It's all about Mary but you won't know that until you read all about me ; )
Okay so here's the deal; I've been run down, (bouts of painful cystitis, on top of cystitis, on top of Interstitial Cystitis, mixed with a dash of Hashimoto's thyroid weirdness, the fybro, PCOS, everything that comes with being a compulsive eater who had her stomach and intestines cut up and reassembled, a herniated disc or two, my missing periods, and some kind of weird, low grade infection that has all of my lymph nodes inflamed and tender, and the doctor's befuddled, I just got off a two week dose of a hard core antibiotic that knocked me off my feet, and my sex drive, well, let's just say it's plummeted to some abyss in the middle of the Adriatic sea, and you wouldn't be wrong to pity my poor partner), and busy and trying to catch up. I'm always trying to catch up. Remind me to do something about this someday, will you? Meditation? Biofeedback? Super duper therapy? Laying on of hands?
But I need your help, big time, I really need a favor -- bear with me while I explain; I haven't written in ages because I keep writing up entries and then doing the usual save-to-edit-and-post-later deal. I'll put them up eventually, (cross our many fingers), but this thing I'm about to ask you is more pressing so I'll just give you an overview of what I've been up to for the last several weeks, and then move on from there.
I'm going to post the pictures from the show of my friend Mary because time's a wasting and she would know better than anyone else that it's a carpe diem kind of thing.
Even as I'm writing this I'm thinking, "Oh shit, tick tock." Atra's been having her annual knitting show that she counts on to bring in enough revenue to get her through the year. In Iran this was no problem, she always sold hundreds and hundreds of sweaters, and made thousands of dollars, but here, even with my help, (I designed fliers and posters, got someone to deliver them to every house in our neighborhood, and made phone calls and fudge), she's barely scraping by. She expects me to come by and help, it's a kind of ingrained social thing in their culture -- if you care about your friend you just make yourself do whatever is required, sick, busy, overwhelmed or not, if they need you, you will come. So I've had to go there, to her house, for three days in a row, and should be there right now, she's expecting me, but hell, three days is more than enough, and I'm just not going to. If that makes me a bad honorary Persian I'll just have to eat it on that one.
I need to catch up here, and I need to shower and change in order to take Mom to a Christmas party that I have absolutely no desire to go to, because she really wants to go and is too embarrassed to go with Rosa, who makes her look like she needs a nurse, which she does. I'm going because I love her and she needs me, but I would rather be looking for carpet beetles in my closet. (Seriously, they're making Swiss cheese out of all my wool and cashmere, but I love beetles, and I can't kill them, it's just too upsetting, so I have to put them in a glass and take them outside.)
I feel weak and nauseous but I'm going to make myself go, just like I made myself go see Scott perform in Westwood last night. I didn't want to, not because I don't love his music, or enjoy seeing him perform, but because I have been feeling like shit for months and barely have the energy to get out of bed, but I picked myself up last night and kicked my ass out the door, and am really glad that I did. He was great. His band was great. But I felt like I was phoning it in, my body was there, but I don't know where the hell I was.
I've barely got the energy to shower and things just keep piling up. I'm worried about Christmas, how I'm going to stretch the budget far enough to give enough, if I'll get my fucking cards done in time, if I'll be able to remember to pay everyone I owe money to, if I'll get all of the decorations up in time and be able to take Beau to San Francisco and put up with and keep Mom happy at the same time, while still remembering that I've promised Scott to take a trip with him.
Poor Beau, poor Mary, these are some wacky shots; hopefully we'll get copies of the ones the professional photographer took. I know I'm crossing my fingers cause these just don't do her justice.
I know that I still haven't posted all of my Burning Man entries or the many pictures I spent all of my little free time taking. There's still Halloween to write about, and all of the pictures of the kids and yard to share. Then there's the fashion show; it took me three nights of Photoshopping, (actually I use an unsupported baby version called Adobe PhotoDeluxe but it works for now, I own the real thing -- latest version -- but I just can't get it), to finally finish editing the poorly lit, (but valiantly shot by Beau), pictures of the fashion show, and I want to share my feelings and thoughts about that. I am thrilled with the way it turned out, and so, so grateful to all of the wonderful people who put it all together for us.
Then along came Thanksgiving with a mandatory trip to Palm Desert with Mom, Rosa, (yech), Beau, Scott, Beau's new sweetheart, (and my friend since she was about seven or eight), Jo, and her two Moms -- who just happen to be my two favorite lesbians on the planet. And Mom was really open minded and cool about it, (something that I wish everyone could be, because it's just none of our damned business who we choose to fall in love with), and ordinarily this would be something I would just expect of anyone I would want to be close to because I'm all about gay rights, human rights, animal rights, rights rights, but I have to give my Mom credit because she's eighty-nine, or ninety years old, (no one really knows), and in the super rigid, socially codified world she grew up in being gay was something you "didn't talk about", which is of course tragic, but that's how it was. I felt I needed to tell Mom their amazing story because I certainly wasn't going to ask my dear friends to hold off being loving to each other in front of her, and I needed to be certain she would be cool about it. I wanted them to feel loved and welcomed, not judged and oppressed in any way shape or form, so if I couldn't guarantee that my Mom would be welcoming and positive, I wouldn't have invited them, so that worked out, thank Goddess, or God, or Mother Nature, or whomever, and then I just had to deal with Rosa, Mom and money, Beau and his needs, and the obvious problem of there being a distinct possibility that our two kids might actually choose to toss their virginity to the Gods of hot tubs and date palm trees, if we didn't help them hold off their very awakened sexual desire.
"Wait, she's leaving, quick take the picture, shit, got her back."
So I had a few challenges, and then when you add Scott to the mix, I'm juggling not only my very demanding Mother and her greedy housekeeper, who resents me and is always looking for ways to make me look bad, but Beau and Jo, Mom and the gals, my challenged health, and Scott and all of his needs, (he's needy, he's nervous, he's challenging, but so am I, and any of his challenges are always offset by the fact that he's one of the gentlest, tenderest, smartest, most creative and open minded men I've ever known), because he doesn't do too well when you take him out of his environment and familiar comforts and force him to deal with other people's particular wants and needs. He never stays long anyway so he ended up leaving Friday before my pals came anyway and that saved me some codependent stress. Oh if only I could be an insensitive selfish asshole, but alas, that just aint in the cards for me.
In between all of this I've been dealing with cat health issues, the usual organizational chaos, housekeeper/assistant drama, (Ana is a serious headcase, she means well, and I'm grateful for her help, but she's just not right...in the head, I mean it, seriously, and she chose the morning of the fashion show to tell me she was quitting, just as I was getting dressed -- couldn't have been more nervous -- then changed her mind again, and again, and now she's staying, again, for now), so that about covers it, not really, but it'll do as an overview and an explanation for why I've been so journalistically absent.
Now, on to the more pressing news about my friend Mary. You remember my friend Mary? The smart, funny, flaming-energy-ball of a gal who I've known since high school? The one who has a house in New Orleans and was just about to publish her Fodor's guide to the city when the hurricane hit? Mary who made the entire fashion show possible? Well, Mary has had cancer twice and beat it, but after two years of remission, the Fucking nasty little cancer cells have come back and she can use our help.
She has very specific ways that she likes to describe her experience with cancer, and I'm afraid I'm just going to have to blunder through this and try to describe it to you from my hazy and semi-uninformed perspective, but basically she got breast cancer that eventually made it's way to her liver and she's had more chemo and surgery than I could withstand, and she's been brave, (yes Mary, you've been brave, I'd say valiant), and amazing and even wrote articles about it in the Los Angeles Times that gave people hope and she's just well, she's wonderful.
I'm basically what you'd call a cancer-phobic, the kind of person who walks around under a sort of Edward Gorey-like umbrella of cancer fear, waiting for my turn while everyone around me gets it. I knock on wood when I so much as say the word, and while I've been praying for Mary, (yes, I pray -- doesn't make me a constipated conservative), every so often, if I haven't spoken to her, or heard from her in some form, I worry. So here we are again, with everyone I ever so much as mentioned it to saying, "Oh no, once it hits the liver that's it..." and I've never told her this, but I'm sure she's heard it, and she's bound to read this, (because she's infinitely curious about all of us and likes to lurk), but I don't believe it. I think she can "live with this" as she likes to put it, but I'd prefer to say beat it, kick it's ass, smash the little Fuckers into oblivion with the meanest combo of chemo's that the best doctor's can come up with.
And this is where you come in, this is where I'm praying you'll come in. Mary needs your kindness, positive visualizations, and hope. This is a long term prayer/meditation/candle lighting/magic-incantation/Buddhist chanting/God-or-Angel box project, because for round three she's going to be having chemo three weeks on and one week off for the next six months, and then Lord knows how much more she'll have to endure beyond that. So right now, she's okay, she's got enough attention and energy, but towards the end of this, when everyone is starting to lose their focus, and her body will be worn down by these chemicals, that's when she's really going to need our help.
I know you all have your own friends and family who may be sick or have special needs, you yourself may be going through similar challenges, but what kind of friend would I be if I didn't at least ask? If you'd like to visualize or do healings from home she has some small spots of what was originally breast cancer on her liver and lymph node involvement around her stomach, liver, and pancreas. While you're at it, you could send some love to her husband Steve as well, who has got to be feeling totally overwhelmed. I don't know how Mary would feel about my giving out her address but here's her e-mail, she's Mary Herczog; firstname.lastname@example.org, and she could certainly make do with some e-mail and care packages. In fact I know she would love some cards and presents, because no matter how brave she is acting, she's got to be feeling utterly overwhelmed and not just a little frightened, especially since it's holiday time, and she knows she's facing six months of chemo, then the breast cancer vaccine and hormone injections, and she's had to cancel all of the trips she was so looking forward to.
I'm going to give you my new PO address and if you'd like to send anything to my pal for Christmas or the holidays or just to be kind to a fellow artist-writer-sister-pal, who has been incredibly good to me, and so many other people, that would be beyond wonderful.
I'm going to run around and plaster this in my various and sundry art and prayer communities and I just know that we all have room to add one more person to our hope lists. Even the nuns down the street, (who I ran to just minutes after getting the news, yep, I'm that kind of Catholic, the kind who rarely goes to mass, thinks she's really a Buddhist, but clings to what she knows, believes in birth control, masturbation, and gay marriage, and uses the word Fuck in the same place where she asks for your prayers, I even watch the Girls Next Store and listen to Howard Stern but think of myself as a feminist, I'm just a walking hive of contradiction bees), my beloved grammar school and high school principals, Sister Jean and Sister Colette, said they'd add her to their "special" list of seven, making it eight, which is a pretty cool thing, I know I'd feel pretty grateful to have these amazing women praying for me, to say nothing of all of the priests and parishioners at our local St. Martin of Tours who will certainly get in on this as well. They prayed for my Mom when she had cancer and she sailed through it, so I just know it works.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and hanging in there with me through all of my ups and downs. I love you guys and I'll get caught up here soon.
Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays, and big hugs and kisses from your pal, Jacqui.
God Bless -- Yeah, I said it, whatcha gonna do about it ; )
c/o Jacqui Hyland
149 South Barrington Avenue, #325
Los Angeles, CA 90049
This is Mary after the show with our friend and high school sociology teacher, the fab photographer, Mr. Tom Zimmerman. I love this man.
PS: Of course I'm planning on doing my annual Christmas/Holiday collage card exchange so if you'd like to get in on that this is the address to send cards to as well.