Category Archives: Bloggin’ Buddies

Back with Julie

One week after landing in a hazy, overcast, gray Geneva, Switzerland, I had my very first taste of what I’d moved 3,000 miles to experience.  And it was, of course, magical.

I was alone for the first time in weeks.  Exploring.  John was working, Jacob was safely at his first day of school.  I was on my own, with only our Bernese Mountain Dog, Charlie, for company when it happened.

I was driving down the Route de Divonne when the clouds, at long last, parted.  And there they were – just past the now glistening Lake Geneva — the mountains.  The Alps!  Mont Blanc, with its year-round snowy peak, the highest mountain in Europe. The Alps danced right there — just through my windshield.  I could practically reach out and touch them, taste them, smell their beauty.  It was magical.  Breathtaking.  Inspiring.  Unforgettable.

Google Photo

Google Photo

I felt like Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music.  You know just what I mean, don’t you.  I felt like Julie when she is up there in the mountains all by herself.  When she throws her arms wide and sings with all her heart, The Hills Are Alive, With the Sound of Music.  And they are.  Trust me.  They are.

I slowed down, tried to breathe, tried to memorize the moment and keep it in my heart. Tried to capture the moment forever.  I also tried not to hit another car.

And then, well, something else happened.  From a side street to my left came a small car.  It turned in front of me, pulling behind it a long green open-air trailer.  Neatly stenciled on the back in a lacy, delicate script were these words:

jardin naturel

“Natural Garden,” in French.

On top of that trailer sat the largest pile of steaming cow manure I have ever seen.

Yes, my first solo excursion in the Swiss countryside became a metaphor for life as an ex-patriot living there:  There were moments of majestic beauty that I call “Julie Andrews Moments,” when I was filled with beauty and awe.  When I honestly felt like the luckiest person on earth.

And there was a lot of shit.  These two elements combined with travel to places I never dreamed I’d see, made our time in Geneva the adventure of a lifetime.

 

*     *     *

My bloggin’ buddy, Naomi, a wonderful traveler who actually posts her own pictures and does not cut them from Google, wrote this post about a trip to Switzerland.  Naoimi inspired me to re-post this old, old post.  I wrote it back in the days when you didn’t know me.  When you didn’t realize that some way, somehow, shit is always a metaphor for my life.

And if you ever get the chance to go to Switzerland, do it.  Do not pass GO, do not collect $200 — it’s not worth all that much over there!

Google Photo

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Filed under Adult Traumas, Bloggin' Buddies, Driving, Family, Geneva Stories, Huh?, Humor

Freakin’ Friday Feature! TwinDaddy Does it for Me!

Today I received possibly the best honor since I received my Oscars in 1983.  And I’m pretty sure I didn’t deserve this one, either.

Yes, today, TwinDaddy of Stuph Blog honored me by featuring me, Elyse(!) of FiftyFourAndAHalf.com on his relatively regular Friday post:  Feature Friday!

Now if you don’t know about TwinDaddy, I must tell you that he and I met over a gun control post I wrote.  He disagreed with my anti-gun stance.  Strongly.  But politely.  Respectfully.  He and I have debated this issue, along with many others on which we disagree with respect, facts and humor.  Of course, I continue to always be right, but TwinDaddy is always — and I mean always — a terrific guy whether we are agreeing or disagreeing.

But TD is more than that.  He is a sensitive, father of three incredible boys that he loves deeply and is not embarrassed to let everybody know.  He’s a fun writer of fiction and other stuph including poetry (even I don’t go there!).  He writes about feelings, deep, sometimes dark and sometimes light, feelings that really point out how alike we all are.  He writes about his struggles with depression, divorce and parenthood.

In short, he writes about life.  And his is worth sharing.

In addition “his” blog is filled with all kinds of stuph by not just TwinDaddy but also by Revis and 1Jaded1!  Three Mints in One! Each of them have their own stories to tell, and they are well worth reading.

Actually, I’m pretty sure that TwinDaddy is an anarchist — which is way far to the left of my socialist tendencies.  He is trying to destroy the world.  You see, most every week, TwinDaddy features one of his bloggin’ buddies in a post, asks them to pick some of their own special favorite posts, and asks his followers to read their stuff and THEN asks them to follow those blogs.  Basically, TwinDaddy shuts down the economy of the United States along with virtually every English-speaking country just about every Friday.

It’s been a busy day for me today, so I couldn’t give TwinDaddy the accolades he deserves until now.  So what I’ll do is carry forth the love.  To prove just what an honor being Featured on a Stuph Blog Feature Friday is, here are the other folks who have been so honored:

The Mercenary Researcher

Guapola

The Matticus Kingdom

Daises From Dust

Behind the Mask of Abuse

Rarasaur

Alice at Wonderland

Knocked Over By A Feather

33 Grams of Blog

So you can see, I’m in good company.

Thank you, TwinDaddy, for featuring me today.  But mostly, thanks for being such a good bloggin’ buddy.  YOU Seriously Rock!

Google Image

Well, I said you rock.
And you write poetry.
You wanna make something out of it?
Google Image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Bloggin' Buddies, Family, Huh?, Humor, Taking Care of Each Other, Word Press

Obama Is A Weak Leader: A Generic Republican Interview

Do you ever feel like another blogger has occupied your brain?  Well I certainly did when I read this guest post by the brilliant  List of X one of my very favorite blogging buddies.  Please send him a message in the comments — a strong message!

*    *     *

From the start of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, every Republican leader and right-wing pundit has criticized Barack Obama for not being tough enough on Russians. If we could interview a generic Republican leader, the interview would go something like this…

Journalist: “Generic Republican Leader, would you have a few minutes to talk about Barack Obama’s response to the crisis in Ukraine?”

Generic Republican Leader: “Yeah, sure.”

Journalist: “Do you agree with the way Obama is handling the crisis?”

GRL: “I don’t. Obama has proved himself to be a weak leader. He needs to be strong, and get tough on Putin.”

Journalist: “And do what?”

GRL: “Obama needs to lead.”

Journalist: “How?”

GRL: “By being a strong and decisive leader.”

Journalist: “Which is…?”

GRL: “Which is the opposite of a weak leader like Obama.”

Journalist: “So what, do you think, is Obama’s weakness?”

GRL: “He’s not a strong leader.”

Journalist: “But what he should do to become a strong leader?”

GRL: “He should act decisively.”

Journalist: “And by ‘act” you mean…?

GRL: “Not mince words, like he does.”

Journalist: “Should military option be on the table?”

GRL: “All options should be on the table – military, diplomatic… but not vegetarian, I hate that option.”

Journalist: “Do you think it’s time for diplomacy?”

GRL: “No, it’s time to send Putin a message.”

Journalist: “But not for diplomacy?”

GRL: “No, because we’re just going to send a message, and we’re not interested in anything Putin has to say to us.”

Journalist: “So what message should Obama send to Putin?”

GRL: “It has to be strong message.”

Journalist: “About what?”

GRL: “That we’re strong and we’re not going to stand for it.”

Journalist: “And what should we do if Putin ignores our message?”

GRL: “We should act.”

Journalist: “Act how?”

GRL: “Decisively.”

Journalist: “But what should we do exactly?”

GRL: “We should put an end to Putin’s imperial ambitions.”

Journalist: “Would you oppose Obama if he proposed a military action?”

GRL: “Yes.”

Journalist: “Would you oppose Obama–

GRL: “Yes.”

Journalist: “Sorry, I haven’t actually finished the question.”

GRL: “Oh. I thought you did. What was the question?”

Journalist: “Would you oppose Obama–

GRL: “Yes.  Absolutely.  My answers still stands.”

Journalist: “So what do you propose?”

GRL: “We need to send him a strong message.

Journalist: “To Putin?”

GRL: “No, to Obama. What about Putin?”

Journalist: “You also wanted to send a strong message to Putin.”

GRL: “Right. Then we need to send two strong messages. Or we can just send it to Obama and copy Putin on it.”

Journalist: “Shouldn’t Obama, as president, send the message himself?”

GRL: “No, he’s too weak.”

Journalist: “But it’s just a message. Obama can just type it and press ‘Send’.”

GRL: “No, Obama needs to physically print the message and walk to the mailbox to send it. Otherwise Putin will see that Obama is too weak to even walk to a mailbox. We need the president who can not only talk the talk, but also walk the walk. We need a strong president!”

Journalist: “Do you think Putin is a strong leader?”

GRL: “Yes, definitely.”

Journalist: “So do you think Obama should be more like Putin?”

GRL: “………….Have I told you that Obamacare will kill three million jobs?”

Journalist: “Thank you for the interview. Any last words for our readers, Generic Republican Leader?”

GRL: “Yes. Vote GOP in 2014! Unlike Obama, we have a clear, strong, and decisive foreign policy!”

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Filed under Bloggin' Buddies, Campaigning, Criminal Activity, Disgustology, Elections, GOP, Guest Posts, Huh?, Humor, Politics, Stupidity, Voting, Wild Beasts

Hey Doc? Be Mine ♥!

Anybody who has read my blog knows that I’m really not keen on holidays.  Nope.  It stems from the fact that my family members have a nasty habit of dying on holidays.  It’s a competition.  Mostly, it’s an annoying game if you’re not playing.  AND I AM NOT PLAYING!

So I approached last Friday with a little bit of trepidation.  Valentine’s Day.  You’ll no doubt forgive me, but I hate to answer the phone on holidays, even manufactured ones.

But this Valentine’s Day changed my mind.

Yup.  It’s true.  From now on, I love Valentine’s Day.  And it has nothing to do with my husband, with chocolate or with flowers.  This Valentine’s Day, somebody saved my life.  And she did it by giving me the most terrifying news anybody ever has to hear.

CANCER

Yup.  It was my doctor.  And she told me I have cancer.  But just a little bit.  Because unlike with pregnancy, you can be ‘a little bit’ cancerous.

In all honesty, I knew it was coming.  I’ve know it for years.  Because I grew up a Cheeto.  My idyllic childhood was spent here, at my beach, hastening the inevitable.

Photo:  Offmetro.com

It was a lovely place to grow up.
Photo: Offmetro.com

For my entire childhood, I was baked to a crackly crunch.  Nobody ever used sunscreen or wore a hat.  Or sat under an umbrella.  If you put anything on your skin it was OIL to quick-fry you.

I was never one of the cool cats, though. Photo Credit:  gawkerassets.com

I was never one of the cool cats, though.
Photo Credit: gawkerassets.com

When the phone rang on Valentine’s Day, I sighed.  I don’t hear good news on a holiday.  You know that.

The call was to give me results of a biopsy done on a weird spot on my face.  A spot that had been there for quite a while, and that she had looked at several times before.  It had been ugly, but only damaging to my self-image.  Now?  It had become dangerous.

“Elyse, I’m so sorry — it’s malignant.”

That’s not something one ever wants to hear, no matter what day it is.  I’m proud to say, I took the news fairly stoically.  Well, kind of.  OK, a little bit stoically.  (I have a reputation to uphold, here.)  I fell apart later.  Minutes later.

She went on to explain that the cancer was brand new — caught really early. It hadn’t grown down, which is when it becomes serious.  It hadn’t even expanded out very far.  It wasn’t advanced, but I’d need to have it taken off and then I would be fine.  And that I should never go outside again without sunblock.

“I’m so sorry to have to tell you this, Elyse.  And on Valentine’s Day!”

Now, now, bloggin’ buddy, don’t worry.  Remember, I am a fake medical expert.  I know just what to do.  In fact, I asked for this diagnosis.   Well, sort of.

You do not need to make your plans to attend a virtual funeral.  I’m not going to die.  Well, actually, I will, but it’s a good bet this spot on my face will not be involved.  No need to plan the fiesta.

Because mine is a ZERO.

If you have to have cancer, you want to be a Stage ZERO.  I don’t know how that still means I have it, but still.  Zero is good.  Ish.

I have Stage ZERO lentigo maligna melanoma.  It’s basically a sunspot gone bad.  I have already seen two doctors, and in the next couple of weeks, I will have it removed by a plastic surgeon.  And bye-bye cancer!

So why does this make me LIKE Valentine’s Day?  Why don’t I just add it to my list of hated holidays?

Because the diagnosis saved my life.  Really.

The cancer has been caught at the earliest possible point – it just started being cancer.  It hasn’t dug it’s nasty roots deeply into my face, it hasn’t spread to my lymph nodes.  It hasn’t metastasized to any one of a dozen organs.

If I hadn’t gotten that call?

If I hadn’t had that biopsy?

If I hadn’t seen my dermatologist?

Then, and only then, my melanoma  would have become deadly.

Now, why am I telling you all this?

It’s not to get some bloggy love, although that is always welcome.

It’s because I want to save your skin.  Right now.  Listen to me, and follow my instructions precisely:

  1. Go into your bathroom
  2. Take off all of your clothes
  3. Examine your skin
  4. Check spots, moles and discolorations carefully
  5. If anything doesn’t look right, if you have a bad feeling, if something is bigger or darker or just different, go to a dermatologist and have it checked out.

I could give you the statistics that I’ve naturally been reading compulsively.  But I won’t.  You’re welcome.

Instead I’ll give you a song by Eva Cassidy, a brilliant, talented singer who died of melanoma at age 33.  I have long loved her music, and have included her in some of my most heart-felt stories.  She was also the subject of a moving story on Nightline.

But I’m not trying to make you sad.  I’m not trying to drum up sympathy for me (because really, I will be fine).  But for all of us, for all those who love us, it is really important to remember:  It is a Wonderful World.  Let’s all hang around.

Please join me in saying thanks to the nurse practitioner who just didn’t think that spot on my face looked right, and biopsied it.  Megan, I will think of you every Valentine’s Day for the rest of my life.  Thanks to you, I have a shot at it being a very long one indeed.

Now – you guys reading this – go check out your damn skin.  What are you waiting for? GO!

Me, I’m busily thinking up intriguing stories to tell folks when they see that I have a scar on my cheek …

Perhaps I’ll get a pirate hat and a parrot!

108 Comments

Filed under Adult Traumas, Bloggin' Buddies, Cancer, Health and Medicine, Hey Doc?, Holidays, Melanoma, Out Damn Spot!, Taking Care of Each Other

Vote for ME Please, If It’s Not Too Much Trouble

One of the many reasons I’ve never run for public office is that I hate asking for things.  It makes me uncomfortable.  It makes me feel unworthy.  Unloved.

Votes have always been especially hard for me to ask for.  So this is really hard for me to do.

But one of my earliest bloggin’ buddies, Lorna of Lorna’s Voice, nominated me for the BlogHer “Heart:  Feel it” Award!  And I need your vote to avoid total humiliation.

It is for my story/blog post, Letting Go.

Letting Go is a very heartfelt piece.  You see, it was written with my dog Cooper asleep at my feet.  Written knowing that the vet would soon come for his last, and saddest, visit with my ailing Cooper.  But it isn’t a sad story.  Because it is about a very special walk with a very special dog who made a very special friend that day.  Or tried to, anyway.  And it happened many years earlier, when Cooper was young and healthy and carefree.  The story really did help ease the pain of his passing, even as I was facing it.

So please click on this link, register (sorry!) and vote.  For me and for Coops.  For Letting Go.  (There’s a link to the post through this link.)

http://www.blogher.com/node/1393485/voty?category=VOTY%20-%20Heart%3A%20Feel%20it.

And pretend you’re in Chicago — vote early and often!

Thanks, Lorna!

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Filed under Awards, Bloggin' Buddies, Campaigning, Cooper, Dogs, Elections, Humor, Pets, Writing