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Showing posts from November, 2007

Got Goat?

What gets my goat? My hair. But since you all are sick to death of self-absorbed stories about my hair, I have decided to move on. Besides, this morning I cracked the code on styling exceptionally frizzy hair and transformed my Don King fro into a cute Hillary Clinton bob. Typically, looking like Hill is not a good thing, but it is a radical improvement over looking like Don. Even better news: Knowing how to do my hair is going to free me up--emotionally, spiritually, physically--and allow me to explore exciting new topics.

Old topic: my hair. New topic: my boobs, whoo hoo! I know, it sounds like a tired, old topic, even when packaged so smartly, but continue reading because you’ll see that I’ve got a whole new groove. A whole new boob groove. Honest.

Quick boob update: I had my reconstruction in July of this year. It was deeply disappointing and threw me into a total funk for about four months. Until today. This morning, I made an appointment to see Dr. Loren Eskenazi, the San Francis…

Thank You Notes

My new sister-in-law, like my mom, is big on thank you notes. When I was in Florence three years ago, I bought her some hand-made thank you notes at a quaint, little stationery store called Il Papiro. (After receiving them, she immediately wrote me a thank you note for the thank you notes.)

My mom is also big on thank you notes. In fact, she’s huge on thank you notes. When I was a teenager, I used to tease her: “If they made you’re welcome cards, I’m sure you’d send those, too. She’s been scouring stationery shops for a box of those ever since.

After my mastectomy and during chemo, I kept a detailed journal of the kind and generous things people did for me. I wanted to remember who had cooked us lasagne, who had sent us gerber daisies, who had brought me a bag of Kiehl’s bath products, who had simply called or stopped in front of my driveway to say I’m thinking about you .

I also kept the journal to make sure that I knew who had sent what so I could send thank you notes. I know of three…

It's Not About the Bike

It's not about the's about the hair. But you already know that, as I go on endlessly (and some would say annoyingly) about it. In the event that you live farther than 75 miles of my house--and therefore cannot hear me every morning at 6:30a.m., sobbing and spewing profanities in front of the mirror as I wield a giant round brush, a 2000-horse power blow dryer, a pricy flat iron and four different hair potions in a harried rush to get my chemo curls (only kind of) under control before racing out the door to work--here’s a hair update: It absolutely defies the laws of gravity.

Most people don’t believe me when I tell them my hair grew back in a fro. Ergo, the faux-finish fro foto. I’m not quite ready to debut the fro without the help of Apple’s Photo Booth effects. And Ocho was kind enough to join in the foto fun.

I don’t have a good transition for this, as it has nothing to do with my hair, but I rode my mountain bike up Mount Montara with Ocho today. The bike trail is…

Rebel, Rebel, You've Torn Your Dress...

I don’t do two posts in a weekend—NaBloPoMo, or no. I simply don’t have the time. But as a pot of lentil soup, one of chicken vegetable and another of butternut squash (ask me for the recipe from “The Savory Way,” by Greens chef Deborah Madison) simmers on the stove, I’ve been thinking about a quote I read on Jacqueline Skagg’s Rebel 1 in 8 blog:

"I have come to believe over and over again that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood. That the speaking profits me, beyond any other effect...for it is not difference which immobilizes us, but silence."—Audre Lorde, "The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action"

Along those lines, I read an article in Newsweek three, four months ago. It was by a guy who had cancer. The cover was white, and on it floated an image of a giant Lance Armstrong yellow rubber bracelet. The story, like the cover photo, was powerful in its clarity and …


A few weeks after my diagnosis, I found an achingly beautiful, black and white photograph of a woman the night before her mastectomy. There are only three elements in the photo: the woman, a camera on a tripod, and a mirror. Its composition and minimalism is stunning. And like a brilliant short story, it said so much (and no more) with so little.

In the photo, the woman is nude and sitting in front of the mirror. She has short hair and a long neck. The camera on the tripod is right beside her, like a friend who has just heard the news and is being a silent witness. The woman is looking down instead of making eye contact with herself or with the viewer. Oddly, it’s not necessary to see the woman’s eyes to feel the weight and power and pressure of the tsunami that is building momentum behind her.

(Has anyone else ever seen this photo? I stumbled upon it once on the internet, and haven’t been able to find it since…)

I lay alone in bed the night before my mastectomy. Ocho and I had broken up…

Mum's the Word

I am hypersensitive. And I sometimes have a little trouble letting things go.

This is not a headliner to those who know me. And it’s old news to Ocho, who weekend before last made the mistake of asking me why I’d chosen grape-colored mums to stick in the ground next to the Japanese maples in my front yard.

Back in the day, I spent whole weekends in my yard. I maintained my own hedges and trees. I cleaned my own gutters. I demossed my own deck. I built my own swingsets. And I squeegeed my own windows.

But in February 2006, I went back to work full time. Under normal circumstances, working my way back into a corporate environment after freelancing for 15 years would have been a difficult and stressful transition. But the circumstances became a little harder at the end of May 2006, when I was diagnosed with infiltrating lobular carcinoma. New job. New cancer. New loads of adrenaline being pumped into the system.

For a while, I was able to maintain a sense of control. I woke up at 6:00 a.m.…

When I'm 64

Last night, as I drove down my street on the way to Ocho's in Half Moon Bay, I saw Mrs. Cunningham watching TV from her chair by the window. I've always had great respect for Mrs. Cunningham--Margaret, as she's
known to her peers.

But there aren't that many of Mrs. Cunningham's peers left on my street. When I first moved to my street 10 years ago, there was this lovely mix of age groups on the three or four blocks around my little red house, including lots of people with kids and lots of older folks who had already raised their kids. The older folks included Leo, a retired aircraft mechanic; Frank and Sylvia, who were incredibly tiny and frail but drove a giant pale yellow Cadillac with fins; George and Josephine Cocconi, who were from Italy (or as Mrs. Cocconi pronounced it, It-lee); Frank, who had a thick German accent, and his shy, sweet wife Judy; Ingrid Poore, a 90-year-old old woman who would pad up to the stop sign in front of my house in her nightgown, swea…