The Sonia Show

Writer. Mocker. Beer drinker. Old movie watcher. Mother. Goober.


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Homer

Yeah, so, Homer passed away today.

As you know, Homer went to the vet a few weeks ago for a variety of ailments. He did his best to put on a brave face, but the truth is he was not OK. He was having a lot of trouble walking, and he had stopped eating his food and was barely drinking enough water. We were able to get him to eat some people food, but after a while he even started turning that down. He started pooping blood. I don’t mean there was blood in his stool. I mean, there were puddles of blood. It was awful. That’s when we rushed him to the vet. The doctor gave us a couple of options, but the truth is he was not happy, and he was not healthy. He was suffering. We could have done all the medical things and maybe bought him a few more days, a few more weeks, but his quality of life would be terrible.

We love Homer too much for that.

We didn’t want him to keep suffering just because we didn’t want to let him go. My mighty, mighty good man David and I wrapped him a cozy blanket, and we kissed and snuggled him as he passed. “Thank you for being my dog, Homer,” I said. “I love you, and I’ll miss you.” After he drifted away, I crumpled into a sobbing mess on top of him.

Making that decision was one of the hardest things I ever had to do, and I had breast cancer twice. Our love for our pets is not complicated, and they love us unconditionally. We wanted to do right by Homer, but our hearts were breaking to do it. There was a battle between my heart and my mind, and it was tearing me up inside. Ultimately, I feel we did the right thing for Homer. We would never let him suffer. Of course, the knowledge that we did the right thing doesn’t make it hurt any less.

I just can’t believe he’s gone. There’s a little place in my heart that is empty, and it hurts.

I got Homer almost 15 years ago as a Christmas present from my Mom. Before I got Homer, I was so lonely. I wasn’t alone. I had friends and family, but I was lonely. After Homer, I wasn’t lonely anymore. He was my main guy.

We went through a lot together. I got Homer right when Michelle found out she was pregnant with Lorelei. Homer and Lorelei grew up together. Homer and I moved five times. I met David and got married. Homer was in the wedding ceremony. He wore a bowtie and walked down the aisle with Lorelei. He stayed by my side as I recovered from countless breast cancer surgeries and last year’s chemotherapy. He used to sit in the doorway of Calvin’s bedroom, like he was guarding it. He was a great fur-brother to Calvin. They loved each other.

We had all kinds of adventures. I took him on a houseboat trip to Shasta. I used to bring him to parties. Homer was the best ice breaker ever. I brought him into the office on Sundays when I worked at The Examiner. One day he jumped up on the managing editor’s desk and ate his lunch. True story. It was so embarrassing … and awesome, because I hated that guy anyway. David and I took him to wine country. We went to Palm Springs. We used to walk for hours on the Iron Horse Trail in the East Bay, and we used to walk all over Golden Gate Park when I lived in the Haight. Once I entered him in a wiener dog race. Good buddy Kate tried to put Homer in the starting box, and I waited at the finish line with a corn dog. Homer was so fast, but not that day. He didn’t even finish. He just wandered into the crowd to get some pets from the bystanders.

There are a million Homer stories I could tell. He was such a character. David always did this really funny voice for Homer. He sounded kinda like the creepy guy on “Family Guy.” I am going to miss Homer’s “voice.” I’m going to miss how happy he was to see me when I got home from work or if I just got back from going to get the mail. I’ll miss how he always wanted to be close to us, and sometimes when he was feeling really needy he would walk to the head of the bed and try to sleep with his head on a pillow like he’s people. I’ll miss how he would sit under Calvin’s chair at the table and wait for food to start raining down. I’ll miss the sound of him snoring in the middle of the night. David works from home, and I know how much he is going to miss his office buddy. I’ll miss seeing him contort his body to perfectly fit a sunny spot. But mostly, I’m going to miss how much he loved me; how much he loved us.

We are mourning the loss of an important member of our family. And he was family. We have very heavy hearts in our house. Little things remind us of Homer, and then we cry, and then we tell a funny Homer story and laugh.

I am going to miss my Homer. Rest in peace, my mighty, mighty good dog.

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Dorking Out Episode 9: Fall Movie Preview and Thoughts About Fandom

Yeah, so, in this week’s episode of Dorking Out, Smith and I share our picks for the fall movie season.

Our original lists were very similar, so I mixed my list up a bit so that you wouldn’t hear about a variety of movies and wouldn’t hear a lot of “That’s on my list, too.” Although, you still hear that a few times. But that’s not why “Bridget Jones’s Baby” is on the list. I actually want to see it.

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We also have a really interesting discussion about fandom. We ask the question, “Are fans the worst thing about the things we love?” It’s a tricky question.

You can listen to it on our website, or you can find us on iTunes, Stitcher, and YouTube.

Smith and I also did The Pop Show with Master P on Sunday night. We talked about naked Trump statues, the Summer Olympics and that douchebag swimmer, and what the success of “Suicide Squad” means for the DC Cinematic Univserse. You can listen to that riiiight here.


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House arrest

Yeah, so, my mighty, mighty good boy Calvin caught a cold, so we spent the weekend in the house.

On Saturday, we didn’t even change out of our pajamas. I’m not going to lie to you, it was kinda rad. It’s not rad that Calvin caught a cold, but it was rad to just spend a day at home doing pretty much nothing. I mean, we did do some stuff. Stuff = laundry. We finally hung a framed photo that had been sitting around for a while. I made a baked ziti with spinach from Thug Kitchen. Calvin spent his recovery time lining up cars on a table and watching a lot of “Curious George.” Yep, he’s back on “Curious George.”

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Gee, I wish Calvin had more cars to play with.

On Sunday, he still had a runny nose and a cough, but he was so cooped up that we took him to the mall for some quick shopping. The Serramonte Mall in Daly City has a pond in the middle of it now. It’s got fish and turtles, and signs asking people not to throw in coins or trash. Guess what’s in the pond? If you guessed coins and trash, you are smart – probably smart enough to read a sign and definitely smart enough to know that throwing coins and trash into a pond that contains turtles and fish is a dick move. Ugh. People are the fuckin’ worst.

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You can’t see it very well, but Calvin is talking to a turtle, and the turtle is looking right at him. I think they understood each other.

So anyway, Calvin super loved watching the turtles swim, and I super love shopping so it was a win-win.

Oh, by the way, I want to say a big thank you to everyone for your kind words on my blog post about panic attacks. The comments on the blog and on Facebook we’re really nice, and I’m grateful. I’m glad I wrote about it. I always feel better after I write about it. Writing is excellent therapy.

 


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Happy chemo-versary to me!

Yeah, so, a year ago today I finished chemo. I guess it’s my chemo-versary. What do you get yourself for a chemo-versary? Being cancer-free, a full head of hear and the knowledge that you don’t have to do chemo anymore? That’s a pretty great gift.

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(Left) Chemo curls a few months ago. (Right) A year after chemo, the chemo curls are starting to grow out.

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One year after chemo with a few trims to give it style.

Of course, chemotherapy is finished, but I’m still getting treatment. I go to Kaiser every three months for a Lupron injection, which is putting me in menopause, because I had an estrogen-positive cancer. I’m also taking Tamoxifen every night. The side effects have been pretty minimal – mainly hot flashes, which are not that big of a deal. They can be kinda intense, but I try to dress in layers and keep some water with me. I’m kinda addicted to lemon-flavored La Croix sparkling water. Often I have a can of it in my bag, because who doesn’t carry around a can of sparkling water in their purse? Am I right, ladies?

The main side effect I’m dealing with isn’t even from these drugs. I haven’t written about it in a while, but I have continued to have terrible anxiety and panic attacks. I wrote about it back in January. Basically, I have post traumatic stress disorder from having cancer twice. I mean, if you lose body parts due to cancer twice it’s going to fuck with your head, right?

The truth is since the panic attacks in December and January I’ve been struggling to manage my anxiety. I saw a counselor a few times, but after that I started feeling like I could deal it myself. The counselor and my oncologist both recommended that I could try an anti-anxiety med, but I was determined to handle my anxiety the old fashioned way … with beer. Just kidding. I tried to handle it by pretending like everything was fine.

But I wasn’t fine. I really haven’t been fine since the second breast cancer diagnosis in December 2014. I’ve been walking around since then thinking that my body is trying to kill me, and that I’m going to die young. Shortly after I started chemo last year I had a panic attack when I was in the hospital for a fever. It was awful. After that, I was just dealing with it. I just accepted it as the new normal. I had a few more panic attacks, and my level of anxiety was just high all the time.

Then last month, I had another panic attack. It was really bad; really, really bad. I started hyperventilating. My hands, feet and face went numb. My hands actually seized up. It’s hard to describe but a woman actually filmed her hands clenching up during a panic attack, which you can see riiight here. It was the scariest thing ever. Luckily, I was with my mighty, mighty good man David at the time, and he was able to give me an Ativan from my purse. He was so sweet and thoughtful. He was so calm. “This is a panic attack. You’re going to be OK,” he repeated. I couldn’t move my hands. He had to put the pill in my mouth and give me water. He opened my hands and rubbed them for me, and he talked me through it, because he’s a goddamn saint.

After that panic attack, I started having panic attacks about having another panic attack, because I’m so meta. “What if it happens when I’m alone? What if it’s just me and Calvin? What if I’m at work?”

It was just too much to carry around all the time. I’ve never taken any kind of anti-depressant or anti-anxiety med, other than the Ativan, which was prescribed to me during chemo. I took it during panic attacks on an as-needed basis. I just let the anxiety and panic attacks go on for so long, because I hate taking prescription drugs if I don’t have to. You take a prescription drug, which has side effects, and then you have to take another drug for the side effects, and that drug has side effects, and so on and so on. The next thing you know you’re taking 10 different pills, and you still feel like shit.

I also let it go on for so long, because I’m just so hard on myself. “Deal with your shit, Mansfield” is what I would say to myself. “You don’t even have cancer anymore. People have it much harder than you. Rub some dirt on it and walk it off.” This is the kind of assy shit I’ll say to myself. I would never say such awful things to a friend, but I will say the most terrible things to myself. Even though I can be so hard on myself I was never depressed. I truly love my life. I think it’s because I love it so much that I’m worried so much about losing it.

Finally, I reached out to my doctor and said, “I need help. I’m tired of dealing with this all the time.” So, yeah, I’m taking Lexapro now. I’m on a super-low dose: 5 mg. In other words, I’m just like everyone else you know. I’m on a mood-altering medication.

I started the drug about two weeks ago, and shortly after I started the drug, my anxiety actually increased, which is a really shitty side effect for an anti-anxiety med. The doctor assured me that I needed to give the meds time to get into my system and work. I needed to ride it out a bit. It sucked. But then I got a great idea: Acupuncture. It helped me with nausea during chemo. Maybe it could help me with this. And guess what? It totally did. I went three times in a week. After the first treatment, I felt better. After the second treatment, I felt even better. After the third treatment, I felt the best I’ve felt since, well, the second the diagnosis. I’m going to continue taking the drug and going to acupuncture once a week.

I’m feeling so much better, you guys!

So, yeah, that’s what’s been going on with me. It turns out I’m a human being who can handle only so much crap before I need something to help me shoulder my burden. Weird, right? I’m writing about it because I feel like some people think this should be a dirty, little secret. I’m not ashamed. I went through some shit, and I need help dealing with it. Some of my awesome friends have shared their stories with me to let me know that I’m not alone. So, I’m sharing my story, so if someone else is reading this blog post, and they’re going through some shit, they can see that they are not alone, too.

 

 

 


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Dorking Out Epsiode 8: The FPJ Scale

Yeah, so, this week’s Dorking Out episode is super fun, you guys. We unveil our newly created metric for measuring an actor’s charisma: The FPJ scale.

Here’s the story: A few weeks ago, we did a podcast about all the awesome movie trailers that were released at Comic-Con. One of the trailers was for “King Arthur,” which stars Charlie Hunnam. I said that Hollywood needs to stop trying to make Charlie Hunnam happen. He’s just not going to happen. He’s  not a movie star. This started an entire conversation about actors who are FINE. They don’t repel us, but they don’t draw us in. “Like Freddy Prinze, Jr.,” I said. And – ta-dah! – the FPJ scale was born. If Freddie Prinze, Jr. is a perfect 1 on the scale that goes as high as 1,000, then where does an actor like George Clooney sit on the scale? How many FPJs is an actor like Idris Alba?

Where does your favorite actor fall on the scale? You should listen and find out. Plus, Smith made a really nifty graphic. See?

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We are starting work on one for actresses as well. We’re leaning toward Rachael Leigh Cook as the perfect 1, so the scale would be the RLCs. I really like the idea of basing our scale on the lead couple from “She’s All That.”

If you have thoughts and feelings about the FPJs and/or the RLCs, we’d love to hear your comments. Please go to our website and let us have it.

In this same episode, we also review “Sausage Party.” Plus, I review “The Get Down” on Netflix.

You can listen to it on our website, or you can find us on iTunes, Stitcher, and YouTube.

Smith and I also did The Pop Show with Master P on Sunday night. We talked about summer movies, and movies remakes that we would be OK with. Some of the answers may shock you. You can listen to that riiiight here.


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Dorking Out Special Bulletin: Rogue One and Star Trek Discovery

Yeah, so, the new “Rogue One” trailer was released last night. After watching it, we immediately recorded a special edition of Dorking Out. We couldn’t wait until Monday to talk about it, because we are dorks.

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My mighty, mighty good man David and Master P (also known as Peter Brown) joined us to talk about the new trailer plus all the news about “Star Trek Discovery.” It turned into a really great discussion about the difference between “Star Wars” and “Star Trek” fandom. You should listen. It’s rad.

You can listen to it on our website, or you can find us on iTunes, Stitcher, and YouTube.


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Doggone it

Yeah, so, my buddy Homer is getting old. It’s sad.

He’s going to be 15 years old in October. It’s a bummer to watch your pets get old. He’s really starting to show his age, and he’s having all kinds of issues.

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“I’m old. Give me that cracker.”

We took him to the vet for an eye infection, but it turned out he had a slew of other issues.

Like a lot of older dachshunds, Homer has back problems now. This is very common for wiener dogs. Two of his vertebra in his lower back are kinda rubbing together, and it can be painful. We had no idea he was in pain. He wasn’t acting like he was in pain; however, he is walking stiffly and slowly. Occasionally, he would lose his footing and fall over, or his legs would slide out from under him. But there was never any whining or crying. We really had no idea. Thankfully, he has some doggy ibuprofen that he is taking now, and he seems much happier.

So, we got drops for his eye infection and pills for his back. Oh, and he’s got diabetes. I know, right? Poor Homer. Getting old fuckin’ sucks. He’s getting insulin shots twice a day now. After giving myself shots last summer during chemo, giving Homer shots isn’t that big of a deal. I just put some Cheerios on the ground, and while he is stuffing his face I grab some skin around his scruff and poke him. He doesn’t even notice. Still, it’s not our idea of a good time.

We’re keeping a close eye on him, and we plan to make him as comfortable as we can for as long as we can. He’s been a good boy (most of the time), and we’ve been through a lot together. Almost 15 years I’ve had this dog. My niece Lorelei wasn’t even born yet. We’ve moved five times. I met David, got married and pushed out a kid. I got breast cancer (twice). Homer sat on the couch with me while I recovered from multiple surgeries and last year’s chemotherapy. My life has changed a lot in 15 years, but the one constant was my Homer. He comforted me when I needed it. We looked out for each other.

And now, David and I are taking excellent care of Homer, and probably spoiling him too much.

I’ll end this post with a really cute story.

After Homer’s vet appointment, we went to pick up Calvin from preschool. One of the teachers told me that this is what happened: Calvin saw me first, and said, “Mommy’s here!” Then he saw David. “Daddy’s here!” And then he saw Homer, and he started jumping up and down, “They’re all here!”

He ran to the door to meet us, and when we opened the door he said, “Thank you for coming, Homer!” And then Calvin proudly showed Homer off to his teachers and classmates. It was ADORABLE!

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Beach bums

Yeah, so, last weekend we went to Santa Cruz for some much-deserved fun.

My sister and her family go to Santa Cruz every year for three or four days. They’ve been going for years. They stay at a hotel near the boardwalk, and they just ride the rides, hit the beach and all that fun stuff. Other friends and family join them for a few days, but for years we didn’t go. We had other things going on or whatever. Last year, we went for a day trip, and we had a great time. This time, we decided to go for a few days.

But first, on our way to Santa Cruz, we visited Roaring Camp Railroad, which has a steam train. Apparently, for a few weeks out of the year, they dress up the train like Thomas the Tank Engine, and kids lose the fuckin’ shit for it, and it’s crowded as hell. We didn’t bother with that. Calvin just loves trains. It doesn’t matter if it’s Thomas or not. And when the steam train rolled up, Calvin’s mouth dropped. He was shaking he was so excited. It wasn’t a BART train. It wasn’t some little train at the zoo. It was a real train!

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All of the really good photos are by mighty, mighty good man David

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We booked a room at the Dream Inn in Santa Cruz because we’re so fancy. Also, David had Hotel.com points he could use to make it affordable. I love being near the water, and I love going to sleep to the sound of the ocean. This room had an ocean view and a heated pool (Calvin’s favorite). Calvin would wake in the morning and immediately ask, “Go to the pool?” It was Calvin heaven. It had an ocean view and room service, so it was my idea of heaven, too.

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A view!

When we weren’t lounging in our fancy hotel room, swimming in the heated pool or ordering room service for breakfast (because we’re not animals, you guys), we were walking the boardwalk or hanging out on the beach with our family and friends.

She's my best friend and my sister.

She’s my best friend and my sister.

I don’t want to brag, but it was super fun. I thought Calvin might be overwhelmed by the boardwalk. It can be crowded and loud. There’s a lot going on, but he really liked looking around.

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He had no interest in partaking of the rides, which is fine by me, because I don’t want to ride them either. I’m too old for roller coasters. They make me wanna puke. Also, I’m afraid they will cause me to die. But, Calvin loved walking up and down the boardwalk, especially at night with all the lights.

Unlike last year, in which he spent all his time sitting in a tide pool (or what I refer to as the seagull’s toilet), Calvin actually enjoyed playing in the sand this time. He loved smashing other people’s sand castles (bully!), and digging and filling up holes.

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We even had some good luck getting him to sit down in a restaurant – after we bribed him with things like chocolate milk or ice cream. Plus, he was really hungry from all the sand castle smashing.

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We had such an awesome time hanging out with everyone. And I love seeing Calvin playing with his cousins. After everything we went through last year, I know how much these moments mean to all of us. And Calvin is old enough know that he is going to start remembering these trips. He will say, “My family used to go to Santa Cruz every year. It was rad.” OK, maybe he won’t say “rad” but you get the idea.

I know Calvin had a good time, because within hours of being home Calvin said to us, “I want to go back to the beach.” And the next morning, he said, “I want to go to the pool.”

Same here, kid.


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Dorking Out Episode 7: Suicide Squad, Summer Olympics and more

Yeah, so, we review “Suicide Squad” in this week’s episode. Spoiler alert: I didn’t like it very much.

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I don’t want to repeat everything I said on the podcast, but there is something that I forgot to bring up. This movie made me love “Guardians Of The Galaxy” even more. It’s a similar setup: Criminals trying to save the world. “Suicide Squad” is darker in tone, of course. Also, it’s just lazy. There’s a lot of stuff at the end that’s like “Let’s save our friends,” and shit like that. Never in this movie do you feel like these people are friends. Those emotions are not earned, so it rings so false and lazy. In “Guardians Of The Galaxy” you really felt like they cared about each other. I also have a lot of thoughts and feelings about the character Harley Quinn and how the movie treats her relationship with The Joker.

Smith wrote a really interesting blog post based on the question “Are Movies Dying?” which leads to a really interesting discussion about the state of movies made for adults (not adult movies, you pervs), and the era of prestige television.

Oh, and we talk about the Summer Olympics, too. I love the Olympics, because it combines two things I love: It makes me feel ignorant about other countries, and it makes me feel bad about my body. Wheeee!

You should listen. It’s fun.

You can listen to it on our website, or you can find us on iTunes, Stitcher, and YouTube.


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Having a ball in the ball pit

Yeah, so, my mighty, mighty good boy Calvin has found a new happy place, and that place is a ball pit.

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Calvin’s friend Albert had his fourth birthday party at a place called The Coop in South San Francisco. We could barely get Calvin’s shoes off fast enough for him to get into that ball pit. He LOVES it. The next day we were going to another birthday party at a park. I told Calvin we were going to a birthday party.

“I’m going to jump into the balls,” he said.

Here’s an awesome thing to know about The Coop: They allow booze. I know, right? All the parents drinking beer and mimosas while watching their kids drown in a ball pit. So, say hello to my new favorite place!

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Last year, we went to Albert’s third birthday party at Peek-A-Boo Factory in West Portal that also turned into Calvin’s favorite place. We immediately copied Albert’s parents, Lucy and Richard, and hosted Calvin’s birthday party at the Peek-A-Boo Factory. I will not be surprised if we end up stealing this party idea, too, because we are totally single white femaling this family.

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