Archive for August, 2007

ah, freedom

Wednesday at 10:30AM Joe, one of the nurses from Apria Healthcare, arrived at my office to unhook me. I’m always happy to be able to remove that drugbag and move with freedom and this time was no different with one exception. It was the last time. I’m finished with chemo.

I forgot to mention, when I got home from the hospital on Monday there was a little package waiting for me on my porch. Inside was an adorable and classy watch from my bff Melissa. On the tag she wrote “TIME TO STOP CHEMO.” How perfect is that? The watch has left my wrist only long enough for me to shower.

This is it, but mine has a black band.

red tango watch

So adorable. So thoughtful.

As usual I’d hoped to get some exercise that afternoon, but my fatigue got the best of me. That coupled with the upset stomach I seem to get once I’m off the bag, something about the cumulative effect of the drug, made any real workout or even a walk home out of the question.

I did stay up to watch this special on TLC (The Learning Channel, that is) called “Crazy Sexy Cancer.” I’m a TLC addict, so I knew about the program over a month ago. Despite letting out a “puh!-lease!” when I saw the ad I felt I had to check it out.

The show/film was a self produced documentary about a young woman who discovered she had tumors in her lungs and liver. There was no explanation for how she found out about the tumors, which bugged me. Maybe I came in a minute late and missed that part. She didn’t appear to be suffering from any pain.

Anyhow, her cancer is rare and incurable, but is simply biding its time. The doctor she settled on at Dana Farber told her the best they could do was wait to see if the cancer “made a move,” i.e. grew. She decided to search for her own cure. She documented her many travels and her cure, as far as I could figure, was to live life and not let cancer define her or stop her from doing the things she wanted to do. Cancer=Fear and that’s no way to live.

I agree with her 100%. But so far as I could see she’s not experienced much to do with actual cancer therapy beyond having a lot of CT Scans and interviewing other women who are going through a lot of chemotherapy. Because of that I found her to be a little less sympathetic a character, if you will, and less compelling.

It seemed that the dormant cancerous tumors in her body were a good excuse to try alternative therapies, diets and lifestyles. It became evident that some of the diet changes she made may have helped to keep the tumors from growing, so these efforts weren’t futile or even whimsical. She experienced the fear that comes with a cancer diagnosis, which is no small thing. And I can’t imagine how it must feel to have what amounts to a time bomb living inside you.

But she didn’t experience cancer the way I did. She didn’t endure overwhelming physical pain, surgery to remove a tumor, or chemotherapy, so I don’t fully relate to her. However she has an undeniably great attitude, one that I feel I share and admire.

Bringing it back to me. Thursday I went to my last spin class for 2 weeks or so since Jon will be on vacation and I am a spin class snob. I’d rather be outside anyway, so we’ll see how the weather treats us.

I was tired and the first hour class was incredibly difficult, but I’ve learned that it takes me some time to get warmed up. So I stayed for the 2nd class and it felt great. Exhausting, but fantastic. And as I rode I started really thinking about everything I’ve been through, now that it’s over, for all intents and purposes, and started feeling emotional.

When I disembarked the bike and turned to talk to my friend Deborah, she said how proud she was of me and wow, it’s over, right? She’s been through cancer herself, so this was especially poignant to me. I tried to stop myself, but I started crying. I couldn’t help it, I was so overwhelmed by it all; so amazed that I was here, that I was alive and working out. Not just working out, but working out hard in a class many find daunting, yet I’d only been unhooked the previous day. She said I amazed her and thinks it has to be my attitude. I want to believe that, I really do.

twelfth chemo - final treatment

This is it, my final treatment and this was a day fraught with annoyances.

Started the day by dropping Todd’s car at the dealer to get it serviced. Of course, they didn’t have a loaner vehicle for us, so we had to cab it to BIDMC. Cab took forever to get to us and I got incredibly frustrated. Calmed down by reminding myself it was not a big deal since they’ve never been strict about timeliness and ended up arriving at the hospital on time anyway.

I already knew Jackie wasn’t going to be there for my last day, so it was no surprise when another nurse set up my port and yet another gave me my infusions. What I wasn’t prepared for was the addition of another drug.

I was emailing a friend and believed my usual drugs were being infused when I suddenly felt very groggy and possibly slightly nauseous. Getting up at 5AM to drop off the car certainly explained why I was already exhausted, but this was different and sudden. My nurse came by so I asked if she had done anything differently. She said, “no, just the saline and the steroid. Oh, and a half bag of Benadryl.”

Oops! Evidently my chart still listed Benadryl, but I only needed Benadryl when they were giving me Oxaliplatin and that stopped 2 months ago. So the Benedryl was a freebie. HA. That stuff knocks me out in pill form, and in IV form it’s devastating. There went my plan to be productive, to read and write during my last infusion. Slept through most of the rest of my treatment and didn’t feel right again (relatively) until 8PM this evening, 10 hours later.

I bid a tearful goodbye to the nurses in the treatment center. It was a strange farewell because as sad as it was to leave knowing I may not see these people I’d come to know and adore again, I also knew that seeing them again on any regular basis would be bad news. It would mean I was sick again. The nurses probably deal with this kind of thing a lot and my guess is many of the goodbyes they engage in are far sadder. Mine was bittersweet. I do not envy them their saddest goodbyes; they are strong, caring, powerful and amazing women.

After leaving BIDMC we had to go back to the dealership to get Todd’s car. Public transportation back to Watertown is spidery (made more so with the construction going on at the Fenway stop) so we ended up at Cleveland Circle near where we used to live in Brighton and had a small lunch before taking another bus back over to Arsenal Street. Coming up with a plan to get there, though, was incredibly frustrating and I nearly lost it when the bus we’d been waiting for flew past us without a care. EFF!!

Getting back in the car was a huge relief. We got home and I needed to sleep more. Time for annoyance number, what? four? five? Somehow I hadn’t noticed until I laid down to nap that the nurse who set up my port used a slightly longer needle than usual. Jackie uses a 3/4″ needle and this one was at least an inch. I realize that doesn’t seem like much, but when it’s sticking out of my chest, it’s enormous. Oh well, nothing I can do about it now. It wasn’t such a hardship, though.

It just occurred to me I never put up any pictures of the port in use or my backpack, so here goes.

cimg4532.JPG

In this one you can see the rash my sensitive skin gets from the tape they use. Ick.

close up on port

Here’s two of me with the backpack.

bag from above

In this one you can see the tube that runs from my chest to the bag.

the bag 1

I slept well and could easily have let that nap become bedtime, but at 7 o’clock I felt compelled to get up and be awake until 10 or 11PM, leading to the final frustration of my day, inability to get to sleep when I needed to. Great. My one saving grace was the knowledge that after Wednesday I have no more chemotherapy to endure.

steamy weekend

Some advice: Don’t wear new sandals on a 5 mile walk in 93 degree humid weather.

I’m no fan of hot + humid (unless there’s a pool nearby) and I forget how easy it is for my feet to get all torn up in humidity. That’s exactly what happened. Too hot to ride my bike on Saturday and, as it turned out, too hot to be wearing my new sandals. There I was trying to break them in and they broke me. Ouch. There went my plans to get a pedi that afternoon.

I suppose I was due for a crappy weekend, I probably had too many good ones in a row and the universe needed to balance itself out. Balance is good, right?

Not that the weekend was a complete wash. There was the thrilling news of K8’s new baby after a great meal w/two of my best friends on Friday. And on Saturday, after cooling off and band-aiding my feet I convinced Todd to take me to the Summer Shack where we had delicious halibut.

We’d never been to the Summer Shack and went with a little trepidation, but I had a gift card from a friend that’d been gathering dust for well over a year. From Fresh Pond Parkway it doesn’t look like much, but we drove over and the parking lot, which you can’t see from the FPP, was full. Got inside and there was a 45 minute wait.

It was like entering an alternate universe. I never suspected the place was so popular, but what did I know? But I liked it and had a good time. Next time my parents come up for a visit I’m taking them. It reminded me a little of the very first Legal Sea Food restaurant. Not quite as low-rent, but a similar flavor, so to speak.

Sunday we recorded vocals for that cover song I mentioned in a previous entry at Matt’s. It took longer than expected, but once I got the mood right in my voice, things went more smoothly. Recording itself is not something I particularly like. Something to do with the permanence of it all and that I’m very hard on myself, on my voice. I demand perfection and since that’s not possible, I’m often left unsatisfied.

What I do enjoy is recording with Matt. He and I always have fun and laugh a lot even when we’re feeling frustrated by bad takes or software malfunctions or bad wiring. Doesn’t hurt that he’s a great producer. He knows how to ask for and get a good performance and our rapport is so easy. We have a good time every time and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

When things are going well we have even more fun. We must have hours of silly outtakes we ought to cull for gems to use as hidden tracks on the next CD. And hey, we patched together a pretty good main vocal if you ask me. Maybe you’ll hear it on our myspace page soon…

this is an alarm call (so wake up, wake up now)

It’s always nice when you expect to be able to sleep in (especially after staying up late watching Sopranos episodes in bed on your laptop) to be awoken by the piercing cry of an alarm. That was my Friday morning wake-up call. I sat bolt upright, grabbed my jeans and sandals and ran down the stairs wondering WTF!?!! There were these women cleaning the second floor apartment going about their business seemingly oblivious to the alarm that was continuing to blare. I could smell some kind of burning and realized they must have done something to set it off, but no one was springing to action to stop the deafening sound. Again, WTF?!!

I rang my landlord’s doorbell a few times and ran back up the stairs searching for the source so I could remove the batteries or something. Found an alarm going in my back stairwell, but ran back to put in earplugs first because otherwise I’m sure my ears would have bled, it was that loud. By the time I got back to attempt to fix the problem the alarm stopped and I could hear my landlord speaking to the cleaning crew.

WELL, good morning to you, too.

What I still don’t get is, what were they doing that something ended up burning? When I saw them they were standing around with rags and mops and buckets full of what I found to be foul smelling cleaning fluids. (That’s another concern altogether. I went in the 2nd floor apt the next day and cannot understand why after a thorough cleaning the place still smells like it needs a cleaning.) Did they decide to have a little breakfast, too, and things simply got out of hand? Was there some kind of throwdown regarding dark rye v. pumpernickel? Did they come to blows over whether to have kielbasa or spanish sausage with their toast? Were there beans involved?

I spent the rest of my day laundering my quilt down the street, writing, reading, watching Sopranos and then lifting some weights listening to music.

Later I met Anthony and Sean in Dorchester for supper. They both got new colognes over the tax-free weekend, too, and smelled fantastic. (If you know me at all you know smell is of the utmost importance to me.) We ate at the Ashmont Grill, just up the street from their condo. We sat in the back patio where it was comfortable despite the heat from earlier. Once the sun went down it was cool and the moon was waning and gorgeous. The food there is smashing and the carrot cake I got for dessert was absolute divine. I couldn’t eat the entire piece so I took it home - treat for Saturday! They took care of the bill and called it a birthday dinner - so sweet. I felt fortunate to have found a night we could see each other because with Tony back in school, he’s quite busy.

We went back to their place so they could show me some of the changes they’d made and I noticed I’d missed a call on my mobile. I was waiting for this call and since I didn’t hear the phone ring we must have been in an AT&T dead spot.

Anyway, it was Kate calling to tell me she had her baby!! Yes, Matilda Marshall Tomassi was born at 7:38PM and weighed 7lbs 7oz. The preferred nicknames are Tilly/Tillie and Maude/Maudie, please not Maddy. Congratulations to the new parents!

week in review

Monday I did two spin classes in a row after work and then went home and watched Disturbia. It was way better than I expected. Shia LaBeouf reminds me of a cross between John Cusack and Tom Hanks and I can now understand the hype surrounding him.

Tuesday I did a whole lotta nothin’.

Wednesday I skipped my 6am spin class and instead rode the Minuteman Trail when I got home from work. I knew the weather was supposed to be cool and a little overcast, my favorite for riding. Beat my usual time getting to Bedford, had a good pace going, passed a ton of people on my way out (no one passed me, though) and started feeling a little more like a seasoned rider. Right up until I entered the bike store.

I’d seen a few riders who had a flashing headlight on their handlebars and I could see them coming from a ways off. I have a light for my bike at home, but haven’t attached it to my bike yet. It wasn’t quite dark, but the trail has all these trees and foliage that provide a lot of shade. One time last year I was riding along at dusk and hit this portion that had full foliage and I was struggling to see. It was that or ride in the street w/no light on my bike, so I took my chances on the trail.

There’s a bike shop at the end of the Minuteman, so I thought I’d buy another headlight then use the one I had at home on my Fuji up in Haverhill. I walked in and there was one older guy working on a bike in the shop and a cyclist sitting while waiting and chatting with the clerk/salesguy/cashier.

I walk in and apologize for bringing my bike inside despite the sign saying not to unless you’re getting it serviced, but I forgot the key to my lock. I tell them I’m interested in getting a headlight. I’m clearly not a competing rider, why can’t you just help me find a good headlight and be nice? Why must you test me the moment I walk in by remaining 12 feet away and telling me the headlights are to my right and then letting me make an ass of myself as I look around and see nothing resembling any headlight I’m used to? Then, when you do finally come over, a full minute and a half later, to show me the lights, I say, “OH, I’ve never seen this kind of light before. It almost looks like a mood ring.” Just now I tried to find a picture of one of them online and can’t. It’s a light meant only for letting others know you’re coming, not enough to see by.

ANYway, I let him know I wanted a full-size light, or whatever, and he said they were more expensive and I said, yeah, I know, I have one for my other bike, but not this one. oy vey.

Every area of interest has a culture of obsessives/freaks whatever. I don’t race, I don’t have any interest in racing, I just like to ride. I shouldn’t have even attempted to enter their conversation, but the cyclist mentioned a race from last weekend. I asked if it was on Saturday and he said, no, Sunday. I replied, “good, because MAN was it windy on Saturday.” They both said something like “windy is good… it means you have to work harder.” Oh, aren’t you just so cool, I thought. Why does it have to be hard work for you to feel like you accomplished something?

I now see part of me is feeling guilty that I don’t know enough about bikes, and part of me is jealous they know so much. Projection is definitely happening, but there was no denying they were acting like snobs. I get the same feeling when I go into most music stores. And it isn’t every time, nor every salesperson, nor every store, but it’s a phenomenon I’ve noticed and it bothers me.

I do like the light I bought. My other one is an LED, I believe, and this one halogen. It has a little toggle at the back that makes it super simple to turn on, off or flashing. V. cool. And the bike store guy redeemed himself a little when he attached it to my bike for me. But I won’t be shopping there again. Plus, I saw this online for $10-15 cheaper than I got it. Ah well.

bike light

Tonight I did one hour-long spin class and went with Todd to Matt’s to record a cover we’ve been doing. I couldn’t have made it through two classes anyhow. For one thing, I usually have at least 36 hours between long rides/workouts, and this was less than 24. And for another thing Jon was riding with the class because he didn’t have time earlier in the day to train. Whenever he rides with us it’s a much more difficult class. I was seriously failing near the end there.

At Matt’s I hung out a lot with Amanda, Matt’s wife, who has become a serious cyclist. She’s really into it and recently qualified (high ranking qualification, too) for a big race next month. If I remembered things better I’d give you the name of the race, but I have an awful memory. She had to change a tire and showed me how to do it. Very good thing to know how to do. Not that I’ll necessarily remember every step, but it was great to watch it get done.

That was my week. I have Friday off to get some things done around the house and go hang out with Tony and Sean in the Dot (Dorchester).

windy weekend

I don’t know how the weather was everywhere else, but man, was it gusty on Saturday in Haverhill. My big riding plans were put on hold and instead I went to the mall. WHEEE!! It is now my opinion that the Rockingham Mall is more treacherous than Rte. 110. Here I was thinking people annoyed me on the street when they walk three across and don’t scoot an inch to make room (that’s right, I’m an effing hologram), or walk on the left (are we in the UK? you drive on the right, walk on the right, dangit!), but dealing with a mall full (mallfull, hee hee, sounds like mouthful) of consumers blinded by their consumption is no fun.

I was feeling a little worked up so later in the day we took a 3 mile walk around Haverhill. We passed the local stadium and as we neared it we heard bad music. Learned from the security guards standing at the entrance that this was part of a festival called Loud & Fast, or something, and the band sucking on stage included the lead singer of Pantera. Todd had some knowledge of this person and that band, all I recognized was the name Pantera. Can you tell we come from divergent musical upbringings?

It was pretty funny talking to the security people, they were all exhausted and thoroughly fed up with having to listen to 12 bands who, no doubt sounded identical, throughout the day. We heard zero “songs,” which is to say there were no choruses, and there was much yelling and screaming disguised as singing. One of the security guards told us they’d sold 1200 tickets, but there were no more than about 200 people in attendance at any one time. So strange…

Sunday was a lot less windy so we went out in the early afternoon and rode. Would have gone earlier, but I bought some new gear for my new bike and had to attach it. Plus I had to adjust the seat, etc,… We rode a slightly new route that Todd found and then added to it. Stopped home after 45 minutes and I decided to go back out for an hour or so more alone. I rode up a hill we’d passed many times and I was curious about. The first part of the hill wasn’t so bad, then I reached a portion so steep I wondered, “what the hell am I thinking?! I’m on chemo and I’m riding my bike up this crazy hill and even if I turned around here I’d have at least 7 miles to ride home! I must be an idiot.”

When I got back to the house I gmapped our rides. Todd and I rode about 11 miles, I then rode 15 more. The new bike is great; it’s so light and I like the gearing, but because it’s so light I can’t ride standing up unless my cadence is really high. Otherwise, I’m loving it.

weekly news

I have almost zero recollection of Tuesday, so I don’t know if I engaged in any real activity besides going to work.   This vexes me terribly as I enjoy keeping up with myself, so to speak, by maintaining a “day book.”  I copied this habit from my mom who records the day’s doings in outline form in a week-per-page calendar.  Mine tend toward the more detailed, sometimes going into such minutiae that I read back and wonder what the hell I was thinking.  It can be quite entertaining, though.  My mom would sit down at the dinner table and say “Who knows what we were doing 3 years ago today?”  I love that.

The plan on Wednesday was to run a few errands after work, a by-product of which would be exercise thanks to the amount of walking that would have been required.  Yes, would have been IF I’d gotten to them.  Why on earth I thought I’d be able to manage anything after GULLP (my law firm’s monthly happy hour) is a mystery. 

I stayed at Jose McIntyre’s a little later than planned because Nathan was going to join us and I wanted to hang out with him.  We stood around chatting, eating appetizers and drinking and I guess I had one drink too many.  Suddenly it was a lot of work to stand up and to form sentences properly.  We left at 7:30 and I mentioned how no way I was getting my errands done and even public transportation might be a hurdle.  Maybe I’d take a cab.  Nathan offered to drive me home and I said “SURE!” without hesitation.

Got home, climbed onto my bed and passed out immediately.  At 1:30AM I awoke with all the lights on, so I got up to perform my ablutions and got back in bed.  I don’t drink much these days and I was a wreck.  The sleep was good.

Made it to work ok the next day and that evening did another double spin (two classes in a row).  This despite Jon pushing us hard and making the class do these “turn” drills that work your fast twitch muscles.  I took it down a few notches for the 2nd class because my legs were in hell.

That night I ate supper whilst finishing up watching the shorts on www.clarkandmichael.com.  It got me psyched up to see Superbad on Friday and just cracked me so consistently up. (Simpsons reference!)  I love Judd Apatow and Seth Rogen and ever since Arrested Development, Michael Cera as well.  The humor in the clarkandmichael shorts is so dry and they remind me of people I was friends with in high school and college.  Cera’s quiet, understated delivery punctuated with sudden outbursts and startling use of expletives is a fucking riot. 

Of course, I’m sure these short films are not for everyone.  I couldn’t stand There’s Something About Mary and didn’t care for Napoleon Dynamite, but both are well-loved and oft-quoted comedies.  Not my bag.  I adored Rushmore and recommended it to my brother, but he couldn’t stand it.  To each his own.

eleventh (penultimate) chemo

Arrived a little early for my 9AM appointment, but for some reason this time my treatment took a long time. They reintroduced Avastin to my chemo, but it should only have added about an hour to my infusion. Jackie, my nurse, and I were both a little baffled by this; we didn’t get out of there until past 3PM.

Todd had forgotten his laptop’s power supply so I let him use my laptop while were there. I spent my time catching up with some reading and writing, the kind you do on paper with a pen. Yes, I still do that. I love paper and pens, in fact I collect or hoard them depending on your perspective.

Anyway, for some reason we hadn’t really told Dr. Jain or any of the nurses about the band before and for some reason this time we did. Todd played them a bit of our music from the myspace.com site and they loved it. Having new listeners and people who dig us is always a good thing and it made my day. Made the fact that my treatment took so long easier to deal with.

Otherwise, though, the treatment was uneventful, which is a good thing.  The most remarkable thing about it was that it was my penultimate treatment.   I told Jackie that it felt like it went by quickly and she said her patients usually say the opposite.  It isn’t like I felt the chemo a piece of cake.  I think the treatments seemed to fly by for me because of the tidy two week segments my time has become.  If the treatments had affected me poorly, if I’d had awful side-effects throughout, if I’d lost my hair, I’m certain the time would have crawled by.  As it is, I say again, I’m lucky.

hilly miles

Saturday morning I wanted to ride my new bike again.  Actually, I want to ride my new bike everyday.  Thankfully, my parents are very good at entertaining themselves so Todd and I got out on the road and started riding.  We stuck to our usual path on Kenoza until we hit Rte. 110 at which point I directed us one way thinking I knew where I was.  HA!  My sense of direction has no sense of direction and I know this, but continually ignore it.

Rte. 110 took us down some hills which was exhilarating and fun, but I know what goes down, must come back up.  Right I was.  I could see we were approaching this humongous hill and yelled back to Todd asking if he wanted to deal with it or not.  He hasn’t been biking as long nor as much as I have, but he didn’t hear me, so up we went.  Once at the top we needed a breather.  I rode in circles and waited for Todd’s nausea to pass and off we went again.

Part of the thrill for me of riding is not knowing where I am, so we continued on 110 and eventually saw a sign indicating we were in Merrimac, MA.  Exploration is half the fun and not wanting to ride home the same way we came I asked a kind looking gentleman if he knew another way for us to get back to Haverhill.  He suggested taking the road to our left till we hit Rte. 108 which would be indicated by “a the T in the road.”  Follow Rte. 108 in New Hampshire and it’ll hit Kenoza Lake (yay, a landmark I knew!!). 

I asked if it was super hilly or not and he said there’d be one big one and then the rest should be pretty even.  But this guy said he usually rode it on his motorcycle, so hills to him aren’t such a big deal.

This became more evident the farther we rode.  It was worth it, though.  We passed horse farms, gorgeous houses with huge yards, a few entrances to woods that looked enticing, and yes, more hills, but none quite so steep as that first one.  Either that or we just got used to them.

Once home I gmapped our two-hour excursion and discovered we’d gone only 20 miles.  Only, you ask?!  Considering I’d ridden over 24 miles in less than two hours on the Minuteman I was convinced this ride was 30 miles in length.  However, the Minuteman Bikeway has no hills, only slow grades.  So I felt good about my hilly 20 mile ride.

Meanwhile my mom had taken a walk into downtown Haverhill to explore the various Goodwill and Salvation Army stores as well as Jennie’s (my favorite).  She is always on the lookout for a bargain and wanted the exercise of a good walk.  When she was ready to come home I took dad and we drove into town to retrieve her.  I then drove them the route we rode.  From the car it felt like one hell of a long journey.  Stunned myself, honestly.  And as it happened, we lucked upon a bead store and my dad got to stock up for future bracelet making.

Considering my parents have spent time with me in Somerville before, we decided to stay in Haverhill their last evening and cookout.  It was another night of glorious weather and we had a relaxing meal complete with sangria and some serenading from me and Todd.

Sunday morning we drove to the airport and stayed long enough to help my parents maneuver the long baggage check-in lines.  Afterwards we went to Johnny D’s for a giant brunch and ended up napping for a couple of hours. 

Later we took a walk to Harvard Square and I’d have been fine except there were so few clouds the sun was taking its toll on me.  I can handle heat, but direct, unrelenting sunlight just kills me.  Weird, I know.  The Bourne Ultimatum was playing at the Harvard Square movie theater, so we watched that and by the time it was over the heat and sun had subsided subtantially and I was comfortable to walk home.

Another great weekend. 

when it rains

Friday was the day of the RUTH show at Avid, the first time my parents saw us perform, and my birthday; a day rife with expectations. Hopes and expectations are completely different animals though I do my best to hope as opposed to expect, it isn’t always something you can control.

The Avid party was outside (the tables and stage were under a huge tent, so rain would only affect the volleyball and other outdoor activities) and when we arrived there was a light rain falling. Go figure. I wanted to call our last record “When it Rains” for a few reasons, one of them being our literal and consistent problem with gigs and rain. I accepted this fact years ago. My concern was that we were scheduled to go on last and I worried most people might have left by then. Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t much fun playing to a sparse crowd.

As it happened we hit the stage at 3:15 to play a 4o minute set and there were plenty of people left to see us play. How can I describe the atmosphere we we began playing? Awed hush? Rapt attention? It was amazing. Conversations stopped and everyone was facing the stage. I couldn’t believe it. They were a great audience and I felt so welcome.

I decided not to mention anything about the cancer. I didn’t think it would be appropriate and I wasn’t interested in any sympathy applause. If the crowd liked us, they’d clap and whoop and do whatever it was they wanted to show that, but don’t applaud because you feel sorry for me, you know?

They must have enjoyed it because they asked for an encore. Todd and I have a cover we’ve been playing at home, so we tested it out there. We did a good job, no big mistakes, and they seemed to like it.

We realized our big (giant!) mistake after the show when more people than I can count asked if we had any CDs they could buy. I didn’t bring any CDs or the mailing list or stickers or T-shirts… what a big dummy!!! Eleven months is a long time to be out of the loop and evidently my mind wasn’t on protocol. Dammit. We directed as many people as we could to our website, iTunes and myspace and let them know Todd would bring some CDs to work if they wanted to buy any directly from him. Next time I won’t screw that up.

The big thrill for me was to have my parents see us perform after so many years. It wasn’t the ideal show - my preference would have been when we played the Paradise Rock Club because it’s a big venue and we had Michael Calienes on bass and Dave Murray from Redletter on guitar. It was such a kick ass show - but I’ll take what I can get. It wasn’t a bad show at all especially considering we hadn’t played together in so long, it was only the three of us, and we only rehearsed once. Mom and Dad seemed to really like it and shared their enthusiasm with the people sitting around them.

Dad wanted to take me out to supper for my birthday and was interested in seeing Newburyport, so later that evening we went to the Black Cow Tap & Grill. Our meal was outstanding; it was the best fried calimari I’ve ever had and my entree was wild king salmon and oh-my-god was it succulent or what?!?! As with most of my delectable meals I can’t stop thinking about it (food obsessed much?) and may have to go back and get it again. Evidently this particular salmon is only in season for a few weeks every August so I better hustle.

Supper was so filling we didn’t order any dessert. Eventually I’ll have some sort cake and say I ordered for my birthday.