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Showing posts from September, 2007

Do Your Thing

Last week, I sent an impersonal generic email to my family, and another to my friends, announcing my new blog. “There,” I thought after hitting the send button. “Nothing like self-expression to infuse some creativity into my life and re-energize my spirit!”

Still, I worried.

Blogging is weird. Many people (including myself until recently) have never read a blog. Ocho and I, after he got his new MacBook Pro, were talking about the blogging phenomenon. We went online and found an article by Technorati, an internet search engine and indexer of more than 11 million weblogs. It reported that in July of last year there were 50 million blogs and counting. More than 175,000 blogs are created each day—that’s two for every second of each day—with an average of 1.6 million posts. “Why would anyone want to spend time reading drivel about another person’s life?” Ocho asked. I agreed.

Still, I wondered…

I puzzled over why someone would post personal, even intimate, info in a public space. My friend J. …

Surf Lessons

I've been on a surfboard. I haven't actually surfed, if you want to get technical, but I've come close.

While down in Southern California for my brother's wedding, Ocho took me out for a surf lesson. I don't go surfing with him in Half Moon Bay. The water on that length of coast averages 40 degrees, which, for a delicate Southern girl like me, is just too frickin' cold. To surf in water that cold, you have to wear a wetsuit.

Now I've been in every surf shop from here to Santa Cruz, and I've taken notice of the posters they hang inside: dudes in board shorts, chicks in tiny swimsuits. But, not once have I seen a poster of a menopausal woman with a little gut and a big 'fro in an O'Neill wetsuit hanging on a wall. I'm guessing there is a good reason for that.

In SoCal, however, you don't have to wear a wetsuit, as the water is deliciously warm. On the day of my lesson with Ocho, I wore a swimsuit and a pair of his board shorts. (Now I know …

Ocho II

Little did I know when I looked at Ocho’s 8 fingers for the first time that afternoon at the Half Moon Bay Brewing Company that they would make him particularly sensitive to other people’s bodily trauma.

Ocho was in the room when my plastic surgeon carefully unveiled the new girls. They didn’t look like boobs, actually, but they did look like the cupcakes I’d recently made for my brother’s bachelor party. I think I mentioned I was my brother D.’s best man.

Pumped-up pecs, poor sense of direction and propensity for foul language aside, I’d angsted for months about the bachelor party, which—in addition to the obligatory college buddies—was also going to include my 15-year-old son and my ex. That didn’t sound too awkward. Pause. Not. (No more awkward than seeing Borat with my son and my parents…)

Brilliantly, I decided instead to hire a professional poker dealer and have a poker party for D. and his friends on the coast at Ocho’s. “I feel bad,” I told Ocho. “I feel like I’m denying D. the …

Lucky Stars

I called Sam yesterday afternoon. That's what I do when I hate the world. Sam and I live on opposite coasts. We believe in opposite things (she believes in Jesus; I believe in good therapy). And we use opposite brain hemispheres (she teaches math; I manage a magazine and a company intranet). But the one thing we do share is the ability to laugh at the absurdities in our lives. And there have been a few...

I met Sam at Coco's in Sandy Springs, Georgia. We both had the late shift one night, and I was cleaning the soup well while she was "marrying" bottles of Heinz ketchup. "Are you happy with yourself?" she asked me. Surprised by her question, I lied (of course) and told her that I was ridiculously happy with my agonizingly self-conscious 18-year-old self. She wasn't buying it, but instead of challenging me, she admitted to having deep feelings of unhappiness herself. A difficult statement to believe. Sam had the charisma of a Kennedy, stratospheric intel…


My brother, upon hearing that my new boyfriend has only eight fingers, nicknamed him Ocho in eight seconds flat. And the moniker kinda stuck. By kinda, I mean that Ocho—like Dubya—at first balked at his new tag. But, 18 months later, he now signs his emails with the name.

I met Ocho in March 2006. I’d seen his photo on and bullied him into emailing me. We met a few weeks later for coffee and ahi. It was supposed to be coffee and a hike, but I wanted to impress, so I wore surgically pointy black boots and a cute necklace that I’d bought that morning from a sidewalk vendor for good dating Feng Shui. My hair was down to the middle of my back.

The boots must have done the trick. After coffee, Ocho invited me over to the Brewing Company for a glass of wine, down to the Jetty to get some fresh ahi, and up to his house to grill it.

Our second date was at Sushi Sams. It was packed (as usual), so we sat at the counter. Ocho was pouring sweat from the wad of wasabi that frosted the unagi…

Tits Are for Kids

Being a girl who loves a project, I got kind of excited when I found out I had breast cancer. Wow, I thought to myself, I’ll be able to conduct some kick-ass research, consider weighty options, make life-altering decisions, and bask in the afterglow of my ability to handle adversity with grace and intelligence. I also thought I’d be hanging with a couple nice-sized “girls.”

Having breast-fed two children until they both got incisors left me with a couple girls that I could sometimes tuck into a “nearly-A” bra-lette from the junior department. The only problem was most juniors are small elsewhere, too, which made it difficult to find a 36 nearly-A with cups that were located at least two inches apart and straps that suspended the cups lower than the clavicle. Other than swimsuit shopping, nothing could send me into a complete and total funk like scouring the mall for a well-fitting bra. (Note the lack of a plural; I was happy to find one bra every five years and buy 10 of the same style…

"Done" with Cancer

It never rains in California. And that’s a drag because what I could use right now is a cold chardonnay, a depressing Neil Young CD, and a rockin’ good thunderstorm.

What’s my problem? I’m done. I just had my reconstruction, which marks the end of my cancer road. No more side trips to the oncologists for chemo or radiation, to the cardiologist for EKGs, to the plastic surgeon for expander fill-ups, to the physical therapist for myo-fascial release, to my primary for Wellbutrin refills.

I’m done with all that. So why am I sad, scared and more than a little pissed off, when instead I should be happy, relieved and grateful?

After I was diagnosed in May 2006, the wheels started turning, and they turned fast. I motored through a double mastectomy, five chemos, 28 radiations, and the related side effects of all three: complete hair loss, the inability to construct a thought, abrupt menopause, severely limited range of motion, fatigue, weight gain. I also had just gone back to work after rais…

Looks Like Frodo

In the twelve months since I lost my hair to AC chemo, I've gone through several transitional--and sometimes transforming--looks.

When I was bald, I felt alive and powerful. Like Yul Brenner in "The King and I," standing barefoot, legs apart, fists on hips, one eyebrow arched, beautiful oval head catching some rare air. (Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera!) I went bald at home. To work, I wore a very pricy wig. My co-worker E. said that when I wore my reading glasses I looked like Nana Mouskouri. He googled a photo of her and emailed it to me. "She's cool looking," I said, realizing at that moment just how gracious and kind E. is. I didn't look like Nana Mouskouri in that wig. I looked like a 46-year-old communications manager with no eyebrows, gray skin and a very shiny brunette pageboy with permanently sideswept bangs.

A few months later, when I began to grow a weird, felt-like substance on my head, my son announced that I'd just been promoted from sarg…