Thursday, November 15, 2007

Breast Cancer Caucus

I've become something of a single issue voter. Health Care. Breast Cancer and Health Care. That's why I've become so involved in the National Breast Cancer Coalition. Hence why I'm passing on one of my greatest tools for voting this season.

It's called the The Breast Cancer Caucus. Go to the website. Read what each of the candidate has to say on important issues of health care and eradicating breast cancer.

What I thought was even more telling than the statements, was who wrote them and who didn't. Who took the time to make a video and who had some low level communications flunky write it. For example, not one republican made a personal video. Some didn't even respond. Some had very specific plans and goals; others.... not so much. Now, you can be liberal, conservative, independent, whatever. I don't care. But if this is an important issue for you, you should check out this site.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Chemo Angels

In my effort to be all things breast cancer to all people, I recently took part in a wonderful program called Chemo Angels. What's that? Well, you sign up to be an angel to someone going through chemo. You volunteer to send 2 things a week... cards, little gifts, funny pictures, whatever. Sounds great, right? Well, in theory it is. And I was so super excited about it. I was assigned to another young woman with breast cancer. I eagerly gathered little journals, bath salts, snacks and whatever to send to my new charge.

Here's the problem. I realized that I am not a good chemo angel. Aside from the inevitable mailing things twice a week, which - if anyone knows my family - is not really a strong suit, there's the whole "no expectations" thing. Chemo angel recipients are told they are under no obligation to respond. This isn't pen pals, mentoring or anything remotely two way. In fact I was sending things for about a month before I even heard that my person had received anything. I guess in my mind, I was hoping there would be an email or a note saying thanks and that would lead me to helping walk her through her treatment. Not so much. I got 2 short notes from my person. 2 notes in 4 months with me sending things twice a week. And when her chemo was over, I got a note from the program saying she had graduated. No "I'm done... thanks for everything!" Nothing. Nada.

Now, I know this is what I signed up for. And I should still feel good. I mean, who doesn't love getting flowers? or cookie bouquets? So I know I probably helped her through her experience. But I've realized I'm a little selfish. I'm not quite a good enough person to do it just for them. I guess I want to feel good about it, too. And I can't do it anonymously. Not that I need recognition, but I was hoping it would be the beginning of my path to guiding others, and I never got the chance to do that. And I guess there's a part of me that's like, "really? Someone sends you hundreds of dollars in stuff and you can't send a little more than a tiny card?" Maybe cuz if it were me, I would have reached out desperately for another young woman... I didn't know any when I started treatment. But then again, it's not about me, is it? But I have realized I want to be someone more like a mentor.

Now, I still think this is an awesome program. And for those of you who are better people than me - go for it! But I'm no longer a chemo angel. I don't think I could do another person who didn't respond. I'm just not that nice, I guess.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Frosted Pink

So you all know I sing with this gospel choir - a breast cancer survivors gospel choir. If you don't remember, you might want to click here. Well, we recently returned from a trip to L.A. where we were featured in the event, Frosted Pink. It was thing oddly amazing combination of figure skating and music. It was dedicated to the fight against women's cancers. There was Kristi, Nancy, Kurt, Oksana. Who the frick are these people? Fancy figure skaters... hello? Have you never watched ice skating on a Sunday afternoon? Turn off the Lifetime movie people! The musicians were Rascal Flatts, Heart (Man, did I love me some "barracuda"!), Joss Stone, Natalie Cole and others.

And us.

Little ol' Shades of Pink sang with Joss Stone. Little ol' Courtney was featured in a vignette on national TV. Granted, it was Sunday afternoon, but it was national. ABC. And man, the camera must add like 30 pounds!

It was fun. Check out the website. Some of our stuff is on there. And apparently, we'll be taking part in next year's event... Frosted Pink with a twist. This time with gymnasts...

If you'd like, you can also watch the YouTube performances. I have a little ditty before one of them. The joy of being the youngest and white... I'm the "diversity" baby!

Here's our Signature Song Performance

And our stuff with Joss Stone, including the interviews of me and other members of the choir.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Why you shouldn't go drinking in the middle of the day

So I went to Connecticut to visit my aunt a few weeks ago. She just had a litter of Bernese mountain dog puppies. Well, not my aunt specifically... but you get the point. They were flipping adorable. And you know I just HAD to have one. Except there's a small problem. I already have 3 dogs. Three LARGE dogs. All logic and reason says I should not sign up for another 100 pound dog.

But who ever called me reasonable?

After telling my aunt how she should entrust one of her prize show dogs in my care, I proceeded to call my husband, plotting how I would ask/beg/trick him into agreeing to this silliness.

I called him at 4pm. He had apparently spent the afternoon at a bar with his neighborhood boyfriend - a friend of ours who lives down the street. He was - well, inebriated would be generous.

The conversation went like this.

ME: Honey, these puppies are so freaking cute. I need to have one.

ALAN: Sure.

ME: What would you do if I brought one home?

ALAN: Puppies are great! Do it!

ME: You mean it? I can bring home another dog?

ALAN: Why not?

The next day, after calling the airline to confirm our new friend's travels, I call Alan again.

ME: You sure you're okay with the puppy?

ALAN: Huh?

ME: You said I could bring home a puppy.

ALAN: I did?

ME: Yes, you did. And his flight is booked.

ALAN: Shit.

So, that's what happens when you're too drunk to tell your crazy wife no.

So... presenting... RUGBY!!! He's adorbs. And a little stinker. He'll fit in just fine :)

Friday, November 02, 2007


As many of you know, I'm a writer. Like - for reals, ya'll. I write for television. And while I sometimes roll my eyes when yet another character goes into a coma or isn't really dead, I enjoy what I do. I enjoy sitting at home, working in my yoga pants, while 90210 is on in the background. I like being creative. I love the people I work with. I like getting a paycheck for said employment. I love health insurance.

As some of you may or may not know, The Writer's Guild of America is about to go on strike. Power to the Unions! I hear some of you cry. And I believe in my union. My union made sure that when I was "nobody, wanna be writer #3 on the left" and negotiating my first contract, the studio didn't fuck me in the ass. My union makes sure I don't get taken advantage of. Most importantly to me, my union, after only 3 months of membership, responded to my cancer diagnosis by paying over $300,000 in bills. I gladly write that dues check once a quarter.

However, this strike may be long. And I am of course not really prepared. A few weeks, sure. A month, probably. Six? No way in hell. All around me co-workers are freaking out and "the industry" is buzzing. A strike is sad. It's not just the writers... it's actors who won't get those day player gigs that feed their families, it's caterers who won't have regular jobs delivering lunch to the set, it's sound guys and grips and drivers who will possibly be out of work. It sucks. It's scary. It's scary to sit on thousands of dollars in bills and not really be sure where the money will come from. To think to yourself, "Wow- Christmas is coming and I have no idea when I'll work again." To look around your house and think, "What can I do that costs NO MONEY?" (the answer - not a whole lot)

But yesterday, as the news of the impending strike started trickling down, I was with a friend who was getting her brain scanned. She was sitting absolutely still, saying nothing, pushing away the fear that after 2 years of being cancer free- it was back, and I was outside talking about turning in scripts early to avoid the strike. My friend and I joked how the morphine the doctors has given her that morning wasn't working. While she was getting a prescription for a drug that most associate with terminal patients, I had gotten a couple of "man, I need a drink" emails from writer friends. My friend had been having dizzy spells, headaches, coordination problems. I was frantically figuring out just what I could cut out of my budget. She had looked for hours on the internet - searching for reasons other than "breast cancer metastases to the brain." I had been looking for latest news on whether we'd get 6 or 3 cents a dvd.

Is a strike scary? Damn right it is. Is cancer scarier? Fucking unbelievably so. And I did that. So If I have to, I'll get a temp job or Discover the advantages. My husband works, I have family I could trun to if it got really bad. I'll survive. Not everyone is that lucky.

So while everyone else is praying for a short strike, I'll be praying for my friend - hoping that whatever's wrong isn't cancer. And if it is, that she has the strength for the fight. After all, my union keeps telling me to be strong in the face of a battle.

It's all about perspective.