I've been trying to write this post for over three weeks now, but it's the post that never ends (Yes, it goes on and on, my friend...). Edit after edit, the message had become infinitely convoluted, and I'd become increasingly frustrated. So I scrapped the whole thing and started over.
I'll get straight to the point, because the message is very simple: Thank you, everybody, for an amazing visit back home. I had so much fun! I love you and miss you very much. I am overwhelmed by your love and support, as always, and I can't wait to see you again. When the weather's warmer.
And if pictures are worth a thousand words, well, then my work is done, because here's the link to the photo gallery. Enjoy! I know I did...
Here I am! Not writing has been killing me, with so little space in my head for remembering!
Boyfriend had sailing work in Southern California and Mexico for most of February. My oncologist almost fell out of his chair laughing when I asked. "Mexico? That would be a NO." I sort of need a babysitter, so we decided I would go stay with friends and family while he was working.
So off the midwest I went. My first stop was St. Louis, to visit my friend Kari.
Kari is one of my oldest horse friends. And I'm not talking about her age, because we're only a year apart. But I've known Kari since the fourth grade, that would be twenty-four years, which is a long time in horse years. We took lessons at the same riding stable in North Aurora, Illinois. We grew up riding and showing Saddlebred horses together in Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin. She came to my graduation from William Woods University in Fulton, MO. We were in each other's weddings.
Then I was out of touch. Recently, her old horse Bubba passed away and we got back in touch. When Kari suggested that I make St. Louis the first leg of my three-week tour, I jumped at the chance. I had yet to meet her daughter, Ella (she's six already!), and her new horses, Rooty and Thumper.
Kari and I didn't miss a beat, riding horses, talking horses, breathing horses. (Thanks for putting up with us, Dave!) The only thing that has changed is the addition of the fascinating, profound combination of Kari and Dave that is their daughter, Ella. Nice to meet you, young lady.
We even took a road trip (sans the 80s music - damn broken iPod!) to Farmington, MO to see another couple of dear friends - Andy Amsden and my old horse, Amy. She looks fabulous and happy, and clearly remembered me. I can still see her expression as she touched my arm gently with her nose (Mom!... touch...You're... touch...here!... touch....), just like she always did. I love you, too, girlie. Thank you, Andy, for taking such great care of my girl!
We finished up our five days of good 'ol equine-saturated bliss with a drive up north into Illinois, meeting my parents halfway. We had lunch, tearful goodbyes, then my parents took me the rest of the way to their house in Aurora, IL. On Kari's birthday, no less. Thanks for sharing your day with me, Kari. Thanks for everything.
Let's do it again soon, 'kay?
Cross your fingers that my Medi-Cal card comes by the time I get back to California next week, so I can pick up my next round of chemo on as soon as I get home. Everybody is getting really tired of hearing, "I'm still pending for Medi-Cal." Myself included.
Even Betty White is up in arms about it!
It's Valentine's Day, so I'm going to write a little something about love. Before you start rolling your eyes in expectation of something goopy about my (fabulous) boyfriend, I want you to know that I'm not talking about romance. I'm talking about love - the unconditional love that exists between us all. The love we extend to a friend, or even a stranger, when she needs it the most.
Since April, I have learned, in a most profound way, to be on the receiving end of more love, kindness, selflessness, and generosity than I thought existed in the Universe.
Thank you, all of you. I'm sending a whole Universe-full of warm, sparkly love back to you.
Stop listening to the naysayers, the doomsdayers, and the Negative Nellies. Because the only thing that matters in this world is LOVE. And you'd better believe that the more you give, the more you receive. So put it out there. There's more than enough for everyone. You do have time for love. We all do.
A couple of weeks ago, Boyfriend and I drove out to Vegas to meet Little Brother and his BFF for a series of adventures that can best be described as a Totally Gay Vegas Weekend. My brother's BFF, Mike, is the world's most amazing hair stylist and lives in Vegas. He's an honorary Tomlin - my other little brother. He's also a fabulous host whenever we're all crashing at his place. (Thanks, Mikey! XOXO) Blast for not having any hair for him to cut and style this time! So I got a mani-pedi while my bro got his hair done. (Thanks, Little Brother! XOXO)
I know what you're thinking: "Girlbert, what kind of a brother makes his sister, her brain tumor, and her chaffeur/boyfriend drive all the way to Vegas to see him for the first time in over a year?" And I'd say, "The World's-Biggest-Bette-Midler-Fan, that's what kind of brother!" January 31st just happened to be Bette Midler's closing night after her two-year run at Caesar's Palace in The Showgirl Must Go On. I saw her on opening night with the same boys two years ago, so it only seemed appropriate that we were there on closing weekend.
Bette was A-MAZING. Everyone was in tears for the last few numbers, including the Divine Miss M. It was Boyfriend's first Bette Experience, and as he put it, "She rocked! And she's hilarious - I had no idea." I remember feeling the same way when I saw her for the first time on her Kiss My Brass tour - no idea she was such a fantastic entertainer.
And entertain us she did! Her final performance was particularly moving because Bette was genuinely sad it was over. Us, too. We love you, Bette!
Check out more pictures here.