The flesh that lived and loved will be eaten by plague, so let the memories be good for those who stay


Welcome to my New Year's Resolutions 2011!

First we need to see how we did in 2010. The resolutions were threefold:

1) get a cat
2) get a tattoo
3) bleach my hair

I can proudly say, all 3 of these were accomplished. My cat is one of my greatest sources of comfort and companionship (and entertainment); I got--ahem--4 tattoos, and I bleached parts of my hair (the plan for 2011 is to truly go all platinum again).

Unfortunately 2010 was a shitstorm all its own, despite my hopes for it to top 2009. But 2011! Surely YOU are the promise of good things. And by good things, I quite literally mean no surgeries, no non-check-up medical appointments, no catheters, no IVs, no bedpans, no bed-rest, no hospitals.

I have lots of hopes for what I'll do in 2011, but only a few resolutions. The hopes are to find a new therapist: to help repair my relationship with myself (and others). To find a church to attend and serve (hopefully finding some kind of urban volunteer work there as well): to help repair my relationship with God. To start building my physical strength up again, and I should make it clear that I couldn't give a FUCK if I lose any weight. I won't be weighing myself at all. I just want to be active and in good health.

The resolutions are much less serious (even less serious than last year's!).

- Read the complete works of William Shakespeare. I may abandon this before February, but I'm gonna give it a try! I've been put off by literature, especially fiction, since my medical crap. I figure why not dive back in with the best?
- Listen to all of Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Thanks to YouTube and my library, this shouldn't be too difficult (read: expensive). I might disagree with some of their choices (and rankings), but I hope to find a lot of new music to love and appreciate! Plus, with iTunes, I rarely listen to whole albums anymore, and an album that is awesome start to finish is always such a gratifying discovery.
- Maybe take a big step into 'adulthood' (whatever that is) that I don't want to discuss on the interwebs until it really happens...but it's a big deal in my little world. No, I will not be pregnant or married.

2011, please be amazing.

You were what I wanted, I gave what I gave: I'm not sorry I met you, I'm not sorry it's over, I'm not sorry there's nothing to save


Song of the day: "Your Ex-Lover is Dead" by Stars.

I think I'm now an offical MSTIE.*


Did I tell you I've now seen every episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000? Except for the 2 that aren't on Youtube or DVD? Yeah.

That's 10 seasons. 196 episodes. Which is roughly 326 hours of watching bad movies with Joel, Mike and the 'Bots.

This picture pretty much sums up my pride:

And this one sums up my feelings about it being over:

(Both taken from Ep. 609: Sky Divers)

*I'm actually a bit confused about this title, because the People of the Internetz seem to write 'MSTIE' but the note thanking said fans at the end of later episodes is spelled 'MISTIES.' I'm assuming both are acceptable.

Tip of the iceberg, people.


Remember that one time I said I wrote a lot of Christmas cards this year? Well, I also made a hella lot of magnets.

a tiny miracle took place


"... I remembered another woman at our church, very old, from the South, tiny and black, who dressed in these ersatz Coco Chanel outfits, polyester sweater sets, dacron pill-box hats...She was always cheerful until she turned 80 and started going blind. She had a great deal of religious faith and everyone assumed that she would adjust and find meaning in her loss, meaning and acceptance and then joy; and we all wanted this because, let's face it, it's so inspiring and such a relief when people bear up to the unbearable. When you can box things up nicely and see that a tiny miracle took place and that love once again turned out to be bigger than fear and death and blindness. But this woman would have none of it. She went into a deep depression, and eventually left the church. People kept taking communion to her, but she wouldn't be in our community anymore. It must have been too annoying for everyone to be secretly trying to manipulate her into being a better sport about being blind than she was capable of being. I always thought that was heroic of her, that it spoke of such integrity to refuse to pretend that you're doing well just to help other people deal with the reality of impossible loss." [Anne Lamott - Salon]

When my neurosurgeon called to give me my MRI results this month, I was prepared for bad news. Not prepared like I was last time: DOOM! ABANDON HOPE! BOOK OF REVELATION! But more like, gird your loins, love.

think most of us who had been there in the hospital last May...and then in June...were waiting for the confirmation of what we had been told repeatedly: that the second surgery did not go as planned, and an additional abdominal surgery would be required.

But when the call came and I was told that the meningocele hadn't grown, and that I didn't even need to do more scans, I couldn't really believe it. All the trepidation and dread and hard decisions, *POOF* gone. This gnawing, gaping hole inside me that I fed with tears and anguish and pity sealed up and disappeared as well. (Well, the one that existed concerning the future. The one concerning the past 16 months is still open and ready for business. But it's considerably less time-consuming.)

It's strange to have an 'impossible loss' that has that option. People, like the woman in the story above, are dealt impossible losses that can't ever go away. A chronic/terminal disease, the loss of a spouse or child, or any other horrific tragedy that strikes a life, and cannot be fixed with a surgery or procedure or treatment.

I wonder at why mine was healed, or fixed, or if nothing else, temporarily repaired.
Was it prayers? Very possibly. In fact, I believe undoubtedly, that was part of it. For which, to all of you who prayed, I am very humbled and grateful. Thank you for doing often what I could only do some of the time.

But as I look at myself and what it would have meant if it hadn't been healed, if the surgery hadn't worked, if the sac was still filling with fluid...I wonder if the prayers were answered because God knew I just couldn't handle it.

My impossible loss was becoming more and more impossible, not less so. For every bit of meaning or acceptance or piece of wisdom I gained, there was twice as much heartache and despair and anger and bitterness and hopelessness. For every night of fun laughter with friends and appearance of functionality, there were weeks of crying myself to sleep and self-created nightmares. I chose again and again to be defeated by my fears and pain, rather than rise above them to be an example of what a good Christian looks like when they face adversity: a joyful beacon of fortitude. Instead, I shat my pants (numerous times) and hid under the covers with my iPod playlist titled 'Sad Times' and Anne Sexton's Complete Poems, waiting for brave people to bring me food.

I got four, FOUR tattoos and cut off all my hair and became unhealthily obsessed with a cat and fired my therapist and went to Vegas and didn't memorize one effing Bible verse the whole time. (P.S., that's the proposal I'm using to sell my memoir to Zondervan.)

But when I got the good news, I decided right then and there to send a Christmas card to everyone I'd ever met, telling them how I love them so, so, so much, and I could never have made it without them. Which is God's honest truth. And so far, I've written 61 cards, and it feels glorious. I've been so loved and cared for this year and last, and I want to go all Ebenezer-Scrooge-on-Christmas-morning on people, bringing them turkeys and presents and toasting them because Everyone is Family and My Heart is Free Once More to Love and Cherish the World Freely in Freedom.

And thank you, God, because I was doing baaaaaad.

Celebratory Feast!


In case you haven't read the post below this, or we aren't friends of FB, let me clue you in:


So tonight I treated myself to the best dinner Metropolitan Market had to offer (after 8pm, at least).

Mac & Cheese, broccoli salad, Christmas cookie, and Prosecco.

Also, THIS:

*As far as we can tell/for the time-being.

Remember in A Muppet Christmas Carol when Gonzo is narrating and he says: "And Tiny Tim, who did NOT die..."

Well, if Gonzo were narrating my life, he would say: "And Maryann, whose meningocele did NOT grow back..."

It's true. My neurosurgeon saw my MRI, and the radiologist's report literally said my meningocele had disappeared! He's a bit more skeptical, saying that they found fluid in my pelvis, and he thinks that might in the meningocele, but either way, it's much smaller and not pressing on any organs, so we should be able to leave it alone unless I start feeling any symptoms to the contrary.


When waiting for a call from a neurosurgeon

there is nothing else to do but wait. And as Tom Petty tells us, that's the hardest part. So we also post cat pictures! And Tom Petty videos!

Song of the day. (Yesterday, actually.)


And when you walk inside I feel the door
I’ll never let it push your arms no more
And when your legs give out just lie right down
And I will kiss you till your breath is found