Thursday, January 31, 2008

Long List of Lads and Ladies I Love

Today. Was a good day. I can honestly tell you at this very moment that I am feeling happiness in a way I never thought would be possible again. So first of all I want to say to all my lovely friends who happen to read my blog that I'm sorry if I hurt anyone's feelings with the Gemini one. That blog was like this THING that emanated from a very dark place in my soul. It was nasty and mean spirited and full of contentious remarks. None of which is really representative of me at all.

I had a moment in the dead of night where this angry, self-loathing piece of my soul was feeling very sorry for itself. And then out pours words that outwardly seem hurtful and crazy, but inwardly serve some sort of emotional purpose. Its very cathartic for me to express myself in such a way. But what's really cool is usually after I do that, I feel 1,200,453 times better than I did before. Unfortunately, I might be paying a price of offending people I really care about. That is a lofty price, because I care about a lot of people in abundant ways. I tried to warn all of you about that - I said I need to quit this blog before I cross the line and alienate everybody that matters so much to me. And a few of you were like "NO! You musn't stop because for some strange reason we actually sort of like what these things say."

Please don't stop liking me. I need to retain all the friends I already have because a) you are super duper awesome folks who can never be replaced and b) I am a freak with too many sad stories to ever make any new friends. That ship has surely sailed. (Ah...alliteration how I love thee). So hopefully this apology has been sufficient to keep you all liking me still. Today I feel like I have won an award...Remember my icky drains that made your stomach sick just thinking about them? Well they are ancient history. They were removed today in a very short but painful moment in time. It was one of the happiest moments of my life. So I have won the Get Your Disgusting JP Drains Out Award today. I have so many people to thank.

First of all, the Physician's Assistant Rachel with the curly blond hair who did what had to be done and did it with a smile. She also gave me a beautiful breast cancer pillow even though I don't really qualify for it since I don't technically have breast cancer. She broke the rules to give me something lovely. I like that about her.

Another person to thank is Saint Renee, who drove me to this appointment and didn't get lost on the way there. She has been an angel incarnate for me for so many years. If I listed the things she has done for me, I swear you would be writing a petition to the Vatican to make her officially a Saint. I mean if laughing at all my stupid jokes doesn't qualify a person for sainthood than I don't know what does. Okay, Okay, I know there are thousands of better things to do in order to earn such a title. But for me, that is like the ultimate!

Alisha is another one to thank and though there are, again, thousands of things I could list here, in the interest of brevity I will tell you these things: She watched over Liv from Sunday to Wednesday voluntarily and didn't complain about it at all. She said it was a JOY to have her around. Anyone who loves my Liv that much is dear to my heart. Need another reason to love Alisha? She is a delicate and beautiful woman, who is wicked strong and wicked smart and is as loyal a friend as you will ever find in this life. There is history between us, and also loss, and these things have bonded us as sisters for the rest of our lives.

I have to thank my mom, who gave me birth and continues to put up with a lot of shit from me and still adores me. She believes in me. Like in ways that are unrealistic. For instance, she still thinks I am destined to acheive remarkable things. She insists I have this natural beauty...and I laugh, oh how I laugh. If you told her that I painted the sky with my own finger, she would say "I know, didn't she do a lovely job?". On top of the ridiculous faith she has in my admittedly rather limited abilities, she watches Liv for me every single day and gets a kick out of her as much as I do. So thank you mom, you really rock. I'd nominate you for sainthood as well but I remember all those catholic school stories you told me from when you were young and I don't think the pope has forgiven you yet for taking that donation money and buying sandwiches with it instead.

My dad is also a person I need to thank. He came to visit me on Tuesday when I was lonely and feeling sorry for myself and boring to the umpteenth degree. He went for a walk with me in the rain. And then after he listened to me talk non stop in a loopy way for many hours, he sat with me quietly for another few hours while I kept dozing off from the Valium while watching episode after episode of Friends. He told me I was funny too. I kind of adore him for making me feel special. And for so many other reasons too. What other dad in the history of the universe has a my space page? With the following bands listed as favorites: Green Day, T.I., The Killers, Incubus, Velvet Underground, The Revolvers. There is no dad other than mine with a myspace page who has those bands listed as his favorites. I adore him. Another reason I adore him? I remember him changing my flat tire in the middle of a winter night in the pouring rain. It doesn't get any better than that folks.

Another dear soul to thank? Jodi. She is a lot younger than me but when we hang out she never lets me feel old. Plus she entrusted me with all her Felicity DVDs. And she takes excellent care of Amy's cats. I can't think of a nicer thing to do to honor Amy's memory than to hold her cats in special esteem and nurture them like children. She reads books that scare me and also has strong opinions about politics and other things I know nothing substantial about. I heard she once read a book by candlelight, too, and LJ has never let her live it down.

I have to thank my amazing husband Todd, who insists daily that he will always love me, no matter what, and no, he does not find me to be a repulsive lady frankenstein. I have sunk to very low spots and he has always managed to bring me back up to the surface. But most importantly, when it was time for me to go into the surgical room to have my mastectomy, he leaned down with tears in his eyes and kissed both my breasts very tenderly and let me go. Because he is a real man and a real man can appreciate the fact that the whole of a woman is more valuable than the sum of her parts. And because a real man can appreciate the fact that C cup fake boobies can actually be more fun than A cup real ones.

Who else do I thank for where I am today, in this happy place I forgot had existed? I have to thank miss Tina Bina, who takes the brunt of my fury, always, and never gives it back. Who lets me complain about her in (mostly) unfair ways, but NEVER says the things to me that should probably be said, because she is a true friend who knows that underneath this bravado is a fragile little girl who could crumble to tiny little pieces. Maybe we don't talk EVERY day - but we don't have to because we connect every day in the mind in ways such as why only WE could get why certain things are funny. I know she understands why it is hilarious to hate Gerard Depardieu. That is so rare and I love her with a rawness and an energy that you might think was sexual but don't worry, it is not.

Another friend I love with fierceness is Mirta. She has transformed through the years from Tina's friend that hung around with me sometimes, to MY friend who is so innately important to my life that I can't imagine living my life without her in it. She shows up for breakfast, no matter what. She says, "I will be there." And she always is. And she has really beautiful hair. And also her breasts are quite lovely things to behold. She was also the one who wouldn't stop laughing when I fell down in the middle of a busy Cancun street to save a red flip flop. But I forgive her, because that shit...was funny. Especially when I look at the pictures from the rest of the trip and see my skinned knee. I still laugh so hard it hurts. I also realized the other day that she looks a lot like Russell Crowe's wife in Gladiator. And Gladiator is one of my favorite movies.

Oh! How can I forget my Mo? Who makes me laugh at nothing and everything. Moselle appreciates the value of the GAME. She understands why playing at Life is so much better than actually living life. Plus she came to see me in the hospital despite the fact that my lips were all crusty and I was, well, in a hospital. She and Jodi played a card game with me after I demanded it be so in my morphine addled state. I don't remember a lot about that night, but I know they really wanted to leave because the crustiness of my dried out lips was really grossing them out. But they were a good sport about everything and I love them for trying to act enthused.

I have to also thank my sister in law Ashley, who is more than a sister in law now. She is my friend. I think I am her friend, but the jury may still be out on that verdict. She has been a sounding board for despair, namely mine, and listened to some horrific truths and stupid, nonsensical ideas spewing from my mouth. But she just listens to it all, pours the wine, and waits until after I leave to roll her eyes at the dramatic hysteria of her brother's wife. And she is the giver of great gifts: Profound books written by wise authors. She is one of those people who, if life were high school, would be the perpetual prom queen. And most popular girl in school. With straight A's. But she doesn't know that about herself, I don't think Or maybe she does and still doesn't think its enough. But I think she is amazing. Just thinking about her life makes me exhausted. I could never do all that she does and accomplish just everything and at the end of the day still have time to listen to the likes of me.

I have even more people to thank - I will mention my brother, LJ, but briefly, only because we spent a lifetime together and he has made me laugh hearty, belly-hurting, loud laughs. Laughter that was like a snowball rolling down a hill and growing and growing as it went. Something stupid and simple like leaving a star wars figurine for our favorite waiter at ChiChi's. Anyone remember Sam? Or sitting in the bar at Houlihans after having dropped hundreds of those snaps at the front door, listening to and watching the unsuspecting patrons stepping on them as they entered the restaurant. I thanked him profusely for the balloons and get well card he never sent to my hospital room and for all the phone calls of support he never made to me at all. He said "you know I love you." Do I?

But I have others to thank. Today, after getting my drains removed we went to visit our favorite nurse in the world, Theresa - who was looking fabulous, as usual, in her cute scrub uniform. This is the same nurse who kept Amy comfortable and entertained all those long hours in the chemo room. The same nurse who has enough room in her heart to care enough about me to come and visit me three times when I was recovering in the hospital and write me so many encouraging notes to lift my spirits. So now I like to think of her as my friend...and that would be really cool if it were true. A girl can dream, can't she?

And then I'm feeling good enough to go to Target, one of the best places to go to buy anything you want. A perfect place includes a Starbucks, and a Target. This was a dream world once upon a time. A future only imaginable as an unattainable utopia. But now it actually exists. And I can't help but feel like Amy had something to do with that. So I'm at this blessed place, shopping up a storm on a really good day and gets even better because I run into Nicole Raven, looking luminous and beautiful as ever. I can't believe my good fortune to see her on this great day. But this new Target/Starbucks is a magical place, I tell you. Anything is possible. Nicole is a special person to me and I am so happy to have her back in my life. We had a study hall, together. That bonds two souls for life, I say. She has been so supportive of me through this ordeal with writing kind words at the right time and letting me bitch and vent and not hold it against me. So I thank Nicole Raven, too.

Which brings me to two other people I have to thank. One Kacey Thomas, who is the person (other than my relatives) I've known the longest in my life. I met her when I was four years old, living on Garfield Street. My brother fell down the stairs and had a bleeding head wound and my mom was screaming for help. Kacey's dad was a hero that day and took my mom and brother to the hospital, while I stayed behind and played at Kacey's house. We stayed friends for so long but then drifted apart after hig h school. But she is back in my life now and I will not let her go again. I saw her a few months back after not seeing her for like 14 years and it was like no time had gone by at all. She is laid back and funny and beautiful and I'm just so happy she's my friend. She too lets me talk about these things th at are horrible and doesn't make me stop or make me feel bad about it. She has been there for me. I love Kacey for all that. Plus I think she is a secret spy and has superpowers currently being exploited by the U.S. Government. I will stop at nothing to discover the truth.

And then there is Angie. Sweet Angie. We fight about who will be the next Top Model, but underneath the bickering we both know the truth. It will be me, because I will have the bigger boobs. But it's okay. Because Angie is actually more beautiful, so she doesn't need to win this show in order to succeed at modeling. I love Angie because she is honest and real. I love Angie because she believes that there is a reason we are friends again after all these years, because I believe that too. She makes me laugh and sometimes I think I make her laugh. She said to me " You are the coolest, strangest, freakin person that I know and YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL." It made me happy. Angie Repasy makes me happy, damnit. And I'll be damned if I let Walt Ferris, or Mr. O'Donnell, or Tyra Banks, come between our friendship anymore.

You know who else is really awesome? Lindsey - who is my cousin but lately more my friend. I just admire the hell out of this women, who has struggled for so long with so many difficult problems. She struggles every day with her own personal demons and still manages to reach out to me to see if I'm okay. She has done her part to reclaim the rainbow for heterosexuals. It is an uphill battle, but I have faith that she can get it back for us. She is not afraid to ask the question "Why can't we just share the damn rainbow?" I want to shout from the rooftops: I love you Lindsey Krynak, and your little dog too. And I love your rainbow tattoo and your passionate advocacy for defenseless and abused animals. I think you are amazing.

There are a lot of other people I need to thank, that are just as important people, because there are so very many people but this blog is long and I would be surprised if anyone was still reading this. I want to thank an old friend who I'm not really close to anymore but I believe has a really good heart: Sandy Carvin, come on down. She is a kind soul, a gentle soul as far as I can tell. I am always suprised that she reads (and claims to enjoy) my blogs, especially because there is so much meanness and filth and hatred in a lot of them. But I guess we are all complicated aren't we? She came to see Amy at the end there, and I will always remember that and be grateful. There is no way that visit was easy. I am grateful how she tried to assuage my grief, but in unobtrusive ways. It was a show of genuine concern, and yes I am eternally grateful.

Another good soul that I sense is in Jen Perez. I know she has this new last name now, but to me she will always be Jen Ivins. I can't believe how much she has changed over the years...she went from being the girl who was worried about offending God by listening to that Tori Amos song "God", to the free spirit she is today. It is refreshing to know that this kind of change is possible. Her children are lucky to have a mom who allows them the freedoms that she never had. I have to thank Jen, too, for coming back into my life at a time when most people would have gone the other way. It is not easy to rekindle a friendship when someone is grieving. But she sent me emails to check up on me, to say "Hey, I'm here if you need me" and it was so sincere and heartfelt. The day I ran into her at Babies R Us with her daughter, I remember thinking that there is a reason. I think is always a reason we run into people. I don't think anything is ever random. The universe has a plan for us all. So Jen, don't be freaked out by that. I just like talking to you and I'm glad we're friends again.

By the way, another person who is my friend to is Julie, though she used to be just my cousin, but my space has given us the opportunity to know each other so much better. She is about to embark on a brave endeavor and I am so proud of her. I never knew before what a funny, smart, generous person she was.

Who else do I need to thank for reaching out to me at a time when I needed help the most? Marcia Snyder, who I have not seen in years found me on myspace to console me regarding the loss of my sister. And now, as she mourns the loss of her dear father, I am trying to be available to her. As a matter of fact, I should email her tonight.

Another person from my past who has been a source of support here on myspace is Sharon Paulochok. I hope I spelled her name right. If I didn't, I'm doing an awful job of saying thank you. But when she sent me those snow pictures, my heart literally stopped beating for a second. I was that touched. I realized that she really read what I wrote...and that she really GOT me. And I can't help but be touched by people that take the time to know me because the only thing to gain from that is, well, knowing me. And I have a hard time fathoming why that particular pay off would even be worth it sometimes, but that's my low self esteem coming out there. She's an interesting person, that Sharon, and a deep thinker. She's opened up to me in ways I didn't expect.

I like when people are open and honest. Danielle Hunter is that way. She spent an entire afternoon with me yesterday, and brought me a wonderful present, and we spent the entire afternoon smoking that present, and talking about everything our lives were and everything they have become. She is one of the only people on the planet who I feel I could say anything to and could not shock. She is virtually unshockable. Our conversations enlighten me and challenge me and make me realize that I'm not the only parent in the world who is often overwhelmed by, and often indifferent to, and often jaw-droppingly amazed by the abilities of, our offspring. Danielle loved Amy, too. And when she speaks about her, I can hear in her voice the grief and pain. She knows what a loss it was. Truly what we lost when Amy left us here, all alone, to contend with the pain of life without her. It is like living proof to me that even if you don't speak to a person daily, you can still love that person deeply. Danielle is a cool cat who gives really mellow presents.

Last but not least on my list of those to thank: My special Nickel Bee (Nicole Beaulieu). Once in a while I get an email from her and it makes me feel like a special confidante. Like these are some words meant to be whispered in my ear that no one should ever hear but me. Of course, I'm delusional. Nicole is beautiful, like 23 years old, with a zillion friends who are a lot cooler than I am. But I still like to pretend we have a special relationship. And maybe if I pretend something for a long enough time it will eventually be true. What is true about Nicole? Her kisses are lovely and sweet and her poetry reminds me of Sylvia Plath, who in my dreams I've also kissed but many, many times. Coincidence? Maybe. Maybe not. But Nicole better not even think about going the way of Sylvia Plath. I need her around for a long time. She is Jodi's best friend, after all. We need her, us Binder girls. She is a muse for our life. I know that there are so many special souls that should be on this Thanking List and maybe are not because its late and I'm very tired. If I missed you I'm sorry. There will addendums later on...if anyone is still reading anything I write. Love, Love, Love, ~gwen

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