Monday, November 24, 2008

Roller coaster

Emotional roller coaster is a cliche I don't always like using. I'll make an exception for this entry because that's where I'm at.
Friday was a fearful afternoon...but by that Friday evening a call from my doctor dispelled whatever things were working through my head. Scan---clean.
Absolute celebration...Twenty friends and I celebrated at my birthday dinner that night.
By the way my 21st birthday was awesome!

But after this weekend, I can't help but think about a friend whose battle continues. I celebrate my news but not without that tint of sadness that I wish everyone could have good news.
Please keep my friend in your thoughts.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Positive thinking

I have lots of things to be thankful for...counting blessings is easier these days.
But I worry sometimes...can I admit that? Yeah...I guess I can confide that it's an uneasiness that accompanies having lived a life on the edge of catastrophe for so long.
Important check-up today.
It's that knock on wood thing I guess.

So as a form of distraction and an overall attempt at making my mood better I am going to write a list of random laughworthy items. These things (words, phrases and concepts) whether the memories they produce, the images they conjure up or just the cadence of the word itself...they make me laugh. And I am certain that by the end of this list I will be cracking a smile.

  • Chia pets
  • Fanny packs---my mom still can't understand people's aversion to them
  • Crazy Science videos -- I filled in for Chem class today and saw oiled up leotard clad jugglers demonstrating atomic principles---among other edu-tainment atrocities.
  • kid leashes (come on, please parents!)
  • Fuzzy dice
  • The Wiggles
  • Abe Vigoda
  • Chuck Norris
  • Charo
There...that's I am smiling.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Birthdays, mashed up cake and ice cream and other gushies

If you are a regular reader of my already know by now I'm entirely sentimental. Even more so perhaps during the approach of significant life milestones. Well we all are to some extent.

This year's birthday isn't particularly significant- that one was last year.

But as I look back at this picture taken on my 8th or 9th birthday (can't remember) I smile.

We were at Chuck-E-Cheese's...

We ate pizza and had ice cream sundaes...Well my friends had pizza, I had a hot dog (because I didn't like pizza back then). I know what you are thinking--weird kid, huh?
There are birthday traditions that stand. Things like good friends, and good food and laugher never get old...even if the birthday girl is. Ha ha!

But my favorite birthday tradition by far is going to sound a little corny...but here goes.

I remember back then my dad would tell me "the birthday story"... The birthday story is something that Mary and I always was tailored to each of our respective entrances into the world.

For mine he'd start by waking me up and saying
"I remember...and he'd fill in (6, 7,8 or,9 years) ago today...I had a beautiful baby girl."

He'd tell me all the things he remembered about the day I was born. He'd tell me about what my mom said when she saw me...or how happy they were to have a daughter after waiting for me.

Back then I used to kind of wince when dad would say that...and feign the "oh Dad!!" any kid does when their parent gets all gushy. But secretly I loved hearing that story told exactly the same way. My dad still tells me that story the same way...even all these years later... and yes, I still go out for cake and ice cream with my friends. Old friends, new friends...and birthdays still are about feeling special to the people you love....but can we get down to the real heart of why I write this?...

I'm turnng another year older next week...and I love it! I am alive..and I am approaching almost 2 years of being cancer free!!!

Age is just a number my friends and blog readers...and given the assured sanitary conditions I would SO be that young at heart woman who dove into the ball pit.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Nobody puts Leah in a corner

This picture is truly from the vault.
First day of school...sometime in the 1980s.

I look at this picture of the little girl posing on the picnic table with her brand new lunch box and it makes me think of hope and endless possibility.

But if I told you what happened to that Snoopy lunch'd probably cry, like I do when I think about it.

An older bully on the bus asked to "see my lunch box". Gullible in the dictionary...yeah, that starts sometime in the first grade. The overgrown lardo with the school's most enviable Hot Wheels collection then proceeded to scratch out Snoopy and Charlie's faces with a dime. Instantly the tears came...but I sat paralyzed unable to even speak out in protest. I could have screamed for Mr. Lighthall, my bus driver and sometime childhood hero...but no.
I watched Charlie Brown ceremonially decapitated and his canine companion obliterated.

I'm really okay with this now (okay maybe I still weep when I read Peanuts strips)...but after years of searching and self-examination I learned that this was just an early sign of my quiet passive nature. But in recent years I've found my moxy. Sometimes in small ways, sometimes in larger more momentus ones.

I think a real turning point in recent years came when my nurse practitioner spoke harshly to me in clinic during chemo...It took me a little gumption but I told her off on the phone when she checked in with me. I've often failed to show that assertive self. But it's about time I stopped equating standing up for myself as a bad thing. I'm not saying I'm suddenly barking orders or giving the goods to all who deserve it but there are small moments when I find my moxy. HEY, MOXY I repeated it...I love that word.

A few recent examples:

  • I went to see the movie Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist with a friend. The theater was filled with an abundance of upper middle class teenagers who needed a serious chaperone. After listening to them yammer on over the movie, screwing around and generally dsirupting my good-money-paid-out film experience....I had had enough. Through clenched teeth I bellowed "SHUT UP". They actually did...weird. Must be the teacher mojo.

  • I got peeved when they cut the size of my Pantene conditioner...but charged me the same price. I called. They're not going to do anything about it... but I got a coupon.

  • I was on a first date a few weeks ago with a young man who seemed great on paper. But this was paper only. During our meal he kept leering over at a group of mixed race friends having a great time and snubbed his nose and called them an "ecclectic group". How fast can you say...Check please!
    Do you see this lovely dating pool of single men I work with? Tragic!

  • My friendly neighborhood cell phone representative tried to tell me that he'd heard Radio Shack "no longer sells" the I-Go. In my mind this seemed a blatant attempt to get me to buy their brand of car charger. Radio Shack Henrietta has been informed of this little sly fox's game...and I'm going by today to tell him he's wrong. (as if he didn't know that).

    BOOY-ah...from one cartoon dog to another... I've been called sweety, sugar by many...and yes I am sweet... but get my doggy dander up enough and I can have my MOXY too. Especially when I fight for the UNDERDOG....GRRRRR....

Friday, November 7, 2008

Mary and Karl Part Deux---and this is interactive!

Mary is going to kill me but I can't help this. After last post night's post I had a feeling I would be getting a phone call/email/text from Mary. I am psychic...
I chose a better picture Mary. This one is way cuter...

Here is my sister and my soon to be brother in law supporting me in full force at the Leukemia Lymphoma Society this year. By the way...I will be sending an email out to all who walked but Leah's Line-up raised over $3,000! We held our position as #6 in team fundraisers in Rochester! Part of that success is due to this cute couple who rallied the people they love to care about this cause...

Okay enough of that sugar coated stuff...did you know that my brother in law is a youtube star...yes, he is...and it's time the world see the brilliant inventor my sister is about to marry.

After viewing'll want to find out more about this couple...and perhaps join their fan club. But I am only supplying "the public" with the link to their fan website if I get comments. COME ON NOW, if you COMMENT...then I will throw up the link.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

couples to watch in 2009

Mary and Karl
My sister is getting married in less than 9 months... for those of you who don't know Mary...
she is a real live firecracker...(well, okay...yeah we both are)....
But Karl is the fire marshall, so to speak who has "tamed" this crazy woman.

And this crazy woman, my sister Mar-Mar-- picked me to be her M.O.H.

And Mary despite all of my crazy ways has agreed to try to accept me flaws and all in my role ...I'm really a horrible wedding planner/helper. I mean dig this...I am the kind of girl who thinks it would be a good idea to have Karaoke and smores at a wedding reception. But she loves me anyway, and against her better judgement she's kept me "honorable"...that's right out, cause this maid is full of honor...yes--siree!
Mary's wedding is certainly going to be my big event of '09...but this year is shaping up to be quite a year of weddings! I was doing some thinking the other day and I realized that several of my friends are getting married this year. The calendar is filling up quickly.
So I thought I'd give you a brief look at the other cute couples I know getting hitched in '09.
Matt and Sadie
Halloween Alter Egos:
Jose Cuervo and Snap (to Crackle and Pop)

Scott and Jackie

Best attributes:
Scott- Good in sticky situations ( after stroller wheels that rolled in State Fair cow barn rolled into my leg)
Jackie- Whips up party trays to rival Martha and still manages to rock the party game circuit.

Deidre and Andrew
Claims to fame--
Deidre: Newspaper editor extroridinaire who still carries a penchant for boy bands.
Andrew: Is on the cover of Ray LaMontagne's Live at Bonnaroo album (really he is)...
and he manages to forgive his girl for loving O-Town

Rob and Carrie
I knew them way back when-- Carrie and I were roommates when she met Rob.
Yeah, I saw it coming...I so saw this coming. (I'm a bridesmaid)

Margaret and Joel

When she knew it was Prince Charming- Joel was clearly the one for Margaret....and I told her this, when I heard he got her Season One of the GOLDEN GIRLS for her birthday. That my friends...that, is a man in love.

A lot of weddings this year...and come late June the frenzy will begin. Lots of planning ahead for these special couples... but you can bet I'll be there for the par---tay.

Why you befriend a neurologist

I am Chapter 5 of a new book coming out called Chemo Brain...yeah, that's hot.

But no, really about a year ago I was interviewed by a Boston Globe reporter writing a book on the real life effect of chemotherapy treatments on patients. She gathered anecdotal evidence from dozens of patients who lent their credence to a long held but oft' dispelled observation...that some changes take place after being poisoned over a period of months...go figure!
Actually, last week I got a facebook message from a Bona alum who is (small world!) editing that book and saw my name. The book will be released sometime in early 2009 I believe.

I'm not excusing any of my Amelia Bedelia tendencies, but I just seem to be getting worse with misplacing things. And now I'm in the book...literally.

Let's call this meta-cognitive overload. I have so much going on now in my life that all these compartments are being totally least that's what I think. I don't know if this makes sense...but I'll have to ask Ellen about this.

***Ellen is my friend from childhood that I've recently re-connected with from my days as a Cabbage Patch toting lass in Mexico NY. Ellen is a neurologist now in San to see her again while she came to Rochester for a wedding.

But anyway, back to the subject at hand. Why I write this blog?
Drumroll please... I lost my cell phone.
That's right...I lost my cell phone with several hundred phone numbers inside. Phone numbers that I could not begin to reconstruct....and no I have no back up list...I am a technological tragedy of this cell phone age.

But I have decided to take a really gutsy attitude about this. I have resigned myself to think that if someone is important they'll call me...and then I'll have their phone number...if not...c'est la vie. I know, I'm really just stretching this for all it's worth to avoid kicking myself for losing items. But I have devised a spiritual meaning in all this.

I believe that this is actually phone kharma coming to me...inside that phone were numbers that perhaps had not been purged in years. My gosh, just for one example: inside that phone was the number of the radiologist I dated back a few years ago (I was certain I could utilize that for medical second opinion in the future), and several other numbers which just should have been removed from phone in question. The disappearance of my cell is pretty much a sign that I need to start streamlining my life....okay it's also a sign that I have to remember where I put things...but this is a larger picture I'm looking at. Because I'm not a simple minded girl...absent minded yes...simple minded no.

Things that are set free and come back to you are things that will be in your life. Those that fall away, are just better in your deleted file. So I will breathe a deep sigh and have faith that those numbers don't really amount to all that much in the grand scheme of life. Those that wish to get in touch with me can...I'm not hard to find. Let go...stop stressing...right?

Can I really convince myself of this?
Have I done a good job of convincing you that I'm okay with this?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Why you stand in line

I won't tell you the frustrating life stuff that's been going on...because it's faded to the background.

Last night was election night...and for the first time in 8 years I felt okay, much more at peace.

Just four years ago I stood in line to vote when any rational person would have been in bed or even in a hospital. I was on heavy drugs...and I was still recovering from my radical neck dissection, still unable to move my neck, feeling and really looking like Frankenstein. If there was anyone in line I went to high school with or once traded laughs with they wouldn't have known it was me. I stood among strangers who eyeballed this strange young woman with the funny looking neck and

I had not had the time to fill out an absentee ballot before cancer threw my life into a tailspin...but I had to vote. It mattered to me enough to put aside vanity and comfort to get in line and vote. Waiting in line, standing even was excrutiating.
But in 2004 I did...and at least I know I cast my vote.

Whether it was the heavy strength pain killers or just the raw emotion of standing in line when I wasn't really physically able to do so...I cried like a crazy girl watching a Steel Magnolias, Beaches Marathon after results came in.
But I had NO regrets because I had been there. But still it's hard to swallow such frustration at such a time. The issues of health care that were cornerstones of my voting choice were issues I now stood in full a life I couldn't recognize. And the end of 2004 felt like the precipice of another 4 years of fear and anxiety.

Last night...four years after that voting day...I cast my vote again, healthy, strong and feeling that I had weighed all options and thought about my choices long and hard. This time I quietly slipped in among the crowd. Cancer's scars have faded. But life is very changed and I am four years wiser for it. I can know, in every fiber of my being, that this mattered to me in a very different mattered again and I never will take this right for granted. Electoral college or state or blue state, standing in line with 131 million Americans strong...whoever our choice was...truly is the only place to be on the First Tuesday in November.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Just a small town girl...livin in a lonely world...

Come know the rest.
This sign appeared around the corner from my house. Everytime I drive past it I smile. Graffiti is bad, I know...but there's something just smile worthy about this one and I can't help that the Journey-loving hoodlum that put it up knows it adds character to my already colorful and ecclectic neighborhood.

It takes me back to last March when James, Carol and I and all of her Boston friends celebrated Carol's 30th in that piano bar outside Fenway. I'd requested the song and didn't realized that in order for them to play it there has to be a significant flurry of dollar bills thrown down on the song to confirm that the request actually gets played. Well, needless to say I wasn't the only one in attendance with a soft spot for the song...and before we knew it the whole place was pounding and stamping feet and we were not denied. Good times...sang our hearts out.

Not that I want to give anyone ideas but if we used stop signs with this theme...maybe these creative artists could have a Fleetwood Mac sign "Don't STOP thinking about tomorrow"
a Supremes sign "STOP in the name of love"...

I'll say it again...I love my neighborhood.