The Day was Really Hot and ...

I have a feeling of unease that I can only describe by telling an old joke. Stop me if you've heard this one before.

Once, there was a guy who went on vacation. Before he left, he recruited a friend to look after things at home. He'd been gone about a week when he called his friend. The conversation went something like this:

Vacation Guy: Hey dude, wassup? How's everything going?

Dude: Your cat died.

Vacation Guy: (Gasp!) You know, you really shouldn't spring something like that on a person. You should lead up to it slowly.

Dude: Oh man, I'm sorry. What should I have said?

Vacation Guy: I dunno. Maybe you could have started by saying something like ... The day was really hot, so I had the windows open upstairs. Your cat was asleep on one of the beds, but then she wandered out onto the roof. I tried to get her to come back in through the window, but it wasn't working so I called the fire department. Then, before they could get here, the cat tried to jump into a tree. She didn't judge the distance right though, so she fell. She seemed pretty hurt so I took her to a vet. The vet tried everything he could to save her but it didn't work.

Dude: Yeah, I see the difference. Again, man, sorry.

Vacation Guy: It's okay. Now that we've got that over with, how's my grandma doin'?

Dude: Well--the day was really hot ...

So. My son had a doctor's appointment yesterday. Just his every-six-months regularly scheduled check up, CAT scans, bloodwork, the usual. Except, it didn't feel so usual.

The doctor took a long time looking in his mouth, feeling his tongue, looking in his mouth again. Then she reviewed the scans. She took her time going through the head and neck one, grumbling a little that the perspective wasn't exactly the same as the last one, so they didn't compare perfectly. (She's generally not much of a grumbler.) She used words like "fine" and "okay" to describe what she saw on the screen, and she qualified it all with "I think". The words she usually uses are more like "great" and "perfect" and the qualifiers are normally absent. One thing I love about her is the overwhelming confidence she usually exudes.

She looked at the chest scan next, flipping through that one much quicker. By the time she finished, the radiology report for the chest was already online. She read it to us: "No evidence of metastasis. Blah, blah (wonderfully boring) blah."

She clicked back to the head/neck scan again, looking for the report on that. It wasn't there. Then, here's the thing -- she scrolled through the scan one more time -- then told us they'd call with the final results.

I could be building mountains where molehills should be, but it felt very wrong.

And it didn't feel any more right when she scheduled us to come back in six months. And it felt even worse when she mentioned that he'd need more scans next year because - here's the other thing: On his last appointment she'd said that if everything looked good the next time (that being THIS time) my son would be done with scans and he would move to a once-a-year schedule of check ups.

There's a saying in the cancer world that goes: It's not cancer until they say it's cancer. There's another saying that goes: It's not back until they say it's back.

The doctor DID NOT SAY it's back.

But what if felt like she said was:

The day was really hot ...

You Don't Bring Me Flowers Anymore

Oh, LJ, how I used to love you. Then myspace came along and turned my head. It was just a passing fancy though. I was still true to you in my heart. When Facebook batted its eyes at me, I couldn't resist -- but it didn't mean anything. I know I should have paid more attention to you, talked to you like I used. Hung out where you were. I'm sorry.

I promise. I'll be better.

It's just, well, I can't stay. Not today, anyway. You see, I'm launching this website with my coauthor, Charity Tahmaseb. Yeah, I know. It's called and I really think you'd like it. There's a poll, a short story, an excerpt from our novel, profiles on some of the cool kids who helped us get our stuff together. There's even a contest for a Starbucks card!

So, well, I gotta go. I'll see you around, I'm sure.





It's been a weird sort of day. One of those days when it feels like something is about to happen, like life is ready to get going again.

I guess it's been going all along. Anyway, uppity date-itty:

Kids: Doing good. Sara seems a bit unsettled but not really unhappy. Matt and Thanh babysat T's niece last weekend and took all kinds of pix and vids. There is light (a tiny, tiny, pinprick of it) at the end of the Maybe I Will Get to be a Grandma Some Day tunnel.

Other Fam: Gah to the third power. My brother is living with me. Most days that is a good thing. Some days, though, some days suck. My dad is done with radiation treatment. We're waiting now to see what happens next. My mom is good but feeling guilty. I think she feels like I got "stuck" with my baby bro. I don't usually feel that way about it -- but maybe I should leverage her mama guilt into some schwag? Did I really say that? Yes. I did. Sara comes by it honestly, I guess. Doug is the most wonderfullest guy ever. Really. The best/smartest/luckiest thing I ever did was to get hooked up with him.

Friends: Who knows? I almost never have time. Did recently find out that my bff has been having an affair ... for eight years! I wonder, do we still qualify as bff's if she could keep this from me for so long? C's been quiet lately. I miss our goofy chats. Sara W sold her book, Rival!

Work: Ugh! and Yay! I am bussssssyyyyyyyy. Kids on the Block is roarin' and fun. I seem to be achieving a little bit of fame as a speaker, which is kind of cool -- and kind of scary. I've been asked to speak at a fairly big public event soon. I'm excited. I think.

The Book: AAAAAAHHHHHH! Being a writer is the coolest thing ever. I received the typeset pages of Geek Girls Guide to Cheerleading today. It looks like the pages of a real, honest to goodness book. It's so like whoa, I wrote that (with C of course). New writing is not coming so well - la la la, let's not talk about that, k?

  • Current Music
    Stockholm Syndrome - Muse


37 Odd Things About Me

1. Do you like blue cheese?

Call me a cheese racist but, no.

2. Have you ever smoked?


3. Do you own a gun?


4. What flavor Kool Aid was your favorite?


5. Do you get nervous before doctor appointments?


6. What do you think of hot dogs?

I think they are full of deliciousness.

7. Favorite Christmas movie?

It's a Wonderful Life.

8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning?

Must. Have. Coffee.

9. Can you do push ups?

Even my undergarments can't do push ups anymore.

10. What's your favorite piece of jewelry?

My wedding ring.

11. Favorite hobby?


12. Do you have A.D.D.?

Officially? No but -- hey, shiny ...

13. Do you wear glasses/contacts?


14. Middle name?


15. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment?

Is there really a need for a Tom Cruise 25 Years website? I need to finish the laundry. Mmmm, Diet Pepsi.

16. Name 3 drinks you regularly drink?

Mmmm, Diet Pepsi, coffee, water.

17. Current worry?

Worr(ies): my dad, my brother, my kids, my job, my bank accounts, my book, my friendships

18. Current hate right now?

My dad's radiologist. Ssly, it's been 3 months since he was diagnosed and STILL no treatment?

19. Favorite place to be?

Here. Now.

20. How did you bring in the new year?

Trying to bring down my daughter's fever.

21. Where would you like to go?


22. Name three people who will complete this?

You, you, and  you.

23. Do you own slippers?


24. What shirt are you wearing?

Plain White T.

25. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets?

Ugh, no. They are sweaty and slippery and they remind me of this really creepy guy I used to know.

26. Can you whistle?


27. Favorite color?


28. Would you be a pirate?

If they had a better dental plan.

29. What songs do you sing in the shower?

Hmmm, though I sing all the time, I rarely do it in the shower.

30. Favorite Girl's Name?


31. Favorite boy's name?

Max Air.

32. What's in your pocket right now?

I'm empty.

33. Last thing that made you laugh?


34. What vehicle do you drive?


35. Worst injury you've ever had?

Crushed thumbnail.

36. Do you love where you live?

Most of the time.

37. How many TVs do you have in your house?
3 that work, one that doesn't.
  • Current Music
    Don't You Forget About Me - Simple Minds

Cue the Tears

I guess I've been too busy with the book to notice but, in less than one week, my baby moves out -- possibly for good. She's getting an apartment with her boyfriend. All summer they've been amassing stuff. You would think that as the mountain of household goods grew ever taller, her impending move would have sunk in gradually. It didn't.

But it has now.

And, God, it hurts way worse sending her out into the world than it did bringing her into it.
  • Current Mood
    sad sad

Note To Self

Oh Darci, Darci [don't look so sad]
Don't let the daytime [get you down]
Because we will be wild like children [wild like children]
Once the black has veiled this sky
No pushing buttons [no telling lies]
No pointed fingers [trying to keep you quiet]
Just you and I misbehaving [misbehaving]
Oh trying our best to feel alive
We won't ever let them win

When we are younger oh our hearts are so much bolder
Oh the pressure is not as great
We floated weightless through the tops of trees
But as we get older, oh, our vision becomes blurred
And then the fog it slips right in
Now you're wondering how
Oh yeah, you're wondering how you ended up here
Oh how you end up here

The hateful, hateful [tough little boys]
That move their lips [whenever you're around]
So smart, just shouting answers [shouting answers]
I guess their fathers taught them well
So sit real still [they've got to size you up]
Don't move your mouth [they don't like when you talk]
They're trying their best to define you [to define you]
They're trying their best to keep you down
But we won't ever let them win

Because this world you know it can get so crazy
All these people talk a lot
They know this, they know it all
What a drag
And you know there'll always be some oddball singing
Just remember to sing along

Yeah you better start singing a long

This place could be so beautiful
You just can't let them pull that cloth over your eyes
Just keep on screaming, oh yeah
Bop bop ba, bop bop ba
Bop bop ba, bop bop ba
Bop bop ba, bop bop ba
Bop bop ba, bop bop ba
Bop bop ba, bop bop ba
Bop bop ba, bop bop ba
Bop bop ba, bop bop ba
Bop bop ba, bop bop ba
Bop bop ba, bop bop ba
Bop bop ba, bop bop ba
Bop bop ba, bop bop ba
Bop bop ba, bop bop ba
  • Current Music
    You and I Misbehaving - Tilly and the Wall

Belly Up to the Clouds

Why can't things ever be perfect?
The annual volunteer celebration was today and while it was good, and I think my volunteers enjoyed themselves, there were still a series of small errors and missteps. Things I forgot to do, things I forgot to say, etcetera, etcetera.

My mom told me once that it is the reaching toward perfection that is living. Maybe she's right. Maybe I need to stop asking myself why things can't ever be perfect -- and start asking myself whether I should expect that they will be.
  • Current Music
    This is Not an Exit - Saves the Day

I'm Wide Awake It's Morning (Time to Vote)

 While my writing partner, C, has been doing something useful I've been dreaming of Conor Oberst (from the band Bright Eyes) for the past two nights. That's just plain weird. Even weirder, I wake with a sense that the dreams have some political meaning.

According to an online dream dictionary (my dream book is still MIA): To dream that you are at a concert represents harmony and cooperation in a situation or relationship from your waking life.

I am in harmony with my political choice today. I'm voting for Barack Obama. And, to me, he represents the spirit of cooperation and conciliation that might bring all our fractious parts together. How young Mr. Oberst figures into this, I have no clue. Unless it's because he IS young, and both of my kids are voting today, and I am so terribly proud of them for paying attention and for participating in the election process.

How about you? If you live in Indiana (or North Carolina) will you vote today?



It will be a year, this week, since we knew it was more than a sore on his tongue.

In this year of hard things some of the most difficult have been our trips to Chicago. It's not so much the doctors or the needles or the procedures that have caused so much pain (although Matthew would disagree with me) as it is the view. It is maddening. The 4th floor window of the U of C Medical Center frames a perfect picture of the Chicago skyline. It taunts us and tantalizes us and reminds us of good times -- when our lives were lighter.

Every time we go there we say, "Some day ..." And then we sigh.

Matt had another doctor appointment last Friday. He's been feeling good so our only worries came from the length of time between visits. Due to bad weather and plain bad luck - it had been a while and we were anxious to be told things were still okay. We arrived a few minutes late so I dropped Matt and Thanh off near the medical center's entrance and left to park the car. I wasn't with them when they got off the elevator and made the short walk north. I don't know if the view took their breaths away from them. I only know what it did to mine. And then (to myself)  I said, "Some day," and of course, I sighed. But before I took a seat and settled in to wait, I looked at my son, so alive and healthy looking, and I wondered whether some day might finally have arrived.

The visit went well. His doctor pronounced him 'perfect'. She introduced us to another young man who had been through many of the same things as Matt. The two of them stood there, grinning at each other, comparing scars and fates. Afterward I almost let it slip out, "Should we ...?" But the forecast called for storms and it was late on a Friday afternoon -- better to just slip out of town before something bad happened.

On the way home I remembered something Matt had said about the Indiana Dunes, how he and Thanh had tried to go there once. It was on one of those trips home from Chicago that came in the life before. They hadn't had enough money left to pay the entrance fee.

"How much was it?" I asked.

"Five dollars," Matt said.

"We have five dollars," I told him.

We pulled off at the exit marked Dunes HIghway and snaked our way around a few curves until we came to the sign for West Beach. We didn't even have to pay the five bucks -- the gatekeeper having abandoned his post for the day. "I hope it looks cool," Matt said. The sandy, tree and grass covered hills that surrounded us on our drive in were interesting, but Matthew is a veteran of North Carolina beaches. These were not the kind of dunes he had in mind.

One more big curve and there they were -- huge piles of sand that forced my head up, up to find the top. I considered my sandals, my bum knee, the extra weight I'd have to haul all the way up there. "You guys go. I'll wait here," I said.

And they went.

I watched them make their way, running at first, then going slower. After a minute, they stopped and ducked their heads against the wind. It was fierce that day and I could tell by the way they twisted from it that the sand it carried stung. It seemed that Thanh might give up -- but Matt tugged on her hand and she followed. The last few steps looked easier. Then there they were, hand in hand, at the peak.

Thanh stepped down a moment later, leaving my son to stand alone, looking so strong and sure silhouetted against the sky. The wind whipped his shirt into a flag and still he stood there, unflinching.

There may be more mountains in our future, more difficult climbs to overcome. I know this. But down below, my heart filled with hope as I witnessed this moment of triumph. I will keep the memory of it with me always:

My son -- King of the Mountain, Master of the View -- at last.
  • Current Music
    Three Little Birds - Bob Marley

Sick. As a Dog.


Despite growing up in the 70's I am really not much of a fan of drugs. While most people "my age" have a medicine cabinet full of prescriptions that :: if I weren't so sick I would insert witty stuff re mood stabilizers/enhancers/viagra __(here)__ :: Although I really like my doctor, I try not to visit with him very often. And I am pretty sure that the right combination of Excedrin, Bacitracin and Hydrogen Peroxide can cure almost anything. Except cancer. And this, which is (apparently): either croup or walking pneumonia (a toss up at this point though my doc's rooting for pneumonia), a sinus infection and infections in both ears.



  • Current Mood
    sick sick