23 August 2016

The new arrangement

So, how’s the new arrangement going, you ask?  Overall, pretty well.  T is settling in at her new place, although she has loads of stuff here at my house.  I don’t really care about that – at least not right now.  Her condo has tons of storage (rare, I know!) so she will be finding spots for most things as we go along.

Most of the time, I think she likes being back in Vancouver.  Her family are all there, and she is just minutes away from them all.  Sometimes that’s a good thing and sometimes it’s an annoyance, but overall it’s good.  They love having her back!  Also, her new job is just minutes from her home and she loves that.  She goes home for lunch and walks the dog, so that’s a very good thing.

Round here, things are beginning to settle down.  We’ve had a very busy August, what with T moving and then a family wedding and all sorts of other busy-ness going on.  I’m looking forward to things settling down and cooling down as we move closer to fall.  I need to get into a new routine and get the feel of it.  Right now I feel pulled in too many directions.

But, when I’m at home, alone, my contentment is up and my anxiety is down.  You know, as long as I had plenty of reading material, I could easily be a hermit.  I have very little need for socializing, and usually find myself to be the best company.  I don’t mean that in a ‘I hate people’ kind of way, just that it is so restful and calm, so restorative and serene, when I am by myself.

One thing that has surprised me is that I really miss the little dog!  T took the grouchiest of the cats and the dog with her to her new place.  I wanted her to take another cat, but she can only have two pets.  I don’t miss the cat much at all, but the dog… yes.  I haven’t been without a dog for many years.  It feels decidedly odd.  Plus, last month when she was staying with her sister during the week, I was in the habit of taking him for a brisk 20 minute walk every morning, and a more leisurely one in the afternoons.  It was good for both of us.  Now, T has to take him out every time he needs to pee, but I don’t think she is walking him for exercise.  Oh well.  He is happier with her, no matter what.  He misses being here, though!  Of course, she brings him over whenever she comes, but it’s not the same for him.  He has no dog door or his own backyard…  I’ll have to think about getting a dog of my own, but I’m in no hurry just yet.

We’ve had conversations with friends about our living separately but still being together.  Some people get it, others don’t.  One of her friends is sure that this is just step one to a break up.  Another friend is quite jealous of the arrangement, but her partner said ‘don’t even think about it!’  That made me laugh! It is a little out of the ordinary, but it works better for both of us right now.

So, really, there’s not a lot to report.  Everything is settling down and we are looking to establish our new normal.  How are things going in your world?

18 July 2016

Change is in the air

Hey You Excellent People!

Yes, both of you!

I’m popping in to give an update.  Things are changing around here.  For the better.  

T and I are in the process of changing our living arrangement.  She has bought a condo north of Vancouver and will be moving in mid-August.

We are not breaking up.  We are finding a different way to be together.

I’m happy about it. 

:-)

04 April 2016

Nothing much

Hey, You Gals!

I’ve been telling myself for weeks to assemble some thoughts and words for a blog post.  A few times I even thought ‘that might be of interest’ but, whatever those thoughts were, they’re gone now.  So, I’m taking a few minutes to tell you that I don’t have anything to tell you.

What else?

Spring is here in all her glory.  Spring in the PNW is ridiculously lush.  Walking though petal-storms all the time, streets turned pink, pollen blowing in yellow clouds… you get the idea.  Seriously though? If you ever come to Portland, Spring is absolutely gorgeous.

Today the lilac opened.  :-)

But, I’m not gloating!  Really!  Some of you are getting snow, actual snow (that you didn’t get in the Winter!), when you should be getting flowers.  It’s sad when that happens.  What frequently happens here is that the cherry trees all burst into bloom when a storm front arrives.  Yes, the gutters are pink for a couple of days, but the trees are beaten down and the whole thing is just a soggy mess.  We’ve had a mixed bag of late, but we had nearly a week of sunshine, so I’m not complaining about the rain today.

More?

T is finally selling her house.  It was on the market when we first met, but the time wasn’t right.  She has been renting it to her brother for several years but he can’t afford the amount of the mortgage payment, so T has had to pay every month to make up the difference.  She’s tired of that, and his kids are now out of the 3 bedroom house, so it’s time for him to downsize.  She has spent the last month working on it on the weekends – painting the inside (every room), adding a half bath, replacing blinds, clearing out the garage – and then took last week off work to paint the exterior.  It was forecast to be sunny and dry for 5 days so she had to go for it!  I took off Friday and also spent all day Saturday painting.  Wow, am I out of shape!  I could feel all of that ladder work!

Garden?

Garlic.  Planted late last summer.  Thriving.  But, that’s all I’ve got.  Oh, and herbs.  But that’s all.  Haven’t even weeded yet.  Bad gardener!

Summer plans?

Trailer camping with our friends.  Fun!  Ft Stevens State Park – We haven’t camped there before.  It’s beside the Pacific, at the mouth of the mighty Columbia.  Putting along in the vintage truck and trailer combo, it’ll only take a couple of hours, at most, to get there.  Maybe an hour and a half.  Close.  I hope I get some smoked tuna!!!  OH. MY. GOOD. FOOT!!!  So delish!  We’ve got good seafood on our coast.  Have I ever mentioned the Willapa Bay oysters?  So.Good.

Ok, clearly, I am rambling now.  Time to get back to the spreadsheets.

Cheers, m’dears…

21 February 2016

One week later

It's Sunday.  T has been in Hawaii for one week.  She gets home this evening.  Here are the highlights of my week:


  • Tuesday, had dinner with a friend (pizza and champagne), and watched 'The Queen's Garden' or something like that, which she had recorded from PBS.  Interesting!

  • Wednesday, had my usual get together with my dad.  My brother was there and asked about T.  When I said that she was in Hawaii with her sister he said, 'So, your vacation too!'  Uhhh, yeah. True.

  • Thursday, my neighbor texted me and asked if I could come over when I got home from work.  Her husband's father had died (not unexpectedly) and her son's recent marriage is on shaky ground and she didn't want to be alone with her thoughts.  Of course I went over.

  • Friday, home alone!  I think I was in bed and reading by 8:45.  Lights out shortly thereafter.  

  • Saturday evening, went to a birthday party.  Saw a number of friends all in one place, and then went home early.  It was pleasant enough, but I really just wanted to be at home.

It was a busier week than I had anticipated, but not in a bad way.  I got a few minor projects done that I wanted to address, but nothing major.  My next biggish project will be converting an old wood storage closet on the basement landing into a kitchen tool storage closet.  You know, all those space eating countertop appliances that are just too big to put anywhere.  Well, we don't use firewood in the house, and this closet is deep and can be converted to hold several shelves.  All of the large, awkward, bulky stuff (crock pots, canning pots, food processor, etc) will then be stored just a few steps away.  Maybe I'll get that done this summer.

Meanwhile, I have had a very restful week, despite all of the social activity, and feel good.  Centered and calm.  This week has been a good reminder of how valuable solitude is to me.  I will keep this reminder close to me going forward.

And, just because I mentioned Spring last time, Hello Violets!  I had one tiny patch of violets burst into bloom this week.  Love them!  Still waiting for daffodils, etc, but they are coming...  Sprng is Coming!


14 February 2016

Sunday morning musing

Good morning!

I dropped T off at the airport at 8:20 this morning.  She is on her trip to Hawaii with her sister.  They will be gone for a week.  I really hope that she can spend the time resting and restoring her physical and mental self.  She is tired.  This will do her good.

So, that means that I have my house to myself for a week!  Yay!  Time for quiet and reflection, or projects that are on my list.  My time is my own.  I'm tempted to take the week off work but I'm saving my PTO for something else.  Well, I might take one day off...  plus, Monday is President's Day and I have that day off.  So, yes, some quality time home alone.

Listen, you NorthEasters, NorthCentralers, GreatLakers, GreatPlainsers (you know who you are), Spring is coming.  I know it may not seem like it right now, but it's on its way.  I promise.  We are being battered with rain but the bulb flowers are pushing through the soil and will be blooming any day now.  So, hold on.  Have hot chocolate.  Or a hot toddy.  Look out at the snow and plunging thermometer and say, 'Spring is coming.'

I'm off to go do something.  Not sure what just yet.  Might just walk around the house a bit and see what bubbles up to the top. Cheers!


04 February 2016

A Random Thursday in February

Good morning!

It’s Thursday so I thought I would dash off a quick post.  What quick posts and Thursdays have to do with each other, I don’t know.  Good thing this doesn’t have to make sense!

So, it’s pouring down rain, as usual.  I’m only mentioning that so that those of you to the east of me will know that more storms are coming.  Sorry about that.  It’s been a wet winter, that’s for sure. 

What’s going on around here, in a non-meteorological way?  Well, let’s see…

Last weekend T went to Las Vegas with her sister and mother.  I think they had a good time but it’s hard to tell because she came home very cranky.  It was the first time in a decade that their mom had been anywhere outside the local area.  The daughters felt pretty good about getting that to happen.  And then they badgered her to stop playing the slot machines and go for a walk, of all things.  Ha!  She was determined to win back all of her nickels!  As I said, I think they had a good time…

In the further travel adventures of T, she and her sister will be heading to Hawaii for a week this month.  Fun!  Her sister won a trip for two through her work and is taking her little sister.  I think that’s pretty nice.  I hope they have a wonderful time and that T doesn’t come home cranky this time.  Lol. 

So, what do I do when the partner is away?  Enjoy the quiet!  It’s a break from the tv, which I need so much.  I did go to a friend’s house on Saturday for dinner and socializing.  That was pleasant.  I also got a bunch of stuff done around the house that I’d been meaning to get to, and that was satisfying.  I’m starting to plan some things for her next trip, too.

On the work front, I’ve got 1 year, 4 months, 3 weeks and two days to go until I retire.  Woo hoo!  I won’t bore you with the work argy-bargy… suffice it to say that it’s work and it’s tiresome.

I don’t know if any of you are planning to watch the big football game this weekend.  Ordinarily I would be excited for that.  This year I dislike both teams and can’t bring myself to care.  Well, I hope that Denver wins because I really don’t like the quarterback for Carolina.  But, I’m not keen on Denver, either, so…  it’s a big ‘who cares’ for me.  I think we’ll go for a hike instead.  (Weather depending)

I feel like there’s no other good news to report.  I don’t want to start the day with negativity, so I’ll keep all of the bullshit to myself.  Have a great Thursday, everyone!


30 December 2015

End of Year Greetings


There are two days left of 2015 and I will be happy to put this year behind me.  Behind us.  It’s been a tough one.  I know that is true for many of you, as well.  Let’s raise a glass of icy cold, mountain-borne, pure Oregon water and toast the coming year.  Bring on 2016!  Gotta be better, right?!

Here are some updates from my world.

Health:  The cancer saga continues, but is on a better plane now.  T has had surgery and now has a fantastically flat chest.  She kind of likes it, I definitely like it.  Her physical recovery from surgery is going well.  Her incisions are healing nicely.  Most of her upper body mobility is back.  She is back at work.  She will continue to get ‘chemo lite’ through the end of May, and then get the port removed.  She is taking a beta blocker to protect her heart from the cancer killing drugs, and when she is done with chemo she can stop that.  She is also taking an estrogen killer and will continue with that for the next 5 years.  It’s not tamoxifen, but something like it.  I have noticed that her body temperature regulation has altered dramatically.  She used to run hot, and have frequent hot flashes, and now she is chilly a lot.  Believe me, the furnace is cranking at our house!

Holidays: Survived.  Actually, now that my sister-in-law has divorced her asshole husband, things are much calmer at the family get togethers.  I never realized what an instigator he was before.  He worked quietly but the effect was loud and contentious.  Really, a rude man.  I’m glad that he’s not around anymore.    I met two of T’s aunts at Thanksgiving.  Her late father’s two sisters.  One is an unbearable snob.  She married a rich doctor and now lords it over the rest of the family.  No thanks!  The other one is funny and loving and seems really kind.  Lucky for us the nicer one lives near Seattle and the snob lives in Los Angeles.  Not that I have any intention of looking either one up.  But, I wouldn’t mind stopping by the nice one’s house on my way to my daughter’s. 

Family: Speaking of my daughter, she was down for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Yay!  Bonus holiday time!  She came by herself for Thanksgiving since her husband was away on a business trip.  They both came down for the December holiday.  He isn’t my favorite person in the world, but it could be so very much worse and for some reason my daughter loves him… so, I tolerate him.  He has improved over the years, maybe he feels more comfortable with us, and I am working at seeing the good side.  It doesn’t help me that my partner can’t stand him and is always judging and criticizing.

The other family: T and her sister had a falling out and hadn’t spoken to each other for a year or so.  That rift is now healed and they are enjoying each other’s company.  Interestingly, since the sister is now single and an empty nester, they are doing things that they haven’t been able to do since they were young.  In fact, I think they are having more fun than when they were young.   They are going to Las Vegas at the end of January – and taking their mom!  Just for a weekend getaway.  (I’m so relieved that I wasn’t invited.  I hate Las Vegas.  I’m not a gambler and the tawdriness of Vegas depresses me.)  Also, the sister won a vacation to Hawaii through her work and she is taking T as her guest.  That will be wonderful for T.  I’m sure they will have a great time.

Employment: I’m still here.  Whoopee!  At the first of the year, I will have one and a half years to go until I retire.  Halle-fucking-lujah!  There have been some real rough patches at work over the last year and it has been extremely trying.  Plus, I’m being kicked out of my office in a space shuffle and I have yet to be assigned a new spot.  It’s made for some extra tension at the work place, that’s for sure.  But, knowing that my days are counting down, I’m taking the ‘roll with it’ attitude.  There’s nothing I can do to change it, so I’ll just finish out my time with a smile and move the hell on.  If I still had a decade to go, I would be worried over where they were going to put me, but I can see the end from here so there’s no use fussing about it.

After I retire, I’ll still need to work but my plan is to find something that is interesting, satisfying and does some good in the world – ideally with health benefits.  I won’t be eligible for Medicare for a few years, so I’ll need something.  Of course, there’s always Obamacare (thank you, Mr President!)

Another health topic: My best friend of over 40 years has been in a bad health spiral.  She was diagnosed with adult onset diabetes last year and was working hard at keeping it under control.  Unfortunately, her doctor put her on a drug to control the blood sugar and it resulted in kidney disease.  Full blown, low functioning kidney disease.  She has begun dialysis.  She needs a kidney.  I’ll be tested for donating one in the spring.  Just a little something to look forward to.

I think that’s about it for today.  I’ll keep the topics suggested by seasonal affective disorder to myself, ok? 


Happy New Year!  

12 October 2015

Monday, Post-op

Whew.

Surgery was Friday.  Rest assured, it was a long fucking day.

Went home Saturday afternoon.

Everything is hyper-focused, slow moving, and fraught.  What do I mean by that?  T's focus is on her body, of course, alert to the signals of pain.  The drains rub on her ribs which cause a pain separate from the incisions.  We gingerly reposition them, with whimpers and quick gasps and admonitions of 'careful!'. We focus on the drain output, how many milliliters of fluid have we drained off today?  What color is it?  We focus on the clock, is it time for more pain meds, or another antibiotic?

Everything is slow.  Getting her up, or down, is a slow moving orchestrated event every time.  In the hospital they asked if we had stairs.  Ha!  Yes. It's a two story house, with 13 steps before you get to the front door.  Stairs are slow.  Add into that the fact that we don't have handrails (I know, I know). I have to walk beside her, upstairs and down, so she can hold on to me.  These are the easy things, though.  The time spent in this state of limbo spools out slowly when the biggest activity is standing up and walking slowly to the kitchen.*

Surgery is fraught with risk and hazard.  Cancer is fraught with fear and depression and hope.  Families are fraught with history and obligation and love and regrets.  All of this swirls around and through our days.  Thank the Goddess for Hope.  Otherwise... we would despair.

So, really, all things considered, she's doing pretty well!  Ha!  Actually, her incisions look pretty good.  Flat, tight.  Just how she wants them.  With luck, they'll heal that way.

There's also the flip side of it all.  She worries that she will look fat and ugly.  I reassure her that her boobs did not make her beautiful, she is beautiful despite the fleshy appendages.  She looks down and all she can see is her belly sticking too far forward.  Yes, I agree, we need to work on getting in shape when she heals.  That will be good for both us.  There is a great deal of fear in an involuntary change to the body.  Understandable, of course, but there's nothing I can do or say to change that.  Will you look different?  Yes.  But you won't look unattractive.  It's not a shallow or vain concern -- it's a process of coming to grips with this trauma to the body that changes a person inside and out.  My role in this (as I see it) is to affirm and reassure while she begins to adjust to the change.**

I have taken the week off to stay home and help her navigate her way through the early days of recuperation.  My hope is that she will be able to move herself around more easily each day.  By the end of the week I expect her to be completely ambulatory and able to do most daily self care on her own.  If she's not, I'll take a few more days.  We've got some post-op appointments this week and I think those will be our big outings and biggest tests of mobility.

Ok, that's all I've got for now.  I have ten million chores to do before lunch, so I'd better get started.  Thanks for following along.


*The slow moving time is T's.  My time has been spent fetching and helping and cleaning (so much cleaning!)  I have been moving like a whirlwind, like a dervish.  Sunday should have been spent watching football and instead I dusted and vacuumed and swept and mopped and tidied, keeping an eye and an ear on the game when I could.  Why, you ask, was there so much cleaning to do?  Well, neither of us are good housekeepers and the week before surgery was full of pre-op appointments and family stuff.  Then, when we were home afterwards, her sister wanted to come over after the Seahawks game.  They are a judgy bunch and I didn't want to hear about it from them or even deal with the eye rolling.  So, I cleaned like a maniac.  At one point T looked over and said, 'There's a dust bunny by the couch.'  I stopped what I was doing and said, 'Here are your choices: You can quietly stress about a dust bunny or you can piss off your partner.  If you choose the latter, nothing else gets done in this house.' Because I'm a bitch like that.  Oh, and the topper?  Her sister texted and said she couldn't come over because she was drunk in a sports bar with her boyfriend.  I will have much more to say about that later.  In the end, the sister did come over -- later than we would have liked, about 8:30 last night.  So very inconsiderate.

**I expect than when the shock of this has all worn off, and when we have lost some weight and toned up our flabby bodies, I expect that T will actually like her new shape.  She has always wanted to have a flat chest and while it's hard to get it this way, I think she will be pleased.  In the future.  Not now.


31 August 2015

Microblog Monday

Hello!

Yes, still here.

Brief update?  Sure, why not.

Approximately one third done with the cancer thing.  T has finished the debilitating chemotherapy.  Yay!  She will have 'chemo lite' through May of next year but only one drug and (reportedly) very few side effects.  Her hair will grow back.  Her GI tract will stabilize.  Many other things will return to normal(ish).

We meet with the surgeon this week.  Bilat mastectomy in 4 to 6 weeks.

While none of this sounds cheer-worthy, there's something to be said for simply getting through it.  That's where we are now.

And, because this is 'Micro'...that's all I'm able to produce today.

Cheers, all of you lovely people!
E

27 July 2015

Update from the War on Cancer

First, let me say that everything you've heard about chemotherapy is true.  It's horrible.  It's not the same for everyone, but it's horrible for anyone who has to suffer through it.  Interestingly (if anyone is interested in such a topic), the main side effect, nausea, is now very well controlled.  But, trust me, there are many other side effects that are not controlled at all.

We are 2/3 of the way through chemo.  I'm relieved that the end is closer, but we're not there yet.  I say 'we' because while I am not suffering the physical effects of the chemo, I am living through the wretchedness of it with my partner.  And, it is wretched.

I'm not going to give you a run down of T's symptoms.  I'll spare you the graphic details.  Suffice it to say, it ain't pretty.  Physical symptoms aside, there are also emotional side effects.  These are harder.  Well, you know that.  It's been a bit of a roller coaster around here - except that the coaster rarely goes up.  Just down.  And then further down.

Last week we got into a minor spat over her treatment.  She wanted to stop chemo and wanted me to agree with her and back her up with the oncologist.  I said no.  Of course I said no.  The doctor said no.  Her friends who have gone through this said no.  She was mad that I didn't take her side.  I said, I am taking your side!  This is in your best interest!  I don't know that we persuaded her, but she will not be quitting chemo until it is done.

Cancer has taken over our summer.  Probably autumn as well.  It's hard to plan anything when your partner doesn't know if she can leave the house or not.  Do I sound bitter?  Oh, a tad.  Sorry.  I'm trying to remain positive, but it's a challenge.

So, let's go to the highlight reel.  What are the noteworthy good times we've had since May?

1. Went camping.  Ok, it's not camping the way 8thDay camps, but it's what we like.  :-) We took our vintage trailer out for a 4 day weekend.  Our favorite neighbors came too.  It was so nice to get out of the city and into the forest!  Very restorative, and so worth the effort.

2. T got to drive her show truck in an informal car show.  We didn't stay long - energy levels and bathroom issues prevent a long stay anywhere.  And germs.  Can't be around a lot of people.

3. Got out of several tedious family get togethers because of the suppressed immune system.  Ha!  Making cancer work for us, for once!

4. Canned a big batch of dill pickles.  Something we enjoy doing and will enjoy eating for the rest of the year.

5. Had a friend over.   Once.  For a couple of hours to play cards.  We were in the habit of getting together with this friend every couple of weeks, but this is all we've been able to manage.

6.  Went to a dog's birthday party.  Yes, we are that kind of lesbian and so are our friends!  Interestingly and ominously, half of the women at the party had or have had breast cancer.  That makes me sad and mad.

In some ways, this list makes me happy - look, I say to myself, we've done some fun stuff.  In other ways, it makes me sad.  I know how many more entries there should be on this list.  Oh well, my job as a Pollyanna is to highlight the positive.  It's been a difficult job of late!

So, that's the update.  We're still here, slogging through the awfulness.  We've still got surgery to look forward to, and then the lesser chemo that will go through to May.  Whoopee.

That's what I've got...  how about you?  I could use some good news here people!  Who's got some?