What happened to your blog?

Underground. That’s what happened. I went underground. Maybe it’s the super-public way I dealt with cancer. Or maybe it’s just standard PTSD after going through such an ordeal, but I plummeted straight down into eighth-grade-level depression. That combined with near constant anxiety attacks shut me down. I’m coming around, after going to the doctor and all that. I take comfort from my cancer friends who are reporting the same thing. Looking forward to getting my full personality back. In the meantime, even THINKING about my show, “Waiting for the Brazilian,” going on the road makes me so excited. The thought that Beto and I could make more cancer survivors and families happy makes me feel like every bomb, every late open mic night, every TIME OUT show, was worth it.


1- Check out what Barbara Christenson, who represents women speakers at the Speak Well Being Group, wrote on her blog about the show. Awesome!


2- When I went to get gas today, I discovered that somehow my gas cap was missing. I remembered who pumped my gas (in Oregon they still pump it for you) and went over there to ask if they found it. The owner of Division Street 76 was so nice, he found me a replacement at an auto parts store up the street and handed me a $10. He said, “You’re my neighbor. I want to make this right.” The thing only cost $9, so I went back and gave him his dollar. He laughed and said, “You didn’t have to do that. You made my day.”

3- Brooklyn Nine-Nine is on tonight. It’s a show you can watch with your kids. Hilarious. Plus, Andre Braugher from Homicide plays the straight man, except that his character is gay.


Tribute Thursday: The Boland Family

Trina, Heather and me


The first time I saw Heather Boland, she was tearing up the elliptical at the gym wearing a scarf to cover her bald head courtesy of cancer treatment. I didn’t know Heather yet, but had heard she was battling cancer. A quick burst of an inhale followed by sadness and “Oh God, her kids are so young.” I didn’t think it was my business to say anything to her, but I’ve changed my thinking on that now. A year later, we met in our boys’ kindergarten class. All of our kids aligned perfectly. Two best friend boys and two best friend girls. Heather and I were in that void where there’s not enough money for childcare to work, so we took our kids around and got to talk…a lot.

One day, she practiced her speech about her experience with mouth cancer for Trina and me on my porch. Finding out. Her husband Tom leaning over, grabbing her hand. Worrying about being there for her kids. All three of us were in tears. Soon after, Heather and her family moved to Boston. We were devastated. I found myself in a deep depression, missing them so much. A year later, Steven was still drawing storybooks called: “My Best Friend Tyler Lives in Boston.” Brian flatly said: “I’ll give them two years. They’ll be back.” Okay, psychic guy. They are back, just in time for my cancer adventure.

This time, Heather leaned over and put calm hands on my hands. “We are going to get you through this,” she said. A part of my fear fell away when she said that because she had made it through. Despite taking on a demanding full-time job, she checked on me and brought us our favorite food from Jade Teahouse. They took our kids for day-long playdates. She texted me all the time. Having help from the Bolands through this was an ever-steady presence of warmth. Plus, the kids got to experience lots of play dates from their good friends Tyler and Tegan. And, Tom gave Brian comfort that can only come from someone who’s been there. So happy you guys are back! So thankful you’re our friends.


1 – “Waiting for the Brazilian” Comedy for a Cure show is almost here! Next Tuesday night. Harvey’s requires a two-item menu minimum, so I’m going to have dinner down there before the show. Doors open at 6 if you want to join me. If you are a cancer survivor, call Harvey’s (503) 241-0338 and get your FREE SEAT.

2 – Livvie’s team is in the final four of Battle of the Books! Today’s matches will determine who goes on to the next level from her school. I was a big proponent of making Battle of the Books a contact sport. Sadly, I was the only one.

3 – Last weekend, I overcame annual flashback sadness. Last year, I was in the middle of chemo when Liv and I went to the Evergreen water park. I only went down the slide three times with Liv. It was sad thinking about the depleted state chemo put me on, until I went screaming down the slide about ten times this year. Brian and I even got faux romance time, re-enacting the scene from Malcolm in the Middle when the mom and dad make out in the wave pool and Brian Cranston spits out a band-aid. You gotta grab those precious moments while you can.

Had it? Lose it


You know that day when everything sets you off? That’s been the last few days for me. The kids left rotting apples in my freshly cleaned car, then complained Ew, it stinks in here. We tried to take the kids for a fun day at a water park, but had to turn around when one kid got car sick. That was because air isn’t really a breakfast food. When Steven said he couldn’t eat dinner because he doesn’t like mushrooms, I let him have it with: “YOU MAKE DINNER!” Brian sent me out the door with a bottle of red. So I went to Maria’s house. But first, I stopped at Saint Honore to fetch chocolate. Maria’s kids laser-beamed on the box and kept lingering around to “talk” to us or “read” around us, thinking we’d share. Finally, Maria let them have it. “When you have a play date, I’m going to READ in the middle of it!” Awesome. There are so many reasons why she’s my friend. So this is an early Tribute Thursday…on Wednesday.

We met while our babies were squiggly slabs on blankets at a new mom group at Good Sam. We realized we lived in the same neighborhood and started hanging out immediately. It was that foreign land of leaving full-time employment and finding yourself a parent. When I started getting pulled under by postpartum depression, Maria noticed and told me, saving me from going under more. I went to the doctor immediately and took care of that. More kids, soccer games, pizza nights and mom nights out later, we’ve stayed friends through it all. Maria delivered soy lattes to my door and hung out with me during chemo. Her kids were awesome too – Mae drew pictures for me. Her boys picked out a Star Wars warrior that looked like me when I was bald. I took it to chemo with me. Her husband Mark and Brian downed many beers during all this.

Last night, we were talking about financial struggle the families around here and probably the entire country are going through. We’re all in that together – trying to keep money coming in while being available for the kids. It’s just always a huge comfort knowing you’re so not the only one. It’s okay that you erupt once in a while, especially when you find a way to drop it and keep going. Thanks, Raggett family for being so amazingly loving, supportive and THERE for us.


1- Yesterday, an entire class of preschoolers rushed toward me on a sidewalk as if I were a walking ice cream truck. When I walked up the same sidewalk on my way to Maria’s, I looked down to see those kids had drawn hearts and “I love you” all over the sidewalk in chalk. Someone once told me kids are “master teachers of love.” True!

2- I’m in a WAY better mood today. So is everybody else in the Sturkie household.

3- I’m performing at the Spilt Milk show tonight at O’Connors in Multnomah Village. If you can’t make the Feb. 4th Brazilian show, this is a really good one. It’s small and the local comics are from my old show, TIME OUT. Plus, dinner’s good and I always love seeing Paul, our waiter.

Looksie – Get the last laugh on cancer at a comedy show

JackiBrazillianPoster_2FWhen I was hopped up on steroids during chemo, I stayed up all night and wrote this show. Now it’s a reality – my first one-woman show with poorly sung parody songs and other surprises. Hope to see you there!


1- Cancer sucks. Let’s make fun of it.

2- Look at all the people who came together to make the poster happen: Thank you Jeffrey Smith and Kathleen Raftery of Komen Oregon; Rachelle Fisher amazing graphic designer; Russ Cederberg amazing photographer; Rachel at Dance with Joy for the use of your new space and Bill at BNC printing for saying: “Whatever you need.”

3- Two basketball games got cancelled for Steven, creating welcome chill-out family time.

Dear Santa, I need an extension

Okay, I’m not talking hair here. I’m talking deadlines. And I’m one of those people who hits deadlines for a living. But this one is so unfair. It snuck up on me and everyone else in the free world. Can’t we just put a filler week in there? Christmas cards? Not happening. Gifts arriving on time to East Coast grandparents? Uh. No. Gifts arriving for kids? Sure hope so. This means you, Amazon. Liv and I went on a wild run through the most lame Target ever last night. Then, I had to bribe her with lip gloss to go to Tuesday Morning, a store universally despised by all children. To finish off the holiday spirit, we watched the original Sound of Music. Normally, that’s the feel-good escape movie of the year, except how do you explain Nazi to a nine-year-old? I tried. Her only takeaway was: “They really like that ‘hills are alive’ song.”


1- Here’s why it’s the most wonderful time of the year: FRIENDS! We crammed as many as we could in our house for a cheesy Polynesian Christmas and appetizer competition. Check out my pal Beto. He’s appearing with me in WAITING FOR THE BRAZILIAN…COMEDY FOR THE CURE, my comedy show at Harvey’s Comedy Club Feb. 4th (MARK IT!)

2- Looking back to this time last year makes me want to take up running. It was a Chemo Christmas. So so appreciative to be on the other side. But at the same time, my heart goes out to all the women who didn’t get to survive.

3- Best for last: My sister’s little girl is doing much better recovering at home! I’ve been so in awe of my sister’s love for her kids. What an awesome mom.

Tribute Thursday: A tale of two grandfathers


See that dude on the left, he’s my dad. The other man is Brian’s dad. There they are watching Livvie pop up from behind a sofa at Amelie’s in Charlotte, NC, while Steven shakes his head in “grow up already mode” like he’s 30. Both gdads have been hugely supportive of us, when we started a business that barely got off the ground, then crashed with the economy. When Brian’s mom died, Brian’s dad and his wife stood behind us with both hands on our shoulders. When I got cancer, Brian’s dad shipped a car out here for us to use, so we could sell our other one. My dad flew out here with his hugely supportive wife and helped us get rid of a dental bill amassed when we were self-employed. He texted me daily to see how I was doing, which reminded me how he used to leave work at lunch and bring me root beer when I was sick. Seeing them both at one time last week was magic. We called it Nxmas, as in next to Christmas visiting, but not on it. We can’t afford to fly during holidays. Brian’s dad set us up at an amazing resort house in North Georgia; my dad drove down to Charlotte. We saw a ton of crazy supportive friends every chance we got. Thank you all for twisting schedules to make that happen. And, thank you to the two of the finest men I know – for being there. We love you.



1- My sister’s 4-year-old daughter just got home after having some serious surgery in the hospital. So happy about that. Throw more positive Frisbees their way so she can get back on her tiny feet.

2- Almost reaching surrender mode. As in, no way can I get all this stuff done for Christmas. Just realized the real Christmas is like next week. Whaaa?

3- The dog plucked a few ornaments off the tree like it’s a doggy snack tree. We were laughing as we tackled her to avoid giving doggy Heimlich. In her case, it’d be Hindlick.



Voici Tribute Thursday: The LaBorde Famille

Here they are in Mourenx, France, not Paris, because there are other locations in France besides Paris. Who knew?

It’s Tribute Thursday, ya’ll. That’s when I try to remind you that there are amazing people in the world. Meet the LaBorde Famille! I say famille because they’re French. When we were a new family at Abernethy Elementary, I used to notice Shonda dropping her son Josson off at Steven’s first grade class with a crazy cute baby glued to her side. Then, I heard the baby’s grandparents speaking French. I was thinking, bummer. She looks really cool and I’d love to be her friend, but if I tried to speak French now after a million years, I might hurt myself. Unlike me, Shonda is graceful and soft-spoken. So it took me a while to realize she wasn’t French. Her husband Julien is totally French. Like in an Oh yes, I wear a beret, carry baguettes and sip espresso from the Eiffel Tower kind of a way.

Fast-forward through elementary school, baby Zevry is in k-garten and our boys are headed to middle school. Our families have been friends straight through. The day Brian and I had the dreaded meeting to map out a cancer treatment plan, the kids were playing at Shonda’s. The kids didn’t know about cancer yet. When we came to pick them up, Shonda’s face went blank. The kids looked at us and knew something was wrong. We told them we had to talk to them. The first thing Steven said was, “Oh God. Tell me it’s not cancer.”

The LaBordes stayed with us through the whole mess. They brought dinner over and ate with us (Yes, baguettes were involved.) Shonda dove in head first helping organize the auction. And, Julien sat with me through chemo and drove me over there when I couldn’t see straight. They sent me a card signed by everyone in the family. But those kids! Josson was so supportive to Steven and me. He always asked how I was doing and took time to make fun of my hair and no hair. One day, Zevry screeched to a halt when he noticed I was bald. “Where’s your hair?” he said. “I don’t have any. Can I have some of yours?” I asked. So he ran around looking for scissors when Shonda stopped him!

I’m looking forward to many more years of drinking wine and whiskey (That’s right, Julien. I’m a slow drinker, but I’m still in!) Thanks for being such amazing friends to us through sickness and home projects. We love you and hope to re-enact your engagement on top of the Eiffel Tower one day.


1- After almost 12 years of bodily torment, we got a new mattress. Seriously, camp sleeping on gravel is more comfortable. Very excited to have a new one.

2- It’s freezing cold, but sunny. Score: 1-1.

3- Steven’s team won their first bball game last night. There’s hope after getting pummeled by kids who eat steel for breakfast last year.

From giving thanks to giving the finger?

It’s snowing in my office.

Some people must have gotten the wrong end of the turkey over the holiday. By Monday, they were in full road-rage mode. First, I pulled across a lane I thought was one way. An older “gentleman” in a Camry was far enough away to not hit me. Yet, he reacted like I sunk his battleship. Then, he took both hands off the wheel and gave me two, one-finger salutes. Really? One’s good. When I went to meet my client, he came in flustered after calling 911 because some dude jumped out of his car and came after him, fists flying. Whaa? In my mind, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” plays through the drama. I’m staying in my office today. Forget that.



1- Yesterday morning, Liv sobbed in the car: “You’re different since cancer. I miss you.” Holy crap, what do I do with that? Yeah, I’m different. Maybe you didn’t get upset during cancer and you’re getting upset now, I said. “That’s because I didn’t want you to DIE!” she screamed. Maybe it’s safer for her to cry about it now that I’m okay? I quickly slipped into Man Mode. “Let’s fix this,” I said. “We’ll have one mommy-daughter date every week.” She lightened up. To show her I meant it, I bought movie tickets and left a handmade card in her room expressing that we are going to do that starting this week. How is this a positive? Look what she drew on the card.

2- My friend Nicole, who is part of the Abernethy Cancer Mom Dream Team, is going in for surgery this week. So she’s one surgery away from finished! Please send positive her way. She’s a total spitfire, but still! Every positive thought helps.

3- I am looking so hot right now. I’ve got pink eye and a sinus infection. Hot AND sexy. After hitting the disease lottery, this is such small change it almost feels like a relief. Hot damn, I’m getting normal stuff now.





It’s hot mess Wednesday

Was there a random weirdo moon out last night? We all woke up out of sorts. Brian and I jumped Steven’s case over his lackluster lunch-eating skills. Liv woke up whimpering and dissolved in a steady string of tears over the same subject. I started to get jumped up about the morning until I saw a bicyclist had been hit by a FedEx truck on Broadway. Suddenly, any problem I thought I had disappeared. All day, I’ve been hoping both people are okay. I would be devastated if I hurt someone in a car or any other way really. Deep breath. Keep moving.


1- Doctor #1: All clear. Everything looks good. Awesome.

2- Doctor #2: What do you mean you’re not taking that medication? I’m going to light up Doctor #3. But still, everything looks good.

3- While at Doctor #2, I ran into Doctor #1’s business partner/surgeon, who is apparently going through treatment. Cancer will pick anyone anytime, even a professional who helps people defeat cancer daily. She looked fab. Suck it, Weird Cancer Guy.

4- Bonus positive: This guy walks up to the table next to be at Starbucks. It’s empty except for some trash the lady before him left. He looks at me and says: “Is this table reserved, or did somebody just leave a mess?” That’s my new line to use at the kitchen table from now on. Feel free to baffle your children with restaurant words in a home environment.

It’s Tribute Thursday: Here’s to Xena the Warrior Princess


Something overcame me in the fall of last year. I couldn’t stop thinking about my dream dog. The thing is, I didn’t even want a dog. I wanted this dog. Ever since I met a bull terrier  named Plait in Copenhagen in the ‘80s, I had been obsessed with those pointy dogs. So I started looking online and couldn’t stop until I found Xena, the Warrior Princess. She had produced 20 puppies and needed to retire. I was ready to retire after one. Her first re-home didn’t work out since Warrior Princess eats chickens. When we went to meet her, Xena stuck her cone head in my purse, then sat on my lap. That was it. Soon after, cancer struck, and she knew it. That dog stayed by my side through every minute of treatment. Now that cancer’s over, she shacks up with everyone else! Seriously? I have to have a fatal disease to rank special attention around here? Thanks to Christine, Xena’s original mommy, for loving her so much and taking such good care of her. Thanks, Xena, for taking care of me.


1- Now that Livvie has officially gone to Disney, I can say my dad’s famous words: “Every day can’t be Disney World, you little creeps!” I’ll probably leave the creep part out. Livvie came home toting souvenirs for us all and stories. Thank you, C, L and E for taking Liv with you! Lucky girl.

Fresh from Disney with a lighted ice cube. Everyone needs glowing cubes.
Honey, I Shrunk Carol Burnett into the Little Mermaid!


2- My pal David had successful surgery on his back. Quick, send him positive Frisbees that he won’t need any more surgery and that his excruciating pain is over.


3- Stumbled across the best radio station ever – 107.1 www.kzme.fm. It’s all local all the time. We’ve got some serious music talent in this town.