep chasing what feels right and follow my own heart.  It may not be the PhD, but if it makes me sing with happiness, I keep going. This is where needing more forks comes in…..writing, paying for college with a FT marketing gig, teaching college, teaching yoga, consulting, selling, speaking, volunteering……I need more hands. more time. more forks.

3.  I will ensure that not one day goes by that I miss a moment of being the best mama I can be.  Even when she does think me odd or tell me “you are turning into your mom”…defined in the 14-year-old girl handbook as “when I Breathe. Talk. Sing. Walk.”

4.  I will grow my bucket list and follow my own bliss.  It’s stunning to think back to what I wanted for myself in my 20s….and how much I’ve made happen in these short 20 years.  No one else.  Me.  And that feels damn good!  It’s time to pull out the list and add on.

5.  I will not wait for life to happen. I will be in my own skin every difficult, vulnerable, fatigue-filled, scary, wonderful, loving, and dark day.

6. I will continue to trust my gut, even when what I hear hurts.

7. I will laugh a lot more. Always asking for the big bear hug that makes me spontaneously giggle out loud.

8. I will no longer allow anyone to reduce or take away my achievements, memories or joy.

9. I will pay it forward, accept that naps don’t mean I am wasting time, and keep promises.

10. And most importantly, I will work harder to love myself just as I am today.  I too am Beauty Full.

In a recent Instagram post, I quoted an artist to title a photo of my beautiful daughter that fits tonight:

“The question isn’t who is going to let me; it is who is going to stop me?”

White lights,

Mel

you are only as interesting as your shoes

a friend recently shared a concept re. what we have in our shoe closets saying something about our personality…..is he correct?  Think about your own collection.

  • My favorite bright red or pink and assorted collection of Mary Jane’s say signature Mel and slightly quirky (perfect with tights and a skirt).
  • Knee high suede black boots with a smart heel (or any hot boot with a heel – the click is critical, ladies) make me feel confident and completely in control at the head of the executive table or leading a crowded speaking engagement.
  • My comfy Danskos say long day ahead, she must be in healthcare, and please don’t wear me with a suit
  • Barefoot says the mat is a callin’
  • Both the hot Harley boots and pink cowboy boots say sass and perhaps a little too much shopping at Chuck’s House of Boots.
  • Conservative Sperry’s that say she surely can’t be the senior professional who has multiple tattoos  (yep, my personal paradox)
  • Pointe shoes equal my love for the ballet
  • Cute navy heels show a little ‘toe cleavage’ – (I don’t know what they say other than I know the word “toe cleavage”)

Regardless, what does your shoe collection say about you?  Fashion forward, comfort, sass, sexy, confidence, professional, relaxed, or just plain too worn out to care?  Since my favorite and quirky Mary Jane’s are my favorite, it feels fitting to bring you up to speed on some recent ‘Murphy or Mel’ moments that are only mine:

  • Upon returning from a long trip recently and still dazed and confused about being back in my routine, I opened the door to the car, sat down, and closed the door…only to realize it wasn’t my car, nor was it anywhere near the same color.  Black is not the new white.
  • I created a hashtag for my daughter and friends after some silly photos, only to have the darn iPhone auto spell-check change #goforitgirl to #go forfeit.  Not exactly the encouraging empowerment I envisioned.
  • Purchased a darling new dance shirt for my daughter after a recent competition.  It spelled “dancer” in bold silver glitter across her back, starting and ending shoulder to shoulder.  Unfortunately, this ridiculously expensive shirt didn’t get her compliments, it came with questions about why she was wearing the word “cancer” in glitter across her back.
  • While in Massachusetts for a yoga workshop, I awoke to the very clear sound of a Midwest tornado alarm.  Knowing the drill, I grabbed my pillow and shoes and started calling for my roommate to do the same.  She sat up and with this priceless look said, Melissa, you are in New England.  (Apparently the same tone in MA is a call for volunteer fire fighters.)
  • Recently visiting a local store that sells natural oils, incense, silver jewelry and meditation resources, I walked out very happy with my purchases but with a distinct smell of sage on me.  A sage that well, had its own distinct smell. And of course, this aroma was not going away but exacerbated by my small car with windows closed as I went to pick up my 8th grader.  (Parent moment: Do I tell her that I smell like hashish, or do I let it go and hope it isn’t as noticeable as I’m trying to convince myself?)  Yeah, right – the minute she entered the car, she looked at me with wide eyes as if to say, what the heck is that smell on you?  So, as I have always done, I gave her truth. It just is. We both smelled like weed.

While not a shopper, I do love a great pair of shoes, and the stories that pave the way.  It doesn’t really matter what shoes I’m wearing, my life as a living caricature, and the stories that accompany are just part of the Murphy or Mel charm. Cheers.

Om Shanti,

Mel

a splendid bouquet of wildflowers.

I am blessed to have joined a splendid bouquet of wildflowers. And unexpectedly so. The journey for learning a craft I adore became an emotional journey of learning far beyond the mat. As such, wildflowers of all wonders, whimsy and open hearts embraced a me that is evolving and blossoming in its own right.

you, my sweet sukha sangha, are…..

  • wildflowers who are now my sisters.
  • wildflowers who accepted (and without judgment) my “stuff”, and in return shared your own pieces of broken
  • wildflowers who are now trusted ‘heart and souls’ – and demonstrated this purity visually while in silence through a human art landscape of supportive touch, love and steady sweetness.
  • wildflowers who were and are now shoulders for tears and hugs for moments of success
  • wildflowers who experienced very real altered states of being at my side; thus, strengthening our individual paths and containers of being… to be stronger friends, parents, children, lovers, students and teachers

You are my newfound pasture of splendid wildflowers.  And I thank you for gifting me your kindness and inspiration.

Four weeks living in like-minded community is a lot like kid camp. Sneaking downstairs in our PJs (without shoes, yes, breaking more rules) to get milk for cookies before bed. Sharing walks in the deep snow on breaks or the dark labyrinth of the evening cold. Selfies anywhere and everywhere, even as we quizzed flashcards of Sanskrit in a hip Hartford bar just before entering the bubble and world of no alcohol, clean eating and little-to-no caffeine. Studying and stressing (or not) in pairs, teams and 1:1 very late and very early to graduate without “the note”. Laughing, laughing and laughing- during practice, during breath-work, during meditation (snoring does occur), and of course, during silent meals.  Breaking more rules with the massage tables / secret Reiki sessions. And of course….talk about boys and boys and boys.  That’s camp at its best, except there wasn’t a cool kid group or the ‘mean girls’ to shut anyone out.  Every wildflower is accepted.

We opened our heart to new experiences (tongue scrapers and neti pots for nasal irrigation) and new foods (squasharoni, the kitchari cleanse, lima bean soup, chai, chai and more chai….and again with the kale).  We learned over four weeks of long days that stillness is a gift but not ideal when we are told NOT to talk. We did laundry as New England took the Superbowl. We cried, cleansed, Om’d and rocked some serious postures to depths that screamed, “I want more” or “I hate this”. (Next time, I choose a side plank series over a 20-minute bridge. That, I can rock!)

Years ago, a spiritual and wonderful friend told me, “nothing happens by accident, Melissa.”  He was right.*

  • One lovely wildflower said, “you don’t have to be good.  You just have to love what you love”.
  • The lovely Marina whose first language isn’t English and now “loves Americans” because of the sangha
  • James the Bold.  Enough said.
  • Audrey, a beautiful South American flower, who gushes love, language and hugs, and told us “grandma would shower us with roses” (and personally, the only wonderfully sentimental doll, who could use the word “climax” in a practice teach and make it sing!)
  • Dietlind, I thank you for sharing that you too now see you hadn’t been taking full, healthy breaths for far too long before this experience.  We both walk away knowing stillness can be ours again.
  • The youthful (not just in age), energetic group of women who ran at lunch, played in the snow, planned a polar bear plunge, played fire starter, sung Dixie Chics without a trial run, showed their bad ass dance selves and engaged in friendship and love regardless of age or background.  Cheers to being so brave and opening, as your paths begin and dharma unveils.
  • Justin and Rob, two of the most authentic and loving men I’ve known.  Neither afraid to be just who they are and accept and give love to all.  Wit, intelligence, love for the Earth and Karmic yoga and substance.  I am honored to learn from both of you.  We love you “like the sun loves the moon” too.
  • To Sohini, the smart, authentic ayurvedic expert who smiled and concurrently screamed Jai on the way home when her car was pulled over, and there we were.  You make me want to be healthier, learn the peruvian wind chimes and spray rose water 24/7 to have your youthful skin.
  • The woman of wisdom who from ages 35-70 fell into my category of “about our age”….shared chicken dinners and gluten free treats in a private suite after scoldings for talking, kicked some major ass in tough asana, loved on the young teachers as their own children, could read hearts in silence with just a look, and eloquently offered wisdom with love, laughter and tears of their own.
  • Heather, Lindsey and Kyle, your growth from beginning to end was powerful and rich to watch.  And the bravery it takes to share with the full sangha is enviable to all of us a little broken.  And all three of you are bad ass yoga teachers!
  • To the love doctor, Tam, who wears a purposeful Wednesday pink for breast health awareness and gave me permission to trash all L. Hay books blaming me for my own cancer, thank you for understanding the high achieving family, and please know I’m thrilled for your husband’s love of your newfound porn-star teacher voice (I do what I can).
  • To our sweet Shari, do not ever grow up. Your baby girl will be proud of her strong mama for owning her own path. She trumps all.
  • Bridget, the young,strong, feminist, who I instantly adored for her intellect, depth of activism and beautifully clear path of where she can make a difference in this world.  Today, she lands in Santiago to begin living Gandi’s words, “Be the change…” when the words she left with us were, “Everything you do may be insignificant, but do it anyway”.  I found myself with this motherly instinct and want to mentor this wonderfully, gifted woman with a big future.
  • To Doug and Colleen, who offered me strength, a shoulder, kindness, resources for my over-the-top reader addiction and reminders to love myself. And who didn’t showcase their impressive professional lives while in community. You are simply deep, down goodness and heart.
  • To the ‘outgoing, introvert’ and former Navy pilot, Sheldon, who stayed true to his room/mat placement, engaged with few but reminded me I can open my heart again, I am much more than what I do professionally, and to not only look back on my “puddle of was” with respect, but to also give myself a break for that which I can’t control.
  • To my new sister, Sudha, whom I met in December as a roommate but quickly became my best friend. We appeared polar opposites in every way, and I am so incredibly touched what I learned from you in our days of silliness and rule-breaking. You never stopped laughing and loving me.  And boy, could I use some more yoga with you at my side.

The transformation junkie, the energetic and compassionate zumba teacher, the ‘loves to hug’ skier who eaves dropped via sign language skills in the whirlpool, the lovely flower whose parents think she joined Hare Krishna, to more than just one teacher who learned not “to feed the bad wolf”, to all of us who can now LinkedIn we speak a second language of Sanskrit, and to my corporate peer, Adele, the rockin’ cool attorney who co-lectured with me, and somehow found a way to use “conclusively” and “dude” in the same sentence.

A field of wildflowers brings together difference and same in one lovely image. You, my sweet and steady sangha, are a breathtaking image of meditation in motion, bravery and sweetness.  Ong Namo. **

Om Shanti and Jai,

Mel

* Over 12 years ago, I fell in love with Sukha yoga center and my hero, Sarah, ignited a passion for stillness. June of 2012, I blog posted a Dana Faulds, poem, Sangha. And last week, the “Super Sukha Sangha” class graduated as Kripalu Yoga Teachers. Nothing happens by accident. Jai.

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Snatam Kaur/ ‘Ong Namo’  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c1XCS0g6J4A

The only place the head bob is acceptable.

I am currently sitting between flights in Atlanta- as I have done dozens of times before- and I must smile to myself at this silly, unpredictable, loud, over-stimulating, professional, traveling life I purposely chose to leave behind. 🙂

The bald man to my left is doing a full-out head bob asleep in a sunny corner as he awaits his flight. They just called for Nashville. Do I wake him up with sunscreen or the possibility he just missed TN? (And no, I can’t judge the head-bob, as anyone who has flown with me knows I too have placed my sleepy head on many a shoulder, stranger or not. Something about walking on a plane says, Melissa, no one needs you, the phone won’t ring, emails can wait and that darn 4:30am wake up call to get your arse to the airport at all, deserves a catnap.)

The young girl across from me is on the phone and clearly panicked about weather on the East Coast. What about travel misadventure requires her voice to soar an octave higher, quicken and may require a decibel meter reading? Apparently, they are expecting 6-12″. Lol, I still smile. My days of panic are long gone.

Folks are clinging to limited USB ports with wires draped over each other and talking as if old friends while sharing the ports (ironically) to text (not talk) to the people they actually know and love at home.

And is it just me, but is it an addiction when we need the communication medium charged at 100%? Anything less feels like we might lose our connection to the real world.

Even me….using my iPhone to craft this while listening to an old school iTouch with an iPad in my carry bag.

And the people watching in any airport (!!!!), fantabulous! You know what I mean, right? To be fair, I’m here in my fav skinny jeans, a pink shirt, black shortie combat (but cuuuute) boots with hot pink socks, a darling banana republic briefcase and my yoga bag, so while not a fashionista, I have makeup, comfort and weather-appropriate fashion and function for East Coast fun. It is great however to watch the breadth of fashion fun in airports.

Looking around right now…a less than attractive dog attached to a man with gold bracelets, the dog has attracted two young kids (unrelated to the dog or man) and they are petting him backwards (against the grain), the mom (unrelated to both the dog and gold chain man) is well, representative of all moms who bravely travel with small ones….hair frazzled, face slightly contorted, past exhausted and just tired enough to wear silly socks with flip flops and convince herself she can manage two kids, three carry-on bags and a car seat. Man, that is parenting. (And another validation why drugs during childbirth are key- traveling isn’t listed in the “what to expect when you are expecting” book.)

Cheers to parents traveling alone with small ones. I’ve been there, and it is always, always, always harder on the parents than either the kids or the people seated around the kids. Shame on you, professional snooty traveler who scoffs when a baby is near you. Get that parent a cocktail, and I promise the trip will be better for everyone. When my daughter was young, I used to offer to trade with business travelers to be near kids just because the mom needed to know it was ok to fall apart in peace. Thank goodness for computers on planes these days! Crayons, fruit snacks and a teddy bear aren’t the answer. And a shot of Jack, well, that is illegal.

Additionally observations on today’s ATL Concourse T:
– women over 40 should not wear turquoise nail polish or mimic the middle school fourth finger shade change
– how many coffee and bagels can people consume?
– before phones, did we let people know we were safely at the mid stop? (Oh wait, direct flights existed.)
– remember pay phones with sit down booths? And funnier still, the Ethernet line to get internet off the pay phone?
– we went from large ear phones in the 80s to buds to now, these huge Beats? Seriously, is Bieber going to market a boom box over-the-shoulder option soon?
– no one follows the “your carry-on must fit in this display”. Why bother?
– the “herding of cattle” movement toward the door as boarding begins. Enough said.
– is there a speed limit or again, noise limit, on those internal airport motor vehicles? In 25+ years of travel, I have never seen an actual emergency.
– Why is the large electronic sign of departure listings just outside the exit doors causing a jam of frantic, silly travelers trying to find their next gate?
– And finally, no matter how many times I’ve traveled or checked my gate or departure time, I still check it multiple times as if the number has changed in my hand. (Not unlike your number in a fast food restaurant, right? You are 22. Always going to be 22.)

High waters, high heels, cowboy boots, ball caps, backpacks, golf bags, paperbacks and jewelry galore…they do say “life is a journey, not just a destination.”

Safe travels. I have a flight to catch.
Mel

I dance at red lights.

I recently overhead two men reconnecting after some time apart.  While I was actually trying to study my anatomy lesson, I found myself caught up in their delightful and joyful discussion of friendship, relationships, “stuff”, travel, etc.  “I dance at red lights” being my favorite takeaway statement from my, yes, eavesdropping.

I too realize I am a sort of living caricature.  “Dancing at red lights” is fun and real and freeing.  Like the Six Flags caricature that made you appear bigger than life – with thoughtful color and much intensity. Don’t we all have moments of joy so intense we too, want to (or do), dance at a stop light?

My friends and family – many of crazy aunt delilah’s own followers- have enjoyed many of my dating, parenting, professional and travel misadventures, and my own daughter calls me odd but secretly likes me holding court at the popular table for the career day events.

But that is the beauty of caricature. We laugh. We look silly in the moment. We smile on through a voice of humility and authentic, heartfelt joy. It doesn’t come every day, or even every week, but the moments when that feeling of profound intense joy are truly inhaled, they are priceless.

My daughter was honored with an individual award for showmanship at a recent dance competition. Of hundreds of girls, only seven were selected. That moment when her name was called, she grinned her “million dollar smile” and looked up to me in the stands. A priceless mama moment not because she won, but because I could see inside her heart at that very moment. She earned this honor based on grace and hard work to a craft she adores. She was “dancing at her own red light” and confidently so. We both inhaled the experience in her honor.

Dancing at red lights states a profound reality of both age and confidence. We are who we are. And regardless of what others’ judge, we make our own choices. The poet, Jenny Joseph, inspired a red hat phenomenon based on her prose, “When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple”.

So, crank up the tunes at the next red light, dance a little jig, and the push off the gas pedal when green.

Om shanti,
Mel

the opposing forces of my OCD and flakiness

a former beau pointed out the irony of never tightening the lids on anything remotely liquid in the fridge; thus, spilling on everyone other than me, yet every single morning, I make the bed immediately upon alarm (as if I can’t start my day until the bed resembles the Westin Heavenly). Poor man couldn’t even go to the restroom too early in the morning, or I might make him out of bed.

the concept made me aware of how else I live these two opposing forces in my day…..

  • Shopping to get ready for vacation
  • Asking where the ambulance will be parked for my second polar bear plunge
  • Taking a shower to shave my legs BEFORE going to the gym
  • Going to bed early only to wake-up, read a book and take out the dog in the middle of the night, then need my missed sleep and skip the early bird yoga class
  • Pulling the car to the side of the road to return a text
  • As long as my winter coat covers me for warmth, it is acceptable to wear my night-clothes outside to walk the dog.
  • Multitasking butt crunches while blow-drying my hair
  • Rarely matching in gym clothes (sure, a neon orange tank goes with a turquoise sports bra) but ensuring they are properly fitted to the activity, meaning cycling, yoga, sitting at Barnes and Noble.
  • Speaking of B&N, reading every book in the “hot sellers for teens” before my daughter.  And not because I am over-protective, because I genuinely enjoy.  I simply justify as my pre-movie screening of that which is to come.  (For the record, I’m one of those wacked-out, two-three book a week readers, so I do get my fill of the adult section as well.  NOTE: adult not “Adult”.)
  • Needing a nap after all cycling excursions.
  • Diligently conditioning my hair one-two times per week, only to realize that I was using a conditioning shampoo, not conditioner at all
  • Sticky notes, sticky notes, sticky notes…..but the note isn’t legit unless written with a Sharpie.
  • Driving to the coffee shop for the atmosphere and literary vibe but ordering a soft drink.

I suspect we all have a little bit of this same irony in our daily lives.  Perhaps my own candid ‘OCD meets flaky’ will encourage you to observe your own.

Namaste,

Mel

“Mom, you just make it awkward.”

Ahhh, the wonders of the 14-year-old vernacular!  And just when I finally get that funny, “fierce” selfie thing down.

Keep in mind, I’m not anywhere near the track suit type of mini-van mama.  I like my boots over skinny jeans, a kick ass suit with a great pair of heels, my tattoos, MC Yogi, and a manual transmission, so to hear my girlie-girl and make-up-loving, fashionista tell me, “Mom, you make it awkward” is slightly disconcerting. In fact, together, we chalk-boarded our newly themed, IKEA style great room to compliment a rockin’ red couch and black/white polka dot rug just this week. No framed embroidery or large silver plated utensils on walls for us!  But I’m awkward?  Lol, I prefer her previous comment, “…you are limited edition..”. 🙂

So, with “limited edition” in mind, and in the spirit of another grand year of silliness in front of us, please enjoy some unshared ‘Murphy or Mel’ moments……

– My daughter needed some teeth pulled before the braces could be completed, so of course I encouraged her to place them under her pillow for the Tooth Fairy.  She rolled her eyes, but she is 14, and well, come on, needs cash.  Rushing out early and distracted the next morning, I completely failed in my role to call on the Tooth Fairy, and no cash was discovered.  Well, I wasn’t admitting fault, so I fixed the situation.  The second morning, I left a note, cash and signed the belated note, “Congrats…..love, E.B”.  Upon returning home, my daughter happily announced, “I’m happy for the cash, but the Tooth Fairy signed the note from the Easter Bunny.”

–  Regular gym girl for 10+ years and practicing yogini for over 12.  But last year, I found a way to sprain my ankle AT the gym AFTER the workout while walking DOWN the stairs.

–  Traveled to KY last year with teeth intact. (there is a sentence I never expected to type.) Needed a treat on the way out-of-town, and my love for the Bit O-Honey caught my eye.  Well, it also caught the top half of an entire molar, and so I left KY without all my teeth.  Fitting?  (Sorry, Zac and Alyssa. UK rocks. 🙂

–  Last year, the entire family traveled to Tahoe, CA for a week of skiing/boarding, skating and snow tubing. Finally my old travels offered a perk as my standing with Budget saved us.  I had pre-booked an SUV for eight days in Park City, UT.  (and yes, I asked permission before hugging Dan the Budget man after he fixed a Mel travel misadventure.)

–  Pumping gas then driving away while the hose is still attached does happen to real people you know.

–  Just today, while (not) speeding home from Chi-Town, I was singing (not loudly) to old school Maroon 5, and I got caught.  Not the, “I can fake it like I’m on the phone”, the “Look at her- she is belting it out stare”.  Again, teeth become an issue.  This trucker appeared to be missing several.  But the wave, priceless.

–  Why do people insist on texting me while they know I’m driving long distances?  I need reading glasses to see the type on my phone or computer, so I have to live with that darn dot that says, “open me” when I can’t while driving.  It is like the itch you can’t reach, right?

Perhaps I really am awkward.

Nope, just lucky to be ok with my quirkiness.

Cheers to the silliness, laughter, humility, grace both when the jump rope is up AND down, and being confident enough to laugh over my OCD for making the bed immediately following the alarm but rarely tightening a lid for anything in the fridge.  (come to think of it, there might be a blog for the opposing forces of my OCD and flakiness ….note to self.)

Namaste, Mel

p.s.  Teeth are an under appreciated part of the body.  Until they are missing, folks simply take them for granted.

High Achiever May Lose it at Dishwasher

I’m going crazy at home. I run an errand, need a nap. Fold the laundry, need a nap.  Bring in the groceries, need a nap.
Being a type A, high achiever is an awfully depressing place to be when a trip to buy shampoo is the highlight of the day. Feels helpless and so non-productive.  I really am the high achiever who may lose it at the dishwasher.
Everyone says, “enjoy the rest”, “your body needs the time to heal”, “take the time for you”, “meditate”…seriously, do you people know me?  It’s truly as if my brain says one thing, and my body can’t keep up.  Or worse, my brain wants it to come together, and my body can’t keep up.  It’s frustrating.  I feel generally fine most of the time and my usual flaky self, just exhausted.  Surely, some smart marketing can come from fatigue, right?  (and yes, a marketer trick is to add “right” to the end of the sentence.  How can they disagree?)
I am the oldest of three and will still end up with the least education at a master’s level.  Yeah, we were all pretty much screwed to be high achieving adults.  And yes, we should own stock in sticky notes and list making.
My grandparents met in a one room school-house and both had college degrees.  My parents have second degrees and both of my brothers will each have third (PhD and Law).  I worry for my daughter and niece, even as much as I say “you can do whatever you want”, there was still that moment in kindergarten when my than five-year old said, “I want to do nails and hair but don’t tell mama”.  Oh dear, what have we done?  Healthcare cost the US more than they spent on the Department of Defense last year, and education is outrageous!  MBA’s are a dime a dozen, and employment is still scarce.  The brick and mortar, mom and pop, five and dime opportunity has been altered forever, and my generation has enabled this high achieving, fast-moving, preservative-filled, intrusive, technological world. (Not to mention what I alone did to contribute to global warming with excessive amounts of aerosol hairspray to manage my 80’s hard rock bangs.)  It’s a train far out of the gate.
Are we all type A, high achieving personalities, or have I lost touch with those who are not?  Someone asked me today if a farmer in Wyoming feels the stress or requires the Rx this generation does.  Is it cyclical, have we enabled our own fate, success, loss, excess?  And who can possibly judge and change, but each of our own reactions to these life transitions?  I am told it isn’t “life- work balance” anymore but “life-work integration”. We did this to ourselves.
My girlfriend just emailed me that I can certainly lose it at the dishwasher, but the dishwasher cannot explain the meaning of life.  That is for each of us to find on our own path through acceptance, moments of silence, prayer, nuggets of wisdom and movement forward.
While I figure that out, I believe I will take a short nap.
Mel

women really are like spaghetti

The bear cave is so booooooring.  They won’t let me back to work until the thyroid hormone is up to par, but sleeping most of the day and taking a shower as big cross off’s on my daily list are simply not giving me enough productivity to boost my self esteem.  There is simply no satisfaction in emptying the dishwasher.

I even purchased yarn and plan to check You Tube to learn to knit.  My daughter asked me if we would get a cat if I learned to knit.  Oh dear, what does that say about the direction my life has taken?  We don’t even like cats.

It did strike me as I was waking from a nap today that they let me operate a moving vehicle, but Tuesday as I drove my sweet girl to her last basketball game, we waited for a stop light at a stop sign.  (There is a word that should go here.)  And yes, in my absence of a normal stream of consciousness, it seems the vernacular should be clear.  But no.

To make my ‘come/go brain availability’ worse, once I did arrive at the game, I tripped up (yes, up) the bleachers in front of the entire junior high crowd.  Thankfully, I had on rockin’ boots and makeup.  (Of all days, this is where a blue velour dance mom jumpsuit would have been ideal.)

Reality is, the lack of an important hormone and a lot of sleep make for whacked out thinking in my awake time.  A few examples:

–  What do ice truckers think about while driving down the big hill?

– More than one of my MU XO sorority sisters used the term “kick cancer’s f’n balls” in notes to me.  The fact that I noticed the trend probably says something.  Yes, we all graduated.

– They rate blogs.  The previous bullet may have made R.  What could qualify as a G?  Princess stories, recipes and learning to knit, I suppose?

– A women’s brain really is like spaghetti.  Is a man’s really as compartmentalized as a waffle? (another great read, btw)

– If you have a glass of wine just prior to the radiation, is it a nuclear cocktail?

– Why do kids love gummy worms?  They are worms.

– I really like my new t-shirt, “If dance were any easier, they would call it football.”  Won’t however choose for the next MU home game.

– I should have sent my blog to the Junior Mint people.

Cheers to my friends who sent me goodies and notes and the future of a clear head where words don’t disappear just before I type.  No wonder they won’t let me back to work quite yet.

Mel

http://www.amazon.com/Men-Are-Like-Waffles–Women-Spaghetti/dp/0736904867/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1358464986&sr=1-2&keywords=women+are+like+spaghetti+men+are+like+waffles

Mel”ness” in a Murphy way.

Ever watched “You, Me and Dupree“?  Ok, yeah, I’m on movie overload, but hey, what more can you do besides read*, sleep (a lot!) and watch movies while in isolation and no thyroid hormone?  Certainly  not going to read the Affordable Care Act (sorry, MA).

Regardless, I’m out of seclusion and looking for any excuse to escape my sick house.  Well, in the end of the movie, Dupree talks about finding the “ness” within, meaning, the Melissa”Ness”, the Jo”Ness”, the Apple”Ness” (guess it doesn’t really work for movie star kids).  Anyway, some recent Mel”Ness” to enjoy….

– Today, I slept 17 of 24 hours.  Seriously.  I will soon need a ROHO mattress to protect me from pressure ulcers and deep vein thrombosis.

– Gave my credit card to a restaurant last weekend and ordered a Kettle One and Cranberry Juice.  He looked down and laughed.  No need to ask for additional ID when the card is branded Toys R’Us.

– What’s up with the teenage girls wearing their phones in their back-pockets instead of a purse these days?  I tried it recently, and I dropped the darn iPhone in the toilet.  (All iPhones should come with a bag of rice to soak out the phone. Accessorize, ladies.)

– Just ran to the Circle K to get my sweet girl and me treats for the Golden Globes.  Wearing my favorite Aerosmith ball cap, I was looking down at my goodies when the dude in front of me pointed out I was singing along to Aerosmith on the quickie mart overhead.  Suddenly, I found myself covering the back side of the hat that references the Aerosmith roller coaster at MGM/Disney.

– Why is there no zip lock on the top of my new discovery, the Crocker pot liner?  (Ruth, please get on that, and name me in the patent.)

– Sugar free Reeces Pieces.  What’s the point?

– A magic eight ball really does have all the answers.  Should come with the engagement ring.

– Jack Black owns his Jack”Ness”.  (oh dear, that isn’t what I meant at all but funny after so much sleep).

– My sweet girl just rolled her eyes at me again.  Man, it can brutal and wonderful at the same time to be a lovable, beautiful, charming, smart, self-aware mama.  And I gave up George Clooney, my walk on the red carpet tonight, a fabulous on-stage singing and modeling career and big money for a marketing career in STL?  LOL. Of course I did.

white lights to a future year of Murphy”Ness” and more…

Mel

* p.s.- ‘Start Where You Are‘ (Pema Chodron), Hunger Games series, ‘Man Down, Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt Women are Better Cops, Gamblers, Spies, World Leaders, Beer Tasters, Hedge Fund Managers and Just about everything else‘ (Dan Abrams) are great reads.

The Junior Mint of Cancer.

Somehow, this feels weirdly connected to those appendectomy -shaped cookies my daughter and I made as a care package for my brother years ago.  She was roughly three or four, and I failed to look up the shape of the appendix prior to the promise.  She liked the pink icing.  I was mortified of my ridiculous shaping of the cookie cutter.

Thyroid Cancer is indeed the Junior Mint of cancers, but a year ago, all I could hear was that awful word.  It’s scary and unknown.  It’s new and I’m too young and busy.  I was newly alone, frightened and unsure of the next pop in the nose coming my way.  But, it’s a year later, and my lens on life is incredibly different.

So this is a Mel or Murphy way to share my news.

(and yes, the appendix is quite phallic shaped, but I had already made the “let’s make pink cookies with mama” promise to my small girl.  At least my brother must have had a good laugh over my good intention yet incredibly inappropriate family gesture.  Personally, I was horrified and didn’t realize the sex ed lesson I was giving early.  Wait, that makes me progressive.  Now, I just tell her It’s ok to kick him in the walnuts.  (OMG, another cookie reference.)

No worries, as my FB posts state, I did not hit the mark yesterday after-all, and another full dose treatment was issued yesterday afternoon.  Like prostate or optical, thyroid is treated with radio iodine, and therefore is a lot less chaotic and messy than other cancer treatments.  There is no 30+ week radiation, instead, it’s a lead filled canister with cold, aluminum tasting water and let’s just say it- RADIATION- which you drink with a straw THEY hold for you and folks wait outside a locked door.  The Geiger Counter is real, and folks DO back away when you exit the room.

It’s the junior mint of cancers.  But, illness just like a broken arm or heart, must be addressed. We must ‘refute, respond or fix’ (ok, yes, the legal side just came out too- this is what isolation does!)

I really had prayed for the D, meaning the 60-70% of people who do not need the repeat dose, but the damn high achiever in me couldn’t help herself and had to work the curve, so, off to lunch, a glass of wine to calm my already high-strung nerves and more waiting while the Hazmat lady and the expensive and yes, radioactive material, is brought into Siteman Cancer Center.  (Still floors me that you sign advance paperwork that says, “yes, I will be back to drink radiation.”) But of course, we agree eagerly and look for the nearest sandwich place to pass time.  Let’s face it, it is being held at an offsite facility, because it is too dangerous to keep near people!  But for you, Melissa, we would like to offer a pink straw and a dental coverup”.  The price is just right.

– I am ok, though isolation is incredibly boring, and I miss my daughter desperately.  We were allowed an air hug on Tuesday . Today, I must take two showers a day, flush the toilet twice each time, drink juice and more juice, enjoy a swollen jaw line and wonder if nausea will hit.  On the upside, no makeup, and I haven’t blown my hair dry in days.  Small pleasures.

– The only pain I have endured is that of the laxative they made me take Wednesday night in prep for the abdominal scan to ensure there was no spread, even microscopic.  There was not.  Whew!  But damn, the Dulcolax is like trying to pass a colonoscopy by a unknowing participant.

– I learned how to play, “Words with Friends” on my Nook last night.  I was terrible but learned “Zeus” is not a word and “Pee” is.  (Sorry, my MU Journalism peers, I too couldn’t believe I received points and even today have trouble admit accepting those points.  It won’t happen again.)

– I was driving over to the center yesterday at 6:30am, and saw our new outdoor board blank.  We are so close.  It’s ok there is no hazard pay after our drive-by of the prospective board choice caught us in the middle of what must have been “just after gunfire” . My friend, Jim said,  “those four dudes are eating gravel.”  I say, let’s sign a contract!  Prospective board location was validated that day.  Traffic, construction, gunplay…people will slow to see our signage and not forget the beauty of the blue heart and “Off the Chart” art.

– I was driving home at 3:30pm yesterday and saw the new board up.  Faaantafabulous!  It was beautiful and made me cry.  ok, that and the lack of both the organ and thyroid hormone after two weeks are a sentimental combo.  Timing however, couldn’t have been more perfect.

– Prince Harry and that brunette are having a baby, and that pisses me off. (still have anger issues over the miscarriages)

– I can eat whatever is left in the fridge, as I can’t be around anyone for three days, so today, I had cream cheese for breakfast. Tomorrow, it may be candy corn.  I really should have planned ahead.

– There were folks in that waiting room far more ill than me, and for my Junior Mint of cancer, I am grateful it is me, not a child or my own sweet tween.  I have my hair, fine shoes, still not wearing blue velour and a pea coat that makes you think sales rep not patient.  I’m down with that look far more.

– Thank you to so many of you who have texted, called, emailed and loved on me to get me through a blurrish, hellish year.  Much I can’t recall, as I started on this sick couch a year ago not sure how the wind would blow, much less a direction.  I could hear you, I simply couldn’t listen.  It has been a perfect storm of pain.

– It isn’t over, and I have much work ahead, but the gym and bike call me from afar, and my energy WILL return.

– Thank you to the nice lady in the HazMat suit who let me take these photos.  She remembered me from last year, or that’s what they say to all the sophomores of the Junior Mint Society.

– I received more presents last year.  Hey, what’s up?

– My Charter on Demand bill is going to be higher than several dinners out, and I’ve watched all there is on Hulu.  I find Teen Mom quite engaging.  (God, I need out of here!)  btw- Magic Mike is magic.

– Man, I really wish I had a Junior Mint.  Love that cool, wintry taste.

– My twitter feed is full of fun material, but my followers have barely grown.  Apparently, my quirky Murphy self isn’t up to the Ashton Kutcher, Taylor Swift “tape your boobs to their dress”, persona.  Probably should    rename MurphyorMel.  That must be the issue.

– I had my condo cleaned by a professional a day before I went into isolation. ($75 so I could sleep through clean. But no, still no guilt.)

– My therapist encouraged me to buy a rocking chair to soothe myself this year, and here it sits….holding buckets of goodwill clothes.  ok, had it been a Mizzou style chair and actually fit anyone’s decor, rather than the enemy U of I (my dad’s alma mater and laughing his ass off right now), I might use it.  (But I can’t rid myself of it either.  It cost nearly three times the cleaning of the entire condo.)

– Thank you to you for reading about my silliness.  It will not stop.

– Thank you to Temperpedic.

– Thank you to Siteman Cancer Center

– Thank you to my sweet girl.

– Thank you to the makers of Junior Mints and Radio Iodine (and more importantly the delivery person for radio iodine).  A sentence likely never crafted together, and somehow, appropriate today.

I am still not a shrinking violet (which is turns out has very strong roots), but next year, I will come back and finally get the negative result I need.

There is no understanding of how/why this cancer starts, but it is one of the fastest growing and folks don’t typically know until it presents in a large way.  If you or someone you love experiences thyroid issues, please, please, please ask.  I only knew my own fate because of a strange bird with a twisted sense of humor, Crazy Aunt Delilah.

Cheers,

Mel

IMG_1178 IMG_1176 IMG_1175 IMG_1172

I am Titanium

Over and over recently, I’ve
been told to listen for strength, power, language, music, signage, and energy to give me what I need….when needed.

Well, as Karma would have it, the Sia song, “I am Titanium” keeps swirling around me….in my car, at work, movies, at home (while ignoring housework), and now today in a auditorium full of teenagers and dance moms …..

Does a higher power work through varying means to capture our heart and attention?

As I sit alone at my daughter’s dance competition (yes and laughingly, in dance mom wearables – and no, not a Velour jumpsuit), ‘I won’t give up….even if the sky’s get rough’ fills the auditorium as I type this. (Have you read previous posts? Lol. Was this song choice for me?)

The messages do speak to us.

I AM titanium. Do all the young girls in this auditorium hear the same message, meaning we are in charge! We make personal choices every day. We love. We lose. We laugh. We are.

My girl makes me immensely proud and swells my heart with genuine, from the depths of my soul, joy (ironically, that is different than cheerleader joy). All the fatigue and temperature issues that come with this damn sickness escape my attention when she shines that smile. If only I could work half days and enjoy her over-lip glossed smile every full work day, this next month would go quickly and painlessly.

Cheers to all moms, sisters, daughters, friends, nieces, grandmas and cousins who don’t yet see they too are titanium.

Because you rock.

Mel

P.s. I have redeemed my ‘dance mom’ concerns with a black T-shirt that says, ‘if dance was any easier they would call it football’. (My journalism self is choosing to ignore the lack of punctuation.)

wikipedia.org/wiki/Titanium_ore

Back to Seussville I go.

As I prepared my thoughts today for a Toastmaster Club speech this week, I can’t help but look at all of the amazing, ridiculous, loving, silly, proud, bold, ‘look back and laugh’ moments I have been gifted.  Makes me wonder if we all tried this blogging thing, would we have the same list of silliness, or does God simply want me to fully enjoy my experiences and see what I have, rather than what I don’t?

I have been gifted experiences most folks won’t ever see for themselves (yes, many ups and many downs, sideways, backwards and forwards, as a Dr. Seuss character would naturally embrace), so perhaps, getting to tell my stories is a way for others to hear all of us have a combination of ridiculousness and awesomeness to share with the next generation  For example, jumping in Carlyle Lake at 19 degrees on New Years Day to take home a Polar Bear Plunge title; dating a wild, white-collar-by-day corporate boy but title-carrying national rodeo star by weekend who took me snowmobiling on a lake no less; hearing my toddler yell “mama has a tattoo” in a public pool; living with cancer but being mistaken for a pharma rep while in for testing; not thinking and publicly pawing Kevin Costner in his restaurant during my first Sturgis Motorcycle Rally; knowing a bath house in Tokyo is really just a spa where they let you eat loads of sushi and wear a kick arse Kimono, and learning to drive a motorcycle solo just because I could (really, how hot would I be on a hot pink Harley?  ok, yes, parked and not moving), etc.

All however, have been damn fun, laughable and worth taking on great adventure and things that feel scary. Life is short, and we have so many choices!!!  Why do we wish away time?  Who picked the five day work/ two day vacation concept- why not the reverse? There is so much to experience and enjoy.  Dr. Seuss would pick fun- “Oh the places you go”.  

Do you have a “bucket list”?  And if so, how much is complete, and when will you start?  My bucket list last year included a zip line and a flash mob.  This year, I did both. So now the bucket list deserves more items and that translates to more fun and more stories.  What will I add that both scares and challenges?  Only the future of my ever-changing Seussville journey knows.

Will I get myself into trouble?  Probably.  Will it be worth the chance and story for my daughter to hear (much, much later)?  Abso-freaken-lutely!

Life really is cyclical.

I walked away from this blog a month of so ago, and an old friend specifically said, “If your blog helps YOU…then don’t let idle chatter stop you.”  Dana’s words stuck.  And ironically, this is a woman I didn’t know very well years ago, but since the diagnosis, has privately cheered me along without knowing the strength she carries today and likely gives to others with these same cheering comments.  I know her inner strength more today than years ago.  Who would have guessed?  This is the power of blogging and reaching out when we are touched by words.  Thank you, old friend.

As I prepared my speech today, I realize; 1.  I believed I could, so I did, 2. I have a lot of stories for someone at this age.  (Did my grandparents really have this much silliness (or were they simply private and embarrassed of that which I see a scream and would share with you), or did they give me courage to accept, ask for the order, and just go for it, so that my own silliness, bold change, and trying new things isn’t scary and instead just part of who I am?  I suspect both sides of my German and Irish/Italian Catholic grandparents are watching me in a loud theatre somewhere upstairs with popcorn, Irish beer, those old fancy smokes with the long filters that made the women look alluring and sexy,  while all are belly-laughing, cheering and loving me to the next journey).  I learned from family that “owning your own path” and “doing the thing you think you cannot do”* means taking chances- regardless of outcome.  We can’t regret, we simply learn as we go, and with much hope, forgive in time.  And finally, I realize: 3. I am who I am and will not stand still, regardless of the mix of friends and family that accompany on my journey.

Back to Seussville I go….I’ve missed you.

Mel

“Oh, the places you’ll go”- Dr. Seuss

*  Eleanor Roosevelt, ” You must do the thing you think you cannot do”.

“Oh, the Places Mel goes…..”

A week with some very tough moments, but a weekend with some very needed laughter.  I am blessed with good souls that surround and make me smile. Thank you.

so, how about a few Murphy or Mel moments for a needed giggle…

–  Driving home from Effingham last month with colleagues, and we were caught in a tornado.  No, not just a warning, a real tornado ….and ironically just after a successful presentation to a room of nuns.  We pulled off the road and moved away from the line of trees, but my friend, Natalie, knows my travel history and looked back from the driver’s seat to say she is indeed consider never traveling with me again.

–  I was putting on lipstick this week when at the exact moment, a friend (not paying attention to what I was doing), said in relation to whatever we were discussing prior to my lipstick application, “a pig in lipstick is still a pig.”

– While presenting to a large group of 70+ year old hospital volunteers this week, I casually mentioned (at least two times), “we are very excited about our upcoming big breast cancer awareness” initiative.  Not only did I fail to highlight “breast health” rather than “cancer”, I used “big breasts” more than once.

– This weekend, at a bar that used to be older (or perhaps I was younger when I used to frequent), I heard the bartender ask a college kid what kind of Vodka she wanted…we laughed, as he told me he has to ask, because they can’t afford and don’t know there are even differences. Sign of age?  Kettle one isn’t popcorn, sister.

– My sweet daughter attended her first junior high dance last weekend.  A little bit of makeup, trading clothes with friends, giggly and texting and…of course a tornado warning. She is her mother’s daughter.

– Today my sweet girl told me I was “on denim overload”.  loll!  Wearing cute, hip, ripped Abercrombie jeans, apparently a denim jacket on top is too much.  Really?  My junior high girl is telling me what is and isn’t hip?  (and btw- “hip” isn’t cool anymore either)

–  I was gifted a present by an overhead seagull on a visit to Alcatraz this Spring.  My daughter couldn’t contain her laughter, as we were only five minutes off the ferry, and I have a day of wearing goo ahead of us.

–  Years ago at ‘Live on the Levee’ (the old days when this STL music tradition was held on the steep stairs along the Mississippi riverfront).  It was Fourth of July, and we were seeing Train.  Crazy crowds and a craving for ribs, I climbed over a chain fence and slipped while holding adult beverages and a plate of barbecue ribs…..yep, down the steep hill falling on more than one family resting on blankets and enjoying the evening.  The ribs were saved. No one however, asked for my business card.

–  The house we recently sold was on a grade just steep enough that you couldn’t see there was a descent but steep enough that when it snowed, a manual transmission struggled with the ascent.  One snowfall I was simply stuck in the middle of the road laughing to myself.  What else could I do?  It was just me -ready for work- and stuck.  On the upside, my Beverly hillbilly style neighbor thought it appropriate to shovel around me and get himself to work.  I went inside and worked from home.

xoxo,

Mel

Simply put, I am too busy for cancer.

Really, it’s true.  My professional life demands a strong, healthy, 150% on the go, Mel.  And when I’m on, I am on.   Thankfully, I’ve learned to put aside this darn ailment and move forward when my work world or daughter needs me.  Today, in fact, I was asked for directions while visiting Siteman Cancer Center for my six month check up.  Dressed up in a suit and heels, I appeared more a pharmaceutical rep than a girl with cancer.  I teared up to myself after having to admit I too was there as a patient.

Age, sweats, a doo rag to cover lost hair or a suit and pearls, cancer most certainly does not discriminate.

My daughter asked me this week what I wanted for my birthday.  I said a new body. She offered a Barbie.  At 41, I accept.  It has a new body, comes with a thong, has larger breasts and lipstick that never fades. How can I lose?  And have you ever seen that bumper sticker that the cool biker chics wear that says, “I wanna be like Barbie, that “bit_h” has everything.”  Again, I point out, how can I lose?

All those years of being a serious cyclist, yogi and a regular workout girl are on hold, but darn it, they will be back.  Law of attraction, my friends!  Law of attraction. It just has taken longer than expected. And damn, I’m ready.  I feel guilty for sleeping so much and have to stay home more than my friends and family would prefer.  But it is what it is.  I go 150 mph all week and have to crash sometime.

Today however, that was validated.  It wasn’t an ideal visit, as it turns out I am not as far along on the path as hoped at six months and some meds will require adjustment with repeat radio-iodine treatments in Feb (and sadly, no bell), meaning, yes, I get to glow again and go through the treatment a repeat time with a smaller dose and another body scan.  BUT it could be worse -much worse -and for that I am grateful, so no worries, I will chin up, see myself fixed in time, take my AARP-sized pill-box of meds and be back to a new me at some time in the future.  For now, I choose moment to moment and a new promise of hope.

My sweet girl told me another great story this week.  She asked my mom what her friends talk about, and mom’s reply to my 6th grader was “we talk about the boyfriends we don’t have, flowers and surgery.”  lol!  Perhaps for my birthday this week, someone should purchase a gardening handbook.  A Barbie and some flowers seems appropriate in light of the silliness I enjoy each day.  🙂

On the upside, I couldn’t do a week such as this without a Murphy moment.  In addition to today’s madness, I have scheduled some additional radiology tests for tomorrow morning not realizing the time needed to take each, and yes, just before a good size Toastmaster’s meeting I organized at work.  Nothing like some intense GI work prior to public speaking to make a girl’s day, think?

Simply put, I am too busy for cancer.

Thank you for believing in me, and knowing I will kick cancer’s arse!   I will because of your love and support.

Namaste,

Mel

Don’t call him Hootie.

ok, so I’ve talked about my old life travels, but I’ve left off some of the great stories about the people I was lucky enough to meet along the way…..

– Daytona Beach, High School Grad Celebratory trip. H.S. friend, Missy, lost her fake ID to a cranky liquor store owner and his ‘behind the register bulletin board’, but I did meet a boy who called himself, “Troy Whitrock III”. A little movie star fake, sure, but to date, my dad still loves that some boy would create such a name, and I would believe. Perhaps he is a broadway star today. 🙂

– College trip, Gulf Shores and New Orleans for St. Pat’s Day. The XO girls drank with Woody Harrelson and Linda Lovelace (yep, the retired porn star next to the dueling pianos), while Harry Connick and that beautiful model girlfriend strutted by the ‘oxygen for sale’ store as we found our way to the Cat’s Meow or whatever happened to be next in those early NOLA days. We missed the state line on our way back to Gulf Shores and wound up in FL, but hey, it’s not every day you spend Patty’s Day with Lovelace or Harrelson, right?

– High School Family Trip, Bermuda. Younger brother (jr high age) ran directly (yes, literally) into Coretta Scott King. Larger-than-life body guards brought him to my parents very quickly to ensure that didn’t happen again. (Course, moments later a toilet reverse flushed on another patron so the pressure was off our family and hotel security was quickly distracted.)

– College, I was a nanny in Southampton, NY. While getting ice cream downtown with my 9 + 10-year-old girls, we walked by Christie Brinkley. Yes, a regular woman and just as beautiful without Photoshop. The girls were focused on ice cream choice, I was in awe of how you look that good without makeup. Seriously, does she have a fan that moves in front her at all times to get that “natural, just blown beautiful look?”

– Same Summer, polo from the poor man’s side of the fence, to see Ralph Lauren from afar (picture the Great Gatsby). On the upside, my nanny friends and I did meet Jimmy Cliff after sneaking into a club in Montauk. That was cool.

– Won tix via a local radio station to a Rams players event in downtown STL for my husband’s birthday. Hootie and the Blowfish opened. I learned quickly his first name is not Hootie, and you most certainly do not ask for an autograph as such.

– I am not sure to be proud or slightly embarrassed that I not only show up on the Fixx website in more than one state and venue still today, but may have stalked their tour bus on more than one occasion.

– Working Women’s Survival Show. Loretta Switt has had a survival show of her own with a facelift. (but hey no differently than breast augmentation, “You buy it or you grow it, it’s still your own.”)

– “It’s not unusual…..” Or is it?……..Tom Jones really does have the died hair thing going, wearing all black and carrying arm candy. (after hours bar in Nashville, TN). For real.

– Kevin Bacon is shorter than me. (outside the MOMA, NYC)

– Hagar’s Cabo Wabo is a real place with real stars. The NFL players thought we were all that until the Victoria’s Secret models walked in. But it was sure cool when the boys we met showed up in the All Star Game the next season on our home TVs. (Cabo, Mexico)

– I was honored to fit many a Hell’s Angel for a motorcycle seat over years of motorcycle rallies…just regular guys who know cool goes away and comfort does mean something with age. 🙂

– Everlife was the teen, hip Evanesence, and my sweet girl was all up in their front row, stalking like her mama. (so proud).

– Christy Turlington, many a news/sportscaster and athlete on planes, cab stops, hotel bars, and airports around the globe…..

– And finally, yes, I stroked Kevin Costner’s chest, like a crazed fan who didn’t think straight but could only lift an arm, smile, say hello and stroke the front of his denim shirt in the man’s own restaurant (and in front of the bathrooms no less). Unable to talk beyond the silly girl giggle (and yes in my mid-30s), I ran back to the table of his restaurant in Deadwood, SD to share with my coworkers who would eventually strike up a conversation with him in the men’s room. And yes, there isn’t a need to Photoshop my friend, Kevin, either.

Not quite a Murphy, but definitely a Mel.

M

Don’t watch the movie “Ray” just before Lasik surgery.

No worries, I was just fine years ago and still enjoy 20/20 vision today.  But a good friend and I laughed about my terrible movie choices, as I shared my choice for “A little bit of heaven” Friday night just before this week’s upcoming colonoscopy.  A woman dies of colon cancer.  Really, Melissa?  Read the back before paying, would ya? It’s like Murphy’s law really does follow me around.

I’ve elected to call Tuesday morning’s test, the “Scope and Discover” test.

Being Celiac means having the “scope and discover” test every three years for life, but I’ve postponed for obvious reasons as noted in previous blogs (seriously, how much can one person handle?), and now that postponement may mean something serious.  Really not sure the nurse practitioner should have said “what other kinds of cancer runs in your family?”.  That, coupled, with “rush” …….yeah, not exactly what I needed to hear.

I’m really trying, my friends.  Today, I actually brushed my teeth, showered, grocery shopped and purchased a hot new suit for work, but the reality is I know something isn’t right, and I’m scared.

The difference this go round- unlike the last 18 months of the storm- is that I am more scared for my family, daughter and friends than me.  They carry so much worry for me, and it’s not easy to watch and know I am the burden.  Of course they would disagree because they love me, but the reality is that no one chooses this much chaos, and yet life continues to hand it over.  And without the spouse to whom I am still married interested in my well being or his bonus daughter’s feelings, it is like another sucker punch in the stomach.

I pretend a lot.  I turn my “on” switch to green, and I can be present with the experience of what surrounds me, but I also know a lot about hibernating these days.  A size 6 on the outside, I instead feel like a thick, chunky walking inner tube of “boggy” pain around my middle every day and all the time. I wear the pearls and a suit, but you wouldn’t know what’s really happening inside my heart and body.  How many others out there do the same as me?

Before they diagnosed me Celiac, I blamed the pain on my ridiculous dating tales (of which, I could entertain you for 1000 blog posts) and stress from all the travel and being away from my sweet girl.  Turns out it was likely the beer and wheat products I ate to get over the silly boys that was actually part of the cause.  This time, I assumed the pain was anxiety and well, my perfect storm, of which many of you have lived with me.

Turns out I may have instead earned myself an ulcer or the unthinkable….

On the upside, Kate Hudson is colorful and darling in the movie I should never have rented, but she finds real love in the end.  Yeah, a weird and absolutely poor choice for the weekend prior to my “scope and discover” test but a necessary distraction nonetheless.

This time, Murphy plays a trick on me.  And for goodness sakes, I paid for the rental AND turned in late.

Mel

Quirky Murphy….and Mel

As you’ve seen in previous posts, Murphy’s Law* moments tend to bring me laughs along my windy, curvy, ridiculous, scary and ‘made for TV movie’ path. Feel free to laugh along. 🙂

– On a recent night out, I wore a lovely tangerine tank dress shear enough that I was covered, but not quite shear enough to notice my tattoo could be seen from the outside. While small and dignified, it’s not exactly that which I like to showcase for strangers. And of course, it wasn’t until we were at the event that I was alerted to such a fashion faux pas. Course that is still better than my young daughter announcing to strangers at the swim club that “momma has a tattoo” …..in her outside voice. 🙂

– Who else gets ‘Kiss Cam’ attention at the Cardinal Stadium ballpark sitting next to………… a work colleague? My colleague, Scott, and I kidded about it happening before it did, as I had just been on the stadium camera a few weeks before, and agreed to stick our tongues at one another something so far-fetched actually happened. Sure enough, there we were. Both of our cells immediately started ringing.

– ……and sadly, this isn’t my only unusual STL moment of big screen infamacy…..at a previous years St. Louis Rams game, I was with a friend who accidentally spilled his adult beverage on the folks in front of us. Because my parents tickets were third row on the ten yard line (not a mistake I suspect on my dad’s part to purchase seats directly in front of the Rams cheerleaders), we most certainly received a laugh from the camera man and some face time on the internal big screen. Now, the laughs were bigger than just the camera guy.

– My first time to visit Düsseldorf, Germany with a former and favorite rehab equipment employer, I was surrounded by my new distributor friends of which only a few spoke any English but hugged, toasted and smiled a lot. With very German grandparents, I proudly ordered without help off the German menu at a big celebration for our week together. After several large adult beverages, two complete entrees were delivered to just me. After that trip, it was necessary to ask for placement next to an English speaker on all future foreign travel opportunities.

– In trying to cook flash fried spinach like one of my favorite Italian restaurants on the STL Hill, without knowing, I purchased Okra rather than spinach. I could blame it on the grocery store header signs, but the reality is I am not a cook and wouldn’t know the difference unless Okra too came packaged in the pre-made salad bag. Regardless, I cooked the green stuff and forced my husband to enjoy. But as my sweet friend, Marla, says “You ain’t learning, you ain’t liven””.

– Never drop a Junior mint on your car seat on a 110 degree STL day.

– Years ago, I politely encouraged my husband to join me in dance lessons. He wasn’t thrilled with the idea, but he was open to give it a shot. Heads up my wise women friends, don’t select Monday night football as the evening for a six-week dance class.

– After a long travel day to Europe alone, I arrived in Amsterdam to not have luggage and less than an hour before our first distributor meeting. The local rep encouraged I shop at the airport, and my luggage (and work stuff) would show in the next 24 hours. (lol! Does he know me?) While I did pick some darling European fashion, I was without some of the “essentials”. Yes, those essentials. After a few days of washing in the sink and hanging to dry after the luggage followed us one city behind every move across the Western part of Europe, I begged my friend, Bert, to take me to a Belgium department store. He however wanted to work, and well, I’m a big girl, so I shopped on my own only to find that in the middle of Belgium, English speakers are not so prevalent. Instead of bras and panties, I now fancy a nice collection of Belgian sports bras….and in the wrong size. (Luggage arrived the evening before my flight home, but I purchased a beautiful leather briefcase in Pisa to house my new sports bras.)

Murphy and me. Like peanut butter and jelly.

Mel

*http://www.murphys-laws.com/murphy/murphy-true.html

Mel & Murphy meet again…

so, this is my life.  always full of moments that remind me of two things:

1.  I am human.

2.  God has humor.

–  The very same evening I completed my online Department of Homeland Security Courses in prep for live coursework the following day, a friend and I were robbed in downtown STL after a nice meal.  The guy who jumped our table however, tripped on a chair and dropped my purse, so besides my friend’s sunglasses, we were lucky.  And darn it, if the restaurant and manager didn’t even offer to pick up our meal or provide a free cocktail.  What does it say that I couldn’t be freaked out in light of all I’ve faced on travel misadventure and the recent “life storm”?  All I could do was laugh and be thankful we were safe.  My daughter?  She laughed out loud at the robbers poor coordination.

– Priests should be required to wear their collars to the gym.  Feels slightly awkward to see the six pack of a priest while barely making it through my own run. Enough said.

–  I always make my sweet girl eat her veggies before a post-dinner snack.  We literally negotiate the number of carrots.  What do I do when I cook the green beans, serve them to both of us and realize I cooked them on the burner that wasn’t on?

–  After a lovely Father’s day lunch at a public restaurant, I look down to realize the carpet deodorizer I used just minutes before leaving the house was all over my feet.  Cheers, dad!

–  At the nail salon today (one I love that is cheap and the ladies in there finally recognize me (and I think understand me- think Seinfeld episode), a roach passed by my station.  I chose to ignore in favor of a great manicure.  Is that a bad thing?

– Tomorrow very early in a whole house unit council meeting at the hospital, I will present the patient, Crazy Aunt Delilah and the “goooooiter” that redefines karma, to educate staffers on why the patient-journey is real for all of us….those who wear a boa, those who appear delusional, those with lipstick on their teeth and all of us in between. 🙂  Wish us luck.  (and to think, I was beat by a bat that Halloween costume contest)

My sweet girl said, “Mom, you aren’t weird.  You are limited edition.”  Gotta love the truth we walk each and every day.

Namaste’,

Mel

Mister Rogers had it right.

I’ve lost touch with reality in light of the perfect life storm, and I know I am not alone as I receive countless emails, FB posts and Twitter direct messages confirming what I face is what you face.

At 41, am I simply wiser to life changing, or is it truly being jaded, over-thinking and being an over-the-top pensive thinker?

My music choices seem to favor darker artists these days such as the amazing Brandi Carlisle, Steve Gold or Evanesence, but my heart can be brought out of a funk when I see my daughter pin up photos of One Direction or some other boy band hottie out of Tiger Beat and just smile at me knowing I’ve been her.

Is this where each of us in our early 40s land when life is just that…..life?

We all have our own story.  And no one can live in our backward shoes, randomly tossed and sometimes flaky mind and up/down roller coaster of a heart except us.

How come no one says : “Go outside and play in the street”, like my funny grandpa? At least we knew he meant go play, be free, embrace life and innocence, give him some time for a nice cocktail, and keep yourself out of the police station.

Carefree and a summer of no shoes and catching fireflies.  Mr. Rogers really was right.  “the child is in me….and sometimes not so still.”.

Those days rocked. 🙂

maybe tomorrow I will wear yellow shoes, and prove to myself I still can be that young girl with the world in front of her.  I am grateful for a grandpa who knew catching a firefly was indeed a monumental moment to a kindergartener.  He believed in me and knew I would catch whatever I set my heart to catch.

Cheers on this Dad’s Day to my late grandpa’s and my own dad who cheer me on beyond the fireflies.

Mel

Murphy, Mel’s way… yep, the path continues…

Most of the time, I want to cry and laugh at the same time. Especially in these last 15 months. My perfect storm (or life’s path for me right now), whatever you prefer to call it, just keeps moving along, and ready or not, my ‘Murphy Mel Moments’ have joined me every step of the way.

And thankfully so. A little humor keeps us real, right?

Perhaps that is what is needed when it feels so hard that we must get through just one more day or even just a moment….a good giggle and a profound (or not) look at our own humanness. A recent Myers Briggs analysis again demonstrates I am on off the chart ENFJ for the third time (extroverted feeling with introverted intuition). I am so out there, I could be a serial killer or Ronald Reagan and represent only 5% of the population. But the reality is, I am a perfect combo of my psychotherapist mom and attorney dad. In other words, a perfect manipulator….ok, yeah, a diplomatic markete(e)r and rockin’ saleswoman who can ask for the order. 🙂 And the fun of this role allows me the comfort level to share my own humanness and be who I am, as ridiculous as it sometimes may be. Who wears a red boa for work with red striped stockings in honor of Heart Health month? Only a marketer!

So what has happened since we last reviewed the Murphy side of Mel:

– My new car was parked on a hill last week, and while the day before I had 45 miles worth of gas, the hill was just steep enough not to allow the automatic start to catch…LOL! I am 41, and my dad had to bring me gas to get it over the hill/start line to catch. Really? Never in my life has this type A run out of gas. (for the record, there appears to be a problem with the fuel indicator)

– As recent Administrator on Call for the hospital, I was doing my due diligence at 7:30am on a Saturday to check in, while on my way to an engagement opportunity to work our booth, I ran a red light by accident. (not trying to increase volume, I promise). Thankfully, I was safe, but really? I work for a hospital.

– First day back to work after medical leave, and I can’t find my phone. Where did that darn thing go? At lunchtime, it appeared. It was in my lunchbox in the fridge. 🙂

– Would you guess only one dept. can have an office that resides on the 4th floor of one building but connects directly to the fifth of the neighbor building. Only my team can live on two floors at the same time. Perfect and quirky. No one else holds that honor.

– The week before trading in my previous car, I backed out of the condo garage to tear off the right side rearview mirror completely. I park out front now. But I have a very clean (and empty) garage.

– I realized in boxing up and donating more books to Goodwill I have purchased and read the same book 3x. Apparently, I enjoyed each time.

– New condo. Three months. Microwave stops working. Do they think I can cook, or is this a trick to get me out?

– Prepared a lovely iMovie on my personal Powerbook Mac for fun after a work event, only to have our CEO love the piece and ask to show at the upcoming BOD meeting. As I went to finish this past weekend however, I added the “juice app”- meaning, spilled juice into the machine. Yep, the machine was a goner and out of warranty. Can’t understand why the Geek squad doesn’t have a juice clause.

– Did I every mention a bird hit my spokes while training for a serious cycling event? Yeah, pretty much a downer for the rest of the ride.

– Don’t attempt travel to Brazil without a Visa. It’s important.

I’ve missed writing. Thank you for your patience and kind notes. Just feeling much fatigue and still working to find the old me. I did however Zipline with a great group two weeks ago and have a Mud Run in June, so every day I try a little harder to find my way back to good health.

Thanks for believing in me.

M


When a lonely girl misses human touch, is the $20 tip for the massage*, legal?

Let’s face it, we all adore “our stuff”- meaning, things we enjoy to help keep us happy and feel safe in our home space.  For my dad, it’s a Hawaiian shirt even in 30 degree weather and gloves, for mom, it’s an artsy shawl or groovy bangles, for my stepmom, it’s a glass of vino with a friend, for Zac, it’s his snowboard, for HJ, it’s DNA, a new molecule or something I can’t pronounce, and for my daughter and bonus son, it’s a smart phone, etc. We just each choose our game differently.

What brings me that “I’m safe and makes me feel like “home” feeling?”  

– My yoga mat (Nothing exists but the breath.  There is no ego.  There is only emotion and me.)

– An every night routine of reading and holding hands with my daughter before bed.  (well, the days of being called “mama” are over.  I take what I can get.)

– My Macs- all of them- and since the late, late 80s…. (it might be near cult member obsession.  I do own a bumper sticker “my mac is smarter than your honor student”.  That’s mac love.  That’s mac chic.)

– Human Contact/Touch, and lots more touch!  (OMG, I gave the masseuse a $20 tip last week. When you are lonely and miss human touch, is that legal?)

– My new pup, Kenny Rogers (even though he is shaggy today, needs a haircut as his current “doo” might be damaging his peripheral vision)

– My beautifully made and all fluffy and crisp, white “fake it to you make it Westin Heavenly Bed”- with high count sheets, comfy duvet and enough pillows you can’t find the headboard.

– A hot, bubble bath with a lavender or new yummy scent in my new bathtub

– Being on my road bike, completely in my own head with the rush and sound and smell of nature flying by me (course, that near death deer experience two years ago has put a damper on going alone these days)  Who else buys the $1K+ bike BEFORE signing up and completing the MS150?  

– My Uggs

– Scented candles – ocean, lavender, lilac, fresh linen, lovely! (though not a Yankee Candle Company fan after an “incident” with my Saab.  They didn’t come out looking so good, but I did personally send a love note to the CEO, COO, corporate attorney, CMO, and I suspect I might be on a banned list somewhere.  The local Saab dealership did however love the drama and did the repairs for free- I think they were proud of the local O’Fallon chutzpah!)

– French toast with blueberries and strawberries and lots ‘o syrup piled high (G-F of course)

– Reflexology (and for years, I hated feet, after seeing a dude on an airplane cutting this thick toenails then hanging them on the magazine rack NEXT to me….ick.)

– New perfume. (but nothing that smells like I might have smelled it over my shoulder in church, the bowling alley or on anyone over 80+ years of age.)

– A personal card that comes in the mailbox.

– Tulips, Gerberas or darn it….. any bouquet of fresh flowers that has a card and special note attached to my name.

– My family (my mom has made me the exact same G-F casserole for four years. I can’t stop her.)

– Valentine’s Day.  (Hey, I’m a markete(e)r, plus the reality is that “I love you” can never be said enough)

– Grandma used to make Shrove Tuesday donuts.  I miss those. (but I cook like my mom and they are full of “glue”)

– A beautiful piece of stained glass with the bright sun shining through.

– My Loreal #860 Lipstick. (and Bare Essentials makeup to remind me beauty isn’t a number. 🙂

– I’ve discovered how good my life is after something called “Jerseylicious” and “Big Rich Texas”.  Thanks, Kirsten.  And I’m not a TV watcher but a big reader.  This however is unbelievable stuff.  It’s fantastic and should be part of my therapy copay.

– Fine wine, great artwork and quotations that say something different to each of us.

We all need “our stuff” to feel safe in our space.  And after years and years of travel, my “stuff” and a safe space to call my own, is a necessity to a healthy me.  Love your own “stuff”!

Now, make your own list, and what you don’t have, set a goal to get.  Only you are stopping yourself.  

*  Massage Envy is a reputable business, and I am thankful for talented hands that take away pain and let me relax.  There is nothing inappropriate and clearly can’t be worse or anything near what I suspect a man does with his Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. 

Why “Murphy”*?

“The chance of the bread falling with the buttered side down is directly proportional to the cost of the carpet.” – unknown

 

Funny things just happen to all of us. For me, it has become a normalcy. While the previous blog posts re. the cancer diagnosis are most certainly not “Murphy moments”, the “gooooiter” growth might well be.

And while it’s very hard to top being given honors from my friend, Mark, as a combo Jackie O and Dick Butkis, my ‘Melissa Murphy Moment’s’ are just part of what make me who I am. 🙂 Thus, this blog- “Murphy or Mel” – was born.

So, you ask, what is/has been a “Melissa Murphy Moment”……(and many of you will recall and giggle and/or want to share …it’s ok, my parent’s are fully aware of what they created.)

– Just out of grad school and teaching my first college class at 28, I wore a student provided adaptive hearing device into the ladies room accidentally still turned to “on”.

– Being new in my career and first real job (probably first or second year) and wearing red panties under white linen pants.

– Using the phrase “that’s a great money shot” when reviewing final production for our new television commercial with the (national food company) CEO sitting directly next to me (without knowing what the phrase meant until later AND being the only woman in the room). (btw- there really was a photo of a dollar bill in the actual TV spot.)

– Being awarded the very prestigious “40 under 40” award by the St. Louis Business Journal in 2010 after 400+ submissions, only to have a big apology and the award rescinded, because I turned 40 just three months prior. The graduate school Dean who submitted my entry entered my birthday incorrectly. (I keep it in my LinkedIn profile and resume because I earned that damn award.) My former CEO, Bill Shaner, called me to congratulate and shared great advice…”when did we go from being the rock star to the mentor?”. His wisdom and ability to laugh at the issue dulled the hurt. Until now.

– Trading in my dying but wonderfully fun Audi for a new Saab automatic, only to drive it thru the garage door in the first 24 hours. I wasn’t used to the difference after 20+ years with a manual transmission. Mol said “Mommy, why are we driving thru the garage door?” $1000 later, I owned a new garage door too. 🙂

– Having a great idea in the shower only to not have a notepad handy. So, I found a pantyliner, wrote my thought, carried to work and planted on my desk, got distracted by another project just as the (male) Division President came in and sat down to talk. Yes, panty liner in full view.

-Locking my keys in the car two times in the same day. Once at the gas tank. Once while the car was still running at 9:30 at night at the bank drop box.

– writing 100+ thank you notes before my daughter was born signed from “Melissa and Hannah” to instead name her “Mollyanna”

– crying when I got a tattoo the size of a quarter but being told to wake up when giving birth to my sweet girl. (ok, drugs and an episode of Oprah were involved there 🙂

– Scared of horses but dating a boy who I didn’t know was a national rodeo champion until three weeks later. He said Purina-Nestle.

– Asking to borrow the brand new shuttle bus for a two mile parade to have it not start in what would have been its first day in use- Just after the parade.

– Finishing a motorcycle riding class after dropping the bike, only to send and receive a letter from the IL Dept of Transportation thanking me for NOT getting my motorcycle license.

– Marrying a man with a Golden Retriever who has been beautifully house trained and won’t even get sick on the carpet. My yoga mat however? Not part of the training and more than once a select spot for Barkley’s sickness.

– Hiring a local lawn company to ‘pretty up’ my lawn to sell my house, only to have them do one spray and completely kill the yard in 24 hours, setting me back three months of sales opps and $$$ of watering…in the worst year ever to sell a house (2011).

– Asking for a fake name at the hospital for a recent procedure and getting a name with a misspelling and then best yet, a bill to her not me.

-And travel misadventure (a future blog for sure)…likely having an FBI record for an airport bomb threat scare (misunderstanding, really) in Cleveland; Watching news crews in Chicago surround our plane after some dude dropped a bag of large white powder as he entered first class (probably beignets mix- lol); Working a motorcycle rally in Laughlin, Nevada both before and after a gang motorcycle shooting hit national news; Being on a plane to Portland where the toilet blew up; Working truck stop focus groups in New Jersey with folks who lack teeth; accidentally carrying produce across the Chilean border; Booking a flight to Vancouver and realizing they meant WA not BC; Being stuck in countless airports all over the world- both with and without luggage; and one of my personal fav’s….being placed in an unmarked car in Buenos Aires and pretend texting (that wasn’t working) while hoping I was actually headed to a hotel in the right Argentine city and not being abducted.

We all have stuff, but how can you not giggle that things just happen? This is life.

No, this is my life. And I wouldn’t trade it for anything. 🙂

*http://www.murphys-laws.com/murphy/murphy-true.html

It’s radioactive Friday. Iodine tastes better than a pre-colonoscopy beverage.

FB, Twitter and the email world have shown me love and healing I never dreamed.  I wish I could hug Steve Jobs and that Zuckerberg dude directly.  Wow- thank you to the now hundreds of notes and stories, prayers and eHugs that have come my way.  And check out the jpgs at the end of this post..priceless….

I am officially radioactive but no superpowers yet.  Go to your window and look for the glow.  It might be an early Mardi Gras bead being thrown high in the air of STL parties, but it could just be me. (They said superpowers take a few weeks to kick in. At that point, look for a pink sparkle cape and a big smile.)

Today was the (first) treatment.  It’s called radioiodine therapy*, and it is specifically used to treat Thyroid Cancer.  The anxiety is much worse than the actual beverage.  It’s small and doesn’t taste much more than a little aluminum foil mixed with warm tap water that has been sitting on the kitchen sink too long.  So, really, in the big picture, not a big deal and oh sooooo much better than that which you drink before a colonoscopy.

I love however that the nurse in the room puts on all these clothing protectors and big rubber gloves, but they put a small white paper cloth over my chest (with tape in the back no less) and I sit in my skinny jeans and pink sweater waiting to start.  Not even glasses. Seriously?  Oh well, I guess drinking it is much worse than losing a pair of my favorite Dansko shoes.

Course, we are talking about radiation in a contained lead package that has to be ordered from another facility and isn’t housed in the hospital for safety reasons. Literally. They have to order it once the patient has the consultation to ensure they will go through with it because it is so expensive and well, you know…radioactive.

They also actually measure my radioactivity before I leave AND after I set off an actual Geiger counter. For real! She takes out a human size ruler, stands far away, students are watching, a loud buzzer is going off, and they are watching a Geiger counter score the success of the treatment in my body. Freak’n science, incredible! (Mr. Gattung at OTHS would be so proud of me. And I only remembered his “vette” (meaning chevet). I should really get that A now.) (Thank goodness my brother, HJ, is a PhD radiochemist to explain what I ingested to my parents in a way that doesn’t scare more than necessary.)

Regardless, we go back Tuesday for a total body scan to determine if the tumors have spread beyond the right (and to my surprise, also left) thyroid lobe.  All were in fact papillary so if “you are going to have thyroid cancer, this is the best you can have”.  Comforting.

I will know partial results after that scan and on that day.  There will be blood work in six weeks and six months, plus any additional treatments pending next Tuesday’s total body scan, meaning more scans every one to five years for the rest of my life depending on what we find.

This on top of my every three-year colonoscopy.  Bazinga!

MU alum is kicking cancer's ass!

! 

* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iodine-131#Medical_and_pharmaceutical_uses

** MU Live Strong logo…http://instagr.am/p/mWfOC/

The only time being called a large Mack truck is a compliment…

In the last few days, I have been reminded of who I am to the outside.  That in itself is an immense gift.  Being called a “Warrior” and “Mack truck” are my personal favorites.  No other time except when facing cancer is being called a large Mack truck appropriate.  Never.  But today, I know my friend sees me as tenacious, driven, strong and capable of moving anything that gets in my way.  He is right.

ok, so I actually haven’t kicked thyroid cancer’s ass yet, but I will.  Just around the corner. Doc assures me that “if you are going to have cancer, this is the best kind to have.”  LOL!  Those are words I never expected to hear, much less typing them in a blog I didn’t plan to write until 20 minutes ago.  I also must acknowledge that once I kick this, cancer can always come back.  No worries. I’ve had my share of ups and downs and always land on my feet.

Know that song by Blue October, “Jump Rope”?  If not, get it.

That being said, if you read, “Get a goiter, grow a goiter”- this would be part 2.  You see, that goiter that Ms. Crazy Aunt Delilah designed for the work costume contest and actually became one two years ago, was checked and found benign.  But over time and with repeated ultrasounds that never showed cancer, it was time for surgery to remove.  Mostly it was cosmetic and sometimes I would feel pressure on my vocal cord (perhaps a gift to my friends, as I do possess the gift to gab).  Me?  I was just happy to get rid of that word in my vocabulary. Seriously, who named that thing a Goiter anyway…… “gooooooiter”?  It just says, “make fun of me”.  (And Seinfeld did nothing to help those of us with the curse of the “goooooiter”.)

Regardless, I conceded and took on the surgery when it fit my schedule.  When the doc came back in after discharge to tell me they found malignancies, even he didn’t expect to give me this news.  It wasn’t seen on the previous ultrasounds, and no one seems to know for how long I had been growing the cells. Again, no worries, I get some radioiodine and a total body scan and soon enough I’m back to being a bad ass marketing professional.

But here’s what I’ve learned along this ridiculously insane journey:

– Many folks have thyroid issues, but unless they “get the goiter”, they may not be aware of the cancerous cells.  Ask your doc how you can be sure you are safe.

– Laughter heals.  So too does investing in a good therapist.

–  My 11-year-old  daughter has a capacity for amazing resilience and understanding.  We haven’t yet used the “c” word (not that word, you goof), but I am transparent about needing much rest and meds that will make me radioactive and need to keep me alone for a few days while she stays with her dad.

– “Ask for the order”.  Social networking has a completely new meaning for me this week- beyond a buttload of professional experience.  (oh dear, I may have to rate this blog differently).  An insane amount of emails, notes, personal stories, public thoughts, encouragement and kindness continue to come my way from people I haven’t seen in years.  And it took me weeks to admit to folks even outside my closest six girlfriends what was happening in my life.  Suddenly, I am flooded with white lights, love and healing from around the globe.  Just with a touch of a button and a polite request to have my back.

– Never allow anyone-  a sibling, parent, spouse (!!!!), friend, family member, colleague to hear the diagnosis alone.  Partially, b/c they are likely loopy on  Vicadin or Morphine, as I was and only heard one word, and partially b/c we need to be holding a hand or taking notes or something….and for me, I was still in the hospital gown, arse hanging out, connected to tubes and hair looking rocking hot.  I was in shock and there was no one to hold my hand.

– Some folks you think will come to your side will not. And that is ok.  Not everyone is comfortable and knows what and how to be there for you.  Accept that this is not easy for anyone and move forward with folks who will not pull from the positive energies you need in reserve.

– Toxic people are bad news. Move on.

– I have always been good with “asking for the order”. (Daughter of a psychotherapist and attorney.)  But, I’m not great at asking for help.  Too damn type A and like to believe I can do it all.  This time, I couldn’t. And you know what, asking wasn’t hard and the return has been the best investment of all time. 🙂

– Next time you enter a hospital, consider that every patient – you, your friend, your parent, etc…this is their story.  It is not just a visit from you.  It has a beginning – when they first call the doctor knowing something is “amiss”- to the end diagnosis or worse.  Everything else in between is the plot.  You are part of that plot and can make it even the smallest bit easier- even offering an ice chip or calling the nurse or a trip to the bathroom with someone other than a stranger means something.  Be there and be present. And know it’s their story, not yours.  Even if dinner needs to be made, or the kids have homework, or the laundry isn’t done.  They are scared and need you to be with them.

–  Touch.  People need human contact.  We need to be loved.  Ask to hold a hand or give a hug, or frankly, just let me cry without solving my problems or telling the story of iodine radiation that your uncle bob had.  I am not Bob.

–  I don’t need you to tell me you are sorry.  Of course you are, you are my friend.  Instead, just be there and remind me of all the things you know me to be.  Because in that vulnerable moment, I don’t recall who I was before the diagnosis.

–  Nurses run a hospital.  I can be the lead for the marketing department, but I am nothing but support to the men/women who have  (as my smart, loving, nurse based CEO says) “the privilege to touch the patient”.  She is right.  It is a privilege, and nurses deserve incredible respect.

And finally, Crazy Aunt Delilah may not have been just karma, she may have just saved my life.

Just imagine this next Halloween when she reappears with a new look, a fancy scarf to cover what appears a neckline intruder incident and a rockin’ story about being a cancer survivor.  Probably wearing the survivor card on a tiara……(note to self).

Grow a goiter, get a goiter.

Four years ago in an effort to win a work halloween costume contest, I created a character.  I don’t have a Crazy Aunt Delilah, but I thought something bigger than life and more creative than the standard Target purchase was a must.  I was, afterall, the quirky (or I liked to imagine) head of the Marcomm team for a medical equipment company.

I visited the local thrift shop and selected a lovely floral housecoat but jazzed up my look with hot pink lipstick (over the teeth of course), many pearls, a flowing black Hannah Montana wig and a fantastically designed goiter with those awful nude colored pantyhose no woman ever chooses unless she is over 80.  (forgive me grandma, your knee highs were darling, and we loved you for being fearless to wear them as kneehighs.  You, HS, rocked a pair!). Crazy aunt Delilah, not so much.

The New York accent was a hit and the boa got me many hugs and several bizarre looks from the uptight stiffs in the office.  Nonetheless, $100 at stake, and I wanted that prize.

I only took second.

HOWEVER, the goiter crafted by pantyhose actually became a real goiter two years later.  Karma or Murphy’s law?

I should definitely get my $100 now.

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