Champagne Supernova

Happy ChrisHanuKwanSolstice everyone.

My hopes that the Winter Solstice here on the north shore of Long Island would be as balmy as it was in 2015 have been dashed.

Winter Solstice, 2015.

It is slightly above freezing today, the first full day of Winter here on the north shore of Long Island. Top Cat and I will head out to our favorite beach and toast the return of light in about seven hours. This year, however, the champagne seems redundant since I’m still way high from last night. Whew. One benedryl at bedtime and I am still a bit loopy the next morning.

I should mention that on top of the benedryl, I had spent most of the day before high as a kite on Xanax, a drug that I would happily abuse if falling asleep while sitting up was my thing. Maybe I should back up:

Last Friday I had to take care of two bits of skin cancer. It’s not my first go-round with basal cell carcinoma, but the two times I’ve had it previously, the nasty bits were on my shoulder and on my neck: easy stuff. This time, however, I had a twofer, both on my nose, which is right smack in the middle of my face. And this time it was going to be Mohs surgery, which if you are into grossing yourself out you should definitely Google.

What I saw on the internet was so revolting that I asked my doctor for some Xanax that I could take for the operation so that I would be calm during the procedure and not scream too loudly. The Xanax worked so well that when I got out of surgery and glimpsed myself in a mirror and saw the pile of size of bandages on my schnoz I laughed and laughed and insisted that Top Cat take pictures of me. In fact, I was in such a good mood that I became convinced that this is how I should be spending the entire Drumpf presidency, loaded to my eyeballs.

All things must pass, and lo when the Xanax wore off, I was just a girl, with a very sore nose, once again witnessing the demise of our democracy.

Yesterday I went back to the plastic surgeon to have the stitches removed, a process that required another liberal dose of happy pills. I downed the Xanax and settled into a chair in the crowded waiting room and closed my eyes. I did not notice that my consciousness had wandered far, far away until one of the sea creatures that I was playing poker with looked up from its cards and said something in French, which I thought might be my name, and then I heard a distinctly human voice say it again and I knew it was the nurse wondering where the hell Vivian was and I realized Vivian was me.

I get chatty when I’m high. After rambling on about how I didn’t leave the house because of the huge stonking bandages on my face except to go to the liquor store and the library (because: priorities) I remember telling the surgeon that I hoped when the bandages came off that I wouldn’t look like Golda Meir. “Who’s Golda Meir?” she asked. Everybody is so young these days.

“A muppet,” I said, because I knew a coherent explanation for my reference was out of the question.

Golda Meir, a great lady. But not one that you would call “button nosed”.

So now I have smaller, but still big, bandages on my nose and I have several more go-rounds of grafts and other gross stuff which makes me want to puke. AND I’M ALL OUT OF XANAX.

Mama cat Candy, the calico, with her boys Taffy and Lickety. You can see the family resemblance. The boys got their mother’s nose.

In honor of this wondrous day of Solstice I tried to paint a special 2017 ChrisHanuKwanSolstice picture for you all . . .

. . . but this kept happening:

So let’s look back on some of my favorite views of my beloved Long Island Sound, starting with this sun set from long ago:

P.S. I can see (above) that I used a paper towel to blot the paper to keep the yellow paint from bleeding into the blue paint and achieve some interesting effects. I haven’t done that in a long time. I should try that again soon.

I remember being very surprised that I could pull this off (above), when I was still in the early days of my painting, that is, do a picture that left so much of the white paper showing.

I have no idea how I got that diagonal color bleed in the sky. I should play around with my old Grumbacher paints more.

All these images are from my first book, When Wanderers Cease to Roam, and they are reproduced in the book in their original size in case you haven’t seen them before and don’t know that these pictures are very small. Bigger than a Triscuit, but smaller than a baby bunny.

But my ChrisHanuKwanSolstice wishes for you, Dear Readers, are bigger than the sky: I wish you all the adventure of mindfulness, the joy of discovery, and the wonder of living each day with an open heart and mind.

P.S. I am still totally high. I just realized that it seems that I published this post when it was supposed to be in draft mode so all the while I was working on it this morning it was live on the internets. So now you know how the sausage is made.


32 Comments, RSS

  1. Patricia

    Is it my computer or did this post sneak out before completed? I’ve got three squints and some random letters. Some obscure code I need to break to find the real post? Or did the cats type it for you?

    • Vivian

      Ha ha. That was all me, Patricia. I was typing live on the internets. I started it while I was high and forgot to shut it down…you can now read all about it.

      • Patricia

        All is explained. Wonder how we’d get a three year (and counting) supply of Xanax? But the earlier post (seemingly in code) did inspire me in hiding my grandson’s Christmas present. First I wrapped it in lots of tiny pieces of duct tape and then I tucked a clue in his first (smaller) gift. I gave him a word search puzzle with lots of random words and letters. directing him to the garage freezer.
        It took him about 20 minutes. Smart kid.

  2. Adrienne

    So glad I revisited this post (I had read the original one!) Wishing you good health and everything wonderful for the new year. As always, I love seeing your paintings – the good ones and the ones you think are less successful (which are still wonderful) In some way it makes me feel better about my own work! Looking forward to seeing your Monet book!

  3. ann

    I always love your posts.

    Hang in there. Time will help you heal.

    I had a spot removed from my face the size of a quarter.

    You can hardly see it now.

    It is amazing what doctors can do now.

    Continue to hold on to the cats and your paintbrush!

    You will get through this.

  4. Casey

    Why didn’t I think of that? I should just stay blitzed for the next three years.

    I love your winter chapters of When Wanderers Cease to Roam. I would love to watch your paint dry if ever you think about doing more icy views of your Long Island Sound.

    I didn’t get to comment last week but I too want to congratulate Jeanie on her clean biopsy!! What a blessed way to begin a new year!

    Happy CHKSolstice to everyone in Vivianworld here.

  5. Happy, Merry and so much more. But oh my! That’s no way to get prepped for the holiday — or maybe it is. I chose radiation because I figured 20 days of not bad pain trumped (sorry) the alternative (of course, different spots.) Well, I hope your recovery is quick, complete and you are all well.

    It’s time I re-read Wanderers again. I love those illustrations so very much. I think in 2018 I’ll re-read it like a day book, only follow along month by month. Yes! That’s it!

    SO, everyone have the best holiday possible (and thanks, Casey, for your good words!) Loving the cats and hoping you all cozy down. Purr therapy is a fine thing!

    • Vivian

      I was not offered radiation, but that to me does not sound like the easy way out, no way, unless the dr. gave me Xanax for every session. In fact, I’m pretty sure I would demand that. I can be very bratty unless I get MY DRUGS.

      Purr therapy is the finest course of healing in the universe, and that includes the kind of instantaneous stuff that the Amazon River god can do. (Have you seen The Shape of Water? Amazon River gods also like cats but not in a good way.)

  6. Megan

    How weird I watched Jonathan Ross last night for the first time in years… one of the guests was Liv Tyler and she was talking about Xanax I’d never hear of it before so now twice in two days. They sound great I just had oral surgery and I was offered a sedative and didn’t take it I think I should have. I need one now. Love the cats, lovely noses indeed. Have a wonderful Silly Season and I too am happy about the solstice as it means we are counting down to autumn and winter, YAY. Take care and remember all things pass.

    • Vivian

      It always happens like that: Learn a new word and suddenly it’s every where. Xanax is also the coolest word ever, for being a palindrome, for having two “x”s, and for having one “x” act like a “z” and the other “x” acting like a real “x”. Whoever thought that up deserves to have his or her name made famous throughout the land.

  7. Kirra

    Happy *high* Christmas time Vivian! Your post was very entertaining despite the serious sucky-ness of the situation. I hope you got to enjoy your champagne and you cats keep you comfort. Probably best to replace the drugs with champagne when you can, they can be addictive I hear. Thanks for your lovely wishes and I hope the same for you. (2017 highlight for me was meeting you in New York, so thanks again!)

    • Vivian

      Meeting you and Neal on a sweltering hot New York City Summer day was a high point of my 2017 too. The world is a small place and it’s good to know the neighbors in person, isn’t it?

  8. First: I love your “Who” shirt.

    Second: I love your canoe painting.

    As for your medical procedure, I’m glad it’s over, and that you were able to (sort of) enjoy it, even if chemistry was required. I’ve never taken a Xanax but now I’m wondering what I’m waiting for?!

    • Vivian

      The t-shirt is vintage, and I altered it to lengthen the sleeves, open the neckline, and shorten the hem because I do not look good in off-the-rack t-shirts. The alterations cost more than the t-shirt but that’s what money is for. And, oh yes, in times of stress, or any given Tuesday, Xanax is the wonder drug.

  9. I love your “ChrisHanuKwanSolstice” greeting and if you still look like you did in 2015 (‘cept for the nose, I presume) then, girl, you gotta start eatin’ some pizza! Happy Holidays! All of ’em.

    • Vivian

      Ha ha. Did you know that the best thing to drink with pizza is champagne? A champagne expert told me that actually buttered popcorn is the best paring, but she’d never had Long Island pizza. That’s my birthday dinner coming up on the 16th. I’ll have an extra slice just for you.

  10. Linda June

    Oh, your poor nose. Just had a friend who had that done, and his face was all purple and blotchy, big stitches, huge bandages. Hang in there–you will soon be back to some semblance of normal (not that I mean to scare you!) At my age, things like you just faced are possibly in my future too. I’ll remember to ask for Xanax! Next time try baby Benadryl. You can take a swig of it and at least wake up in the morning fairly “with it.” Happy Holidays to you and Top Cat 🙂

    • Vivian

      THANK YOU, Linda June. I need some recognition of how dire this is. It is not a little thing, having a “thing” right in the middle of your face. Is there such a thing as “baby Benadryl”??? Does it come in cat-sized doses? I have a feral I’d like to knock out and bring inside on these 21-degree days, and two former ferals in my house I’d like to drug so I could show them how great it is to BE HUGGED!!!

  11. Tucson Tana

    Like you, I now have a Mohs nose – mine was squamous. But all I could think about during the surgery was how important it had seemed all those years ago to have a really deep tan. Sigh…if only I had known the dangers lurking in my sunlamp, sun reflector and iodine-enhanced baby oil sun baste. Oh, well, we’re still here to celebrate, so I wish you a very merry holiday and a quick and easy follow-up and finish to your surgical suffering. Thank you so much for sharing your brilliant blogging. Bonne santee et bonne annee! (I never learned how to do accents on a computer.)

    • Vivian

      I like the “Mohs nose”! I never tanned, but I thought I looked good with a little sunburn and would go for a pink glow. Ha! I’ve got a pink glow alright: I’ve got a Rudolf nose now. I hope it’s only temporary.

      Happy New Year and Good Health to you too! And many Bonnes Routes!

  12. Wishing you a speedy recovery. Good that your doc caught this and you took steps to eradicate. That said, nothing better than being “pain free!” Add a bit of champs and everything looks even better. Tis the season to be jolly Happy holidays, Vivian.

    • Vivian

      Actually, the doctor missed it on my annual check up. I had to point it out to her and ask for a biopsy. I don’t like getting bumps on my nose and although it appeared to be harmless, I insist that it go. I did not expect cancer, I just expected to be rid of it. Champagne always makes the day shine brighter.

  13. You are good for me. I just had to laugh at this post. Yes, I do remember Golda and her nose. Hope yours heals better than hers did. Wishing we could all sleep until that Mr.T goes away and life returns to what we dream of for our country.

  14. Margaret

    This never did post correctly on Bloglovin – the platform I read blogs on. So glad I found it! I went searching because I wondered what happened to your nose. I lost about a quarter of my nose to skin cancer in early 2014, and now it looks great (or at least it does to me). Wishing you a speedy and complete recovery!

    • Vivian

      Oh, Margaret, that’s so good to know, that you have been there and came back with a perfectly regular nose. I’m afraid of looking like Mark Hamill, who was really cute in the first Star Wars movie, and then he got in a car accident and came back to the second Star Wars movie looking, well, less cute. Beauty is a matter of millimeters, and I don’t have that many millimeters to spare.

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