Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Taste of the "Old Normal" in Las Vegas

Our long weekend in Las Vegas was so perfect.  I don't even know how to begin to describe what it did for me mentally and emotionally.  It was like getting a little slice of my pre-cancer life back.. except that I didn't have to go home alone after seeing Ryan on the road because we went together!  So in that way it was even better!

We arrived Saturday evening and ran smack into friend/tour manager Dan in the lobby of the Westin.  He gave me a "Daaaaaamn..." kinda thing - clearly I look better than the last time any of these guys saw me.  We did some wandering around.  Found dinner.  Yadda yadda.  Stopped at a liquor store on the way back to the hotel, picked up a bottle of Maker's Mark, and invited our friend Matt, who arrived shortly after we did, back to have some drinks in the room.  Matt is friggin' hilarious and I always enjoy listening to his stories.  Even the ones I've already heard.  More than once.

I LOVE The Flamingo. It is ridiculous and awesome.

I still have never made it into The Bellagio. 

Maker's in the room.

Sunday was Ryan's only real "work" day while we were in town, so we were up super early to meet up with the rest of the crew at the Starbucks in the lobby of the Westin.  I grabbed my Americano and Ryan stayed bean-free (it's been WEEKS now...) and as the crew started to filter in, we chatted with everyone.  When Tim came in, he was psyched to see me - not sure if he knew I was coming - and that made me feel great.  He was super sweet while I was sick, texting me often to check up on me.  It was really cool to be there and be HEALTHY.  I think it made everyone feel really good.  Everyone piled into a couple cars and we rolled up to the old part of town, where the Punk Rock Bowling Festival was.  I puttered around backstage while Ryan worked on load in and line checks.  Tim and I sat under the tents talking about some music projects and things we were both up to.  I ended up hitching a ride back to the hotel with Dan and Tim and getting breakfast with them, Dan's wife, Lindsay, and an enormous gentleman by the name of "Big Chris".  The breakfast buffet was outstanding.  I wish there was more of that here!  I'd get so fat, though!  Oh man!!!  When Ryan returned, he went to grab food with the other crew dudes, and I waited at the hotel to meet up with another old friend, Stacy, who lives in Vegas now.  It had also been about two years since we had seen each other.  And as always, it was like not a day had passed.  Stacy is the coolest.  We pretty much just hung out at the hotel bar as neither of us had wheels.  But it was perfect.  I love that girl.  While we were sitting there, more friends, Spike and Branden, showed up in the lobby on their way to get food.  Spike promised me a hug of at LEAST two minutes when we saw each other, and I am pretty sure she delivered and then some!  Stacy's husband came to pick her up a little while later, and I finally got to meet him.  He is like Ryan, but with less hair and more earrings.  Otherwise cute, quiet, smart and funny.  I have a feeling if they'd met, they may have fallen in love.  Right as they were leaving, Lars showed up.  He about RAN into the bar, I thought to hug me, but instead turned around and rubbed his butt on me first.  Weirdo!  We hugged and laughed and he was SO happy to see me looking well.  He ordered an N.A. beer, and we toasted to my health before he had to run off to rehearsal and I had to hightail it over to The Forum Shops to meet up with Spike in... wait for it... THE BIGGEST H&M IN THE WORLD!!!  ::swoooooon::  So much stuff we do NOT have in our local H&Ms - my favorite store, by the way.  I had a blast shopping with Spike.  She is the cutest.  I talked her into buying some blue cheetah print skinny jeans and she talked me into buying a gorgeous dress that I will probably have to wear to a wedding or something, it is so lovely.  Eventually I met back up with Ryan.  We grabbed dinner at the hotel restaurant and then it was time to head back to the venue for the show!!  This is when I really started to feel like my old self.  Sitting around backstage, waiting for the band to go on.  I mentioned this to Matt as we were sitting there and he said that for it to REALLY feel normal, we'd be hanging out in a parking lot in St. Louis on my birthday.  Because for literally YEARS, they seemed to be playing in St. Louis, at this sketchy place, right around, if not ON, my birthday.  I'd fly or drive out to see my bestie, Daniela, and we'd hang out and talk shit with Matt.  It was funny when he said it, and also made me smile.  Because even though the band will be in Europe on my birthday, I will be in St. Louis.  With Daniela.  Because vacations are important and I forgot that somewhere along the way these past few years.  Anyhow... after backstage shenanigans and giggles, we headed up to watch the show from stage right, behind Ryan in monitor world.  It had been at least a couple years since I last saw the band, and they were still awesome.  I had a great time!  Could not have been happier.  Being with old friends.  Hearing great music.  It really WAS like life was back to normal.  After their show, we walked over to Beauty Bar to try to see Tim Barry, but with Ryan having no ID after the wallet theft in NYC last week, we could not get in.  So we watched through the fence from the alley.  Tried to flag Tim down afterwards, but somehow we missed each other as we finally got let in by Jill Ragan and he finally got away from the snare of fans to get out to find us.  I was sad to miss him, because whenever I see him, I am always happy for days.  He is just such a great man.  We DID get to watch Chuck Ragan's set from INSIDE the fence, though, which was a more than fair consolation prize.  And then we staggered back to the hotel to crash.

The stage was a mess Saturday morning from the shows the night before.

I missed seeing these things. Strange, eh?

Tim was playing his acoustic all morning.

Awesome capture of Dan and Tim in the car going back to the hotel.

Lars and Spike.  The cutest cuties ever!

Me and Spike.  I was doing weird stuff with me feet.  To help me be cuter.

Matt.  Being awesome.

Me and Tim.  He vetoed the first two for not being Instagram-worthy.

Chuck Ragan at Beauty Bar.

Monday morning... well, Ryan and I pretty much slept through Monday morning.  We did not manage to get going until all the breakfast buffets in town were CLOSED.  The internet lied to us and told us the one at Imperial Palace had brunch til 2.  So we went there.  And ended up getting lunch.  Which was surprisingly AWESOME!  As we were leaving, our Cleveland friends, Dott and Lanza, were checking in.  So we had a couple drinks with them and then wandered up the strip a ways to see what we could see.  Eventually they got tuckered out and Ryan and I wandered a little further in search of a decent gift shop to get a post card for my homie, Spencer.  We have to have walked like a hundred miles.  Or maybe more like 6 and a half, according to my highly scientific calculations, just now, on google maps.  Regardless, it was far.  And my feet hurt.  But they did not hurt enough to miss the ride with Dan and Lindsay back to PRB.  To see Hot Water Music.  Ryan wanted to check them out, as he says their live shows are way better than their records.  I have never been into their records, so I hoped he was right... and was he ever!  They were phenomenal.  After they played, we spotted ANOTHER friend, Gordy, out by the beer tent, so we went to chat with him. Gordy is awesome.  Someone needs to hook that guy up with Michael Symon because they would love each other and Gordy is a hell of a chef.  While we were talking to him, one of my absolute favorite bands from my high school days, GBH, began to play.  I was so geeked to see them, I can't even tell you.  Ryan led us back to the backstage and with our magical VIP passes we got to watch them, too, from the stage.  The grumpy stage guy made up go behind the drum riser, though.  But my awesome husband wasn't having that, and led me back over to monitor world for a better view.  It was stellar!  I was smiling like a total tool the entire show.  Afterwards, with no interest in Pennywise, we went back out to talk to Gordy some more.  He, too, gave me a hug and expressed how happy he was that I am a-ok!  We have SUCH wonderful friends.  As we were getting ready to walk over to the Golden Nugget on Fremont Street to meet up with another friend of Ryan's, we saw Colin and Jock from GBH heading in our direction.  Ryan was all, "You wanna get a picture?" But that shit is SO not me... but Ryan wasn't having it.  "Come on.  They're nice guys."  And he dragged me over to them, introduced me, talked about the shows they are doing together on the Europe run this summer, and then made us take a picture.  And it was SO RAD!  Hehehe.  I have never been super-fan-girl before, but this was just too cool.  The rest of the night?  I have no idea.  I was dazed, exhausted, and so so happy.  We made it back to the hotel around midnight and snoozed restlessly til 6am when it was time to get up, get breakfast, and head home...

Me and the fuzzy hubby in front of the fake Trevi Fountain at the Forum Shops.

Dott Motherfucking Schneider!

Almost back to the hotel after our long-ass walk.  Exhausted.

Me: "Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!"

Backstage during the GBH show.  Wow Wow Wow!!!

Me with Jock Blyth and Colin Abrahall from GBH!!!

All Important is RIGHT!  
I cannot express enough how happy I am that I went.  Thanks so much to Dan for helping with the logistics to make it happen.  And lots of love to ALL of our amazing friends we got to see out there.  Good times!  So, so good.  We love you all.  So many of you are the people who taught us that friends ARE our family.  

Thank you.  You have no idea how good it felt.  
Love love love, Phoebe

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Do People Still Say "Vegas, Baby, VEGAS!"?

Cause that's what I feel like saying!  In just about 7 hours, we are taking off for our trip to Las Vegas.  Ryan will be working Punk Rock Bowling and I will be having nothing but fun AT Punk Rock Bowling, and just futzing around in Vegas.  There will be poolside lounging and shopping with my friend Spike.  There will be long overdue drinks with my friend Stack Rink, who lives in Vegas.  There will be celebrating.  There will be fun fun times with my wonderful husband.  (I MAY even succeed in my attempts to convince him to go to the jousting thing at Excalibur!)

Now I need to go pack and get ready for an awesome long weekend!

Xxo, Phoebe

PS - HUGE thanks to brother-in-law, Evan. for house & dog sitting.  You rule!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Thank Yous

Just a quick note here...

I sent out a few Thank You notes to folks that sent me donations (or soup or something) the other day.  What I realized AFTER I sent them was that I did not really fully explain them...

Each note has a small print of my most recent art piece in it.  A piece that I made SPECIFICALLY as a thank you to you all for wishing me well.  So yeah.  That's what that is.  If you open your mail and are like "Why the hell am I getting this weird-ass little print of some weird-ass collage?"  That's why.  Because you are awesome and I have chemo/menopause brain and forgot to tell you.

Love love love, Phoebe

PS - Also, if you are Gary Sindall, you are the only donation-sender whose address I didn't get and whose email seems to go nowhere.  Please send me your address?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Side Effects, Mid-May Edition

Honestly, a lot of them have disappeared.  Which is awesome.  My butt seems to be doing loads better, which was one of my major pains since the treatments ended.  I still have radiation burns around my front and back, but they are at least starting to fade like a tan in the fall, finally.  Hot flashes are mostly under control with my hormone replacement pills.  My skin and hair seem to be headed back to normal.  A lot of the things that were bothering be have settled way down, which makes me so happy.

The worst thing right now? Neuropathy!  Ughhh.  Lately, I wake up every morning and my hands just HURT!! It is a strange pain that is hard to describe, as it is unlike any other hand-pain I have had before.  Over the first hour I am awake, it goes from a sharp, stabby, almost prickly pain to a dull ache accompanied by horrible itchies.  Usually by the time I head off to work, though, it has subsided.  It is completely bizarre and I hate it.  But if this is the worst of my problems right now, then I hardly feel like it is worth complaining about.  I just run them under the faucet for a while and rub them a lot and otherwise suck it up until it goes away each day.

As for the rest?  Honestly, there isn't much worth mentioning.  I feel, on the whole, fantastic!  As we move further and further into healthier eating habits, I find myself looking better, feeling better, and having a much more positive outlook about the future.

I plan on writing more, perhaps later today, about the food thing.  But for now my miserable hands and I gotta go!

Xxo, Phoebe

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Happiness and Sadness

Today was one of my best friends, Jessica's, baby shower.  I was nervous about it because the last baby shower I attended was Lacey's - for my buddy, Spencer.  At Lacey's shower last summer was when I first REALLY let myself wonder for the very first time if whatever was causing all of my bleeding was something that was going to make it impossible for me to ever change my mind about having a child of my own one day.  As we know, the answer to that question turned out to be "yes"... so I was definitely a little tense about going to Jess's celebration today.  Especially when I felt myself getting reeeeeally weepy over the picture of a tiny newborn on the pack of diapers I bought to give to her while I was shower-shopping at Target yesterday.    "This is something I will never experience" was the thought that went through my head as I looked at the tiny baby feet on the diaper packaging and tried not to cry.  It's so strange to be feeling this way...

And as I continue to figure out how to mourn the child I will never be able to have, I can't help but feel like the universe keeps flipping me off and/or laughing at me as I keep finding out more and more people I know are pregnant.  I learned about another I was unaware of while at the shower today!  And while I am SO happy for my friends who are all having babies babies babies, it is rather difficult not to really know how I am supposed to deal with my own inability to do what they are all doing.  It's hard not to feel defective.  Withered up.  Empty.  Barren.  It's hard to figure out how to deal with these feelings - with the sadness that is so unexpected considering I have never WANTED children.

And I don't mean to wrap up my sadness in the same warm-fuzzy bundles as so many of my friends' happy moments.  I do not resent them or their fertility.  It's just hard to separate it all when I am alone AFTER the fact.  When I am with my pregnant friends, I just see them and how glowy and happy they are, and my own issues don't even enter my mind, thankfully.  It's once I get home and am alone and find myself thinking about that day... that first day of chemo when they told me they fucked up and never talked to me about fertility.  That's when I get sad.  That's when I wonder stupid things like, "Could I sue the Cleveland Clinic or make them pay for an adoption if I decided I wanted to do that?"  Stupid thoughts...

Anyhow.  Luckily I did not feel sad at all during Jess's shower.  It was fun and cute and she is so adorable!  I spent a long time talking to my ex-husband's wife, who is also friends with Jess and whom I just love!  (Why do people find this so weird??)  AND one of Jess's coworkers that I met at her birthday party a year ago last spring told me she did not even recognize me, I have lost so much weight since then!  So that felt pretty fantastic.  All in all it was a great time.  I cannot wait to meet "Baby Beeps," as I am calling Jess's daughter-to-be.  I keep crossing my fingers that MAYBE she'll name her Phoebe... but I think that even though it's on the "maybe" list, there may be some others a little higher up.  Hehe.

As for this feeling that everyone around me is pregnant... I am hoping that the sting of that wears off or that my sensitivity to it lessens somewhat.  I'm sure it will someday.  And if I look at this in a positive light, what it really means is that I will soon be SURROUNDED by babies.  Babies that I can hold and love and spoil... and then give back when they puke and poop and cry and stuff.  So maybe it is actually a really PERFECT situation...

Yeah.  That's what I'm going to tell myself.  Yeah...

Xxo, Phoebe (Auntie Beeps)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Sometimes You Lose...

You ever have one of those days where you feel like you just can't win?  I do occasionally, but I swear to god, Ryan has those days, like, daily.  I have never met anyone whose luck seems to be as fucked as his.

He's in New York right now on tour... and his wallet was stolen.  Money.  Credit cards. ID. Social Security card (WHY he has this in his wallet, I DO NOT know!).  Our medical card.  Everything.

I seriously feel like every time that poor husband of mine starts to feel like things are good something ALWAYS happens to take the wind out of his sails.  Always.  If I am Positively Phoebe, he is Repeatedly Getting Railed Ryan.  Cars.  Jobs.  Bands.  Money.  And now this.

And there is nothing I can do to help from here.  I feel sick.  Getting stressed out anymore always makes me nervous (which stresses me out more, and so on and so on...) because I am literally terrified of having negative ANYTHING going on in my body - even mental stuff - because I am still afraid that that kind of thing can lead to bad things coming back or happening again.  Nothing is ever the same after stupid cancer.  Even losing a wallet becomes a thousand times worse.

One of the websites I looked at trying to figure out how to help him basically said that if your medical insurance card was in there, you might want to call the insurance company to change your policy number - but with still being in the middle of all this billing nonsense, I am not sure if that would be more of a hindrance than help.  Is someone REALLY going to try to use our insurance card??  Fuck...


A Quote

Usually, when someone posts a quote in a blog, it's by some famous person.  Well, this guy may not be famous to YOU... but to me, he is legendary.  I don't think a man ever lived who was as admired as John Elliott was by my father.  His friend.  His mentor.  His father figure.  I only met him once, and I will never forget it.  And yesterday, when my dad (tattoo dad, that is) called me up for a chat during my lunch break, he said it to me again.  And it reminded me not just of how many times I have heard my dad say it, but how many times I have thought it myself.  It's simple and it's something we all need to remember...

"Life is meant to be enjoyed, not endured."

Keep this in mind, my friends.  It's amazing how much this little phrase popping into your head can turn your day around.  Thank you, John Elliott.  You live on in the love and inspiration you gave to those you left behind.

Xxo, Phoebe

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Disappointing

Yesterday, I called up the Cleveland Clinic's billing department to see about setting up an affordable payment plan for the remaining $6900 I owe of the $12,500 I had to pay out of pocket for my cancer treatment.  And I hung up BEYOND frustrated with the smug girl on the other end of the line who told me that a three month plan was the best they could do.  Seriously?  I don't have $2300 any more than I have $6900.  It may as well be the full $210,000 if I have to pay it off in three months!!!  She said that I COULD send what I can each month, but that it will likely, then, be sent to collections.

My initial reaction was to be pisssssssed.  But after cooling off for a few, i realized I am just frustrated.  I mean... it sucks!  I WANT to pay this bill.  I genuinely WANT to give my hard earned dollars to the good people at the Cleveland Clinic who helped me through my treatments and cured me of cancer!!!  That is a bill ENTIRELY worth paying.  And they are basically telling me that if I TRY to pay what I am capable of paying per month, it will be sent to a collection agency.  Meaning that ultimately, the money I DO send in will not all go to the Clinic.  I hate this...

I also hate that, should that happen, this could further fuck up my credit rating.  A credit rating I just spent EIGHT YEARS trying to fix after the financial nightmare I ended up in after my previous marriages and the poor monetary decisions that occurred during them.  A credit rating that Ryan and I desperately NEED to be decent if we are going to get out of this damned house and into one that is not, for me, full of "cancer memories" and for him is not in Cleveland proper and does not have a "Garaj-Mahal."  It just sucks.

I have a few people who have offered to give me numbers of people to talk to who might be more helpful, and I am going to work on that.  I don't want this to end up a negative thing.  I want to sort it out and for the money I have to go to the place that helped me.  

Hopefully something will come of these suggestions.  Fingers crossed...

Oh.  And one more thing... THANK YOU.  At least half of the bills that I HAVE paid off, I was able to pay off because of the donations I received here on my blog from all of you!  Seriously!  There are no words to express what that means to me.  You all helped make this happen, and I cannot thank you enough...

Love love love, Phoebe

Monday, May 14, 2012

Random Things

Random Thing #1: We made our first batch of kombucha.  I bought some canning jars to store it in and had a cup last night and another with breakfast today.  I was a little nervous last night.  My first sip was kinda puke-y tasting, but I think the notes I was tasting were less "vomit" and more "new and unlike anything familiar".  I am pretty psyched about it, actually, and am looking forward to keeping the brewing going.  With it taking 10 days or so per batch, though, I think I may start doing two at once, a little staggered, so we don't run out in between.  

Random Thing #2: I've been strangely "sad" the past few days.  (Maybe the idea to try to ween myself down on the zoloft was a bad one?)  I came to a weird realization on Saturday... ever since I have begun to feel better, I HATE being home.  Home now feels like "the place that I was trapped when I was too sick to go out anywhere."  On weekends, especially, if I have no specific plans, I have been making up reasons to be out and gone as much as possible.  "Oh, I just need to run to the grocery store that is 35 minutes away... what?"  It's become hard to be here in my own house.  That sucks.  If I spend any time here, it is either in the new tv room, because that is different now than it was when I was ill.  (Hmm... maybe I need to rearrange the bedroom or something?)  I feel desperate to "do" things, but I think because I have never been much of a joiner before, people don't invite me to do things.  I feel sad reading my friends' facebook updates about what they are doing and wishing I was there doing things, too.  It makes me feel even more isolated and alone in my illness, even though I'm not sick anymore.  The isolated feeling comes from the fact that none of my close friends can TRULY understand how alone this has made me feel.  No one knows how hard it STILL is.  And I have no words to explain it.  Except "lonely."  Extremely.  Fucking.  Lonely.

Random Thing #3: Talking to my beautiful mum on Mother's Day yesterday, she brought up a comment my dear Gale Freeman left on my blog in January.  Something about not changing everything in my life to try to be healthy, but to listen to my body.  And it just made me want to reassure everyone that I am, really more than ever before in my entire life, listening to my body.  I do worry a little bit about going over the edge with my writing into the health-centric, food-nazi-esque direction that Kris Carr went.  Not that I don't adore her, but my interest in what she's had to say has waned considerably because I will never believe that veganism is in any way healthy - but especially not for me.  (I know too many vegans whose skin is an unholy shade of gray-green... that CAN'T be healthy!!)  I want to share my experiences with this new healthy diet and lifestyle, but I don't want this blog to turn into nothing BUT that.  Yes, I get that it IS a natural progression.  One is unhealthy.  One gets sick.  One battles and BEATS illness.  One chooses to get healthy so as to not get sick again.  It makes sense.  But I just don't want to seem like I am going off some health-nut deep end.  And I was sort of afraid that that might be what my mum was implying, bringing up the aforementioned blog comment about not changing everything and listening to your body.  So I just want to share with everyone that I AM listening.  And for the VERY FIRST TIME in my life, what I am hearing back when I listen is, "Thank you.  I feel GOOD finally."  I am eating healthy things that have been recommended to me, not by some hippie with bells tied to the fringe of her peasant skirt, but by a woman with a doctorate who knows my medical history and is genuinely excited to help us be healthy.  She is not telling us to drink raw milk if it ISN'T the right thing for us to be doing.  AND I trust her.  And I believe that we will continue to feel better because of her recommendations.  I already do.  So nobody worry, ok?  We're not doing anything without being fully informed on it and no one is more focused on us being as "well" as possible as we are! 


I feel like when I started this, I had other random things I wanted to talk about, but I have forgotten them already.  Maybe there will just have to be a "Random Things, Part Two" post later on...

Thanks for sticking with me.
Xxo, Phoebe

PS - Please feel free to ask me questions about stuff.  I would love to share whatever I can with anyone reading this.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Raw Milk and Going Paleo

I think I mentioned in a previous post that Ryan and I are planning on joining a herdshare so that we can legally have access to raw milk.  What this means is we basically pay for a portion of the care of a cow and in return we get milk, butter, etc. straight fro the farm.  I am SUPER excited about this.

It's all pretty much part of following something that seems to be sort of a trend right now... the Paleo diet.  Not "diet" in the Atkins/South Beach/Zone/Etc. way... just "diet" as in "what you eat".  I bought a Paleo cookbook and am looking forward to making this a serious part of our lives.

I don't want to go all Kris Carr here, though.  I mean, I LOVED "Crazy Sexy Cancer" but when girl started squirting wheat grass juice up her ass, I kinda lost a little bit of my interest, you know?  I mean, as with anything, I enjoy learning about good things from other people, but when it goes BEYOND a certain point to where it's not just a lifestyle but an OBSESSION or a militant, annoying talking point, you lose me.  And Kris lost me with her dietary madness.  As do pretty much ALL overly preachy vegans.  So I promise, I am NOT going to get all goofball with the Paleo thing.  I am just interested in being healthy... and if I learn things along the way that are worth sharing, I will share.  But I do not expect everyone (or ANYONE, really) to take up any of MY new habits.  Because they're mine.  But I AM excited about getting healthy.

And I am excited about getting thinner.  I'm no size six or nothin - probably never will be - but I am definitely skinnier than I've been in YEARS.  I bought my first bathing suit in close to a decade today.  And it doesn't have a skirt.  This is a big deal for me.

I love feeling this good.  I love my mini trampoline and my gazelle and my obnoxious workout videos.  And my raw milk and cheese and antibiotic-free meat and eggs and probiotics and all that good stuff.  And I love Dr. Caputo of Great Lakes Natural Medicine for pointing us in the right direction over and over!  If you are looking for someone, I wholeheartedly recommend checking her out.  She's right here in Lakewood and she is awesome.

Xxo, Phoebe

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

So Many Babies

I am trying to figure out how many of my close friends have new-ish babies and/or babies on the way right now.  And all I can come up with is... a lot.  That's how many.  A friggin' lot.

The fact that I am thinking about this at all is strange and new.  Until pretty damned recently, I could have cared less about any human being under the age of, say, oh... twenty or so.  Kids?  Zero interest.  And don't even get me started on my previous feelings about babies.  Suffice it to say that I was NEVER a fan - not even as a child myself.  Just didn't have that maternal gene, I guess.  Never had any desire to have a child of my own or even to be around anyone else's.

That changed slightly and slowly as more and more of my amazing friends had amazing kids.  When Steve had Maverick six years ago, I HELD my first baby.  And when Lacey had Spencer, I fell head over heels in love with my first baby.  And now she's pregnant again.  And so is Jess.  And Michelle.  And and and...

I literally feel like I am surrounded by baby bumps.  And for the first time in my life, this makes me feel a little sad.  A strange longing.  An unexpected emptiness.

WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?!

I never wanted kids.  I didn't care that no one ever talked to me about seeing a fertility counselor until I was sitting there with my first chemotherapy needle pumping poison into my veins.  And I am not leading up to saying that I suddenly DO want babies.  But I AM saying that something about having that option no longer be available to me is surprisingly heartbreaking when I see so many happy expectant mothers wherever I look.  I find myself wondering what it would have been like to grow a life inside my belly.  Wondering what names we would have considered.  Wondering if I'd have ended up being a good mom, despite my previous child-aversion.

I was no prepared to have thoughts like this.

Love love love, Phoebe

Italy Photos, Part 15

I still prefer the line-stealing guy, but this is pretty good, too.

And I have NO idea what is going on here.

Ivy.  I like the stuff... when it's not on my house.

View on the way up to Pizzale Michelangelo.

Loved this little guy.  We made friends fast!

Florence & the Duomo from Pizzale Michelangelo.  Stunner.

One of the two Florentine David replicas that you ARE allowed to photograph.

Somehow an empty wine bottle laying on the sidewalk looks so much less trashy than a beer can.

I guess I wasn't the only Clevelander in Florence that day?

Mmm.  Shutters.  Love 'em.

Yet another excellent door.

And another.

Hello to you my only love.

This was across from the piece above. 

Even the dumpier buildings were beautiful.

Adored this balloon graffiti.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Italy Photos, Part 14

No, I haven't forgotten about posting the rest of these babies.  Just haven't had time to do any sorting recently.  This batch concludes our Tuscany day trip day with San Gimigniano, a little more countryside, and Pisa.  I really did not expect to be so amazed by Pisa, but it was spectacular.

Entering San Gimigniano.

Creep!

Pansies!

San Gimigniano. 

Lots of great gothic architectural detail in San Gimigniano.

MORE BIRD PORN!

Yum!

Spooky wall.

Cute laundry.

Cypress silhouettes.

Dream house?

Dream view!

Headed to Pisa from San Gimigniano.

IS THAT A "FOR SALE" SIGN?!?!!!

Pretty trees.

Leaning Tower of Pisa!

Piazza dei Miracoli.

Leaning Tower.

It really is quite leany.

...And quite beautiful!

Amazing from every angle.

Piazza dei Miracoli from the top of the Leaning Tower.

The sunset that night was just stunning.

Love the terra cotta rooftops!

The trek back down the tower steps was a little nerve-wracking. 

Incredible day.