Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Necessary Evil

I had my third mammogram in less than a year yesterday. When I had my very first mammo, some slight abnormalities showed up. I was told they were most likely dense tissue--muscle that hadn't yet aged into fat. To be safe I had my first diagnostic exam. The initial screening mammo was okay. It wasn't as bad as most women make it out to be, or perhaps my breasts aren't as sensitive to pressure. Very possibly my small cup size may mean less painful exams than women who are well endowed. Still, it's unnerving to see your breasts smooshed down to the size of an IHOP pancake.

The first diagnostic exam was much more uncomfortable. Yesterday's diagnostic was downright torturous. I don't know why, in this day and age, we can come up with all kinds of new techniques, equipment and drugs to keep people alive and stressing over their taxes but a mammogram hasn't changed much in decades. For those of you who have yet to have your first screening mammo, please be assured that it isn't so bad. Yes, there's pressure, in order to flatten out your breasts to the size of chicken cutlets. But it isn't too horrible. Yesterday's diagnostic was much worse.

You know it's bad when the mammographer says "You're going to feel a tearing sensation along with the pressure." She wasn't lying. She positioned the plates so that the maximum amount of tissue would be imaged, which means she started the flattening a few inches below my collar bone. I had no problems with the directions to "don't move, hold your breath". I was pretty certain that if I could move even a fraction in any direction, or inhale the tiniest amount of air that my breast would separate from my body. I was thankful the x-rays only take seconds and that as soon as they're done the machine automatically releases it's viselike grip.

Four x-rays later, I was hanging out waiting for the radiologists to take a look at me from the inside out. It was good news. I don't have to have another mammo until I'm forty. When I went to get dressed I wasn't shocked to see angry red arches on the tops of my boobs. One was already bruising. This morning it wasn't as bad as I expected. Lefty has a bluish black line of a bruise but righty looks okay. Better yet, I'm okay.

Ladies, have you scheduled your mammo yet? If you're 40 or older, you need one every 1-2 years. If you have a family history of breast cancer it's recommended that you have one 10 years earlier than the age of the relative's diagnosis. An estimated 190,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. Over 40,000 will die from it. That's one woman every 13 minutes.

Go get squished.

Monday, April 24, 2006

MS150 Cyclists Rock!

It was a long, hard road from Katy/Houston to Austin, but my cyclists acted like they'd been out for a Sunday leisure ride. Never mind the aching musles, torn medial meniscus and numb body parts. Never mind the relentless sun beating down on them or dodging bike wrecks or bonking out when you're still far from the halfway camp. Frank, Jake and Dave rolled up to the team tent on Saturday afternoon and announced they felt fine. Well, they lied, but only a little. After a hard day of road riding, "fine" means "I am so glad to be here and off my bike. Where's my shoes, the food, Gatorade and the showers?" It also means "I have no feeling in my testicles/it appears I've lost my penis" and "It would be simpler to tell you what doesn't hurt".

The guys got settled in a bit and after a plate of Mexican food and some banana cream pie dubbed "sex on a plate" by Dave they were feeling a little better. Jake lucked out with his meal when the caterer pulled out some barbecued tofu. At first glance, we thought he was going to have to make it on green beans and potato salad.

I spent my Saturday morning and afternoon welcoming riders to the Team UT tent. It's mainly composed of employees and students from UTMB, the Health Science Center and M.D. Anderson but open to the general public as well. My job was to greet riders, rack bikes if needed and answer their questions. Most people wanted to know where there luggage was stored. When you're fresh off a 100 mile ride, getting clean is foremost in your mind.

The highlights of the afternoon for my three cyclists were: being freshly showered, getting a much needed rub down by Chel (she got some mojo in those hands!) and the knowledge that the next day's ride was shorter. In the evening, they passed time talking to fellow riders and chilling out. There was an amazing number of riders, volunteers and Fayette County fairground staff onsite. It was like a little city, but an extremely efficiently run little city. One rider said "It's like moving an army."

I had finally decided to stay overnight at the team tent instead of returning to Austin or going to a nearby farmhouse that rents out beds so I grabbed some clean clothes and headed for the showers. What an experience. I'd never used a mobile shower before. They're converted semis with six shower stalls on one side and a long bench and mirror on the other. I didn't care at all that I was stripping in front of five other women. All I wanted was to wash off the grime. I didn't care a bit who looked at my sweaty body, jiggly belly or cellulite. It was the best shower, ever.

Because cyclists are all about a good party, there were bands playing at various stages around the fairgrounds and the movie "Breaking Away" was screened at dusk at the ampitheatre. For those who weren't fed by their teams and all the individual entry riders, there were food booths and beer booths set up. You could buy anything from a funnel cake to a veggie burger and for dessert, Blue Bell ice cream. Fun times, indeed. I ran into an old friend of mine over by the cheeseburger stand. I hadn't seen Annette in 7 years, so we took some time to catch up and exchange cell numbers. The music stopped at 8pm and I'm fairly certain our entire team was asleep by 10pm. Early to bed, early to rise.

The next morning was a rush of activity as the riders dressed out, breakfasted and broke down cots before leaving to line up at the start. The other volunteers and I finished the tent clean up and were ready to go long before the gates opened to allow us to drive out. I was hit by a U-Haul on my way to the fairgrounds exit. At least I wasn't in my own car (sorry, Jake) but the damage was minimal. Scary, though.

All the way home I passed riders along the road. It was amazing and inspiring to see so many riders out in force. Add to it that the minimum fundraising is $400 per rider and it's even more incredible. I think the last count, before all pledges are in, is $6.2 million so far. The race officials expect to fall somewhere around $10 million by the time the last of the donations are tallied.

Once in Austin I met up with Rockett and Marcella to hang out at the finish. We cheered and clapped for riders and waited anxiously for Frank, Jake and Dave. I never saw Dave ride by but shouted estatically for Jake and Frank when they powered up the last hill to the finish. I am so very proud of them for tackling this huge personal challenge and ripping through it like nobody's business. The ride home was fiercely sunny, dangerously jammed with wasted cyclists and wrecks were common. The guys battled broken chains, flat tires and accidentally inhaling insects along with watching out for cars that were too closely riding the edge of the shoulder. Frank phoned in from 5 minutes out to give us the heads up on their position and to say he just wanted to be done. Done, done, done, done done. I could hear the fatigue in his voice but I was secretly relieved that they were close by and had made it safely back to town.

I missed the finish line photo ops when security started moving us away to make way for an ambulance but soon enough both Jake and Frank were in front of us, weary and spent but happy. Frank, who has turned as dark as a migrant worker this weekend, had visible salt on his face and arms. I did make several very weak jokes about tequila shooters and margaritas that were met with blank stares from my humorless, overheated riders. God love 'em, but they just weren't up for my bad jokes.

We left downtown and made our way to Chuy's for some well deserved Tex-Mex and drinks before heading home. The remainder of the afternoon and evening was spent reclining in air conditioned comfort. It was a wonderful experience but I was oh so happy to lounge in front of the television.

It's not too late to donate in Frank's, Jake's and/or Dave's names. If you'd like to support one of my riders and donate toward the research for a cure of multiple sclerosis, please email me for their last names and email addresses. You'd need that information for online donations. Otherwise I can give you mailing addresses for any donation you'd like to make, none are too small.

Frank, Jake and Dave: You cyclists rock!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Songs to Love & Hate

Anytime a magazine or entertainment entity publishes a "Best Of" list, there are always songs listed that make me smack myself on the forehead and think "Dear God! Do these people have no taste at all?!" I started thinking about songs that we love and others hate, and vice versus. So here is my short list of cheesy songs I love that you'll probably hate, followed by the ones I hate that you probably love. The only criteria I worked within is that they had to be a hit song. Let me know what you think.

  1. "Mickey" by Toni Basil
  2. "Afternoon Delight" by Starland Vocal Band
  3. "Ice Ice Baby" by Vanilla Ice
  4. "You May Be Right" by Billy Joel
  5. "Breakfast at Tiffany's" by Deep Blue Something


  1. "Achy Breaky Heart" by Billy Ray Cyrus
  2. "The Thong Song" by Sisqo
  3. "My Humps" by the Black Eyed Peas
  4. "Obsession" by Animotion
  5. "Sexual Healing" by Marvin Gaye

Friday, April 14, 2006

My Eudaemonic Life

A long time ago I made the decision to live my life in the way that best made me happy. My reasoning was, and still is, that if it harms no one and I am happy then it's good. My twenties were a chaotic period of time that chewed up the immature and irresponsible me and threw me out into my thirties a better person. I found that I respected honesty, even if it didn't always feel the greatest, and that I wanted to live with as few regrets as possible. I wanted to treat others well and in turn, be pleased by their happiness. My own happiness grows when I make others feel special and loved.

My life hasn't been your average one. It can certainly never be called normal. When you live in both the homosexual and heterosexual communities "normal" is not part of your vocabulary. But I've been happier in the last few years than I ever have. I've been filling my time with splendidly satisfying events. Although there have been rough patches along the way my life has been gorgeous and absurd and valuable and full. And it's mine. All mine.

I have made choices people don't agree with or don't understand, but at the end of the day I know who I am. No matter what name you know me by, whether it's Kay, Kaya or Kiki, let me sum this up for you: I am me. And this is my life.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Everybody Has Their Price

Muhammad Ali has sold an 80% interest in his name, image and likeness for around $50 million smackers. In cash. He's retaining the remaining 20% interest solely in his name. Wow. I would've sold it all, and for a helluva lot less.

I don't believe there would be much to gain by owning my name and likeness. My image? Well, there is something to be said about that, but it's usually centered around "Kay can't date people with political aspirations for fear of ruining their chances". To paraphrase George Bernard Shaw, "If you have skeletons in the closet you may as well make them dance." Mine danced, and not always with the one what brung 'em, if ya know what I mean.

Let's say someone really did want to pay me a boatload of dinero for the 80% right to use Kay Marley and my likeness, which I'm guessing is pictures and/or sketches of me. Let's not stop to point out that I have never been accused of being photogenic. Would I really sell out? Hell yeah! Unless it is for some product that I could never in my life possibly endorse, such as the album cover of the newest release of the Prussian Blue band or something equally revolting.

I may even be persuaded to allow Frito-Lay to use a picture of a happy, smiling, Wasabi Funyun eating me on the next run of mass produced chip bags. Well, I'd do that if they'd just send me a case or two of freakin' addicting spicy onion rings. (Side note: still unable to find the delicious treat anywhere in town, have decided they are spiked with opiates).

Yes, we all have our prices. And Ali made good on his. There's nothing quite like a $50 million dollar nest egg in the bank for those rainy day needs.

Friday, April 07, 2006

911 Operators Need to Take it Seriously

I realize that 911 operators must get many non-emergent calls. There are enough idiotic people out there in our nation to ensure that someone utilizes our emergency system as a stripped down version of Onstar. For as many true distress calls as they receive, operators also field prank calls and stupid questions. I'm it is a high stress career, given that a large number of calls are related to crimes and accidents. Nevertheless, I'm even more confident that a 911 operator should treat every call as if it was truly a crisis.

A six year old in Detroit called 911 when he found his mother collapsed and not breathing on the kitchen floor. He explained to the 911 person that he found her passed out on the floor. The exasperated operator did not believe it was a bona fide call and admonished the boy, telling him to stop playing. She also asked "Where's the grownups at?" and when his answer was too faint to make out she scolded him further and threatened him. When he didn't put an adult on the phone she decided on her own that he was making a prank phone call.

Her words? "I don't care. You shouldn't be playing on the phone. Now put her on the phone before I send the police out there to knock on the door and you gonna be in trouble." This scared little Robert Turner badly enough that he hung up. Who wouldn't, when you're a child and terrified and calling for help only to be berated and made to feel as if you are doing something wrong?

His mother? Died lying on the floor of the kitchen with her son helpless to do anything but be by her side.

It's a sad, sad nation when the very people in positions to provide assistance are such jaded and cynical people. This 911 operator's personality--and character--caused a lack of medical attention that may or may not have made a difference to the life of Sherel Turner but would have given one small boy the confidence that someone was striving to answer his plea for help.

The dispatcher's union states that the operator will be disciplined but not dismissed from her job, due to her years of service. At first I wondered if the punishment was enough but then realized that unless this woman has a completely hardened heart, she will have to live out her life knowing that her inaction had a severe impact. We teach our children to call 911 if it's an emergency. Even if it is found that Turner wouldn't have survived after receiving medical attention, the operator's reaction to the call is bound to foster distrust in the heart of Robert Turner.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Pillow Fight Club!

Too much stress at the office lately? Road rage on Mopac getting ya down? Have you had a recent break up and need to work off some boyfriend/girlfriend resentment in a manner that ensures APD won't show up looking for you? We have the perfect solution!

Auditorium Shores will be the scene of the very first Central Texas Pillow Fight Club tomorrow. Those in the know have already been recruited for the flash mob fun and are now talkin' it up around town and on craigslist. The goal is to have more fighters than the PFC San Francisco event, which had somewhere around a thousand plus. So bring your pillows and wait for the bell to toll 8pm and the fun begins. Rules include no jumpin' the gun so please wait for the 8pm bell, no heavy items in the pillowcases, everyone fights, do not hit anyone with your camera (you know you'll have it with you) and that this is a safe, fun event so please be as conscientious as possible and swing at the torso instead of the spectacles on someone's head.

Yes, yes I know I violated the first two rules of Fight Club but how in the hell are you supposed to have a huge crowd if you don't talk about it?

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Do You Have the Err-pez?

Saturday night after the burlesque show, which featured an outstanding performance by Miss Maulie, we found our way over to Oil Can Harry's to satisfy my friends' urge to shake their moneymakers to the thumpa thumpa thumpa of DJ Bryan Konrad's offerings. On my first foray into the bar I was stopped by a handsome Puerto Rican man named Danny who complimented my eyes ("beeyootiful") and curls ("Eye luve dem") while sliding his hand down my back and into my jeans. I introduced myself, "hi, I'm Kaya and that is my thong" before stopping him from caressing my nalgas. Later on, when I turned to thank Danny for a drink he'd purchased he realized to his horror that I have a cold sore.

See, I've gotten cold sores since I was a toddler. They're triggered by stress and sunburned or chapped lips. I happen to have one now. It isn't huge and it isn't too bad of one so I guess it was easy to miss in a dimly lit bar. However, the brighter lights of the patio must've had some magic power to magnify because Danny was stupendously disgusted. "You have the err-pez?" was his horrified question. "Do you have the err-pez down there?" Now I'm not opposed to a stranger buying me a drink. And I didn't kick said stranger in the groin when he fondled my chones. But I do have a problem with being asked if I had the err-pez 'down there'. I did answer honestly (HELL NO) but was probably as shocked as I've ever been during a conversation at the Can.

Here's hoping you don't have the err-pez down there. And if you do, please remember to take your meds on a daily basis and practice safe funtimes. Eye luve funtimes.

Can't Make Up Stuff This Good

Some of today's headlines are eye catching. Oh, sure, everyone wants to read about Tom DeLay finally getting a brain cell and realizing he has less of a chance of re-election than a rape victim in South Dakota has of finding a doctor to terminate her pregnancy. That said, here are some interesting and thought provoking stories from around the globe:

  • The Indian state of Rajasthan is defending a textbook for 14 year old students that vows "A donkey is like a housewife ... In fact, the donkey is a shade better, for while the housewife may sometimes complain and walk off to her parents' home, you'll never catch the donkey being disloyal to his master". My suggestion? Indian boys need not worry about marrying a disloyal wife if they simply buy a donkey. Or a Golden Retriever.
  • The same Indian state has found themselves in a bind. Many men are going to have to resort to buying a donkey since the practice of valuing male offspring over female has resulted in a serious decline of available women. The practice of providing a bridal dowry has all but disappeared as the grooms' families are now having to "buy the bride" in an ironic twist of tradition. My thoughts? If they'd taken a little more of a South Dakota approach to pregnancy upon hearing the gender of the fetus, there wouldn't be a shortage of women.
  • An interesting story that hit the AP wire today addresses the oddity of rooms for rent in exchange for services. For instance, if you are extremely ticklish and a college student, you can get an almost 50% reduction in rent by living with a gay man in the San Francisco Bay area. What do I think? Hmmm...rooms for free or reduced rent if you provide sex or other services. That is called marriage, folks. What? These are strangers? So are most married people.
  • You must have a license to dance in NYC's nightclubs. A 1926 law still on the books regulates dancing by requiring a social hotspot to apply for a cabaret license or risk the cops raiding the posh pad faster than you can say "Stonewall Riots". Yeah? While I do think some people's dancing should be illegal, I don't think a nightclub ought to have to pay the city to allow people to bust a move.
  • If you happen to stay up tonight until three seconds after 1:02am and you shorten how you think of this year from 2006 to 06, it will be 01 02 03 04 05 06.

I always love a slow news day.