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TEN YEARS AT A TIME - the story of my life so far

In 2011 I had a major surgery and to ease my anxiety in the days prior, I wrote a short version of my life up that point. It was a beautiful walk down memory lane and an easy way to recall it all, ten years at a time. Check out the photos that go with the story by clicking the link below. Thanks for reading!

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July 19, 2011 - To keep my mind off of what lies ahead I decided to take a look back, taking stock of where I've been, where I am and where I'm going.  I sifted through boxes of photos  and a lot of amazing memories, some truly incredible people helped me become who I am today.  All I can say is, life is sweet.  Love, Cathryn

1968

I was born on May 26th in a hospital in Riverside, Ca. My parents had been married for 9 years. I had an older brother who teased me constantly and an older sister who I idolized. We lived in Norco at the time, in a cute house with a mini farm on a dead end street. All of the neighbors were friends and had kids and at least once a week they'd block off their street and have potluck parties. I was too young to remember the parties but I do recall the overall vibe at the beginning of my life.... safe, fun and full of love.

We moved to a fixer upper house in Mira Loma, CA when I started school. I went to Eastvale Elementary and my favorite things were animals, softball and my BFFs Jennifer, Jody and Sheila. When we weren't riding our horses or crank calling each other we would have slumber parties and lip-sync Pat Benetar until the wee hours.

My family, while not musical, always had music playing. Janis Joplin, Freddy Fender, Eddy Arnold, ABBA and The Eagles were the ones I remember hearing the most. I began taking guitar lessons around 9. I liked the way the guitar smelled and my guitar teacher was Andy Gibb cute. I still remember him singing "dust in the wind" and telling me someday I could sing and play it, too. Unfortunately, I never stuck with it and through the years my interest in guitar came and went.

1978

Since my brother and sister were so much older than me, I got to be "an only child" once they moved out. My parents became my best friends and we traveled a lot, visiting my cousins in Lancaster, CA or my sister in other faraway places. We were also pretty serious horseshoe players and used to travel to tournaments around Southern California.

In 1981 we moved to Lancaster, CA, my folks finally realizing their longtime dream of building a home on 10 acres far from the city. It was a bit of a culture shock and not an easy transition since I was just about to enter high school, but my cousins were there to help and the first day of school I met Gina. We had horses, were both awkward but ready to blossom and we had the same stupid sense of humor. She became my BFF immediately and together we negotiated being 13.

Over the next four years we tried to find our place among the punk rockers, jocks and stoners. It was sometime during that confusion that I signed up for chorus and accidentally reignited my love for music. My choir mate Jennifer and I would sing Wind Beneath My Wings in perfect harmony, marveling at the acoustics in the school bathrooms. It was about this time that Doug, our neighbor in Kings Canyon, invited me to jam with their band. I sang Bobby McGee and I was hooked. I played with "The Bushwackers" as often as I could.

After high school I worked as a full time secretary for realtors and escrow officers. Thanks to a tip from Mario, I joined a class/band at the local community college called "Test Flight". We played at malls and local prisons and got a lifetime of experience in a few short years. I was asked to join an offshoot project with a few of the students and musicians. We were called "The Prairie Dudes" and did classic rock and country cover songs, playing all the local bars in Lancaster and Palmdale.

1988

The Prairie Dudes had a nice run in Lancaster over the next few years. At the same time I was rocking out with the band I was excelling at my day job. Around 1991 I moved to Fullerton to take a high paying job in the big city. The job turned out to be a huge bummer and I hated being that far away from my band. In early 1992 it was proposed that the band move to Jackson Hole, Wy to take advantage of higher paying shows at the resorts. Our connection was our guitar player's brother, Kimber, who played bass and was building a big house on the Snake River. I quit my job, sold my car and packed for my new life.

A week before I was set to fly to Wyoming, we found out that our guitar player had been hired by a band in Florida and was leaving immediately. I ended up continuing on to Wyoming and helped find a substitute guitar player so we could play the shows we had booked. Afterwards, it was planned, I would join the guitar player and the new band in Florida. It was all pretty overwhelming for a 24 year old who had never left home.

Wyoming turned out to be a great growing experience. I met a lot of nice people, had some exciting adventures and learned a lot. Still, I was anxious to find out about the new band in Florida. When I got the call to join them a few months later, I was told I would need to have my own transportation if I were going to be traveling with them. I flew back home to mom and dad's and started to devise a plan.

After some finagling with a local bank and my perfect credit, I purchased a 1977 Dodge Motor home and despite my family's concerns, I left for Jacksonville, Florida. It was May of 1992. Because this was before cell phones and GPS I had to rely on maps, common sense, pay phones and good luck.

I arrived just in time to find the band was leaving for a few weeks on a small tour. Since I didn't have enough money for gas to follow them, I would have to stay parked in their driveway in a creepy neighborhood in Paxon, Florida. I freaked out and there was a scene... then the band left. I was alone in a strange place with little money, less gas and no plan.

I walked to the payphone to make the dreaded call to my parents. They were full of encouragement and fear and offered to fly me home but I had the motor home I was making payments on so that wasn't an option. They advised me to call my sister who had friends in the area. She gave me the name and number of a black jack dealer she knew from Vegas who lived nearby. He gave me the address of the LA Cruise Gambling Boat docked in Jacksonville Beach and told me to meet him there the next day and he and his wife would help me figure something out. On the way back to my motor home I came across a few kids and a box of puppies, all on the verge of parvo. I took the sickest looking one and named him Paxon. We headed back to the motor home and tried to lay low until the following day. It was the eve of my 25th birthday.

It was about a 25 minute drive to the beach and I had just enough gas to get there the next day. I found a safe place to park and hung out until it was time to board. I tucked Paxon in for the night and boarded the boat. My contacts had hoped I had some dealing experience or could at least cocktail so they could help me get work. Instead, they gave me some drink tokens and told me to go upstairs and enjoy the music and my birthday.

There was a small band playing and on their break singer Tori came over to say hello. Although I didn't want anyone to know how vulnerable I was, I told her my story and she told me not to worry, she would help. They let me sit in and sing a few then once the boat docked I followed her to The Sun Dog Diner for her usual after hours jam. The place was full of amazing musicians who all met after gigs for late night fun. Everyone was friendly and told me I was in good hands with Tori helping me. I called my parents from the payphone and told them not to worry, I was going to be alright.

It was late when I followed her back to her home in Ponte Vedra so I didn't notice that her front yard was the ocean and her back yard was the bay and her home was a mansion. I parked, plugged in and introduced Paxon to her dogs. She helped me find paying gigs that same week and introduced me to some pretty amazing people. One such hero was her boyfriend Ron, who let me park my motor home in the driveway of his apartment after Ponte Vedra residents starting complaining about my eyesore of a home. Paxon could stay but I had to go.

Ron's racquet ball champion roommate was out of town at the time but he told me she'd be fine with me staying there. I was a bit apprehensive but when Kersten arrived home a week later we hit it off and she took me to Pete's pool hall in Atlantic Beach and taught me the fine art of bar pool. She also rallied me emotionally, helped me with my resume and less than a month after my frightening abandonment in Florida, I had a full time job in Title, was singing in a band and making good money. I was also getting pretty good at pool.

I rented a small apartment a block from the beach. The motor home stayed in the driveway and my bike was my main transportation to work which was only a few miles down the beach. I began jamming with Tommy and his band Night Moves, as well as experiencing the recording process for the first time. Life was pretty great in Florida but in 1994 when The Prairie Dudes came calling again and asked me to come to Wyoming to play, I agreed. I quit my great job, said goodbye to the bands, packed up the motor home and headed west.

That winter I lived in the motor home in a trailer park near the river in Jackson Hole for a few weeks until I got a job and found an apartment I could afford. It was 2 stories underground and pretty depressing, but warm. I worked full time during the week and played the bars on the weekends. The band was good and the shows were fun. We were starting to make a name for ourselves when Kimber didn't show up to a gig one night. They said he swerved to miss an elk on the windy, icy road and his truck rolled. He left behind his nearly complete dream home, his wife and two beautiful children. His loss left me wondering about life and what was important and where mine was going.

The band reformed and was playing a weekend gig at a hunting lodge in Afton a few weeks later when it occurred to me that I needed to head back home. That afternoon I had met Jack the stray cat who was hanging around outside on a wood pile. After the gig was over that night I packed him in the motor home and we headed back to mom and dad's. It was winter, 1994.

I was glad to be back with my family but longed for Florida. After months of struggling to find my way I decided to go back to the life I had started in Jacksonville Beach. Jack and I flew there with little to nothing, my band mate Ken offered his garage until I got back on my feet. About a week later the band had a show in Gainesville, Fl and I met Bruno, a bass player from Cleveland. He was visiting some family in Florida and wanted to start a band while he was there.

We ended up getting a small apartment and I began writing original music for the first time. I got another full time job and was starting to get back on my feet when a motorcycle accident made it necessary for Bruno to head back to Cleveland. After a promise about starting an all original rock band with his cousins, I followed along.

1995 was Cleveland's worst winter in years, despite that I really loved the place. Even more than the city, I loved the people. Rina, Chris, Jen, Lisa, Lulu, Heather... I met amazing women who became an important part of the story of my life. I landed a great job in real estate, started an original band called JunkQueen, and recorded my first CD. Over the next few years I realized my dream of visiting Europe and discovered my love of planning musical events. On paper my Cleveland life seemed great but there was something missing... my family.

1998

In an effort to keep my mind off of California, I explored another dream of mine... opening a thrift store. JunkQueen was not just the name of my band but a habit I had of collecting clothing from yard sales, thrift stores and the like. I had an extensive collection so when I found a small and inexpensive storefront in Lakewood, OH, I decided to reduce my real estate hours to part time and give it a try. I rented it month to month and called the store Uncommon Thredz. I also sold local music and the place became the hang out for a few local musicians. I met Heather there and we started writing songs. Really GOOD songs. Sadly the store only stayed open a short time; music and California were calling.

In August of 1999, after inspiration by The Troubadours of Divine Bliss, Heather and I took our act on the road. We both needed a break from our current situations plus we had wanderlust and the need to be "discovered" musically. We loaded up her car and said we'd be back in a few months. We met the Troubadours in Boulder, CO and they taught us to busk on Pearl Street. We met Astra Kelly the next day. She was from Chicago, traveling around busking solo. We were inspired by everyone we met.

Her little car tour took us all over the US, our favorite spots being San Diego and Flagstaff, Az. We played on the streets, mostly, making enough money for food and a place to stay in youth hostels or camp grounds. It was the most free and magical feeling, ever. It was like at any moment we could be plucked from obscurity and would be singing in front of the world.

Upon our return to Cleveland on Halloween '99 it was immediately apparent that I needed to go back home to California. Heather was coming too, but needed a few months to get her affairs in order. A few days later I borrowed money to purchase a van and packed my belongings, cats and my friend LuLu rode shotgun to keep me company.

I arrived in California on Thanksgiving day. My traveling nurse friend, Rina, was heading to a new assignment and leaving her apartment in Pacific Beach that had a month credit so San Diego became the destination. I moved in and a few weeks later I was working full time in Escrow. When Heather returned we played the acoustic circuit for a few months then formed a band called JOANS with Nancy, Vinnie and Blackie. We had a good run but then melancholy claimed Heather and she headed back to her family in Cleveland.

I was searching around MP3.com for a new musical partner when I came across Matt who lived in PB and sounded really good. I contacted him and asked if he'd be down for jamming. After meeting we became fast friends and started writing songs. Around this time I was starting to play with another band and I asked a few of the members, Drew and Clint, if they'd like to join Matt and I. We stumbled upon Dave and our band, 8ball RACK was born. We won a few battle of the bands and recorded an album and then, as all great bands do, we broke up.

Matt and I continued to write together, and thanks to Drew I started hosting an open mic at The Coaster Saloon to supplement my income. It was about this time I was starting to become comfortable with computers so I built a website with a calendar so people could sign up for their showcase spot ahead of time. I was up to 4 venues a week at one point, working a full time day job from my home office. After a few years and a 500 dollar donation from Hotrod Harris, I started ListenLocalsd.com and began hosting shows in San Diego as a full time job.

Over the next few years I worked with various venues around town. Some were positive experiences, some not so... but I always enjoyed meeting and hearing new bands. During this time I also played with The Gandhi Method, The Downtown Money Wasters, was a "reality show" star in an episode of "Second Chance" on TLC and I helped start the all girl band Not Your Mom.  I had a great group of friends and was loving my life, however, it wasn't until Christopher Dale invited Marcia and I to a party that I found what I had been looking for all along. True love.

His name was Jon Edwards but everyone called him Jonny. He was everything I had ever dreamed of, literally.  We hit it off, fell in love and never looked back. During that time The Cathryn Beeks Ordeal recorded our first CD at Berkley Sound. We got some good reviews and a SDMA nomination. Life was sweet. Over the next few years I worked to keep Listen Local afloat and keep my band going. At the end of 2007 Jonny proposed and we began planning our dream wedding.

2008

The wedding was totally DIY.  We rented a 5 bedroom house in Julian and had a garden party with some of our favorite people present. We considered ourselves lucky to have found each other and soon after we clung to each other as we dealt with the loss of two close friends and our beloved cat, Jack. Around this time the pain I had been having in my left leg and foot started getting really bad.

On new year's eve of 2009 I found out my association with one of my favorite venues ended in an unfortunate way. Not only did I lose a cool place to host shows but I became estranged from some of my closest friends over it. A few months later Jonny and I lost some time, money and energy on a coffee shop venture that didn't pan out. It wasn't until May that things started looking up. That's when Astra and KPRi asked me to take over The Homegrown Hour. Later that year I released MOOD SWING with the help of donations from friends. It was nominated for best local recording by the SDMAs.

Towards the end of 2010 The Cathryn Beeks Ordeal went on hiatus and I helped form a new all-girl band called The Groove Kitties. We had a banner and a website before we had all even met; our first gig was playing for 50,000 people running the Race for the Cure. Around this time Jonny and I got health Insurance and I began my exploration into the cause of my pain. 

And that, friends, brings us up to date. It's 3 years into my fourth decade, I realize that the past 6 years of my life I have been living in a pain induced fog... not totally able to enjoy my blessings to the fullest. I am afraid of this journey I'm about to embark on, but I look forward to being able to feel "in the moment" again. Ahead lies a major surgery, recovery and rehabilitation process that I pray will be quick and not too painful. I wouldn't have the strength to do any of this without the support of my friends and especially my family. Jonny, my rock...my best friend. I always feel so sad and guilty that we didn't find each other until I was "breaking". He's been dealing with my pain too, as much as I have all these years. I can't wait to be able to love him with 100% of me.  I can't wait for our new life together and the next forty years.

More to come....

THE LATEST

THE LATEST

08/13/13

NEW AND EXCITING THINGS!

Its' been a while! When last I wrote I was about to embark on another surgery (it seems I only write when I'm worried/nervous/anxious). It went wonderfully, as did the recovery and I'm feeling better than I EVER have. EVER. People comment that I've lost weight when really what I've gained is about 10 days a month. Days that I used to spend in pain I can now use to do stuff. So, I've been doing stuff!

The Green Room is now open! My friend Tara and I have teamed up to hand select items for our musician friends, men and women. Shoes, clothing, accessories, merch cases, etc. The store room is located in our home in Crest so unless you come to one of our "shop jams" which are open to all, you must make an appointment to shop. Check it out and give us a shout!

With the fading of Calamity comes the revival of The Ordeal and it's revolving cast of musicians. Keep an eye out for us this month at Art Walk and the new venue Frauds and Swindlers in the gaslamp.

Garbo is still rocking and will be seen at The Belly Up when we play a set along with Austin Burns, The Peripherals, Talk Like June and Del Sol Project. 10 cover and we could REALLY use your help supporting this show! Also, while you're feeling supportive, a vote or two via www.SanDiegoMusicAwards.com under the Americana category would be awesome.

I've been updating my websites in preparation of ListenLocalsd's 10 year anniversary. There WILL be a party so keep 10/12/13 open. Stay tuned for info here and/or at ListenLocalsd.com. Thank you so much for your support over the years and your continued love of the music being made in San Diego. See you at a show! xo

03/21/2013

Sharing is caring.

It's been almost 5 months since my last confession.  I thought it was high time I checked in.  Thank you for caring enough to read and check in on my personal biz. It's good to share. 

Calamity john hancock photoSo, let's see.... when last we spoke I was feeling great and about to embark on a health kick.  *sigh* I guess that never happened (yet) but I did cut bad cholesterol numbers in half thanks to zocor and bags of mixed greens, which I'm eating like it's my job. Flowers are blooming here at Gates Rock and my sweet baby and our furry family cherish every moment.  Dad is feeling better and caring for mom who is recuperating after knee surgery (she's looking forward to playing horseshoes again soon).  My sprained ankle seems to be healing ok and besides rocking out with Garbo, the new chick band is like therapy. I've been painting a bit, making videos and I've taken up the banjo, sort of. 

It's a beautiful life, this span of time we have here on Earth, but it sure is challenging.  We're all feeling it in some way or another, it seems.  Perspective sinks in when you hear of another sweet, amazing person whose daily challenges have turned from finding their keys or figuring out finances to fighting for their lives.  It's many of my favorite people's new normal and they are fighting like superhero warriors.  Their strength and positivity is pure power.  The love and strength of their partners/care givers is just plain dumbfounding and awe inspiring. Please send these people some positive thoughts.

Uterus
It's their strength and inspiration that quells the panic that overwhelms me lately as I prepare to embark on my own medical situation.  It's nothing NEAR what my friends are dealing with, but still lame and scary.  On March 29th I am celebrating the removal of my reproductive system.  It's all the rage. Well, for those of us with monstrous mensies, anyway.  Not sure what I have, probably endometriosis or some crazy fibroids, either way, I've suffered too long and missed too much work.  Quality of life has finally won over fear of going under.  A new life awaits, and I am going to embrace the hell out of it.

I'll be out for almost the entire month of April, but available via email.  Guest hosts at my showcases will include Taylor Romine and my sweet baby, Jon Edwards. All shows, including the radio show will happen as usual.  There will just be a little bit more red wine to go around.  But I'll be back so save me some pinot. 

Hotrod (3)Besides not having to endure horrendous pain each month, I'm looking forward to some amazing musical things in the near future.  Wine and Song. Garbo shows. The Love Lab. Calamity records. Music seminars for kids. Cathryn's Closet.  Gillian Welch tribute. Outdoor music fest.  And?  On July 8th you'll be invited to the fundraising concert and launch of hotrodhelps.com, a non profit I'm honored to be involved in, raising money to help San Diego's musicians.  Just like Hotrod did. 

For those of you so inclined, I could use your prayers and positive thoughts on Good Friday. I look forward to an easy excavation and swift recovery.  There are many happy times ahead, friends.  I'm excited and honored to share them with you.

xo Cathryn

10/25/2012

It's been 14 months, time for an update.

Hi friends,

I was just clicking around some of my pages and realized I hadn't posted in my "personal" blog in over a year so I thought I'd "check in".  Hi.  How are you? 

Me? I feel GREAT, truly better than ever.  No more pain from the tumor and no residuals from the surgery (thanks to Dr. Ghosh et al). In fact, I've felt SO GOOD over the past year that I've been living LARGE...eating and drinking and dancing and carrying on with reckless abandon.  Time to knock it off (not the dancing part) and get serious about eating right which affects my weight which affects my crazily elevated cholesterol which affects how long I get to enjoy this life.  So, ya...I'm gonna start doing that.

GARBO ON BOAT
My band Garbo is back at it after taking the summer off... we're looking forward to hitting the stages in early 2013, stay tuned!  In the meantime you can hear the new tunes here.  And while you're listening, I uploaded the last 20 years of my music on Soundcloud, you can download most of it for free.

New hg promo1
In other news, The Homegrown Hour is rocking steady every Sunday night at 8pm on 102.1 KPRi when my long-time friend, bandmate and producer, Jeff Berkley and I play local music and talk about local music stuff.  You can hear every show via podcast right here.  If you've got songs you want to submit, send the mp3s to Cathryn@listenlocalsd.com and I'll do what I can to get them on.

I've been keeping busy, thankfully, hosting ListenLocalsd.com showcases each week and the talent never ceases to amaze me.  We've teamed up again with Lloyd Pest Control and have some exciting things planned for the near future.  I'm also planning on resurrecting an altcountry version of Band Camp in 2013, bigger, badder.  Stay tuned...

IMG_0977What else?  Well, Jonny and I moved to Crest in March.  We'd been longing to live "farther out" when during a random stop at craigslist I found a rental that was right up our alley.  Seven months and a serious heat wave later we still couldn't be happier. The old gal was built in the 1930s (maybe as old as 1923!) and has survived 2 (documented) devastating fires during her lifetime.  A dentist ran his practice downstairs for many years and his wife must have spent hours on this acre, cultivating her gardens and trees.  We call the place Gates Rock after the current owners who have taken loving care of her for the past 20+ years.  We feel honored to care for her now and as the seasons change so does her character.  Windows and doors open for weeks on end during summer are now being closed and we're tightening up against the elements as winter approaches.  Relying only on the fire and cuddling close... we're far from living a pioneer life but it's still awesome being rural.  We love this place.

That pretty much brings us up to date... there is some other stuff like another girl band in the works, a new stop motion video will be released sometime this winter, Cathryn's Closet will open in 2013 and Jonny said I get to build a chicken coup.  My family is good, my friends are happy and all is right at this moment.  I hope the same for you and I hope to see your face soon.  Stop into a show and say hello.

Until then,

Cathryn Beeks

08/29/2011

Six weeks after surgery... time to swim!

 

Words with friends It's Monday, August 29th, exactly 6 weeks after surgery.  Six weeks of moving from the couch to bed and back again.  Six weeks of Netflix (thank you Tudors!), Words with Friends, reality TV, hanging with the pets and 6 weeks of Jonny waiting on me hand and foot.  I love that man.  Six weeks are up, I can milk this no more. 

I've been feeling stronger every day, although, if I do too much I can sure feel it.  I'm still not walking that great but now that I'm not restricted in my movements or from being submerged in water I will start my rehab in our little pool.  The resistance of walking in waist high water is sure to build up my strength quick-like.  The old pain that constantly shot down my leg is gone.  I am sleeping better than I have ever slept and starting to feel lighter and "alive" again.  It's a blessing and a trip.  I'm looking forward to being able to move and walk and hike and do stuff I haven't been able to do in a long time.

Trailer for sale or rentAlso helping motivate me to move is our new old trailer.  It had been on our "wish list" ever since I decided tent camping wasn't as awesome as it used to be.  We started saving for it a while back and although any extra money I make should be applied to all these medical bills, I found an incredible deal on Craig's List and Jonny gave in to my whinning so we scrapped together some dough and towed it home from Lakeside.  It's a 14 foot 1967 Mobile Scout in great shape.  We are currently repainting, reupholstering and generally jazzing it up.  Hopefully it'll be ready in time for Chick Camp.  Another cool thing is that Jonny's Ford "project truck" he's been restoring for the past few years was also born in 1967.  They'll be a cute pair cruising down the road someday.

So, that's it.  Time to get back to life and looking forward to it.  Huge love and thanks to all my family, friends and business associates for the support during this crazy time.  I will figure out a way to repay you... promise!

Love,

Cathryn

07/29/2011

Home, sweet home.

Hi friends,

Resting at home, finally. 

Monday surgery morning was super creepy, up at 3:45 am with Jonny, mom and dad... checked into the hospital at 5.  I got all prepped, wheeled into the scary room with all the lights and I remember saying "I feel weird, this feels weird, I feel weird" then the next thing I knew I was in recovery.

The first thing I noticed was the gnarly non-stop pain I was so accustomed to was gone.  In fact, I'd never felt better and for the next two days I was pretty euphoric.  I only hit the personal pain pump twice in two days...pretty proud of that.  :)

On the third day I started feeling some new aches and strange tinglings but I guess that's to be expected after having your insides all moved around.  They went in through my left side, about a 4.5 inch area just above my hip.  They think they got around 95 percent of the tumor, they'll know more after an MRI in a few weeks. 

Jeffrey Joe is right, those nurses and doctors are the shit and my surgical team were rockstars.  Such amazing, giving people... I can't imagine having to do what they do every day.  So thankful...

Michele and Jonny helped me home yesterday afternoon, Sallie relieved Michele so Jonny could go to work at 4am this morning.  Gina is with me now so Jonny can sleep and Marcia and Garrison are on the job tomorrow since Jonny works all day.  Jonny is off for a week after tomorrow so we'll enjoy some much needed us time.

Today my body is feeling the aches and pains of laying around for the last five days...and my shifting/regenerating insides, but the old familair sharp random pain is still absent.  Sleeping on my back is not my favorite so sleep comes and goes.  I'm enjoying a norco every 12 hours instead of every 4 hours as recommended.  Walking is still unsteady but feels good.  Watching movies, enjoying being waited on hand and foot and feeling like "It's good to be alive".

I can't even BEGIN to thank everyone for the love and well wishes...I'll be taking you up on your offers to visit soon, for now.... rest.  Big love to you all and more updates soon.

Love, Cathryn

06/08/2011

my my my my schwannoma

Hey friends,

Just a quick update on my health situation, thanks for caring/reading. 

The latest MRI showed no other tumors on my spine besides the big 'ol schwannoma on my spinal nerve near my L5 area, the one causing all of my pain.  Problem is, they can't tell how "involved" it is with my nerve until they go in and poke around.  Best case scenario is that it's hanging off of it, easy to remove.  If it's too intertwined they may not be able to get at it with out risking injury to my nerve and my ability to walk.  In that case they'll biopsy it and try radiation or cyberknife.  Hoping for the hanging tumor and an easy 20 minute surgery.  I'm scheduled for July 25th.  Before that I have to have a CT angioplasty and some blood tests so it's non-stop fun from here on out... 

After surgery I'll be in the hospital for 3 days then laying around for 6 weeks.  I'm HOPING to be good to go for the music awards on August 8th.  It would be the first one I've missed in 11 years.  Anyway, ListenLocalsd.com will continue with guest hosts at the live shows, The Homegrown Hour will be rocking and I'll be on the computer to keep you posted on everything.  And?  I'll be pain free by the end of this summer.   

Thank you again for your questions and concerns and most importantly your positive vibes.  I can feel them.

Love,

Cathryn

04/21/2011

So, did I tell you?

Little me and papa We musicians make a ton of sacrifices in the pursuit of our dreams, don't we?  Not to whine about it, especially since I'm in a super happy place now, but I've given up a lot over the past 20 years.  I quit a bunch of great paying day jobs, ignored maternal stirrings, struggled financially and totally dissed planning for the future.  Those things just never meant a whole hell of a lot to me, I was too busy scrambling to become famous or rich or something.  The worst thing I did, though, was disregard my health.

Catinjaxbeach I think the last time I had health insurance was around 1992 or so.  After that I just had to "walk off" jammed fingers, sprained ankles, strep throat and other incidental medical issues.  Planned Parenthood helped me keep my lady parts updated, thankfully.  The only time I sucked it up and paid for trained medical help was when I thought I had a stroke after my face went all droopy from Bells Paulsy.  That episode scared me so much that I quit smoking my beloved Eve 120 cigarettes.  It was July 25, 2001. 

8ball rack cat mattOver the next few years I gained the obligatory ex smoker weight while I concentrated on getting ListenLocalsd.com off the ground.  A pothole and a pair of super high heels put an end to my softball playing which was about the only activity I engaged in besides rocking with my band 8ball Rack.  As my activity level decreased I began having pain in my neck and back and tingling in my fingers.  Over the next few years the pain moved from my neck and back to my hip and down my leg, different levels of pain depending on the activity I engaged in.  I had to give up my high heels and strenuous activity and I turned to red wine and motrin for relief.

Myweekcover Gradually increasing pain is such a funny thing.  Not funny "ha ha", funny stupid.  Although I felt physically worse from week to week, my life was good.  My business was sustaining me and bringing me joy, I had great friends and I found the man of my dreams and we were loving love.  All that love made it easier to ignore the pain, but I always knew deep down that something was not right.  And it kept getting worse.

 

Cathryn on the radio After a tip from Sven-Erik Seaholm in 2006, I wrote a letter to MusicCares asking for financial assistance so that I could go to the doctor.  I was given a $3000 grant so I used the money to get an ultrasound and a sigmoidoscomy, thereby ruling out some illnesses that run in our family.  After that I spent the next few years dealing with the pain and enjoying my life.  I got married, released a new album and got a job playing local music on a cool radio station.  Life was good.  The pain persisted and increased...

Me and michele By 2010 I started feeling like I was losing "me".  My moods, my lack of activity, my weight gain, the guilt and the lack of hope for the future began to consume me.  I had done my best, over the years, to hide all the pain and fear from Jonny and everyone, but it was closing in on me.  My cousin Michele (the super hot nurse) encouraged me to apply for health insurance.  Whether it was Obama's doing or not, we got accepted.  Jonny and I were overjoyed and made the necessary adjustments to our budget. 

Shwanomma It was pretty overwhelming and exciting and I didn't know where to start.  After a tip from J Grace's awesome doctor/dad I found a primary care physician and started the journey.  I found out I had super high cholesterol (which I kinda knew), hip displacia (which is weird), fibroids and my blood tested positive for RA.  I went in for a second opinion about the hip and ended up having a few MRIs which found a tumor called a schwannoma on my spinal nerve.  It was about that time that our automatic payment set up to pay our insurance paid a day late so we were canceled.  After more than a month of dealing with that we were finally reinstated and I was able to see the neurosurgeon who said my tumor was the second largest he'd seen in that area and that it would need to be removed.  The good news was I did not have RA.

MriYesterday I was scheduled to have 3 MRIs but half an hour into the process I freaked OUT and couldn't continue.  I'd had MRIs before but they were "open".  This one was no bueno.  Hopefully they can get the info they need from another open one... waiting to hear.

 

Cathryn working So that brings us pretty much up to date. Despite having insurance we're racking up some pretty good bills on the 'rents credit card all to find out that surgery is in my near future, which is creepy beyond my imagination.  It seems weird to share this with so many folks but at the same time it makes it real and I've been in denial for so long that it's time I own it.  I believe in the power of positive energy so I hope you'll send me some.  Plus, maybe this story will be a wake up call to some of my young musician friends who are ignoring their own physical (or mental) pain while they make it to the big time. 

More to come,

Cathryn

MY BIO - the short story

Raised in Lancaster, CA, I left in 1992 to pursue a career in music.  My journey took me places like Jackson Hole, Jacksonville and Cleveland.  I made music along the way (The Prairie Dudes, JunkQueen and a variety of cover bands).  
Catinjaxbeach
                                                                       Jax Beach 1993
 
In 2000 I returned to California to be closer to my family.  I landed in San Diego and started playing music with Matt Silvia (8ball Rack) as well as hosting open mics.  In 2003 I began hosting showcases under ListenLocalsd.com.
 
Me matt
                                                                 Ocean Beach 2003 
 
In 2006 I released Desert Music with my band The Cathryn Beeks Ordeal which was nominated for a San Diego Music Award.  I married the man of my dreams in 2008 and released a new album, Mood Swing in November of 2009 which was nominated for Best Local Recording in 2010 by the SDMA's. 

SGC_0062 
I am currently the host of The Listen Local Show, an audio calendar playing music from bands playing in SD the week ahead. I run a mobile vintage clothing store, take photos, make videos, splash paint and play music with The Ordeal and CalAmity.