Electronic Cat Database

“Our top story tonight concerns the Internet, AKA, the Electronic Cat Database” –John Oliver

Collective Soul Cat

Ain’t gonna lie: I’ve said I was too busy to write blog posts, but I’ve also just been too blue. I AM physically tired—lots of work, and as chemo and/or radiation recipients know, you are never quite “right” again. I used to have so much energy, but since cancer, I just have never felt quite as energetic. So yeah, at the end of the day, I just collapse—and marvel that I once went out to clubs after a work day (how? what?). But it’s more than that—I’ve been slightly depressed. I’m caught up in the 2017 horrific news cycle. I scan social media, save things to read later, but keep scrolling without going back to read—#FOMO in overdrive. I love being a good #Indivisible #Resistance member, but I am tired, as I suspect many are. So I have not taken time to attend to this blog, or even my CC Facebook page much lately. I gotta change that in 2018 (even though as a good Curmudgeon, I think NYE resolutions are total hogwash).

The threats to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act have taken much of my attention this year, and will again next year. Coming in at a close second has been the Net Neutrality issues. That sort of surprised me—I mean I am one of those crazy lefties truly and deeply concerned that authoritarian rule is about to descend upon my country. I’ve been really upset about so many things, like the lying, the attacks on media, on immigrants, on, on, on—but the attacks on the Internet have really made me nuts. Yeah, yeah, I know, nothing has changed since the FCC vote a few weeks ago—but I know how these things go—it will happen incrementally, so we accept without notice. How will this impact my blog? Will people pay for access to WordPress blogs? Would I? I do think that packaging of things like FB/Netflix/Hulu/Twitter will happen. What will happen to Tumblr? Yeah, I know, Tumblr is for teen and twenty-something depressed girls or whatever. But it helped me back in 2012. Just out of treatment, just quit my 9 to 5 and starting my own business, post-treatment depressed—I fell into the fandom stuff there. I met people there. My first online cancer friend, Greg, who eventually died of Mets prostate cancer, was found there. My dear friends @angel-of-malahide and @toasty-hancock were there. So, I cannot imagine not having access to Tumblr, but my pragmatic self won’t “pay” for it. Hell, I just cancelled Netflix today—which was unthinkable years ago. But, I don’t have time for Netflix, so why pay? I used to be such a film geek this was unthinkable, but, buh-bye.

And this is the crux of it. Yes, I benefited from the in-person support group at my treatment center. But it was the online support that allowed me to truly recover, mentally. My support group was small and rather enlightened for all that we were in a rural area (I was NOT the only one pointing out pink lameness, or pointing out the sexualization). But it was online that I found my niche. I found The Sarcastic Boob. I was so honored and happy when Scorchy herself reached out to me via email (inspired a whole blog post because of things she asked me). I met Karen the Commenter. We had long email conversations. And then I met more and more. (Confession: started listing y’all, but stopped for fear of missing someone; started checking FB friends and I don’t think I need to explain how troubling it is to see names of the dead there). I became myself again. In short, without the Internet I would’ve been lost.

My point is—and I DO have one that I AM getting to—is that I am so grateful for everyone I’ve met via Internet. I’ve been lucky to meet a couple of y’all IRL. I’ve cut myself off a bit this year, and that has been a mistake. Granted, I cannot keep up the previous frequency of posts, but I’ve been TOO infrequent this year. I’ve missed the interaction. I am indeed am introvert, so it seems odd that I would miss interaction, but I do. In fact, not interacting becomes a bad habit. I get stuck inside my head too much, and that is NOT good. (Or maybe my head got stuck in the other place, hardee har har.)

As I think I’ve mentioned before, I don’t really celebrate the holidays, what with half my life being in the service industry, holidays are just times when life is too busy, and I’m usually working. When the holidays are over and the new year begins, that’s a better time for me. I kind of like the return to routine, the disruption of the holidays is over. I cannot help but think I am not the only one with this view. Anyone reading this live in a small town too? Anyone else have that one restaurant or fast food crap hole that the retired set like to hang out in every single morning? I know some of those folks, and I know they kind of like it when the disruption is over too. Maybe their families live too far away for a visit (or some other far less pleasant back story), and they just want to get back to the everyday comfort and joy their pseudo family provides. I can’t help but think the online community is like that. It is nice to see family—for some of us. But the families we’ve created here online in our blogging community, the people who “get us”, well, it’s good to get back to that too.  We all know that not all of our family members have been able to support us during the cancer in the way we needed. So we need this thing, this Electronic Cat Database, this Internet. (Also, for the cat videos, which I’ve mindlessly watched lately. A lot.)

So my sort of, cough cough, resolution (ugh), is to return. A return to writing, to reading, to commenting, to interacting. I need it.

Look out 2018!

 

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The Thing About the Holidays

Long-time readers might have noticed I don’t write many posts about how to handle anything at any time holidays and cancer. My view on this time of year is a bit….meh.

Oh I like hoopla and stuff to a degree. I love Halloween, as I’ve said here more times than I can count. But the Thanksgiving to New Year weeks are, um, different for me.

Let me back up. As I’ve said a few times on here, I am a pet/house sitter, and before I went full time into this business I worked non-profit, and before that—dun dun duuuuuuun retail hell. Back when I worked retail, as soon as January arrived, the outlet mall—at the beach—shortened the open hours. It was a nice reward after a hectic season. Can I be blamed for looking forward to those quiet winter months a little more than the big red and green holiday that everyone else loves? As a store manager, there were other bonuses—having a less complicated employee schedule to create being one of them. I started the house sitting while still in retail, and yes, my easier, month-long gigs happened as the older crowd took looooong trips in warmer southern areas after the new year began. Christmas was, and is, always hectic—lots of people trying to schedule me for overnight/weekend stays, or for hour long visits on the actual holidays. I work harder on Christmas days than most other days of the year.

One of my favorite films is “Holiday Inn”, with Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. Bing’s character had a similar complaint about working more on the holiday. He goes on to buy a farm, finds out that it’s hard work, converts it to an inn only open (with a floor show of course) on holidays. The rest of the year he closes up—so he can be lazy. (See more at end of post.) In short, maybe that film is a favorite because I related to Bing’s complaint.

So you see, when other bloggers are writing about resolutions, or handling holidays with cancer, or writing messages of hope at this special time of year, I’m either too busy to notice, or just thinking about my usual curmudgeonly complaints—because in some aspects, these days are not much different for me. Just another day of work—actually a harder day. But I try to be aware—I had a few harsh/challenging posts lined up and realize most people don’t want to read that sort of thing right now. I’ll wait until after the New Year.

The funny little thing about the holidays is, well, I find them a bit disruptive. So much of my life revolves around routine. Not that changing up a routine isn’t a good thing—it is. But when there is illness, well, routine is a friend. As I’ve mentioned a few times, my primary pet sitting client has Chronic Lyme. About 2 years ago I became less pet sitter and more human caretaker. Her day is divided into a schedule of taking antibiotics, probiotics a few hours later, medicines to alleviate the hell these medicines cause the stomach, and eating. I begin at 6AM and it ends at 8:30 PM. My day is divided up into alarms that tell me when to take her meds to her, or prepare a meal. In between times I often take her to appointments, take care of household matters, and yes, care for the dog! I do these things Mon – Fri, so her primary caregiver, her husband (who also has Lyme, but not chronic), can have a break. For me, life is The Schedule.

Here’s the thing: The Schedule doesn’t budge for weekends or holidays. The things that happen, the medicines to take, they happen every damn day. There is no day off.

I remember in 2010, I had my last infusion of The Red Devil that week between Christmas and New Year’s. Needless to say, I didn’t much give a shit about all the festivity around me. I resented the closed doors for the holidays—the disruption of the schedule, because I just wanted to get finished. I was scared and afraid if I missed a day or something, the drugs wouldn’t work, and the cancer would continue to grow. My rational mind knew that it didn’t work like that—this was just FEAR in overdrive.

My point is, disease doesn’t stop for the holidays, and it is a bit unfair to expect cancer patients, or anyone with illness, to just put it aside and join the fun. I don’t mean to be a wet blanket. And yeah I know, life goes on, can’t expect the employees (doctors and all) to ignore Christmas because of all the cancer patients. But disease goes on too—holidays be damned.

I could go on and on. One silly pet/house sitter story related to holidays being disruptive includes how garbage collection day gets messed up, which adds to my list of tasks—trying to find out why a client’s garbage has been ignored for over a week—calling the collection company on behalf of the client and being told since I’m not the homeowner (I didn’t have some account number or password to verify paying customer status), nothing could be done. Because yeah, I’m a random person gaming a system to cheat the company out of garbage collection. Eye roll—everyone knows the best way to get out of paying for garbage collection is to take your trash surreptitiously to an industry or mall dumpster—I see this done ALL THE TIME. It’s a million little stories like this—they actually happened to me—that make me leery of holidays. I just get a longer list of work tasks each Christmas. I learned long ago to not really care much about holiday frivolity, and just get my (extra) work done.

So forgive a Cancer Curmudgeon for the lack of holiday themed blog posts. I just don’t have much to say about this set of holidays. I’m not whining about it—I chose my work and it makes me happy. Having no religious affiliation makes it easier as well. All I’m saying is—hey I get it if people with illness just find all this stuff a bit disruptive. Some folks find solace in putting away their worries for a while during the holidays and that’s fine. For others holidays magnify troubles. Some, like myself, find it to be just another day, and maybe a little disruptive. Personally I look forward to less hub-bub that the boring next few months can bring (so long as we don’t get any snow in my one snowplow beach town).

The work of cancer advocacy will still be there next year, after this short break.

***The other funny thing about “Holiday Inn” is how wildly the Bing Crosby character underestimates the “quiet farm life”. He has a nervous breakdown which inspires him to turn his place into the holiday inn. You see, those cows don’t give a shit about Christmas, they still gotta be milked. So while he sought to escape his showbiz NYC life with 2 floor shows on holidays, he failed to see the reality behind some stupid image of quiet country life. I see some of that in my own area. People retire to this rural beach community and take to lawn gardening with gusto. Then the upkeep of a big lawn (or the cost of having a service do it) lands on their head and they downsize to a senior living community in which that stuff is managed. Mowing the lawn seems novel until one has to do it all the time. They were so blinded about getting out of the hustle and bustle of city life, so blinded by the idea of slower life here, and well, learn a lesson. I’m a “from here” and the “come heres” always marvel at how infrequently they get to the beach upon actually moving to it. Don’t I know it! I didn’t spend one day just lying on the sand in 2016. Maybe next year.