Monthly Archives: June 2011

Betrayals of the Body

So, I’m stuck in a body that doesn’t agree with me.  At all.  Sort of like Pop Rocks and pigeons (Is that urban legend actually true?  Will the bird really blow up?  I’m afraid to Google it).

I have had far too many surgeries, have far too many conditions and my body is far too broken-down for a person my age.   Thirty-seven.  In my opinion, that’s pretty freakin’ young.  But two different doctors have warned me that I’ll need knee replacements within a few years.  My thyroid has been removed because my body was attacking it.  My neck has been fused twice and is injured AGAIN (and before you send me “I told you so” emails, I haven’t mountain biked, dirt biked or street biked this year, so ZIP IT).

I have Fibromyalgia, which is an opportunistic turd-of-a-disorder that flares up any time I’m sick, tired or injured.  Umm…..I’m a full-time mom (to a lunatic petri-dish-of-a-toddler), freelance writer/editor, who’s building a house with her husband and likes high-octane sports.  I’m pretty much sick, tired and/or injured ALL THE TIME so flare-ups are pretty common.  Which means exhaustion, soreness and muscle rigidity.

Most of you probably wouldn’t know that I’m walking around in terrible pain on a nearly daily basis.  This lovely photo was shot by Joy Farr of Legacy Photography last week.  I was in the middle of a fibromyalgia flare-up and my knee and neck were killing me – to the point of causing a migraine.  I was in so much pain I would have sworn that the wind was bruising me.  Would you know it looking at the photo?  Heck no, because I’M A MOTHER-LOVING THESPIAN, YO!

Unfortunately, this works against me in the doctor’s office.  I hate to “inconvenience” people with my pain so I end up smiling, apologizing and making jokes.  Apparently most doctors aren’t used to that sort of patient and assume I’m just there for fun.  Or drugs.  Or fueling neurosis.

Several years ago I went to see a neurologist about some issues swallowing and numbness in my arms. I was told that I needed to see a psychiatrist – that it was due anxiety.  It’s true that I’m an anxious person, but GIVE ME A FREAKING BREAK!  I knew my body and I knew something was wrong.  I demanded an MRI which was quickly followed by a phone call from the doctor telling me I had a big tumor on my thyroid and a ruptured disc.  “Don’t do anything; you’re at risk for paralysis.”

It went from, “It’s all in your head” to “You have a serious injury” in the time it took me to get an MRI.  That I insisted on.  Dear Dr. Dickwad, you may SUCK IT.

After my second neck surgery, the surgeon said, “Well, THAT was interesting,” and went on to explain how they had to bring in a jack to pry my vertebrae apart enough to continue the surgery.  After my second knee surgery the doctor told me they weren’t able to completely fix it – they would have had to open the knee up instead of scoping it.  Once he saw the damage, he was surprised I was able to walk into his office, let alone ski all season on the injured knee.

From the time my contractions were three minutes apart, I was in labor for 38 hours.  Thirty-eight hours of BACK LABOR.  You know I will bring this up at Roper’s wedding.  My body went into shock, but I never once swore or raised my voice.  Me.  The one who drops f-bombs like it’s her part-time job and WRITES IN ALL CAPS.  I think Toby is still surprised.

Sometimes, I literally CRAWL DOWN THE STAIRS BACKWARDS in the morning because my joints aren’t working.

I tell you all of this not to seem martyr-ish, because I’m so NOT.  I’m just illustrating that I can hide pain with the best of them.  And I hide pain because I’m terrified of being vulnerable.  I’m terrified of being misunderstood, considered a whiner, or worse yet, that people will think I’ve become a “mom jeans” wearing sellout who’d rather be on the sidelines than in the game.   I save my crying, kicking, frustration for my husband and a very few dear friends.

Lucky them, right?  Pfft.

My point (that I took RIGHT AROUND FOREVER to get to) is that there are a lot of people out there with invisible, chronic, soul-sucking pain.  People who are fighting to get through each day and pass for normal.  I bet when you really think about it, you can come up with several people in your life.  It’s easy to forget that these people are in a constant battle with their body, because they work so hard to not let it interfere in YOUR life.

Do me a favor; give these people a little grace.  Don’t assume they’re flaky when they have to cancel plans.  Don’t assume they’re washed up just because they have to take time off from activities to recover from a set-back.  Don’t EVER assume you’re tougher than them.

And for the love of all things good, if they actually mention their pain, ACKNOWLEDGE IT.  Ignoring it or discounting it is often more painful than the physical cause.  Toby has learned that the best thing he can ever say to me is, “That sucks.”  And it does suck.  But pain doesn’t define me, or anyone else.  It just adds to our character…and our ability creatively string expletives together.


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Anniversary Cinco

A few of you have been harassing me about an anniversary post.  On June 10th Toby and I celebrated our fifth anniversary (which is like 60 Hollywood years, so SOMEONE owes me a yellow diamond).  Woohoo!  Honestly, I don’t feel like I can live up to the posts from Anniversary Quatro and The Aftermath, unless I leaked the nekkid pictures from the Corral room.  And that would just make you throw up a little in your mouth.

My parents took Little Man off our hands on Friday and we went out to dinner (Spring Lotus) and a movie (Hangover II) and I enjoyed my new obsession, Pinnacle’s whipped cream flavored vodka.  You guys, if I didn’t have that annoying “responsibility” character trait, I would totally drink this for breakfast.

But Saturday was to be our big celebration – riding Devil’s Gulch.  I’ll say it again; nothing celebrates marriage like twelve miles of slogging uphill followed by a banked-corners, over-too-fast, thrill-of-your-life, ride back down.

Unfortunately, we spent the day at an auction NOT buying a dump truck.

So here’s the deal.  My neck is destroyed again and I’m in agonizing pain.  And before you get all “what did you do THIS time?” on me, I would like to clearly state that my body seems to be falling apart nicely ALL ON ITS OWN.  I’m like a perfectly cooked rib – things are falling off the bone.  I swear to Father Michael (long story) that I wouldn’t be surprised if I spontaneously combusted at this point.  P.S. Toby would TOTALLY watch that documentary.

Anyway, my neck hurt too much to ride, and Toby is obsessed with buying a dump truck – because a boom truck, backhoe and tractor aren’t enough.  What, you’ve never heard of a high maintenance redneck?  So we went to an auction, and I was very much cool with that.  Just hanging out with Toby made the day fun.  That, and some greasy burgers.  Except that we didn’t get the truck…even though it went for under our monetary limit.  What, you’ve never heard of an INDECISIVE high-maintenance redneck?

My point?  Things didn’t go the way we wanted, and we still had fun.  Which is pretty much our life in a nutshell.  I love you, Tobin Roper Steere!


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Social Media Quandry

I don’t know if you guys felt the floor shaking over the last few days.   Maybe noticed the tremor of coffee in your mugs.  That, my friends, resulted from a collision of my personal and professional lives.  It’s something I’ve been worried about for a while now, but instead of addressing the issue I decided to avoid it until it exploded like a botulism-tainted jar of tomato sauce.

Here’s the thing.  I am a loving wife and mama, responsible employee, God-fearing Christian, who just happens to drop f-bombs like it’s my part-time job, royally suck at traditional housewife stuff, and use the term Dirty Lunch Vagina (don’t even ask) in a crowded restaurant without batting an eye.

Welcome to MOLLY.

Editor’s note:  DLV is actually a fairly benign term used between a couple of friends.  An inside joke.  For the love of all things good, please don’t Google it.  I doubt anything from THAT search is appropriate.

It’s never my intention to offend someone, but I (selfishly) don’t want to filter myself either.  I’m concerned that my face will literally blow off from the pressure of not being wildly inappropriate.  And that is a mess I don’t want to clean up because, as I mentioned before, I suck at cleaning.

So, now I feel the need to have two websites.   I’ve actually acquired a lot of work through my blog because clients enjoy my voice and my humor but… I feel the least I can do is provide potential clients a safe space to view my portfolio and general character without having to wade through POSTS ABOUT FARTS. Maybe even prove that I can have an intelligent conversation regarding copy writing and social marketing strategies while mentioning nary a bodily function.

Let me be clear – this takes away about 49% of my usual conversation topics.

I hopped on Twitter the other day and started tweeting.  What, no one told you that hell froze over?  Unfortunately, I’m already confusing my followers (ALL EIGHTEEN OF THEM.  It’s like high school again and I don’t have a date to the prom) because I’ve swapped out handles.  I’m now @MollySteere.  I panicked and decided to keep my other account in my back pocket for filter-blowing emergencies.

I like to keep my options open.

So what’s your take on all of this? Should I just give the world the full unfiltered version of myself and (heaven forbid) my PERSONALITY, and hope it doesn’t offend colleagues and potential clients?  Or should I rock a social media mullet and split my worlds with a little business in the front and party in the back?


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21 Months

Little Bear,

You are now 21-months-old.  Sweet Fancy Moses, some days it feels like I’m living with a cracked-out baby rhino.  You, sir, have a lot of personality.  And I LOVE it (once the mess is picked up and the ringing in my ears has stopped).

I should receive some sort of prize for every hour I keep you alive.  Due to exhaustion, my blinks seem to be extended.  I’ll get you out of the high chair at a restaurant, stand you on the ground and BLINK, you’re somehow dancing on the table shaking salt and pepper in my hair.  Or you’re sitting in the shopping cart (properly) and BLINK, you’re standing in the cart portion, pulling merchandise off the shelf.  Seriously, WHY IS EVERY SAFETY BUCKLE IN THE UNIVERSE BROKEN??  I’m going to start packing my own rope.

You’re the proud new owner of a KTM Strider, an orange guitar and a harmonica.  You’ve “distressed” every piece of furniture in our house (it’s a good thing we’re going for that old log cabin feel).  You know where every uncovered electrical outlet in town is, and during dad’s retirement party at the bank you climbed onto the top shelf of the cabinet so all I could see was your rear and your madly churning legs, kicking a storm of paperwork off the shelves.  You have a minimum of two injuries a day.

It’s not easy to relax around you.

You’re usually only a wild man for your dad and me.  I like that you’re quiet and sweet for everyone else because that means your grandparents still welcome you with open arms.  The Outlaws (your Oma and Opa) are living in town now AND Papa Bear is retired so you have all four grandparents at your disposal.  You adore them.  I get a kick out of seeing how excited you are to hop into the truck with Papa Bear and Grandma, or run up to the doorstep of Oma and Opa’s house. 

You have a special bond with Papa Bear.  In fact, any time we get in the car you fully expect that I am dropping you off to play with him.  This is your dream scenario, and when it doesn’t go your way you keep climbing back into the car shouting “Papa!!”  And when you aren’t getting your way – because we’re mean and won’t let you juggle knives and broken glass in the busy street – you start crying for Papa in the most pathetic voice.  Why wouldn’t you?  You know that Papa would let you do whatever you want, most likely while serving you candy and lemonade.

You are going to put our parenting skills to the test for the next thirty years.  You’ve proven that when two stubborn people breed, the stubborn gene doesn’t cancel out.  It quadruples.  And it’s apparent that you inherited your mama’s disdain for authority.  Little Bear, you like to push the limits.  I kind of love you all the more for it.  You exhaust me, but I miss you the second you’re asleep.

Most days I wonder how on earth I am lucky enough to be YOUR mom.  You’re a weird little dude.  An average kid.  But to me, you’re the most amazing thing on earth.  The amount of personality packaged in that robust little body of yours is mind-blowing.  Just looking at your dimpled pink cheeks, blue eyes, long lashes, white hair, big lips (those lips!), and chubby thighs…I’m in awe.  You have a sweetness that shines through, even when you’re acting like a Viking.

And that grin.  The grin that you’re so stingy with, but is the absolute vision of joy.  It fills my heart.  I am so blessed to be your mama and I love you more each day. 


Your Mama

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Bone Orchard Tour 2011

Every year, on Memorial Day weekend, my family holds our annual Bone Orchard Tour and BBQ.  The Cooper/Collins clan descends upon the Wenatchee and Entiat cemeteries with buckets of flowers and about eighty-seven kids under the age of ten. 

Fine, maybe there were “only” seven kids, but I swear they multiply in the vans between cemeteries.  It’s possible that our offspring are a bunch of single-celled amoebas whose propensity to divide and conquer thrives in minivans. 

Anyone who has spent time with us is TOTALLY nodding their head.  

I’m a complete freak about promptness – especially when it comes to my family.  My parents DO NOT RUN LATE, and they certainly don’t wait for you.   If they say they’ll be there at 2pm, you better be ready at noon.  If they say they’re coming on Monday, you need to set a place for them at the table for Sunday dinner.  It’s funny because it’s true.

You guys, when Toby and I (and our wild amoeba) rolled into the cemetery ten minutes early, my parents, aunt and uncle had already put flowers on all of our relative’s graves.  Luckily, my cousins hadn’t arrived yet so we had time to make my dad explain who all the dead people were.  We do this every year and I still can’t keep it straight.  George Blair, my great-great-great-SOMETHING, was the third white settler in the valley so we have a lot of relatives in these cemeteries.  A lot.  And they all have interesting stories, like the twins that were carrying a pipe and struck down by lightning.  I come by my bad luck honestly.

After visiting the cemeteries, doling out flowers, and answering umpteen morbid questions from the amoebas, (“Am I standing on a dead person?  What do you think he looks like now?  Does he have eyes?”) we get to the BBQ.  The gloriously chaotic if-you-don’t-drown-or-get-a-hockey-stick-to-the-head-you’ll-probably-die-from-overeating part of the day. 

At one point, I found myself in the hot tub with seven kids, two inner tubes, one inflated ball, three giant water guns and a sippy cup.  What’s wrong with this picture?  If you answered “no beer,” you are a genius.  Because that kind of feat should NOT be attempted without alcohol.  I’m now covered in little heel-shaped bruises.

The best quote of the day came from Tiger (what, you thought I was the only one in the family who used nontraditional names?  We also had a Hawkeye in the house.  Yes, that’s his legal name.  He’s awesome.)  Anyway, Tiger was in the kitchen with my mom, telling her that his cat Pixie “licks her balls and her butt” while ATTEMPTING TO DEMONSTRATE.  The look on my mom’s face was priceless.  Don’t even get me started on the fact that his female cat seemingly has balls.  Tiger will always hold a special place in my heart for that quote and the associated demonstration.

My dad’s cousin, Richard, and his wife stopped by for a bit.  They are ridiculously nice, down-to-earth people who make me feel like a slacker.  Richard is busy building a car that is expected to go 400+mph so he can hold on to his current land speed records (it’s just a little hobby of his).  One of their sons was the mastermind of the California Happy Cow marketing campaign and his other son was on Donald Trump’s The Apprentice a few years back. 


We capped the day off by letting the kids beat the crap out of a piñata with a hockey stick.  Just another day with the Coopers…


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