Skip to main content

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. had created a work blog, offering weekly advice and pep talks to people who work in inside sales, a tough and often isolating job, and I thought it was brilliant. I also was inadvertently directed to someone’s Apple 2.0 blog while reading another article about Apple’s decision to lower the price of its iPhone. It, too, was well-written, smart and useful.

But I’d never actually seen anyone’s personal blog. Curious, I sat down at Ocho’s new laptop while he arranged some hot-pink gladiolas, his favorite flowers, in a green glass vase.(“I know you think this is gay,” he announced, glancing over at me. “No, I don’t,” I protested, thinking otherwise while simultaneously running a list of his masculine traits through my head.)

I Googled "best blogs" and found Once there, I energetically avoided the categories of Best Book/Literary Blog, Best Inspirational Blog, Best Parenting Blog. I even shunned the Best Health Blog category and headed straight for the Funniest Blog entries. Priorities, as usual, properly aligned.

Since my parents are now “subscribers” to my blog, I won’t quote directly from the runners up. But I will say that the writers are ridiculously clever and produce some of the best comic writing I’ve ever read. Right up there with my heroes, Anne Lamott and David Sedaris.

While letting inspiration sink in, my friend Hedgie, who has been on the same breast cancer train that I’ve been on (same timing, same treatments, same oncologist, same street, kids in same school, same caustic sense of humor, etc.) created her own blog: She produces incredibly tender and lovely essays on cancer, camping, dead cats and micro-organization.

Inspiration took root, and I created my blog, named after a phrase that Sam and I overused in our high school days. As waitresses, whenever someone would suggest that we do something we didn’t want to do, we’d respond with the phrase.


Irritated customer: “This apple pie is cold. Can you reheat it?”

Me or Sam: “Hey, reheat this.”

Hence, the name Reconstruct This… Cancer has demanded that I reconstruct myself. Physically. Emotionally. Spiritually. Sometimes I’m happy to oblige. Other times, not so much.

After writing a Reconstruct This… piece, I would send the link to Ocho and Sam, but since writing is meant to be read, I longed for a larger audience. So, I sent my blog announcement email. Then I began to perseverate. I worried that people would find the whole thing overly precious and self-absorbed.

The next morning, I found several emails in my inbox, including one from a co-worker: “What are you doing working here?” he asked, magnanimously. My sister and her best friend, who a couple years ago had inflammatory breast cancer and continues to bravely receive treatment for brain metastases, each wrote, as did friends from the city, friends from my kids’ school, and folks from my breast cancer writers’ group in Palo Alto. The encouragement was healing beyond words.

There was a time in my life when I wouldn’t have been able to put my fragile and self-conscious self on the line, especially a line that is so exposing. These days, however, I feel differently. I still angst about what people think, and I always will. But I’ve learned something in the past 16 months, and that’s that people are extraordinarily kind and generous.

“Do your thing,” wrote my friend, LM.

I will. Thank you.


Feral Mom said…
Blogging has been one of life's greatest pleasant surprises for me. As a shy, anxiety-ridden person, I've spent most of my life never speaking up. Never mind that I'm doing it now anonymously, it feels good. REALLY good. So good, I don't think I'll ever give it up.

Good for YOU starting your own blog. While you write about hard stuff, it's always personable and entertaining. I like your voice. I hope you'll keep writing.

And finally, thanks for the link, the compliment (Sedaris plus Anne Lamott? I must go grin in the mirror, now), and making my day.

Popular posts from this blog

Roots: Part III

"The great gift of family life is to be intimately acquainted with people you might never even introduce yourself to, had life not done it for you." ~Kendall Hailey, The Day I Became an Autodidact

(Confession: I found this quote this morning on Quote Garden. I had to Google Kendall Hailey. And I had no idea what the word autodidact meant until I located it on

I met Ocho on Many of you probably have never had a Match date, so let me describe for you a few that I experienced:

Tom smelled myseriously of Clorox bleach and wore a fanny pack. I might have been able to handle the fumes (hey, it's a turn-on that a guy can clean his house, right?), but the strain of imagining what was in the fanny pack (Handi-wipes? Anti-bacterial gel? Latex gloves?) was more than I could bear.

Bob, who was as tall as a 4th grader, over the course of two hours and a plate of fettucine alfredo asked me 20 times if I was bothered by the fact that he was so short. Answer: No…


I love my daughter.

Last night we went to Cheesecake Factory in Palo Alto and sat at usual table by the window. We ordered our usual stuff and did our usual thing: which is to make each other laugh.

Katie downloaded the "Fatbooth" App to my iPhone and took a picture of herself that she then "fatified." Then she texted it to my fiance, Kevin, who was down in Anaheim with his son. "Look who's excited to be at Cheesecake Factory!" she wrote underneath her morbidly obese photo.

I laughed until I cried.

I have always loved Katie. I loved her when she was little: From the second she opened her newborn blue eyes and excitedly took in the world around her, to watching her drive her Smurf car--naked--in a continual loop around the kitchen and family room, to pedaling her in a Burley at Sun River Oregon, to holding her in a backpack at Costco while she whacked my head, to watching her wrap her "abba" or blanket around her neck at Tahoe to stay warm.

And …


"It is my o-pinion..."

I heard those words hundreds of times in the 18 years I knew JoAnn Costello, my therapist. And I was always grateful to hear them, because they usually preceeded some general truth about life, some specific advice based on her own personal experience, or some intuition (which was always right).

JoAnn died of cancer on Dec. 30, 2011.

I will miss her spirit, her spunk, her smile, her intelligence, her humor, her turquoise eyes (as described by a friend at her memorial today), and her hip Italian shoes, but mostly I will miss JoAnn's influence in my life.

When I first went to JoAnn in 1993, I felt paper-thin. I was sensitive, supremely self-conscious, and doubted my own thinking and abilities. Every nerve felt raw and exposed to the world. JoAnn heard my story and said, "Of course you feel that way. It makes total sense to me."

As healing as those words were, JoAnn was not one to simply shine you on. She was not warm & fuzzy. But you knew tha…