THE ODDS (Debbie Does ALS)



Little Miss Stella is a ravishing beauty; who among us has seen her and not fallen victim to her wiles, her charms? Few, if any. I succumbed within the first moments of our acquaintance. Before long I was wrapped around her fluffy little paws, allowing myself to disregard all the proprieties, even (GASP!) table manners.

Jenny comes by every weekday morning to give me breakfast. As my devoted firstborn situates herself by my bed, Stella hops from the floor to the bench, leaps over the footboard onto the bed, and indecorously scurries up to give me morning kisses. Hoyden!  Secure in the belief that her kisses have won my heart yet again, she settles herself on my lap and waits, all the while staring at my MOUTH! Yes, dear reader, my mouth.  Unable to share a discreet treat from  my hand, I sometimes let fall from my lips the tiniest soup├žon of an oopsy; if the oopsy lingers too long on my lower lip the hussy shamelessly leans in and plucks it right off. Jenny and I chuckle indulgently, ignoring the solecism.

One morning last week, Stella didn't greet me with her typical boundless, pre-oopsy enthusiasm.  Instead, a subdued little girl crept quietly into my room and was deposited on my lap. As Jenny reported on Stella's pre-dawn escapades, I was treated to pitiful looks from behind Bichon lashes (which are grown for just this sort of occasion). It so happens that Stella, like others of her species who are tempted by evil, PEED on her mama's bed! She received rather a scolding while Jenny washed the linens, a scolding that left her chastened even the next day. Betraying not an iota of interest in the most important meal of the day, she sat on my lap, head resting on crossed paws, every ounce a perfect little lady.  Jenny and I chuckled indulgently, all at the drama queen's expense.

The following day the hoyden returned, evidently choosing to look forward rather than back. Okay, it's not a choice, she's made that way.



Standing on a blacktop surface with five others, I hold an iron bar, the bottom of which has two sharp points  By my foot is a small patch of dry mud. A white pinfeather floats down from the sky and lands on top of the mud; within a moment it's covered by a glowing piece of jasper. Using  the sharp points of the bar I stir these odd ingredients until the air turns a thick orange, swirling around us--we can hear but can't see each other. As we walk I feel something hitting the back of my neck, insistent but not painful.

I find myself in a large, empty auditorium.  A neat, trim woman in a light suit is at the podium and to her left is a wall-size black screen. The woman directs me to go into the screen, without a second thought I do as she bids. The screen absorbs me. I'm not afraid, I know I'm in the right place.

Another building. Businessmen I knew several lives ago are inside but I don't want them to see me. A stranger enters the building so I follow close behind him and make my way to the elevator.


This and That

What hosts say to guests at, say, a wedding reception: We're SO glad you made it!
What some guests said to me: We're so glad you MADE it!


Feeling self conscious in my wheelchair and worried my inadequate joystick control would hurt innocent bystanders, I entered the room (where the ceremony would take place) via the right hand aisle. Already emotional, Louise dug in the spurs when I heard the violinist; fresh tears and a shaky hand brought me to a stop as I narrowly avoided hitting the wall. It was several loonnngggg seconds before I trusted myself to roll on.


Becky and John danced to Louis Armstrong singing We Have All the Time in the World, from the James Bond movie On Her Majesty's Secret Service. Becky is the only person I know who has a cd of James Bond theme songs--she knows them by heart and belts them out with gusto. She was raised on a steady diet of 007 and her passion is genuine.


Isn't They Lovely?

Apologies for the grammar. I'm trying too hard with the Stevie Wonder thing. But isn't they?


The Princess Bride

What a weekend, what a wonderful wedding. My Becky was a beautiful Princess, her husband a tall, dark and handsome Prince Charming.

My beautiful Jenny and Cecilia were maids of honor...the entire bridal party was picture perfect. My three daughters, however, were the loveliest of all. On more than a few occasions I was told I must be so proud of my girls; I'd nod in agreement and say thank you but I thought to myself that, more than proud, I am grateful.

Since Becky and John W were legally married in November there was really no need for a licensed official to preside over this wedding, so they asked the father of the bride to perform this duty instead. Becky sent her dad his script and told him he could tweak it A LITTLE, which he did.

At home on Friday night, as John M was reading his slightly amended script, conversation turned to a certain scene from a certain movie. Jenny (who can recite dialogue from quite a number of movies) rattled off this particular dialogue and someone suggested it be included at the beginning of the ceremony to surprise Becky. Another note card was prepared.

Fast forward to Saturday at approximately 5:15pm. Bridesmaids and groomsmen in place, John W standing tall and looking fabulous in his tux. Becky, on her dad's arm, almost Little-Miss-Bouncy-Stepped* down the aisle. John M quietly gave his daughter away and took his place. Smiling, he began with these words (sans accent):

It was great, appreciated by the bride and many others.

*A very accurate childhood nickname.


Girls' night out

Jenny, Courtney and I went shoe shopping Friday night,  for shoes I can wear to the wedding. DSW was our destination; I hoped to find something to complement the silky, monochromatic ensemble hanging in my closet.

There was a time when this was an all too frequent activity, but I haven't been shoe shopping in forever. The pointy toes and high heels--once a staple--simultaneously break my heart and mock my size 11s, feet that are even harder to fit since Louise stomped on them. This night was no exception; all those beautiful, beautiful shoes, row after row of them, but none of them meant for me.

I rolled all through the store, Jenny clearing the mirrored settees from my path, Courtney replacing them after I cut swath after swath. As I neared the last row of women's shoes and approached men's, my swath fizzled, until I espied a lovely pair of neutral slippers. Yes, they were more masculine than I like, but the mocha color, roomy toebox and cuddly lining met all the important requirements. As well, I reasoned, my feet would be mostly hidden by my outfit. So I bought them, saying I would return them if something better came my way.

I took the girls to dinner at Asia Bistro and was pleased to find a Thai curry on the menu. Our  server, noticing my wheelchair and that Courtney was turning the menu pages for me, came over to offer assistance and to take our drink order. Can you guess which beverage is mine? We had rather a chuckle over this.

In addition to our meal, we enjoyed watching and listening to the other diners, especially the  July/November couple seated next to us. They had quite a serious conversation about Johnny Depp and his movies, including I Like Chocolate* (despite the fact they'd not seen it, but heard it was good). The music was 70s Motown and more than once I amused the girls when I got my middle school groove on. Yes, I had a groove. Stop laughing.


*Of course you know there is no such movie. Miss July was referring to Chocolat.


Good stuff

Shared by Michael.



My feet are ultrasensitive, especially the right heel. If there is even the slightest threat of pressure, my heel goes all diva on me and readies the whole foot for a major tantrum. The toes and top of foot swell, turn red and radiate some pretty intense heat. Rather uncomfortable.


The only word that comes close to describing how my skin feels: sunburnt. Any time contact is made--when getting in and out of bed, getting dressed, doing range of motion exercise, anything at all--the nerve endings in the distressed region go apeshit. Most  disagreeable.


The past two mornings I've woken up in a world of hurt. It's as if my collarbone is loose, and any movement from my head or shoulders results in pain. Oddly, the pain disappears when I get up. I am a very delicate flower, an orchid in fact..


On a lighter note, I'm happy to report that, after more than a week of troublesome coughing/choking when drinking, I finally remembered the ol' chin tuck. It's amazing what difference a tiny tweak makes in successful sipping.


Last but not least, I'm eliminating some pills from my twice-daily cocktail: lithium and rilutek. They aren't doing much so they won't be missed.

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