Play the $50M game

Posing as Livvie, Xena tries to get loaded into the car bound for Timberline.

Well hey! I’m still here, just really busy. In fact,  I’m working on a speech called “Don’t Let Your Sanity Check Bounce” right now. I’m giving that speech as an audition on Friday and ran across this game we love to play. Here’s how it goes: You just won $50 million in the lottery. What are the first three things you would do? How pathetic are mine:

1- Finish the basement so the kids have somewhere to go. Anywhere.
2- Pay off debt.
3- Fix that stupid tear in the kitchen linoleum that the dog made while searching for invisible kibbles. Even better, rip the entire kitchen out and start over.

A list like that means I don’t have any real problems. Real problems are ones that can’t be fixed with money.


1- Just got back from our annual tri-family event at Timberline, where it dumped like 17 inches of snow. Last year, we were frozen in fear from just learning about cancer while our friends rallied around us and gave us warmth. This year, they planted a rubber chicken in our luggage and claimed we owe them a family dancer number.Image

2- The kids got to meet the author of Wimpy Kid yesterday. (Thank you, Jillian!) Image

Lucky for me, they never said, “Hey, you’re a writer, Mom. How come you don’t have a tour bus!”

3- We took the kids to see A Place of Truth, Barrett Rudich’s documentary. Look at the glowing report they gave the film festival.


View to a Thrill

View to a Thrill

Does it get any more postcard-perfect than this? Every year, we head to Timberline with two other families. It snowed like crazy last night, leaving sugar-encrusted trees and a blue tint. I love how everything looked like that for miles. Normally, I’m not a white or cream person. But after Weird Cancer Guy, I want to just stare at calm, creamy hues. Suddenly, I’m mega sensitive to color.

So far, the doctors’ offices are all beautiful tones, rocks and plants like a spa. But when I went to the oncology place, I had a total anxiety attack when I saw the chemo room. It evokes the emotion of cinderblock. The people who work there are amazing and caring. I want them to work in a soothing place, too. That’s got to be a really tough job. I’m trying to figure out how to make this happen. It should feel like a hopeful, caring room. Not scary.

Here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to share how people help me so if any of you blog visitors deal with this, maybe it will help you. I whined to my friend Linda Cahan (, an interior design expert who gets flown all over the world to consult on retail spaces and color. She wanted to jump in and redesign that space right away. In the meantime, Chris Stopa (Linda’s husband calmed my flip out down with some energy work. He doesn’t even have to be in the same state as you. It worked. The next day, I was a lot about that room and started making calls to find out who is in charge at OHSU Knight Cancer Center and how can we direct money over there to make it a more positive environment. I’m hoping Linda can design that room, even if it’s one wall, and Chris can clear the cinderblock vibe out.

Before you think I’m all Jacki Woo Woo, just know that I have enlisted help from every possible source. My friends are extraordinary like Linda and Chris, and so their help will be anything but ordinary. My family and friends mean everything to me. I’m ready to fight with everything I’ve got. I’m going to write them up on this blog. It’s the least I can do.

Up next on “Weird Cancer Guy, I Hate You”…Fun radioactive dye injection tomorrow to see if the cancer has spread. Then, surgery to get a port put in my chest for needles, poison and whatnot.


1. Radioactive injection? I’ll never need a nightlight again.

2. Port in my chest. It’s like a built-in USB. Now I don’t have to look for an outlet.

3. A drug-induced nap. My favorite!