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Inherited

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

Next week, my mom is moving to Kansas City.  While this is definitely a good decision for her, selfishly, it’s hard on my heart.  I moved to Colorado to be closer to my parents, and starting next week, neither of them will live here anymore.  This brings up all sorts of questions and emotions for me, but I’ve learned enough to know that none of these need to be discussed in a public forum.

Sorry, voyeurs.

Instead, let’s talk about the things that I have inherited from her house in the move.

The most important thing is Kodi the 3-legged dog.  Yes, our little raisin-eyed tripod, the Toad, now lives with Becca and Greebs and me on Hooker Street.  My days of zero responsibility are now a thing of the past, as Becca and I are constantly shuffling dog duties (not to be confused with dog doodies – although, yes, sad to say that those are being shuffled, too).

She is adorable as always, though – and even though I’m now much more tethered to home, and even though she doesn’t really fit into my active lifestyle (she can walk about a quarter of a mile before she’s spent), it’s nice to have someone who’s always happy to see me.

We’ve also laid claim to some killer patio furniture.  Last week, I told my friend Kelli that it was made of cast iron.  “You mean wrought iron,” she stated more than asked.  I was like, “Yeah.”

Now, we don’t exactly live on a picturesque block.  We have a dirty weed yard, and some local dogs peed on my basil and mint plants until they were dead.  The next-door neighbor’s mutt killed a skunk in their front yard, and the carcass rotted in the hot sun for two weeks.  I’m not sure if mere patio furniture is going to, I don’t know, redeem the neighborhood – but it’s sure as hell going to try.

Come over.  I’ll mix you a ghetto cocktail.

Finally, all of the things that have hidden in Mom’s pantry?  For years?  And years?  Mine.

If you know me at all, you know that I cannot waste food.  I just can’t do it.  If food dies, I die.  It’s this deep, fundamental part of my soul.  You think I’m kidding – but I assure you, I kid thee not.  I’m the girl who packs a food box in her suitcase on long trips, just sick at the thought of leaving food behind to rot in the fridge – a waste of my money, a waste of someone’s labor, a waste of, I don’t know, a cow.

I will avenge your death, cow.

Anyway, I now have more canned goods, spices, and non-perishables than I know what to do with.  Apple butter?  Kidney beans?  Chicken stock?  Red chile marmalade?  Canned meat?  Jars of chutney?  Two gigantic canisters of Pam?  If you have ideas for how I can put this stuff to good use, do tell.

Walking, Work, Whoa Mama!

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

Remember when I boldly proclaimed that I was going to walk 1,000 miles between Memorial Day and Labor Day?

Well, then I went to Nashville, where being outside in the summer is the equivalent of being in utero without an umbilical cord.  Is that gross of me to say?  I don’t know – do YOU remember your time in the womb?

Anyway, due to sheer self-preservation and the fact that I value my life, my walking fell behind.  And back in Denver, as of today, June 24, I am only at 119 miles.

Granted, 13 of those miles were yesterday.  THIRTEEN!  I will make up for lost time yet.  Because, as New Math puts it:

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I spent yesterday at an online marketing convention, manning a booth for work.  People were asking for my business card.  I’ve never had anyone ask for my business card before!  I was like, “Hello, I am An Expert.  Nice to meet you.”

My friend Scotty recently told me that she likes getting my emails so much that I should somehow find a way to get paid to correspond with people.  That was so nice of her – because after all, I do love to write emails.

But then I thought, hello.  That IS my job.

Hooray!

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A lot of you have asked how my mom is doing.  She had her final radiation treatment, and is completely finished with all scheduled cancer treatment.  She is currently in Washington state visiting family and friends, and will be active and walking and hiking the whole time – because she is Susan Freaking Parsons and she defies the odds.

I was on the phone with her the other night, and about to hang up.

“Wait!” she cried.  “I’ve been meaning to ask you something for weeks.”

I prepared myself for talk of money, or maybe why I’m single.

“Do you leave your curtains open?  Because I’ve been worried about sun damage to your couch.”

What would I do without this woman?

All hail the redhead

Monday, January 11th, 2010

So, remember why I moved to Denver?  Because my mom has cancer?

Well, as she put it this weekend, “I’m not sure that I have cancer.  But I KNOW that I have chemotherapy.”

It’s true.  In the last 2 months since the initial diagnosis, cancer has felt like a joke, a deception.  This woman is a hoss.  I mean, when I was a little girl, she once climbed a neighbor’s fence in her nightgown at 11pm to free our cat from a trap he had baited with tuna fish (long story).  She has had three surgeries, and bounced back like nobody’s business.  After the tumor was removed in early November, and even after she had a significant amount of muscle and tissue removed from her hip and thigh a month later, she has been walking without a limp, relatively painless – kicking ass and taking names, basically.  Even after the diagnosis, nothing about her outward health indicated that wicked, sinful cells were present in her body.

But then she started chemo.

Let me tell you something, friends – if you have never seen anyone experience the horrors of chemotherapy, then there is no way to understand what this poison does to the body.  I didn’t know – not really.  But last week, I learned really quickly.  And it’s terrible.

Round 1 of infusion is over, and the next 13 days will consist of her body rebounding, only to be taken down again during round 2.  It’s like pushing a boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down to the bottom.  Second verse, the same as the first – a little bit louder and a little bit worse.

Apparently, 89% of people who experience chemo lose their hair.  In my mom’s case, it would happen 14 days after her first infusion – which is a week from today.  We’ll see.

For those of you who don’t know, my mom has gorgeous red hair.

Oh, you’ve never seen?  ALLOW ME TO SHOW YOU.

mom

(angels singing)  Have you ever seen hair CASCADE like that?

And for one more recent, here are my parents today.

mom_dad

If you are a man, you should probably ask me to marry you RIGHT NOW.  These are my genes, people.  It’s only going to get better.

A lot of you have asked how my mom is doing, so I wanted to give you an update.  I might have taken the opportunity to petition for a man, too – but don’t worry, Mom surely approves.

(Right, Mom?)

Bumming me out

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

When I moved to Nashville two years ago, I switched to Bank of America because I never wanted to have to switch my bank account again – so naturally, I chose the bank of AMERICA.

It turns out that Bank of America is actually the bank of NOT DENVER.

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Yellow traffic lights in Denver last roughly half as long as they do anywhere else.  When the light turns yellow, it means, “Arrest, or be arrested.”

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Every 5 minutes or so, my toilet screeches like the Nazgûl.

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The doctors installed the WRONG PORT in my MOTHER’S CHEST.  That’s probably the only time you’ll ever see the words “my mother’s chest” on this blog, so soak it up.  She showed up for her first round of chemo yesterday, and caused quite the ruckus when they discovered the WRONG PIECE OF HARDWARE SURGICALLY INSTALLED IN HER BODY.

Chemo went forward anyway, and she goes back again today.  The “Red Devil” is now pumping through her veins.  And righteous indignation is pumping through ours.

Is this real life?

Monday, January 4th, 2010

I moved up to Denver on Friday night, and have been camping out in my apartment on an air mattress; my stuff should arrive late this week.  I live off of exit 206 (an homage to Seattle) on a street called Franklin (an homage to Nashville’s little sister) next to Cheesman Park (an homage to me, the cheese man).

Over the weekend, I was invited to watch a movie with strangers, made friends with two brothers who own a wine shop, had an incredible seafood meal, lunched downtown with my mom and sister, ran into a friend from high school in the park, organized my closets, bought a brushed nickel trash can for the bathroom, went on 2 runs, tried my new shower (it is awesome), and visited a church.

I keep driving around, thinking, “I can’t believe I live here” – and not because I’m shocked at the reality, but more because it doesn’t feel real AT ALL.  It’s like a fake life.  I’m like this kid.  I know that it will become more real with time, but right now, it feels like I’m pretending.

Well, then, here’s a hefty dose of real life: Mom’s chemo starts today.

Cancer’s going down.

It’s good to be a Parsons

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

For the past several years, Thanksgiving has been the occasion of the Parsons’ Family Christmas Picture.  We usually get some great outtakes – but never so amazing as this.

theshamingofannie

Does anyone know what’s happening here?  Anyone?  Anyone?  Because I have no recollection of this moment.

But clearly, Swayze was wrong: SOMEBODY puts Baby in a corner – and that somebody is Mom.

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Mom’s cancer treatment starts today – major surgery in Denver at 4pm.  Thanks for keeping her in your prayers.

What’s been going on

Monday, November 9th, 2009

Last week, while the EP listening party was happening here on the blog, and I was steadily posting a new track each day, there was a lot happening in my life.  Like, A LOT a lot.

My mom was diagnosed with cancer – soft tissue sarcoma.  The doctors removed a mass from her hip socket; when they cut her open, it “bulged out like a zit”… or something.

I hope you’re enjoying your breakfast, by the way.

I don’t really know how to write about the phone call that I got on Tuesday night – my mom telling me that she had cancer.  I know that there were instant, uncontrollable tears on my part.  I know that I was suddenly confronted with the overwhelming fear of losing a parent – something that I have never really had to deal with before.  I know that after I hung up the phone with her, I told Greta the news, and then cried some more, because I was completely terrified and couldn’t do a damn thing about it.

But then, I stood up and blew my nose and made a grilled cheese for Julie who was coming home from work.  It was all very surreal.

On Wednesday afternoon, I found myself in a daze, throwing clothes in a bag, getting in my car and driving out of Nashville.  Have I mentioned that I do not do well with spontaneous decisions or chaotic situations?  About 30 miles out of town, I realized that I didn’t even pack a coat; my stress and anxiety levels were through the Honda roof.  But after driving 18 hours and 1200 miles, I was with my parents and all three of my siblings in Colorado Springs.

We arrived to the amazing news that her scans were clear, that the cancer had not spread.  There are no words to describe the relief – that even though the situation is serious, and cancer is evil embodied, the news was good.  I saw Mom’s 8-inch incision, and her Buzz Lightyear contraption around her hip.  We spent the weekend together as a family, stepping over the 4 dogs and eating a ton of food and talking about everything from life to death to the latest episode of “The Office.”

It was so good to be there.

Today, I point the wheel back toward Tennessee, and after an eternity of driving, will be in my own bed tonight.  I don’t really know what happens next – my parents will meet with the orthopedic oncologist this week to figure out the next steps.  There is still so much that is unknown.

But I know that I love my mom more than I could ever say.  And I know that this changes things.

co

J is for Jumper cables

Monday, September 29th, 2008

Sometimes, my heart needs them.

Sometimes, my mind needs them.

Sometimes, my will needs them.

Sometimes, my faith needs them.

Thank goodness for my mom.


Who serves as the jumper cables to YOUR soul?

Missing my calling as a jingle writer

Friday, January 4th, 2008


Til the Water Runs Clear from Annie Parsons on Vimeo.

I’m here, Mom. I miss you, too.