Once Upon a Mane

14 years ago today, the day before my “aerodynamic surgery” aka mastectomy aka the amputation of my boobs, in preparation for my chemo “haircut”, I decided it was high time for an epic check mate kinda move & had my goldilocks cut off in an attempt to taper down to the bald. I actually had a party at the Salon that day with my Pinot Grigio girls from my hood. Take that cancer.

Do I miss the old mop? Nah. ‘Twas a bit unruly, if you wanna know the truth. A couple of cowlicks always causing me double trouble, refusing to lay any which way but loose.

I did kinda hope i might get some of those chemo curls everybody else in the world seems to get… but alas, i got chemo spikey spikes instead. C‘est la vie but life is a good thing. At least they are low maintenance cuz that’s another good thing. Also, saves money on hairbrushes since I don’t own one anymore. Who knew so much good could come out of one scaryAF but bold ass haircut?

A Very Sonder Celebration

Yesterday was the hubcap’s #Heinz57 birthday. For the next month, he is technically a year older than me & technically my old man. Conveniently, since I am always gonna be one month younger than him, I will never be his “old” lady since we’ve been married since we were 22.

I don’t even remember what life before we got married was even like. Of course, life before cancer/chemo is also a blur. Now that I think about it, I realize I forgot to take any pictures of the hubcap’s super fun lil fam dam bday dinner at Sonder Brewing last night. Except for these 2 signs I saw.

Serendipitously, we ran into our friends Bonnie & Tom Collins & the Live Like Maya Foundation crew doing a fundraiser there. I got to show off all the wondergrands which is my fave thing! Amanda won one of the raffle baskets & then played “the claw” machine like my lsweet ittle warrior sister Maya (RIP) used to do & went home with 2 more prizes.

Dave went home with prizes too aka bday gifts & 5 raffle tickets for the grand prize of the bourbon raffle basket, which will be drawn later, so fingers crossed & there might be one more gift for the birthday boy. I got him snorkeling gear & he’s trying to find some time he can take off to come down to Florida for a much needed break & a holiday together. (I also bought myself snorkeling gear for his birthday so he wouldn’t hafta snorkel all by himself.)

Anyway, the moral of the story is, we ate, we drank, we were merry. I just forgot to take any pics. Except these 2 signs I saw. Sonder Brewing, in 2 pics. Worth 2k words? Yep. Of course, I looked up the word sonder when I got home. Turns out it is a newish word, coined by Joe Koenig, author of The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, drawing on his own contemplations of inner emotions. Dude has coined 100’s of words! (I didn’t even know coining words was a job but now I’m a little jelly.) Yep, I already ordered the book & technically it fits under the umbrella of the hubcap’s bday so yay for more gifts! The longer definition in the book is even more delicious. Sonder is the realization that each random passerby is the main character of their own story, living a life just as vivid and complex as your own, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee (or beer) in the background. OFMG. If you know me at all, as a human being, writer, or life coach you know THIS IS MY JAM, MY WHEELHOUSE, THIS. IS. MY. CRACK. This is my new fave word. My philosophy in a nutshell. The tip jar in the second image just made me laugh my ass off, which is another tenet of my philosophy aka levity.

And that about wraps the hubcap’s lil fam dam bday celeb recap. Except I also just realized we forgot to sing happy birthday. Also there was no cake. Except maybe the chocolate cookie cigar Amanda gave the hubcap counts? Nonetheless, I’m told by the bday boy himself that a happy birthday was had. Whew. Poor guy has quite a cast of extras in his life, lol. 

P.S. I am normally an IPA kinda girl (& I did enjoy my Sonder IPA flight) but I also super dug Sonder’s Kato (blonde ale w/their Kato coffee) & Mexican Hot Chocolate Otto when I “extended the flight” after dinner. Speaking of dinner, we ordered way too much food off the foodie lover kinda menu, just to try a bunch of things and I’ll just sign off this post with the memory of & consequent longing for (need to coin a word for that feeling) …the yummiest grilled bologna sandwich I have ever had & which has consequently ruined me for all other bologna sandwiches for life. SO DAMN GOOD!

Typing a Tribute to Jenny Pagliaro “Fast As I Can” ~RIP

RIP Jenny Pagliaro. Singer of Roses and Cigarettes. She was only 35. Her song “Fast As I Can” is about living with metastatic breast cancer. She was a sister I didn’t know personally. But I take her death very personally. I’m 53. The same beast that tried to kill me 10 years ago, killed her today. At 35. I’m not OK with that. With any of it.

Everybody knows that 1 in 8 women will get breast cancer in their lifetime. I am one of the 1 in 8. But not everybody knows that 3 out of 10 of those 1 women in 8 (that’s 30% of all initial breast cancer diagnosis regardless of stage) will have a breast cancer recurrence, become metastatic, become one of the 113 women who die every day in our country. If you are inside the breast cancer world, it feels like everybody outside the breast cancer world thinks that since we all think pink in October, that we got breast cancer “handled”. I doubt Olivia Pope would consider the situation handled.

I keep posting about my friends keeping on dying cuz they keep on dying and I am a witness to their lives and they will not go softly into the night if I stand up here on this platform and say there name out loud and proud, do my part to pay forward my own good fortune by helping keep their memory alive.

Today Jenny Pagliaro is one of the 113 women (and #mengetbreastcancertoo) die from breast cancer every day in our country. There are 112 more women, who are not famous rock stars who wrote uber fab breast cancer anthems, that will die from metastatic breast cancer. Just like Jenny Pagliaro. But without the fanfare. It will not be on the evening news. The world will not notice. Except we in the breast cancer community will notice. We feel each one. We all know many of them. Some of deeper in the breast cancer movement have people they know and love die everyday, sometimes more than one friend a day. We all know it could be us. We don’t have breast cancer handled. It is NOT a manageable disease.

It’s not a fluke that Jenny Pagliaro or any of my friends who die on a given day, die on any given day. It’s what cancer does. It has one job, and it does it well. Approximately 800 women (and men) get breast cancer in the US every day, and 113 die every day. We haven’t done much to change those ugly stats. Pink has not handled cancer.

Metastatic breast cancer research is where our focus needs to be. UCLA Metastatic breast cancer researcher Dennis Slamon’s discovery of the targeted immunotherapy aka Herceptin is the only reason I’m sitting here typing these word. It used to be 100% fatal kind to get. His work was focused on metastatic breast cancer patients without any options remaining who had all been told to go home and get their homes in order. He took these “hopeless” cases, gave them hope and Herceptin, and ended up turning the tide for Her2 breast cancer patients like me. Before we didn’t have a bullet against the beast. Now we have a bullet. So far, so good, mine’s been a silver bullet.

But my point is, we need to do this with all the cancers, not just breast cancers. This is where we need to be putting our monies, into metastatic cancer research. The #truthbomb is, if we cure metastatic cancers, then it becomes a manageable disease cuz nobody is dying from it. Then we are “handling” it. I recommend METAvivor Research and Support Inc. 100% of everything they raise goes to metastatic breast cancer research. The kind that kills. The kind we should be focusing on. They are focusing on it. They got one job and I believe they are gonna do it.

Meanwhile, Pagliaro’s song “Fast As I Can” resonates deep with me today.  Here’s a really good Billboard article about her. Here are a couple quotes I pulled outta it that hit me where I live as fast as I can.

“The upbeat, twangy songs message about living life to the fullest shines through, even as it chronicles Pagliaro’s frequent hospital visits for cancer treatment.”


“This song was written about my battle with stage IV breast cancer,” Pagliaro told Billboard at the time. “It’s about not letting the biggest challenge you’ve ever faced stop you from living your dreams.”

The New Phone Books Are Here!

[You know that scene in The Jerk where Steve Martin gets stoked over “The new phonebooks are here!” A similar scene went down here today, when I realized that Shaken has 100 reviews on Amazon! This is so very timely not to mention encouragingAF as my sweet Amanda (the best personal assistant EVER) & I put the noses to the grindstone to take the old red pencil and mark up the recording for the Audible version.]

So damn grateful for the kindness of reviews. It seems like a little thing, but to all of us who put our works out in the world, it is actually all the things & a bag of chips with a cherry on top. Not counting Amazon sales (which is the only thing Amazon counts… They don’t count the 1k+ books I’ve bought (from them) and sold from the trunk of my car on my travels around the country, solo or with The Grace Project.) I have personally looked into the eyes and put over 1000 books in people’s hands. True, I’ve only sold about half those. The others I have used as thank you cards to my gracious hosts in my travels around the country/world; I have donated to many friends of friends who have been diagnosed with breast cancer and I couldn’t bring myself to charge them on top of what they are going through; I’ve sold them at my book release parties and other book events like the #Milford Readers & Writers festival, my library’s local author book fair, and other events and appearance, or foundations have asked me to donate books to their fundraisers and I always do. –My point is not to Pat myself on the damn back or anything here. Patting yourself on the back never feels quite as sweet as somebody else patting you on the back. My point in opening my vein here, is cuz I don’t know how else to properly express the depth of gratitude I’m feeling to hit the milestone of 100 reviews. Last week I had a conversation with somebody who challenged my legitimacy as an author cuz I’m self published and they wondered if anybody but the hubcap has ever bought my book. Kinda sent me spiraling. I did not leave my house the next day, even called in sick to occupational therapy for my #write hand. After laying around the house all damn day I still couldn’t sleep that night. After scrolling through Facebook like a prayer list as I am won’t to do in the middle of the night, I ended up clicking onto my Amazon Shaken Not Stirred . . . a Chemo Cocktail page and read through every single review sending out mad love and gratitude to all those crazy beautiful souls. I’ve recently realized what a miracle it is to get Amazon reviews at all, since over the years I’ve had various people I’ve personally handed books to in my travels around the country contact me saying they tried to give me a review but Amazon won’t accept it cuz they aren’t a verified purchase since they bought one at an event or outta the trunk of my car. And they always take down any reviews from friends and family. I get that, kinda? but I also don’t. The hubcap & redheads all wrote reviews I thought anybody looking for a cancer memoir would find helpful since they lived through it too. It wasn’t just my story. They weren’t just gushy sweet nothings but thoughtful reviews. But Amazon took them down. Whatever. Back to my point. Bowing down in gratitude. It truly is one of the best ways to love your fave authors.

Speaking of, I have a lot of fave author friends out there. Please feel free to post the links for your books so all my friends can know all know and love all your good books like I do. And please always try to go and leave a kind word for them on Amazon. #fortheloveofbooksandauthors

Couple Pensees, Two Pennies

[My last haiku for my write club’s March Marchness haiku challenge. This has been a total blast and I hope to do it again in June, September, & December to celebrate the seasons this year. We plan to publish an anthology of the best of for each of the seasons this year, and then an anthology of snapshots of 2019 rendered in haiku. Stay tuned for March Marchness the book & also if you would like to take the challenge with us in June. You don’t have to live in Cincy to play along. March Marchness had quite a few from Cincinnati, obvi, cuz that is where I am (and my write club is)  based. But we also had poets from Chicago, New Jersey, St. Louis, & Mississippi.]

Couple Pensees, Two Pennies

I’d bet the farm, the ranch,
My boots, my bottom dollar
On Pascal’s wager.

I’d shoot for the moon–
Why not? Cut the cards. Deal me
In. What have I got

To lose? My 2¢
Oh but darling, what if
The odds are with me?

#marchmarchness #writeclub #haikuchallenge #haikuaday #haiku #poetry#becausetheworldneedsmorepoetry #pensees #blaisepascal

The Google Knows

Taran’s Watercolor Birds

Taran’s Watercolor Birds

Used to know a song
‘Bout watercolor ponies
When my kids were small.

Soul Rx

Soul Rx

Music heals. Laughter
Is good medicine. Hope floats.
Jesus loves me. This

Ode to Snail Mail

Ode to Snail Mail

That box isn’t the
Only one smiling, on this
The definition

Of a good mail day.
Letter from a friend, my fave
Band’s newest vinyl,

Birthday cake platter–
Taran’s turning three, proofs for
My poetry book.

#marchmarchness #writeclub #haikuchallenge #haikuaday
#haiku #poetry #becausetheworldneedsmorepoetry @overtherhinemusic #loveandrevelation #vinyl #iheartvinyl #taranthewonderboy #gigislittleprince#letthemeatcake #postcardsfromtheroad #book

He Makes My Feet Like Hinds Feet