Thursday, December 27, 2007

Angels in My Midst

Christmas was not welcomed with open arms this year. Cards did not go out. My tree committed suicide (stopped drinking its water). My Christmas spirit was nowhere to be found.

I talked about it with a couple friends. I sounded whiney. "I don't have a family now, I have a fragment." It's just my mom, my son, and me. (And my ex-husband, who is legally not my family any more, as of March 29th of this year, but still and somewhat awkwardly part of my daily life.) With my dad here, we were enough of a family that it all seemed worth doing. Without him, it just felt completely empty and pathetic. For the first year ever, there was no tree at my parents' house, and so there would be no presents under a tree for me. I'm an only child, so presents under the tree for me is what I'm used to, even at 42 years old. My mother filled a stocking for me up until this year.

Holidays are hard after you lose someone, this is a universal truth. Their absence is everywhere. And for me, his absence is more than a hole. It's like a tectonic shift, where a whole piece of the continent broke off and what's left is not recognizable as the former mainland. It's a new place entirely, foreign and lacking.

So, if you're thinking, c'mon, you have a 7-year-old son, you have to step up to the plate here and be an adult, for him ... don't worry, that is in fact what I did. He had a decorated house and tree, a stocking, presents, the whole shebang. On Xmas eve, we put out cookies and milk for Santa and carrots for the reindeer. (He put out our entire container of Xmas cookies, and I asked him "don't you want to save some for us for tomorrow?" So he grabbed paper and pencil and wrote: "Santa pleas dont eat all the cookies." Then he ran back and added: "you can eat most of the cookies").

It turns out that while I was whining, and dreading Christmas, and shoving myself up to that proverbial plate, angels were at work.

First angel intervention: A couple weeks ago, I went careening off an icy road with my little guy in the back seat, and somehow steered us between a telephone pole and a steel cable with a grand total of about 3 inches on either side of us. And came gently to a stop against a broken sign post, which cracked my parking light.

Next, a special person who seems to care a lot about me (and felt bad that he was going away when I needed people and care even more than usual) left me with a bag of presents to put under my tree. Presents under my tree for me. Okay, maybe he's not an angel, but that was angelic behavior for sure. (For shizzle, to use my new Yiddish ebonics.)

This brings us to Christmas Eve morning. Around 9am, my smoke alarms went off. No fire, but I could not make them stop. They are brain-rattling, piercing, shoot-me-now smoke alarms. I called the fire department. "Um, sorry to bother you, but how do you turn off smoke alarms?" They sent a truck. It turns out that my little man hit one of the alarms on the ceiling with a ball and it caused a wire to dislodge. He was upset, sobbing, afraid that the firemen would yell at him. He hid in my closet. Three very nice firemen came inside, stopped the racket pronto, replaced all my batteries, coaxed little guy out of the bedroom, and gave him a cuddly stuffed dalmation. Sniffling and embarrassed, he said thanks and gave the guys high-fives. Then, in a nice Disney movie moment, the guys got a call on their walkie-talkie and had to rush out, change into their gear in our driveway while we watched from the porch, and go zipping away in their truck, sirens blaring, waving, to a real emergency.

As if that weren't quite enough and something else was needed, later I discovered that my car battery was dead. My battery has never died before. Friends (who are practically family) were with us for brunch, and they had jumper cables (why don't I?) so the two of them pushed my car out of the garage as I steered, and we got it started in minutes.

In recent weeks, I've been talking to my dad (I talk in my head to him, and then agonize over the possibility that he can only hear me when I talk out loud)... and instead of just the usual crying and saying how much I miss him, I've been asking him if he'd be willing to give me a sign. I asked that he just make it loud and clear so I wouldn't miss it or wonder if it was really a sign. If you were the angel version of my dad (and many would say he was already an angel when he was here walking around among us), and your daughter asked for a sign that was loud and clear, might you not just go ahead and set off the smoke alarms on Xmas eve morning?

So there were presents -- and there was presence -- for me under my tree and all around this Christmas. I have angels in my midst, and I think I can do this now.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Monday Mornings with the Little Prince

I wish someone would come videotape a weekday morning at my house with me and my 7-year-old. I'd like to have it on tape for him to see as an adult. Partly because it's hilarious, and partly because whatever comes up on the therapist's couch when he's older would be completely offset by the fact that he would see how, in these early years, Mommy's role is pretty much a long-suffering maidservant (with an attitude).

At seven, he still gets a sippy cup of warmed ovaltine every morning, which he slurps with his blankie in front of cartoons. If the ovaltine does not arrive promptly enough, the Little Prince shouts loudly, "MOM!!!!!!! Chocolate milk!!!!!!!!"

So this morning, he impressed me enormously by being somewhat proactive and getting himself dressed and packing up his backpack without my nagging him. The more typical scenario is that I instruct him through every, painstaking step required to complete the morning tasks. ("Finish eating your breakfast," "dishes to the sink," "brush your teeth and hair," "go get dressed," etc., etc.... all of this usually belted out from the bathroom, sometimes over the sound of my hair dryer.)

I was so proud of him, I mean, ridiculously proud. Like, almost teary-eyed.

But then there was this part: I'm in the shower and he comes in the bathroom to pee. It's just the two of us, so we don't have a whole lot of bathroom boundaries yet. So I peek around the door at him and see that, as usual, he has not lifted up the toilet seat. So I tell him, as usual, that he will be required to wipe off the seat when he's finished. I peek around again a minute later and see him wiping off the seat .... with his pajama-covered knee. The joys of boys.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Interview with Lorie

My friend Lorie Parch -- an amazing journalist, wonderful writer, and all-around dear person -- recently interviewed me for a piece she's writing for

Q: The basics: Can you tell me when you were diagnosed, how old you were at the time, what your diagnosis was, and briefly what your treatment was?

A: I was diagnosed in April of '97, the 30th I think, with invasive ductal carcinoma. I had a lumpectomy first, with lymphnode dissection, and then because the surgeon did not get "clear margins" she recommended a mastectomy. My lumpectomy was in May and the mastectomy was in June. I had immediate reconstruction, which means they took out all the breast tissue and left in a device called a tissue expander. This expander got pumped full of saline -- a syringe-ful each week--to expand my skin (and stretch the heck out of my scar).... Until I was gigantic. Like a double-E or something. Then, just in the nick of time, they deemed me stretched enough, and got me booked for surgery to have it removed and the permanent, saline implant put in. I say in the nick of time because it was now August and my wedding day was September 13th. I think it was actually the beginning of Sept. when I had the surgery. All went well and my tight bodiced wedding gown looked fine. I turned 32 in June of that year. I don't remember exactly when but I started chemo as soon as I was sufficiently healed from the mastectomy, so that crazy period was filled with chemo treatments and trips into the city to get expanded. Strange pre-wedding time...

Q: Were you married, single or with someone but not married during this period?
What effect did having breast cancer have on your relationship, both the relationship in general and your sex life, if any?

A: My then fiance was great during my breast cancer. He just stood by me, stoically, went to appointments with me, slept in my hospital room the nights I had to stay over. He was great. I remember him taking all these pictures of my breast after the lumpectomy. It was kind of gross and funny and poignant all at the same time. I don't think it had any effect whatsoever on our sex life. We had been living together for a almost a year at that point. One cool thing about Scott was his attitude toward the nipple reconstruction. When I came out of the reconstruction, I had a big, red scar going diagnonally across my fake boob. He looked at it and told me he didn't think it was worth going through another surgery to have a nipple put on. He kind of felt like the redness of the scar was serving that purpose... And stickign a fake nipple on top wasn't going to do anything for anyone.

Q: What was your body image like before you had breast cancer?

A: I had a good body image for the most part. I've always wished I had longer, thinner legs. And good skin. I liked my breasts, always thought they were a good size and all.

Q: Did it change and if so, how?

A: It was hard losing the breast purely from a sexual enjoyment perspective. I wasn't thinking that Scott wouldn't be attracted to me with my strange, fake boob. I was just thinking there's one less sexual part of me. I liked having two nipples. They're sensitive and sensual and it's better to have two than one.

Q: Did you lose your hair during treatment? If so, what was that like?

A: I had CMF, so didn't lose my hair. I was very lucky to walk down the aisle with my own hair.

Q: You were young when you were diagnosed: Did you make treatment decisions with an eye toward preserving your fertility? If so, how so? [This is for another article we may add for younger women and fertility.]

A: It was very, VERY freaky to know that the chemo could knock out my fertility. Scott and I were both huge kid people. Couldn't wait to have a baby. So we would celebrate every time I got my period during those 6 months of chemo. After my treatment was over, my oncologist and I talked about tamoxifen. And he told me that he didn't feel it was worth it to get the small reduction in risk of recurrence when I would have to forgo trying to get pregnant with my new husband for five more years. It turned out to be a wise decision. I got pregnant with my son two years after my breast cancer, and when I tried to get pregnant again a few years later, it didn't happen.

Q: Any other physical changes that were difficult to cope with – or, conversely, ones that you thought might be tough but were easier than you expected?

A: The chemo gave me grey hair. Just a sprinkling, but I don't think it would have arrived for several more years had I not had chemo. It also put weight on me. The constant semi-nausea made me nibble a lot and I put on some pounds during those 6 months. The fake breast has always been kind of a conversation piece for me. So while I didn't expect it to be hard -- I really had no problem saying goodbye to a breast in order to get rid of the cancer -- it was really super easy for me. I will show anyone who wants to see what a reconstructed (sans nipple) breast looks like. There there have been moments and still are moments when I feel sorry for myself and wish I had two breasts. But they're few and far between. I'm so, so fortunate to have my life and my beautiful little boy. Who's now 7!

Q: It’s been a while since you had cancer – have your feelings about your body changed at all during the years since you first recovered and now?

A: The bummer is that the real breast weathered 10 years of life, a pregnancy, breastfeeding, weight gain, weight loss ..... And gravity. While that perky little saline implant just sits there and doesn't MOVE! So I'm way lopsided now, and really need to get "fixed." I had an appointment with a plastic surgeon at Yale to talk about my options last year, but never made it because other bigger priorities took over. It's a goal for this year. I'd like to have it redone so I match, and I'd like to replace the saline with silicone, which apparently is a much more natural look and feel. I just would really like to go bra-less now and then and be able to wear any shirt and any bathing suit without having one boob 6 inches higher than the other!

Q: You’re dating someone seriously now, right? How long have you been together?

A: Just broke up with a boyfriend. Am dating now, having fun. Just met someone who's great.

Q: Has dating been in any way challenging owing to having had breast cancer?

A: No -- I'm really comfortable with my body and with sexuality. I'm lucky -- it just isn't an issue. I tell people upfront about my breast cancer, that I only have one breast. I let them try and guess which is the fake one. And since I've been divorced and had a couple boyfriends, I really realize how little that stuff matters. Men seem to have absolutely no problem with it. I'm more of the mind to ignore the fake one -- because it has absolutely no sensitivity and is just a salt water balloon to me, not part of my body -- but the men I've been intimate with seem to want to be very gentle and loving to it, as if it somehow represents all that I've been through.

Q: Is there any advice you’d give to a woman going through this to help her preserve good feelings about herself or keep her sex life from going astray? (I think you said you have a good body image, and always have, so it'd be great to hear how you maintained it during this time.)

A: Sex is so not about having two intact breasts. It's nice having two breasts, sure. It's also nice having a flat stomach and beautiful, smooth skin, and long legs and a million other things I don't have. But when it comes down to getting under the covers, very little of that stuff matters. Sex is all about everything else ... Guys don't care. They really don't. If one part is missing, they will find another one they like just fine .... :-)

Q: Are there any resources – websites, books, organizations – that you’d recommend?

A: SO important for young women with breast cancer ....

Friday, October 26, 2007

Botox or Bangs?

Okay, I have a confession to make. I just re-posted the last post. Meaning, I had posted it a little while back, but I chickened out and took it offline. Why? It seemed crass or something. And I didn't want to risk hurting any feelings. Phew. Feel better now.

Anyway, I just noticed that in that post I talked about making a mistake at the age of "41." I am 42, and I don't lie about my age. Occasionally, I forget how old I am but I don't lie ever. So maybe I was trying to be super-duper, nerdy accurate to a "T," because when I made the actual mistake in question I was 41. That would be totally like me.

So the big question of the day (yesterday, actually, and posed to my hairstylist, the beautiful and talented Siera) .... should I try Botox on my forehead or just get bangs cut? Neither option appeals to me. But I have big creases in my forehead and I just started noticing them in photos. Sigh. And I thought I would be all fine with aging gracefully.

Other confession is that the dating thing has already been foiled. It's just not in my DNA. So much so that I think I will have to forgo the MUCH discussed and highly anticipated rendezvous with the hot 30-year-old. Sorry, girls. I know, I know.


Thursday, October 11, 2007

Sexagesimal, Dating, and Six-Pack Abs

We have way too much fun at work. Everyone says so. Granted, sitting in a cube all day every day would be a sublime form of torture for me if it weren’t for the regular eruptions of witticisms and giggles from the women on the other sides of the partitions. I have never laughed this much at work in my life. None of it translates very well, but one recent winner for funniest moment is a tie between: a) Kerri and I both IMing to each other at the exact same moment, the exact same phonetic spelling of the world sexagesimal (sex-a-jism-al); and b) her reaction (and subsequent actions) to a photo I sent her of a certain incredibly hot guy’s naked torso…

So today was a kind of dating pinnacle for me. I am dating. Yes, that’s right. Me, diehard serial monogamist. I am dating what seems like 18 different men. And half of them were on my computer screen in dueling IM windows this morning. I now know the real reason I’ve never done this dating thing before. I’m simply nowhere near organized enough. You have to stay on top of it and not double-book – all the while making sure you’re being honest and ethical and yet fun and cute. You have to remember to whom you told which story. It’s a lot to manage. Plus, you don’t want any one of them to know about the others, yet you want them to know there ARE others so they don’t mistakenly think you’re exclusive and heading toward a RELATIONSHIP.

There’s also the issue of intimacy. Honestly, even if I’m just having big make-out sessions with someone, it feels completely wrong to be smooching a different mouth a few days later. That must come from the serial monogamist, who is currently bound and gagged down in the dungeon, trying to stage some kind of a stealth revolt.

My friend Cath says I’m in this odd, untouchable yet available place that you can only get to after being very in love and getting very hurt. Suddenly, you attract men like white on rice. It’s kind of sad and screwy.

Think about it. You’re most attractive to the opposite sex when you’re too messed up to care about anyone. They can smell it: She just wants to have fun. She couldn’t fall in love even if Mr. Right lay down in front of her with six-pack abs and a bouquet of lily of the valley. Apparently, broken equals intoxicating.

Last night a bar brawl almost broke out over me. Shut up. I’m not kidding! Well, okay, sort of.

But yes, somehow, I’m meeting guys everywhere I turn. Thank goodness, in a way, because my mother just started in on the and eharmony thing again. She’s very interested in me doing online dating for some reason. Maybe the vicarious thrill. She’s also freaking because one of these men in my current orbit is a 30-year-old waiter (aka aspiring actor, aka REALLY SMOKING HOT). She thinks it’s cause for alarm. I think it’s cause for champagne.

When I think about actually falling for one of these men, and there is only one who has a strange little power over me (which I think may well be due in part to the fact that he doesn’t call), when I go there in my head just for a second, all my doors and windows slam shut and my heart turns the music up really loud.

There’s nothing like making a serious mistake when you’re 41 to cause you to seriously question whether there’s any hope in hell that you will ever get it right.

Q got me a cool, metal hanging decoration that is just giant letters spelling “breathe.” It’s beautiful.

Monday, October 1, 2007

The one with the helper?

This one is for the girls. You know who you are.

So I have a new babysitter. Okay, let's say it: nanny. She's my son's nanny. But the problem is that my ex is out of work currently (and newly married to a woman who has gajillions of dollars in the bank), and he wants to be with our little guy after he gets home from school. I would, too. The thing is, he is the one who initiated this whole babysitter thing. I enrolled our son in an after-school program two years ago that my ex vetoed ("no son of mine...") and it's been my job to keep a babysitter in place since then.

Okay, that's neither here nor there, really, because the net-net is that I have a lovely Austrian girl named Christina who I hired for 20 hours a week and I really only need her to watch my son for about eight of those hours. She's kindly agreed to take Fridays off (unpaid) until my ex gets a job and she is needed all five days. But that still leaves a LOT of hours to fill. So, she helps me. She cleans, she shops, she does errands. It's great. I am getting very spoiled. However, there is a bit of a language barrier. She and I spend a lot of time on the phone, with me explaining to her things like what "detergent" is and what Drano and Liquid Plumb'r are, and what "clogged" means. These conversations are sometimes hilarious.

So last week, off she goes to the grocery store with my list. Before shopping, she goes through the list with me on the phone so I can explain any items that are not straightforward. At the bottom of my list are tampons. It says "tampons-regular-unscented." First, she asks what "un-skented" means. We get through that quickly -- I say "no perfume." Then she says "Do you want the kind with the helper or the short one?"

My oh-so-clever buddy Kerri sent this:

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Sharks, Brooke, bird poop, and Manchego cheese

In my dream last night, my oldest friend Brooke and I had to swim through a giant pack of sharks. She was suddenly gone, ahead of me, and I dove in. I was propelled by some engine-like force and I could feel the rubbery skin of fins and shark snouts whipping across my body. Then suddenly I was at an underwater elevator and I got in, rose up a couple floors, and walked out into a completely dry, normal looking, empty building space and there she was. I just remember feeling enormously relieved that we'd both survived.

So Brooke was in my dream because I just spent the holiday weekend at her cool house on the coast in Massachusetts. But the meaning of the dream has many possible interpretations. My dear friend M at work (who ought to be a counselor or pastor or something she's so clearly connected to or channeling, really, a higher power) asked if we'd both survived something. She knows about all my survivor stuff -- I keep nothing inside. I told her that Brooke and I both had recently lost our fathers, and both of us were extraordinarily dependent on and close to our dads as adults. And M said something about how good it was that we had each other while we went through hard times.

Brooke, on the other hand, thought it seemed like I must not feel supported by her in some way (because she took off into the sharks before I was ready, without me). That makes sense, because she's one of those annoyingly selfless people who always gives everyone else the benefit of the doubt, often at her own expense. And sometimes those closest to her. But I don't blame her for that any more. I know all her stuff, and love her for all of it.

Me, all I can think of is the total terror that I was about to be eaten by a shark and then the incredible relief to see Brooke and know we were both okay. What does that mean? I'd like to think it means we're both going to be okay. I'm not exactly sure what the sharks represent, but I know that she and I both know something pretty significant about loss that we didn't know before. Like that you're never entirely the same person again.

And just so you know, I'm healing well from that broken heart (loss doesn't heal, but broken hearts do, sort of). I went to another amusement park.

Brooke, me, and the kids went to a water park Sunday. I thought the most therapeutic ride was going to be the Pirate's Plunge, this water slide that speeds you from several stories up straight down in a pitch-black tunnel. But it was this other one that we just called "the mats one." That consisted of a collection of water slides so fast they were like free falls, on a spongy mat you just barely gripped with your finger tips, water flying everywhere so you had to keep your eyes closed. It was a complete blast. I love speed. I couldn't get Brooke to do it, but man -- it was awesome. At one point, I raced this ultra-cute guy, and we both burst into laughter in the pool at the bottom as if we'd been friends forever.

Another highlight from the water park: Cole decided to have one of his only meltdowns (two the entire Labor Day weekend, including one after driving for 5 hours, which almost doesn't count) in the parking lot just as we were all lathered up with sunscreen and ready to head in. He had a fit for such a dumb reason I won't honor it with explanation (okay, he wanted me to give him chewable Tylenol, which Brooke had just given her son for a bonafide headache). So there he is, lying across the back seat in total, stubborn, freak-out, while we all stood in the parking lot half dressed, dodging other cars parking all around us. I was PISSED. And he'd had a decent breakfast and everything!

So he comes out of the back seat, all vim and vigor, ready to launch into another tirade about me being an uncaring mother because I wouldn't give him drugs willy-nilly, and suddenly, WHAP!! He turns around and there is a HUGE splatter of bird crap all over his back! It was green and disgusting, and covered almost his entire back and had splashed also onto the car. We were all pretty much dumbfounded and then laughing hysterically. The stupid Tylenol tantrum was over and I wiped him off, all of us giggling, and into the park we went.

I call that divine intervention.

So much more about the weekend is worth telling -- eating oysters that Brooke's husband grew and harvested, the striper he caught, how great the kids were together, cuddling with my little guy and sleeping late in Brooke's comfy bed, the amazing, intangible, life-sustaining, unconditional love and easy laughter you can only have with a friend who's been there through every single dumb, awful, and great moment of your life since you were seven years old....

But yoga was good tonight, I'm eating this amazing Manchego cheese, and there are dreams to get to.

Breathing still.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Quote from Q

"Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself
constantly walking around in the daytime and falling into at night. I miss
you like hell." Edna Vincent Millay

Because I wrote about how I feel like I lived my life with this soft, firm cushion supporting my back and I was rarely even aware it was there, took it for granted that it would stay in place. And now, with Roy gone, the cushion isn't there -- it's just empty space -- and I have to work so much harder to hold myself upright it's exhausting.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

When Even Mr. Right Turns Out to Be Wrong

So I thought he was it, (partly because he seemed to be certain I was it). When you're over 40 and you've been through lots of everything, you think maybe you can't be totally wrong, or totally surprised, at least when it comes to men and loving them. So I feel kind of stupid, and defeated, because it appears that I was totally wrong and I am totally surprised.

So what should you do when even Mr. Right turns out to be wrong? Go to an amusement park. I went to one that has a water park and regular roller coasters and all. Spent the morning laughing my head off on water rides and getting soaked with my son and my nephew and his girlfriend. Then spent the afternoon screaming my vocal chords numb on death-defying rides like the Zoomerang and Down Time.

Down Time is a HUGE tower with a sliding square box on it. There are chairs stuck to the box, three on each side. So you go sit on these chairs, legs dangling, those u-shaped restraints locked over your chest. I was in the middle. My 18-year-old nephew was actually scared and tried to take the middle spot but I said nope, Mommy in the middle. I couldn't have done it if I couldn't hold onto my little guy (the 7-year-old, who wasn't scared, just laughing giddily). So up we went and at the top, I'm saying "wow, this is high, oh my god, this is really high, REALLY high..." It was like what you see when you're taking off in an airplane. So I stopped looking down, grabbed my son's hand, clutched the u-shaped thing with my other hand, and a second later we dropped. It was absolutely terrifying -- the most terrifying 10 seconds of my life, I think. It was the feeling I've only had in my scariest dreams, where I'm flying and then I lose the ability to fly and just fall out of the sky.

I got off the ride trembling. I've never trembled before -- not out of fear anyway. I was truly, honest-to-god TREMBLING all over. And out of breath like I'd just run somewhere fast. It was wild. What a rush.

The Zoomerang was a loop-de-loop roller coaster that went high, fast, and then backward too. It was scary but in a fun way so I was laughing the whole time, laughing so hard I could hardly breathe. And all that laughing and screaming did some temporary damage to my voice, which was hoarse and funny for about an hour.

So you can see why I am now saying it's a great antidote to a broken heart. You just can't cry or feel despair or even think when you're doing stuff like that. So now I'm wondering what to do next weekend. Skydiving?

Still breathing .....

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Things that make you go "hunh?"

Stayed up till 2am Sat night with my three girlfriends I've had since elementary school. We laughed so hard we almost hyperventilated. One has three kids and lives in Jersey, the other has two kids and is in Mass., and the third I see a lot because her parents still have their house nearby, and I still live in the area we grew up in. We do this once a year, and I swear the good brain chemicals and hormonal secretions from all that laughing and unconditional love will add a few years to our lives.

So tonight, my son goes on his new obsession/Web gaming site -- runescape. He's too young for it, but he lives and dies to play it. While he's playing, he says, "hey mom, my brother, S, just said hi to me. He's on runescape right now." So my son asks me to respond for him -- he doesn't type fast enough and his phonetic spellings are often indecipherable. The "brother" he's referring to is his soon-to-be stepbrother. His father is, somewhat suddenly, getting married next month to a woman with adolescent kids. My son worships them and they seem very nice. I end up calling my ex, who is out of town with his fiancee, to ask him for the phone number of my son's future stepbrother so he can call him and chat while they're on runescape together. He calls back with the number, and the next 45 minutes are spent on speaker phone with the boy and his sister, taking turns, helping my son navigate this complicated online world. On the screen, I see my son's "guy" and his future stepsister's "guy" (who's actually a girl) walking together in cyberland, trying to fish for shrimp in a pond.

All I can think is "hunh?" This is my life.

Friday, July 13, 2007


So you are now reading an award-winning blog. Thanks to my lovely and charming friend Kerri (, who awarded me the Thinking Blogger Award (see left). And on her blog, she said really nice things about me. So now I'm going to say really nice things about her. This chick is witty, smart, lovely, charming, witty (so witty it should be said twice), sexy, ethical, warm (but please don't hug her -- not into gratuitous physical contact AT ALL), cute, industrious, techie ... she makes me laugh. And keeps me company really well, especially in the iced coffee addiction arena. Okay, I have to run now, but go check her out. She's awesome.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Poison ivy, dog poop, deadlines, oy!

I've had worse weeks, for sure. But I'm in one of those time/space vectors right now where not a whole lot is going my way. In fact, someone observing from overhead -- say, hanging from the ceiling fan that's blowing down on me right now (because I haven't taken the time to stand on my kitchen island and switch the direction of the blades for summer -- did you know you're supposed to do that? have them suck the air up rather than blow it down?). I digress. Back to my whine.

The most amusing and annoying thing going on is that I have poison ivy... on my butt. Okay, more specifically in the, uh, crack of my butt. My son, who is 7 and thinks all things to do with butts are beyond hilarious, is beside himself. He will announce to anyone he can find, "MY MOM HAS POISON IVY ON HER BUTT!" It's been a week as of tomorrow, since the day I stupidly squatted to pee in the woods. And this morning I woke up itching in new places. Poison ivy is my enemy. It attacks me with a vengeance like nothing I've ever come up against. I should have succumbed the minute I noticed it, and run to the doctor for the steroids prescription. But in a classic example of the definition of insanity, I once again thought "oh, maybe this year it won't be so bad."

So then the other thing, which I don't have time to fully go to town whining about, is the sudden proliferation of dog poop. The day of my son's birthday party I ran around the backyard picking up the the poops of my two dogs, Lucy and Coco, along with the neighbor dog Finnegan (his are the larger piles). I do this with two plastic bags, one covering my hand like a glove. It is disgusting. I have a very sensitive gag reflex and pretty much go into dry heaves when I have to have this kind of close contact with giant masses of feces. So yesterday I came home to find poop in my downstairs play room, not sure which dog to blame. Then this morning I woke up to poop on the oriental rug in the living room.

All of this makes me feel particularly sorry for myself because I have this big magazine article deadline this week and I waited until the last minute, finally got a plan and started writing and then found out from the editor that I need a different approach entirely because there's something too similar already in that issue. That would be doable -- stressful but doable with 5 days to deadline -- IF I didn't have a full-time job and a son.

There's more -- the serious stuff that doesn't lend itself to joking -- that has me spending way more hours under the covers than anyone in my position should. Q and I keep asking (it's been a few years now??), "When's it going to get easier?"

That's the oy. That's why everything comes back to "just breathe." What else can we do?

(Next up, my nice friend Kerri-- --gave my blog an actual award! So, you are now reading an "award-winning" blog...)

Friday, June 22, 2007

love poem

This was sent courtesy of my friend Tim, who has all the best poems. Beautiful, huh?

i carry your heart with me

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart)

i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)

i fear no fate(for you are my fate, my sweet)

i want no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)

and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)

and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

ee cummings

Thursday, June 21, 2007


I have anxiety. I found a diagnosis once on the Internet -- I think it said situational panic anxiety. Anyway, anxiety SUCKS. It's sucky and awful. And incredibly common.

I think hormones and heredity are involved. I wish I had time to study it more.

Anyway, a LOT of women suffer from it. I'd bet the numbers, if we could get accurate ones, would be astonishing.

I am worried that mine is aging me from the inside out. My heart starts pounding, my mouth goes dry, and I feel this sense of total despair. Sometimes it is actual panic, and I can't exactly control my actions from there. If the anxiety was that someone was breaking into my car, there would be nothing stopping me from running out into the parking lot. (It's never anything like that--just needed a random example.) I'm too embarrassed to say what my anxiety tends to be about.

Therein lies the rub. It's EMBARRASSING. It's like erectile dysfunction. Genital cosmetic surgery. Halitosis or excessive armpit sweating. Inverted nipples. Fetishes.

We humans, especially women, are very persnickety when it comes to this image stuff. How I perceive myself, how others perceive me, how I wish to be perceived, how I dread being perceived, etc... I am smart, kind, self-deprecating, fun, easy-going, loving. That's my "how I wish to be perceived." How I perceive myself is a bit harsher. How I dread being perceived I can't even bring myself to type.

So, now 20 posts later or whatever, I have gotten back to the reasons for the title of this blog. I came up with the title on the spot, without thinking about it. Which is how all the greatest stuff comes to be, in my life anyway. So, because of my anxiety -- which is really running on high these days like an air conditioner in August -- I have to tell myself constantly to breathe. And when I do yoga, and really focus on breathing for an hour at a stretch, I feel so, so much better. I do not have anxiety when I'm doing yoga. And that is a lovely, lovely thing. You can't imagine. Or maybe you can.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Mom's Heartbreaking Metaphor Dream

My mother had a dream last night. My dad was still alive. She and he were driving and she had to go somewhere and he had to go somewhere different, so they decided to go separately. They stopped the car and she got out. She ended up crossing a highway meridian and going to the other side, where the traffic was going in the opposite direction. She started walking back along the highway and realized there were no cars ahead of her. The road was completely empty. She realized she'd made a mistake, but it was too late to do anything about it.

She told me and I cried.

Friday, June 15, 2007

hard boiled eggs and wet jeans with ashes

Whenever I eat hard-boiled eggs, which I often do, I end up nearly choking to death. Why? I use them as a fill-in food. At the moment, my top, fill-in foods are hard-boiled eggs, nuts (peanuts or tamari roasted almonds), Kathie's Kitchen seasoned pumpkin seeds, and mozzarella cheese sticks. My diet is made up primarily of fill-in foods because I tend not to eat meals. I eat too much and get too full when I eat meals. And today I am 42. Who wants to be fat and forty-two?

So these near-Heimlich-maneuver episodes are probably because I eat the eggs too fast, because I'm starving by the time I go get one. I just did it again about half an hour ago. It's like an eating disorder. I was in pain and mildly freaking out. I followed it with a cheese stick, which made matters worse, and I almost stood up and just impaled myself on the back of my office chair.

Change gears. I promised someone I would write about the ash scattering. It was a cloudy, almost stormy day. It did rain on our way back in on the boat. My son was astonishingly cuddly and devoted to me the whole trip. He'll never say anything to let you know, but he's got a pretty sensitive radar. He knew exactly what was going on inside of me.

I feel bad about one thing. I didn't hug my mom when she was sitting by herself crying. I was talking, laughing, holding it together with my relatives. I did get up and sit next to her after a while, but that was all I could do.

So we got to this special spot, named by his brothers, "Roy's rock." It's a rock formation that's deep down at the bottom of the Sound and apparently their dad, who I called Pop-pop, discovered it long ago as a great fishing spot. I went down below and got the special scattering urn, untied the twisty tie that cinched the plastic bag inside and, with my mom and my son holding my jacket from the back (choking me a little actually), so I wouldn't fall in, I leaned off the swim deck at the back of the boat and poured out the ashes of my dad's body. Roy's body. Everyone else threw in a single flower. That was a nice touch. Thanks, PBH. And so, as life goes, it wasn't exactly a movie-perfect scene.

The ashes kept getting caught in the wind and blowing back all over me, the waves were pretty high, and ended up crashing over my legs, soaking my jeans, and it took me a long time to get it all poured out and I finally, very unromantically, had to jerk and jiggle and eventually just pull out the damn plastic bag and shake it till it was empty.

I was crying the whole time, so my face was all wet, my jeans were all wet, my jacket was up around my neck from my son and mother's attempts to keep me from going overboard, and it was cold. When I was done, I closed up the pretty urn, and I hugged my mom, my aunt and uncle, cousin, other uncle, my son, and the friend who was captaining the boat. Most of us were crying.

Then we headed back in. My son had a birthday party, I had a wine dinner to get to, and life just kept on. I'm still breathing.

Today is my birthday and I miss him like crazy right now. It's so true, what people say and what you hear in song lyrics. I'd give anything to have him back just tonight, just to have him sitting next to me at my birthday dinner. Not him sick and in pain, but him smiling and laughing and healthy -- his nose sunburned from a day on his boat.


Thursday, June 7, 2007


On Saturday, we are taking my dad's boat out to his favorite spot and scattering his ashes. I have the ashes in my bedroom. The funeral home put them in a weird, black container and when I went to pick them up, I saw that it was going to be very awkward to try to do any kind of scattering. They told me theyhad a special, "scatter urn," that would be another couple hundred bucks. What a business that is. There I am, holding the remains of a man I loved to the end of the earth, trying to control myself so I didn't start blubbering. Not exactly in a position to say, "Do you have anything cheaper?" So I left his remains there again and they transferred the ashes into this new one.

So nowthat's on a beautiful, little table in my room, along with his blue baseball hat that says the name of his beloved boat on it, and also his reading glasses. It's my littleshrine to him. When we first put the urn in my room, my son and I both gave it a kiss.

I'm not looking forward to this boat ride. I don't want to be on his boat without him. I am even having a hard time with the idea of parting with his ashes. It's all hard, this stuff. So much harder than I would have guessed if you'd asked me when I was 25 what it would be like when I lost a parent.

But now, yoga. Just breathe, right?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Mother's Day 2007

The recap of my mother's day .... had hinted to my 6-year-old son that I would like breakfast in bed. Mentioned that D, who sleeps over on the nights when he doesn't have his kids, could help him with stuff that was too hard to reach or do. Of course, as I should have known, he would have nothing to do with that. So at 6am I heard stirrings and at 6:05am, there was my little man, bedside, with a plastic bowl full of pretzels and a plastic cup of pineapple juice.

I took the obligatory sip and crunch and then thanked the heavens above, the tooth fairy, Santa, and Oprah, because the sweet bundle of sleepy skin and pajamas crawled under the covers and fell asleep all cuddled up with me for another 45 minutes.

Then, D got up and made the coffee, and little guy brought my cup in to me. A pretty darn good Mother's Day morning, I have to say.

This is what my Mother's Day card said:

Dear Mommy,
Happy Mother' Day
Your wish is my kmand.
You're a part of my heart.
You're nice and kind.
Mom your beautiful
Mommy I love you.

It doesn't really get any better than that.

I was going to tell you what happened later in the day. Because I did eventually find myself crumpled in a ball on the kitchen step stool, sobbing my little heart out. My life is a balance. But now I'm going to skip that part.

And tell you just this: I took my mother to the spring Dogwood Festival nearby, it was a beautiful day, the trees were dripping with innocent lushness, and I bought her a pair of loud, lime-green flip-flops with giant fabric daisies glued on them. She smiled, and I know she was really glad to be with me on Mother's Day. Sometimes, it doesn't take much.

So we got through our first Mother's Day without my dad. I'm trying not to think about next month. My birthday is two days before Father's Day. Father's Day will not be so easy, I'm thinking. I miss him more than I can even come to terms with in any sort of adult way.

And now, the happy stuff ....

Newly discovered websites I love:,,,


Saturday, May 12, 2007

Goodbyes to my wonderful dad

So maybe I'm not going to be a very prolific blogger.

But I lost my dad on April 25th, and it's been a pretty rough last month or so. Here's the tribute I wrote for him and had my friend Sarah read for me:

When you have a biological father and a stepfather, people sometimes refer to the biological one as your “real dad.” I used to use the phrase but at some point over the years, I stopped. It was when I realized that the guy who went on to do the “fathering” of me for more than 30 years of my life was one-of-a-kind, and that I was very much his daughter and very blessed to be. Roy was, without a doubt, my real dad.

He was the one who took me to the emergency room at 2 in the morning when my teenage self went skinny-dipping, diving into a pool and cracking my forehead open. And he was the one who knew to wait in that ER until 4 in the morning so that we could have a plastic surgeon do the repair job. He was the one who mailed me newspaper clippings about managing money, politics, and cell phones causing car accidents. He was the one who walked me down the aisle on my wedding day. He was with me at the vet when I had to put my 18-year-old cat to sleep. He was really good at being there. He was also really good at building fires and holding his breath under water.

I still have his voice on my answering machine. It’s from the night we found out his cancer had spread and that it was time to stop fighting it. I was home when he left the message but I couldn’t pick up the phone. I didn’t want him to have to listen to me crying. He’d had a rough enough day. So it’s a long message -- his gentle voice comforting me and letting me know that everything would be okay and that he loved me. On the day his doctor told him his life was about to end, he called to comfort me. But that won’t surprise any of you who knew him.

I’ve asked a few people recently, “Which do you think is better -- to know you’re going to die or to die suddenly?” I don’t really have an answer. Because it was heart-wrenching watching Roy suffer, but I did get time to let him know how much I loved him, and he got to say poignant and even joyful goodbyes to friends and family. He told me a few weeks ago that he was ready, and that he wasn’t scared. So I think I know what his answer would be to the question. He was well enough long enough to get things organized, so that it would be easier for my mom. And taking care of her and the people he loved was what he liked to do best of all.

He was the real thing, and if you’re here today, you probably know that. What I can tell you is yes, you have it right, he was the best.

I will close with some song lyrics I found. I’m hoping maybe he’s listening right now:

When it rains, it pours and opens doors
And floods the floors we thought would always keep us safe and dry.
And in the midst of sailing ships we sink our lips into the ones we love
That have to say goodbye.

And as I float along this ocean
I can feel you like a notion that I hope will never leave.
And when I feel there is no one that will ever know me
There you are to show me.

Cause when I look to the sky, something tells me you’re here with me
And you make everything all right.
And when I feel like I’m lost, something tells me you’re here with me
And I can always find my way when you are here.

Sarah did a really nice job reading ... and people loved that she did it for me. It sort of lent even more poignancy to the whole thing that my dear friend stood up and spoke for me when I couldn't speak. Because it was the kind of friendship so many of the folks there had with my dad. If he was your friend, he would do anything he could for you. Yesterday, I got a card from my friend Cath in Philadelphia. What she wrote is an incredible comfort to me and somehow says it all:

You and Roy have been on my mind since you first told me about his illness. It's still a shock to me that he could go when my memories of him are all of this big, strapping, sun-tanned, handsome and smiling man, so full of vitality and cheer. When I think of Roy I think of that little cottage in Nantucket where he gave us lessons on painting (which I still apply to this day) so we could white-wash our little summer abode. How many residences did Roy see you through over the years? My next memory is Roy leading us through the raw, newly-framed rooms when he oversaw the expansion of your house. You were his baby, alright. He would've done anything for you, it was obvious. When you told me the story of sleeping on a cot in his hospital room I was kind of glad he got to see how dear you were to him and that you would have done anything for him, too. I know you'll always miss him but I'm glad for you, as someone I love like a sister, that you had such a special dad-daughter relationship in your life. That's a treasure you'll always carry with you.

Thanks, Cath --- your words are the ones I needed to hear to get me to the next step in healing. I love you.

To end on a shallow and fun note, check out the photo below of me in my new Betsey Johnson dress, standing with none other than Betsey Johnson herself! She, by the way, is really nice and cool and not at all hoity-toity or aloof. P.S. The cute guy in the tux is my sweet man who helps make everything all right.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Easter Schmeaster

Best moment of Easter weekend: My dad, who is now under hospice care, saying he wants to put his boat in the water and telling me he wants to come see my new office.

And the moment I ran back into his room after saying goodbye and finally choked out the words I've been wanting to say. I told him that I know he wants to go and is tired of living this crummy existence in a body that is failing him. I told him that I want him to be able to go too, but I am going to miss him so much that I also don't want him to go. Bad writing mirrors bad talking that I do when I turn into that little girl who can't bear this losing her daddy. I also told him that when he goes, I am going to talk to him every day and that I want him to try to talk back if he can. He said he would and he let me hug him and get his neck all wet with my tears.

Most pathetic moment: Sitting in the basement playroom wrestling with those damn plastic eggs (hard to open AND hard to close), which still had last year's candy in them, because I could not see throwing them out (think of all those plastic eggs dotting landfills everywhere). I'm prying out these strange, DNA clumps of stuck-together jelly beans and refilling the eggs with chocolate kisses, sweet tart bunnies, and new, "speckled egg" jelly beans. All the time trying very hard not to eat anything because D and I are one week into a strict, no-sugar initiative. So I managed to fill 19 eggs and make my son a basket, which I hid in the downstairs bathtub.

There's so much other stuff. D and I left our three boys with a babysitter Saturday night. The intention was for us to have drinks with my parents, partly so D could get to know my dad a little -- they haven't had much time together. Instead, my dad took a turn for the worse and I spent a lot of the evening in his room helping him while D was out in the living room with my mom and other family members who came to town. I was pretty shook up, I have to say. Then we got back to D's house and all three boys were still awake at 10:30pm (plan was for me to carry sleeping boy to my car so he could wake up at home on Easter morning). So we went home and I put him to bed around 11pm and got to work being the bunny. It's getting a little sad being the Easter bunny, tooth fairy, and Santa all by myself each year. I am just not cut out to be single, I confess. (Sorry, mom, I'm still a good feminist.)

I went to bed around 1am and heard the first stirrings from the little man at 5:40am. "Mom! Time to find the eggs!" He loved it. Though as I was putting him to bed the night before, he outed me. "You're the Easter bunny, aren't you?" I said no. Dammit, I wanted one more year of believing.

So there's lots more. D's older son whacking mine with a bat. Sad, strange, awkward Easter lunch. A good handful of excellent moments, too -- don't get me wrong. My son and D's younger dancing like madmen in the Ben & Jerry's. D playing his guitar and singing me love songs totally out of tune. (D and me and the glue that binds us....)

I got to see my best, oldest friend this weekend for a tiny blip of Saturday. It was way too short, but it gave me a little shot of strength, I think. Man, I wish she lived closer. My son thinks her kids are his cousins.

Blog time over.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Guy stuff: Junk in the trunk, Hard Ware, etc

Well, this weekend was chock full of bloggables, and now that I am becoming a famous blogger (note the throngs of fans posting comments here), my friends are sort of shyly, reluctantly into it. I was in Vermont skiing (and, clearly an indication of global warming or the world having gone completely kerflooey, there was POWDER in Vermont) and all weekend long, someone would say something witty or a thing would happen that makes you go "hunh?" and inevitably someone would say, "Lynn, you'll have to put this in your blog...." So, whatever it is, there is now a zeitgeist of some kind -- a bloggy, if foggy, momentum -- and so I'll keep doing this and see where we go.

I'm sleepy and my muscles are sore from skiing in powdery bumps with a bunch of hot shots (I suck at skiing bumps), so right this second I can only remember two things that were designated as bloggable. One was a new phrase I learned that I am somewhat embarrassed to really like.

We were with J and A, two younger, single guys and the fun of that is getting to check out girls and attempt to act tough and cool and irreverent with them. I ruin it by asking too many questions and sounding like a nerdy, cultural anthropologist ("So, when you see a hot girl, what lingo is it that you use these days to describe her?") .... J and A were very good sports. They said something about our waitress having a lot of "junk in the trunk." I found this hilarious, and asked 52 questions about where it comes from and what specifically it means. I like how it feels to say it. The words are like little matching marbles in your mouth. Oh and, for those who don't know, it means having a big butt.

I found out later from my hip friend Q that the originator of the phrase is the woman from Black Eyed Peas, a rock group that even I have heard of. The boys say this singer is hot, and Q confirmed this. So, anyway, add "junk in the trunk" to the approved lexicon -- it's not PC but it's too good to censor.

The other bloggable I remember occurred when my boyfriend (who shall be called D, I guess) and I stopped at a gas station on the way home from Vermont ...

Because I sit very close to the rest rooms in my office I have had on my mental to-do list "buy air freshening stuff" for about a week now. So at the checkout counter inside the gas station, I saw these little glass bottles that said "liquid aroma," "the world's most powerful aroma!" etc... so I picked one up and thought hmmmmm, maybe powerful enough for the office bathroom. However, just as I was holding it up to my face, scrutinizing the label, which said "HARD WARE," the lovely Pakistani man behind the counter informed me that "thees ees forrrr men, for thee sex."

When D came in, he checked it out and lickety-split he and the guy had this VERY open conversation, as only guys can, in which Pakistani check-out man told D exactly how to use the stuff ("two or sree meenutes before thee sex") and confirmed that yes, it actually works, or apparently did for him. Eew. I just stood there, amazed, trying to act all cool, like this was an everyday kind of thing, talking about erections with a cash register guy while paying for a bag of chips. Did we buy the stuff? Are you kidding?

Needless to say, I have GOT to go to Pier One and buy some of those reeds that stick out of a vase of fragrance oil.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Divorce, babies, and existential angst

Q sent me an amazing article from marie claire magazine -- it's a woman's story of splitting from her husband. It is excruciatingly real. The take-away for me, or one of them, and probably for Q too, is the quote from this woman's friend who said "I finally figured out that no one will be grading me at the end of all this." And the woman says she sat there, still "gunning for the A." Do we all do this? I do it. Do men? I swear I grade myself at every turn, in each of my roles (hmm, today? C for mothering, B+ for daughtering, D for friend-ing)....

She talks about men being different -- saying that smart women choose men who make their lives easier but all men choose women based on how those women make them feel. (I think, finally, I have chosen someone based on both those things.)

Anyway, it's a really sad article. I have a cold, empty spot of despair in me that is my failed marriage (my lost wedding rings are there, too) and it will be a part of me forever. And it contains all the sadness for my son who doesn't get to have his two parents at the same time and has to suffer the consequences of cold shoulders and his game boy being left at the other house. And the grief for my husband, who has lost so many precious life moments being hard and angry and hurt.

I was thinking about having a baby again this morning (it's on my mind a lot these days) and doing the usual, lightning-fast, litany of pros and cons in my mind. One thing on that list is this: Who do I think I am, wanting to bring another soul into this world, when I have a failed marriage and genetic predispositions toward things like alcoholism and anxiety, when my only son is in therapy, my parents need me to take care of them, and I just went back to work full-time? This is no time to be having a baby, right?

But I can't quite get there. When his dad and I leave the planet, assuming it's at least 15 or so years from now, my son's entire family will consist of a few cousins, and none of them even live in our state. He may have step siblings, but that would be it. Today, being an only child, divorced, with my dad so ill, I wish more than anything in the world that I just had a sister or brother. To help me help them, yes, but also just to cry with. Someone else whose heart would be aching in the same exact way.

Oh my, heavy heart this morning. Sheesh. It's okay. Just some healthy introspection. There's snow, and I'm going to Vermont with my love, and I'm going to jettison the guilt about leaving my parents and my son, and go have some fun.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

really random ramblings

I'm still trying to wrap my mind around the whole blogging thing. My friend, who I shall refer to as Q, says she could never blog because she's too private a person. She doesn't even want me to mention her in this blog, thus the Q silliness. I'm not a private person at all, obviously, and never have been. But what is the point of public journaling? I'm not sure, but it carries with it some mysterious appeal for me. Maybe because writing for publication is what I do for a living ... it seems natural and, somehow, personally productive.

So I will continue, because (just like breathing) this is what I do -- and what we all do. We just keep on. Don't we?

My dad keeps on, despite having lost 20% of his body weight and having just endured yet another hospital procedure in which they installed a feeding tube in his stomach.

Q asked me today what I did with my wedding rings after I split from my husband. In the name of courage, catharsis, and facing our demons when we have the inclination and strength, I am going to say here in writing what happened. I carried my rings around with me in a little zipper compartment in my wallet for at least a year. I was afraid that if I took them out and put them somewhere "safe," I would lose them. I could not decide on a place. I lived in a rental house for 8 months, then moved again. Maybe there were other reasons. My wallet seemed like a good place. That wallet began looking very shabby and I somehow acquired a brand new wallet and switched to it. I have no recollection at all, but knowing myself I am quite certain I just chucked the old wallet. Into the garbage. Probably on top of coffee grinds and gunk from the sink drain.

One of the rings was made from my grandmother's wedding band (my very special grandmother who died when I was 10), plus a diamond of hers, plus a diamond of my ex-husband's grandmother, plus a third diamond he and I bought. The other ring was lined with diamond chips, also taken from my grandmother's ring. I probably don't need to say more. I haven't been able to think about it, never mind write anything.

Total change of subject. I am an editor for a website, and someone posted in the "men's room" forum a tip saying that Vick's Vapo Rub works well for jock itch (and also apparently for chafing under women's breasts, for women who have that problem -- mine aren't big enough). The title of his post: Vapo Nut Rub.

I was going to blog about plunging the office toilet yesterday and giving myself the silent Good Office Samaritan award. I also considered blogging about George, who I met in a bowling alley, had a very brief conversation with, and have now received two phone calls from. (He tracked me down and called me at work.) He asked if he can call monthly and see if I'm still "taken." I am not creeped out, just flattered.

And just for the record, I am a total SLAVE to praise. Flattery will get you everywhere. I need to be stroked like no one I know. (Q has the same disease, and we often wear the same clothes and say the same things, but I think my affliction is actually more serious than hers.)

Is this boring? Just checking.

TTFN -- the snow is coming ....

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Brooke Shields and lobster fra diavolo

This past Sunday was a 10.

1. I met Brooke Shields and bonded with her at a kid's birthday party in New York City. She was beautiful, magnetic, unassuming, lovely. We talked about the guilt of working a lot and not spending more time with our kids. I forgot to tell her that we were born two weeks apart.

2. My spot-on, amazing, charming, gets-me-like-noone-ever-has boyfriend told me that standing next to Brooke I was just as pretty.

3. We drove out of the city to the world-famous Arthur Avenue in the Bronx (my first time), got a great window table at Umberto's with our three adorable boys, donned plastic bibs and dove into an order of lobster fra diavolo, washed down with glasses of chianti. Our kids were behaving remarkably well, the sun was shining, the sauce was killer spicy and good and got all over me, and we made out in the middle of the restaurant like we were the only people in the world.

I have some tough stuff going on in my life right now, so days like that are incredibly welcome and healing and give me the strength to face the rest.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Sushi and six-year-olds

My friend Elana and I took our sons out for sushi last night. It was Saturday night. I don't know what we were thinking. My boyfriend was out to dinner with his neighbor, who is also the last woman he dated, who is also my neighbor's sister (and by the way she's hot) .... and Elana's husband had a stomach virus. So we ordered all this delicious stuff, including a sake tasting -- 6 little cups of sake (sooo good), from sweet and cloudy white to clear with a kick like grain alcohol. The boys ate yakitori (Zach calls it chicken on a stick). My son, a slightly more adventurous eater, also ate salad, some of Elana's miso soup, and the tobiko off the top of our wasabi tobiko roll. The boys had portable electronic games with them, and we actually had a pretty nice time. There was a major soy sauce spill that resulted in a table flood, but that was about it. Our boys say they're best friends and want to be friends forever. They said in the car that they want their graves to be next to each other. They are like Oscar and Felix, they're so different, but they adore each other and make each other laugh like nobody's business.

I love my friend Elana, too.

Okay, really good song, kind of haunting: Damien Rice's 9 Crimes. Go listen.

Ooh, it's late. I was going to write about other stuff. I told David tonight that his shiksa girlfriend (me) made possibly the best chicken soup ever. It's really good -- lots of white meat, big pieces, and perfect savory broth seasoned with Penzey's Spices (www., which are the BEST and make food taste light years better.

Good night.

Friday, March 9, 2007

And we're off.

So now I blog, therefore I am. The reason for my blog's title ....

I am, at the moment, completely mesmerized by and obsesssed with Anna Nalick's song, "Breathe." Specifically, these lyrics:

You can't jump the tracks,
we're like cars on a cable, and
life's like an hourglass glued to the table.
No one can press the rewind button, girls,
so cradle your head in your hands ....

and breathe.
Just breathe.

More on that later. (It is just an awesome song, really, go listen.) But the thing about the word breathe, too, is that I'm really into this yoga I've been taking since August at a studio called Saraswati's (say suh-RAH-swuhteez) .... and of course breathing is what's it's all about -- one way or another, you have to breathe and it's the breathing that helps and makes everything work. Breath and breathing can be metaphors for everything that matters, too, and for life itself, so .... right?

More on all of that later. I have to get back to work. So, cheers, welcome to my blog. I can't believe I have a blog.