Cancerella Is My Nickname

On my 32nd birthday I was told I had a tumor that was certainly 99% benign. Last Monday I was told I have cancer, an aggressive form of lipo sarcoma. Basically a big nasty tumor with wandering tentacles in my thigh. While things have been a bit slow going since it was discovered it thankfully hasn’t spread to my lungs, I will finally be starting radiation on Monday (and will continue 5 days a week for 5 weeks), and I was told I would not have to do chemo. At least, not until possibly after my surgery, but not likely. Yay! So, I’ll still be tired and a tad sick — just not pukey-sick. Bad enough the anxiety is giving me sleep trouble and I’m already losing chunks of hair in my eyebrows and eyelashes. I have some fun targets, tattoos, and lines drawn on my legs that I have to keep for the whole summer before surgery. It looks like a serial killer was making butcher marks on me. My knee tastes the best, btw. The only unfortunate part of all of this is I will be losing some bits and pieces inside of my leg that will never grow back due to the radiation. I’ll be pissed if I have a limp is all I’m saying. What will become of my high heeled shoes?

It has been strange having such easy access to the Cleveland Clinic main campus; I have been calling it The Death Star because of the modern architecture and the fact there are actually droids wandering the halls lugging equipment. There is also a great sushi bar, a digital tree, a string quartet that plays a bizarre selection of music — including the Mickey Mouse Club theme — there is a 4 star restaurant for Oprah and the Saudi princes to chow at, and a Starbucks of course. I got to know the campus well after having 6 hours of tests scheduled. Sadly, the Star Wars vibe ends once you get into the Radiology building; the Death Star becomes 1976, full with wood paneling, bad oil paintings, and drop ceilings. At least I get free valet parking and free spa treatments.

I also got a few new kittens to keep me company, as I’m probably going to be napping quite a bit and they are very good at napping with me so far. Meet Ike and Tina (Ike is the younger baby who Tina beats up!)

Most people turn to religion when something like this happens to them. I have gone the complete opposite. I’ve had the lingering nihilist tendencies since several of my friends have died recently, and now I’m all about science! That nothing happens for a reason, it just happens. Who the hell gets leg cancer in such a random spot? Gods don’t do these things, a chaotic universe does these things. Who cares, just get rid of the bastard with some lasers and crap. People have been telling me I’m a tough broad and this will be a minor set-back for me in the end, but getting injected, extracted, poked and prodded, hooked up to machines and having to be in that damn clinic all this time before anything has even really happened, has been trying as hell; not to mention what it means for my future as far as family history goes, and what other fun tumors are to be expected. It is probably worse for my family even, as I’m sure this is giving them flashbacks (I only have vague memories) of what they had to endure in the years my dad battled cancer being treated at NIH — no happy ending there.

In the end I’ve decided I’m not going to live safe anymore. I’ve had a feeling for a while I could stand to be more reckless, taking trips I couldn’t afford and things like that. Next time The Damned and Motorhead do a European tour that ends in Russia? I’m going! Feel like piling into a van and driving around the country solving mysteries? Why not. I doubt anyone has ever taken a trip they regretted. Because you might get cancer and die just as much chance of anything else it appears. Pardon my French, but fuck it! This isn’t to say I’ll let this thing stop me from my responsibilities in regards to my art career — I’m still doing commissions and such — however, I’m pretty much done with penny pinching, restrictive diets, geographical limitations and other nonsense. If I end up alone in a studio apartment totally broke like La Belle Otero or Luisa Casati after my husband goes, so be it, as long as my funeral arrangements are paid for. I don’t care anymore.

Favorite Things I Dig

I’m currently working on a portrait that isn’t being nice to me, while also planning out some new paintings that are going to be a departure from my usual work, so in the meantime — besides beating to death the exhibitions coming up — I thought I’d share with you the material objects I’m diggin’ on lately!

My Frieling French Press. I ditched the drip coffee maker because it took up too much room and would always get gross. This is not only pretty, but keeps coffee warm for quite a long time. Oh yeah, the coffee tastes better too!

Fresh Sugar lip treatment. I have a bad habit of chewing on my lips, also, they get dry and gross during winter. I’ve been slathering this stuff on like crazy and love it. It helps to have the tint for me as well, being that my lips naturally do not have pigment. I think I bleached them out by starting to wear lipstick at age 12!

Yves Saint Laurent mascara. Got to admit, I didn’t like it at first, but I had to get used to it and now dig this quite a bit. I never buy mascara that is this expensive usually so maybe that’s why I was a little “eh” at first. I got it in dark brown and find it stays on forever and makes my bitty lashes look not so bitty. I hear the chic French girls use it, and that was all I needed.

My Filofax! Okay so that isn’t really new, I’ve had a few models since 1999, but I finally settled on the Slimline model in camel. According to The Telegraph sales are up, which is no surprise to me really. I get made fun of for being old school, but I find I am way more organized than anyone I know with smart phones and such;  it always seems they have to be reminded of dates and times for appointments and events on a constant basis. Not only do I never have to worry about the battery dying, but I don’t poke around writing stuff down while I drive — unlike some of you texting and driving jerks!

After Inked tattoo lotion. My husband started getting tattoos a few years back and I saw an ad for this stuff. He’s had some large areas filled in black so I thought I’d order it and try it out as it says it is good for old tattoos (mine is ancient). It acts almost like a varnish, especially for the older tattoos, bringing the color back a bit, and it smells puuurty. I’ve actually used it as a hand lotion sometimes and it works for that too!

The Marchesa Casati: Portraits of a Muse One of the newer books about her, and it makes a fabulous coffee table book for your guests who do not know who she is. If you are like me and you like tales of eccentrics who had too much money, fashion, and art, well go get yourself a copy of this bad boy.

Purex 3-in-1 Sheets. Yeah you didn’t think I would make a list without throwing in something practical, did you? I am an artist and a Cleveland housewife after all! Even my husband studied these things and found them fascinating. I hate doing laundry and jugs of detergent + softener are heavy; this takes care of everything — everything! I’m lazy, so there.

Wrench + Paper Towels + Jim Beam

Everything is on hold right now. Finally after years of ignoring the fact my wisdom teeth were grinding against my jaw bone, the pain has become so unbearable that I have scheduled surgery. The bad part? I don't get in until April 2nd! So my "drying out" plan for March is no longer, plus I find it impossible to paint anything or function like a normal human being. I accidentally bought a $60 bottle of wine yesterday; no more grocery shopping while on pain meds is the new rule. The fact I keep eyeballing my wrench, pliers, and bottle of Jim Beam is not good. All I need are lots of paper towels, right?

This has made me finally admit to myself that I enjoy dental pain and procedures. I'm not really a person who is "in to pain" but for whatever reason since I was a child, a trip to the dentist never bothered me. It was always commented on how calm I was or how I seemed to enjoy it. Even now they are surprised, heck, I even modeled for my dentist's website once since I was the only person to give a cheery thumbs-up with a mouth full of metal tools and cotton balls. The bill is the only truly painful part — I've spent thousands on two teeth alone over the years — the rest I take with ease. Why do I love novocaine shots? I don't know. I hate regular shots in the arm, but I like needles going into my gums with a gross taste. The drill is fun too, and so are crowns — like getting a new tooth almost. Crown prices however, are not so fun. For years I heard about this horrid root canal procedure; I finally had it done after my dentist fucked up my filling and made it too deep. Afterward I said, "you are done already?" and to the horror of the nurses I said, "You know, I could have sat through 4 more of those before getting irritated with you, come on is that all you got!?"

And so it is that I sit here wishing I were dead or could remove my jaw, but at the same time I am giddy and excited about having a big nasty surgery and getting these suckers ripped out. I have come to terms with the fact, that I, am this man.

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Pinny Porn?!

Thanks to a friend who pointed to this article, I now know it has a name! Pinny Porn! Or as many know it, Domestic Porn.

It is funny, I did start following the Rosie Little Things blog a year ago out of pure fascination. It doesn’t help then to follow things like Glamorous Housewife, Organized Jen, or any number of Martha Stewart-like publications; they make me ill because I actually enjoy them, while also making me think my home isn’t clean or organized enough.

My knowledge of Joan Crawford and her personal cleaning tips is enough you would think. At least I don’t sew quilts, or pillow cases, or make crazy Christmas decorations while spending ridiculous amounts of time obsessing over wrapping paper — that’s asking too much. Interesting how the idea of the career woman, get out of the kitchen and into the board room, and “having it all” has slowly started to backlash?


I wasn’t always like this; a person who got excited about a vaccuum cleaner, or was into cleaning, cooking, and being all domestic-like. I owned two utensils and some plastic drinking cups, the rest was paper plates baby! My beer came in 40oz. and my housemate supplied the wine glasses. A man once asked me in a very serious tone where my snifter glasses were — he should have known better.

No, the domestic interests happened when I got engaged, less than a month after turning 22. I don’t think I ever bought a bottle of fabric softener until then, and I certainly never baked a damn thing in my life. Husband and I decided to get married in a rather quick manner during one wild weekend after not seeing each other for 9 years, but the actual ring followed promptly after I made steak for the first time. I will never forget the look on his face, and I knew it was stuff like this that would make him put up with the rest of my crap in the long-run. So I stocked up on all those books, Hints and Tips, Home Comforts and even a few Martha Stewart magazines in the mix. It really did become entertainment and a weird fixation more than anything. But, it creeped into my everyday life and I try to be all house wifey, as he actually enjoys it. I’m also the one who came with a tool box to the relationship and I know how to caulk a bath tub! Frankly, I would rather being doing housework, little projects, and errands than any number of day jobs out there that women think they need to feel like they have a career and worth.

Now I make fancy cocktails, peel potatoes, bake cake and cookies from scratch with no recipes (I’m that good, I just wing measurements), have scented shelf liners, and clean surfaces with yellow plastic gloves on. There are only two things I can never get the hang of: ironing and folding laundry. It just isn’t my thing. My husband on the other hand, is the ironing MacDaddy in our household. Purchasing a Rowenta iron for him is still referred to as the best birthday present he ever got (“I love this iron!” he will randomly exclaim). But, not only do I now have sets of stemware for every kind of drink, I have the snifter glasses, at last.

Speaking of housewives and the “what did you do all day?” question, do you remember this cartoon? “Wild Wife”