Archive for January, 2008

candy perfume girl

Doesn’t everyone have their minor obsessions or addictions?

When I first heard the Madonna song I’ve named in the title here, Candy Perfume Girl, I thought, damn! Why didn’t I write that? That’s ME! I’m other girls, too, but two of my defining obsessions over the years have been candy and perfume. In that order. I’ve had my share of handbag habits, don’t get me wrong. And shoes. My opinion is that I have a fair number of shoes, but it’s not excessive. And as far as bags, honestly, that should be in the title, too.

The funniest thing about me and my handbag problem is that I don’t use them much. But I want them and I want more of them. It’s really weird, actually. In a store my eyes are drawn to the bags. All kinds, not just handbags, but backpacks and shoulder bags and luggage. Wallets, too.

My day to day bag, though, is a Victorinox backpack I’ve had for probably 5 years and that I just adore. It’s the perfect size, it has just the right number of pockets and slots, it has a place for my idiot keys (when I get locked out of my apartment) and a mini-sharpie and mini-flashlight, and a drink pocket on the outside. It will hold my laptop, but only if I displace most everything else, so I am on the lookout for a good backpack w/a laptop sleeve. It is my perfect everyday bag. I have a few handbags I use for going out, but I don’t use them every day.

You know why girls get so into shoes and bags, right? You can gain weight or lose weight and your bag and your shoes will still fit. It’s true.

Oh wow, now that I think about it, paper and pens are, and have been, an even bigger obsession, or preoccupation, for me. Good lord, the more I think about this kind of thing the deeper I get. Zoikes! I recently found a site online that carries my new favorite skinny ink gel pens - Japanese, of course - in so many lovely colours. I think I purchased 20. !!! I should tell Melissa about it. She and I are both addicted to pens and paper. All kinds, stationery, cards, journals. I’m particularly fond of the graph paper so I love buying paper in Europe. They’re all about the grids.

Back to candy.

As far back as I can remember I’ve loved candy. True, I suppose most children do, but I would go so far as to say I was obsessed. Mel and I both were. We’d make a day out of a trip to the corner store for candy. Chocolate being number one and the rest second. We’d fill up brown paper bags and eat that candy for a week, then go back for more. I’d do any odd jobs I could find beyond my usual chores to pay for this habit. We would lose our minds when ingredients got changed or a bar was taken off the market. Oh, the Marathon Bar, how I miss thee. You were so fun to pull at and stretch for about an hour.

I love caramel as much as the next person, maybe more, but there was a time when Whatchamacallit didn’t have caramel, it was just that peanut crisp stuff covered in chocolate and it was divine. There was a phase in the history of candy when companies began adding caramel to everything. 1984, if I recall correctly. And do you remember Summit Bars? Twin bars, vanilla wafers layered with peanuts and chocolate and … something else, I think. I adored them. One day, POOF, they were gone. And I’m surely not the only person who remembers it used to be $100,000 Bar, not “100 Grand.” That’s no fun to say, it has no pizazz! WTF?

When Hershey’s came out with “Bar None” Mel and I were in heaven. Delicious chocolate heaven. Two chocolate wafers layered with chopped peanuts and fudge and covered in Hershey’s chocolate. Slightly similar, but more chocolatey than Summit. Within a few years they changed it to a two-bar candy in a hideous yellow wrapper, then took it off the market completely.

HOLY MOLY, I just found someone else online who feels much as I do. Bar None

Our final blow was the Hershey’s Golden Three. We rarely find someone who remembers this bar. It was bigger than a Big Block (remember when “King Size” was actually “Big Block”), and its wrapper was gold - it really looked like a gold bar. It was Golden Three because of its three ingredients: rich, buttery milk chocolate suffused with so many toffee bits and so much coconut as to change its texture. God, it was glorious.

Of course, they silently and without warning stopped making it. And now I can find no mention of it online, nor any pictures of any of the bars I’ve mentioned. So this entry is purely text-driven. Eh.

Have I come off like a freak yet? I know I am and if you think I care you’re the one who’s crazy.

And I’ve continued to love candy far beyond the usual adult years when people ‘go off’ it. If I had my way, I’d eat it every day. I would. It’s not too sweet to me, but gosh, shouldn’t it be? By now?!

I don’t want to regret things in my past because they are all pieces of the puzzle that will continue to get filled in and create who I am, but why did I have to be such a junk food junkie? I don’t eat much junk anymore, but I still love red zingers, king dons, ho hos, pecan twirls, fritos, doritos, chips of all kinds, snickers, twix, m’n'm’s, starburst, twizzlers, gummy bears, god, you name it. Bit’o'honey, man, those are so good. And don’t stop at candy, I love all the sugary cereals, too! Oh, it’s never-ending. It can be a struggle sometimes. Certainly helps that eating junk makes me feel like el crapo, especially in the past few years since I became so healthy, cancer aside.

Ok, enough about the candy. I still eat some here and there, but everything in moderation.

The perfume habit started, I think, in high school. I had my fair share of crappy perfume. I am talking, of course, about a time long after the Love’s Baby Soft phase that I think every little girl goes through. I tried Obsession and Sunflowers, Poison and Chanel No. 5, patchouli and sandalwood and rose oil. Over the years I became a bit more of a scent snob. A friend of mine from college started a company called Creative Scentualization. She started mixing oils first at a store called Essense on Newbury Street and I would go get personalized mixes from her.

After that phase I made friends with the women at the Neiman Marcus perfume counter and that’s where things got a little nuts. I started to spend real money on real expensive perfumes. This is before Sephora and lower cost scents - though how someone can pick out a perfume in a Sephora store is beyond me, it’s a fragrance assault in there. I started wearing Chantecaille, Creed, Annick Goutal, Bulgari and Guerlain, to name a few of the brands. Perfumes, to me, are like books in a way. Each one has such a story to tell. Scent is also the sense that will take you most fully back to a specific time and place. So when I smell some of these perfumes I’m transported.

I can be a real snob about perfume. I hate when people over spray themselves and if I don’t like a scent I’ll usually call it “CVS brand.” Why is it that people always over spray the shitty smells? Or is it that once a scent is over sprayed it will inevitably stink?

Now I’ve been wearing the same perfume for about, oh, I could probably figure out the exact day I bought my first bottle, but for now I’ll guess seven years. I do think of it as my ’signature scent.’ Won’t say what it is, but will tell you it’s by Jo Malone, a British perfumer. She created the a whole line of scents that can be mixed to create an even more specific fragrance. I have the one ’signature’ that I wear alone or mix with one of two others. Sometimes in the summer I wear Clinique’s Happy To Be and, this might seem strange, but there are times I wear Trish McEvoy’s Blackberry Vanilla to the gym. It just smells fresh, not like perfume at all, so it’s nice to get a whiff of when I’m sweating away and otherwise stinky. I also have a roll-on of Stella by Stella McCartney that I wear very occasionally. Nice to have a change from time to time.

I still go on sniffing excursions and love to smell the new perfumes that come out each season, but as it happens, I am sincerely content with my signature scent. I’ll let you know if it changes again.

next time knee pads

For some reason after work on Friday I decided not to go online or even open my laptop for a while. It wasn’t until Saturday night at 8PM or so that I did open it up. Felt a little strange not to check my email or look at myspace or anything for over 24 hours, but it was also good. I think I’ve been too plugged in lately.

When I did finally go online I found an email from my friend Keith. He sent it Friday night to let me know he was planning to snowboard on Sunday - his first time. We’ve known each other for years, but not super well. He’s been checking in on me through the blog and we’ve found a number of similarities we didn’t realize we had (both adopted, both love cycling). He saw my snow pants entry and so he thought to invite me snowboarding with him.

My usual reaction to invitations like this one is to say thanks, but no thanks. I had writing (blog! music! journal!) and reading I still wanted to do as well as some other things on my running to-do list. It was already past 8 and I was only just about to make some dinner. I knew if I went I’d have to get up early on Sunday and I wanted to sleep in.

But I thought about it. My resolutions (sm’utions) were clear: try new things/face my fears/don’t let my to-do lists box me in. Well now, here was a way to tackle those three. Plus I now have snow pants!! And hadn’t I just said to a friend on Friday that I wanted someone to invite me snowboarding (b/c I don’t have a car and I don’t feel like renting one, though I will if I need to)? Yes. I had.

[Funny, I’ve got my iTunes on random right now. This song by XTC called One Of The Millions is playing and the words are incredibly appropriate for that last paragraph. “I won’t rock the boat, ’cause I’m scared what might happen. I won’t rock the boat, ’cause I’m one of the millions, who never seem to do anything.” There’s more, check it out. But then, I love XTC.]

I emailed Keith back and said yeehaw, let’s go. My books aren’t going anywhere, neither is my journal or my laptop or whatever else I need to deal with or take care of.

He got here at 8:15AM, we had coffee and scones at Diesel and we were off. Dealt with paying for my snowboard and boot rental as well as a lesson at 10:15AM. We were both thrilled beyond belief that it was snowing out. How lucky! They hadn’t forecast much for up north, all the snow was supposed to be on the Cape, but we got a bunch. It was just coming down the whole time we were there.

Our instructor, Elliot, was a very cool 17 year old kid who’s been boarding for 7 years. !!! Right? I wish I could express how much I wish I’d been stuck on a pair of skis when I was little, but that just wasn’t an option in Nashville. Now I’m wishing I’d even considered going skiing when I was in college. But I will not look back with regret, I will continue to move forward and enjoy what I’m doing now.

keith at nashoba roo at nashoba

keith on his boardWe boarded down the learning slopes for about three hours. To the left here is Keith on his board heading down the hill. I forgot to hand him my camera to take my picture on my board. dur.

After an hour or two I really felt like I was starting to get it, I was able to calmly glide down the hill without falling and then do a nice slow turn to end the run. But I wasn’t doing much real turning.

I probably could have just kept going and going and then driven home and eaten then. But I was hungry and Keith was dying of thirst. We went to the “lodge” and ate not-awful cheeseburgers. I figured I’m getting a workout on what was going to be my off day (workout-wise) so what the hell.

We went back out and someone had taken my rental board. Fortunately they just gave me a new one and didn’t fuss at all. I guess most people don’t pay attention to the number on their board, but I did and I was kinda pissed. But anyway, I’m not sure if it was the new board or the time of day or the burger making my belly full, but I got back out on our mini slopes and bit it. I bit it big. We were on a higher hill now and I was hauling ass, picking up way too much speed and unable to turn or guide the board well. I wiped out on my ass, rather grandly, a few times with the board in front of me thereby spraying everyone in the vicinity with snow.

Keith was determined to try a real slope and headed for a lift while I spent the rest of the day on the beginner slope working on turning and steering. I was disappointed to never quite get my morning groove back. After falling forward on my knees a few times too many I was relieved to see Keith the bottom of the hill ready to leave.

My quads and ass were already hurting from yesterday’s Bosu Bootcamp, so today only exacerbated that pain. And now my knees are bruised and swollen. I’m exhausted in pain. I even have a headache from all the jarring falls and bright snow. Funny thing is, I can’t wait to go again!!

boo’ing sucks

I’m watching the Pats game Sunday and am, of course, totally psyched (and not surprised) that they won and that they’re going to the Super Bowl. This win is of special importance to me considering what I was going through during last year’s Super Bowl. To think I was suddenly *glad* our Pats lost to the Colts in the Playoffs because I was in too much pain to sit up and watch!! I think back and it blows my mind. I mean, I remember the pain itself as a fact, I recall how debilitating it was, but I can’t put myself back in it. That must be one of our many human self-defense mechanisms. I mean, my brother was beside himself with worry. There he was sitting on my bed looking up my symptoms on WebMD or something as I rolled around in agony and refused to go the ER.

Anyway, sorry to digress, I still can’t believe all of last year happened.

So, I’m watching the awards thing afterwards broadcast from Gillette Stadium. They hand over the Lamont Hunt Trophy and someone, maybe Kraft, maybe Belichick, mentions how well San Diego played. From the stands you hear “BOOOO!!!” Then Junior Seau gets up and is holding the trophy in his hands and he wants to give a shout-out to his hometown, San Diego. “BOOOOO!!!” again. WTF?!

One of the things I love so much about sports is good sportsmanship. As I think I’ve written in here before, it’s so exciting to see these athletes compete so thoroughly, attain their personal best while acting as a team and fighting the opponent as well as they can. THEN, once the game is done they pat each other’s helmets or butts and hug and tell each other what a good game that was. It warms my little heart. I watched the Packers v. Giants game, too - although it was painful to even watch that frigid field full of footballers and I now intensely dislike the Giants’ coach (do you need to ask why?). Afterwards they showed Favre hug Manning and I clearly heard Favre say, “I’m proud of you” to Manning. It was touching.

So can someone please explain to me why the fans have to be such bastards? Seriously. “We” already WON the fucking game!! The New England Patriots are going to Arizona and will play in the Super Bowl in two weeks. Someone merely mentions the team we just beat, or the town they’re from, and you boo?!

Boo on you.

yeah, right. resolutions

Why do I bother?

I made one resolution, to get more sleep, and what did I do? That’s right, smarty-pants, I went and got very little sleep. This week, my goodness, I just kept going and going and going and I need to recharge. I went out four nights in a row. Didn’t drink to excess or anything, but my god, these things do take a toll. And now I’ve got a cold. feh. It’s not a killer, but I’ve got that crunchy cough, tightness in my chest, and fatigue. feh. feh feh. I suppose the timing is a blessing. I can get some rest.

It all started Saturday night. No, I take that back, it was Saturday. Friday night was nice and chill, if I recall. Forgive my poor memory, it’s this damn lack of sleep. HA. Saturday I went to the gym for my Bosu Challenge class. Love it. Then I decided that it was so nice out I ought to head over to REI and look at snow pants (hence the last post). I spent a long time looking around and trying things on, went next door to Best Buy and ordered a new camera (finally!), then T’d over to Newbury.

Trader Joe’s was my destination, but I didn’t realize there was a North Face store on the Newb, so I thought I’d do a little comparison shopping. I found the same snow pants I’d purchased from REI, but in my size. Being my first pair ever I wasn’t sure quite how they should fit. I’d purchased the pants at REI thinking well, they’re big, but I’ll make do.

Bought the right size pants, got back on the T, and returned the pants to REI. I loathe the backtrack, but when was I going to be in the area again? Making a full trip back to the Fenway from home would be a bigger pain in the ass, so I got it over with. Then back again to Trader Joe’s for a some yummy shopping then went home to eat and watch the game.

My friend Nate texted me at the beginning of the game to ask what up b/c his friend’s band Red Square would be at the Burren later and he was probably going to go. He also said his game watching pals ditched for the eve. A few texts later and he was on his way over to watch the game with me, which is always funner than watching alone, plus we needed to do a little catch-up. Hadn’t seen Nathan since, oh, geez, … I don’t know. Months.

Pats win, much standing up and high-fiving across my living room and yelping throughout the game. YAY, then we go to the Burren. Red Square is a cover band and I am not usually a fan of the cover band. But this was fun and not my usual thing and his friend, the singer, can really let ‘er rip. We had a blast watching drunk people dance and grind and basically, to us, not on the make and slightly sober people, look hilarious. I said I felt like I was Jane Goodall. I started doing the voice over for my documentary and cracked myself up. Good times.

Sunday I couldn’t find my ID and debit card. I was tired, but *knew* they had to be at the Burren. I did want to go hear Timmy and the guys, but I was tired. I had gone to the gime again and planned only to do about 45 minutes on the treader, but then the Colts game started, so I stayed to watch the first quarter and ended up on that incline for almost an hour and a half.

Burren was fun, as usual, and I got to sing w/the boys again. This is one of my favorite things in life. Then I stayed longer than I meant to because we were all sitting around laughing and laughing about … what? I don’t even know now. Chris was there and he and I are both essentially cartoon characters. We sit around making each other laugh till we can’t breathe and then, oh, what? It’s last call. Eff.

Monday was a little rough, what with the snow and my office staying open (figures), but I made it through. I needed a very long blink, but instead went to the gym and did two spin classes. That rallied me a bit, honestly. Once home I ate a little and talked to my bff Mel for a while. THEN, yeah, I went out again. To see Timmy et al at Toad. I love the difference from Sunday to Monday.

The place was PACKED and I mean, I had to wait outside for about 10 minutes. !!! Right?! I didn’t leave my house till almost 11PM, though, soooo that kinda made sense.

Once inside I found people I knew, got myself one beer and enjoyed the music. But, again, I stayed till close. Before you call me crazy, there’s something you must understand. Although my day job is something at which I am skilled (if I do say so myself), I have zero passion about it. Music, on the other hand, is worth living for. But it’s can be work, too, and like any other job, there is networking one must do. It may not feel like networking, but it is. I have to be visible, remind people of my and the band’s existence.

Tuesday I was considering going to the Lizard Lounge for Session Americana, so when Chris called me I made plans to meet him there. I worked, went to Bosu Challenge and then over to the Lizard. First we ate supper and cracked up our waitress, who decided we were her favorite table. Awwww… sweet. The power of laughter, I tells ya.

We watched the first set of Session downstairs and it was good, but I made sure to get home by a decent hour that night. I could feel the exhaustion creeping into my bones and Wednesday’s 6AM spin class was looming. This is a class I look forward to, though, so getting sleep would be great. Chris kindly gave me a ride home hastening the time till my head would hit my pillow.

There you have it, my one resolution thrown to the wind. If you think I threw in the towel here, though, you are mistaken and musn’t know me very well. I can be quite dogged in my pursuits and don’t give up very easily. If at first you don’t succeed and all that. Wednesday I even took a nap when I got home, yes I did. Despite this I could feel this cold coming. The train had left the station and there was no stopping it.

Again, though, if you know me you know that I will not give in to illness. Attitude is everything. I’ll acknowledge I’ve got a cold and may, as I did today, let it keep me from working out, but I will not let it win.

snow pants

I’ve always considered myself a southerner, a southern girl. And my disposition is certainly so, but I realized recently that Boston (Somerville, whatever) is home. As with so many things, I’m late to come to this understanding (listen to Danielle’s beautiful song “Slow To Learn” - that’s me). Something about this last visit to Nashville, the fact that I don’t know many of the restaurants, I don’t know where things are, I didn’t know we had an area called Germantown. Nashville is my hometown, but Boston is my home.

With that in mind, it’s time for me to embrace New England. Enough of the whole “I grew up without ‘real’ snow,” “I’ve never been skiing,” and “I don’t own any snow pants.” That’s right, I bought myself a pair of snow pants. I’ve never had much in the way of snow gear at all, but I do have a nice ski jacket/coat and some layering I can make happen. (I still need good snow boots because my Uggs are only good in cold, not wet and snowy. I have a pair of hiking shoes that work for now.)

So, now if someone asks me to join them skiing or snowboarding (which I have tried and liked a lot, though I need lessons or something) I can’t say, “well, I’d go, but I don’t have any snow pants.” HA! And I’m super excited to just go out and roll around in the snow, likely around Tufts, next time we get a storm. Which will be any day now, I imagine.

ankle update

Tuesday morning I went to the doctor about my ankle. I’ve not seen my primary care physician since last March, and in fact, she left the practice in May. So I have a new PCR and have yet to meet her. In order to get an appointment sooner than later I agreed to meet with the Nurse Practitioner instead. I made the right choice.

There was almost no waiting in the waiting room, nor in the examination room after vitals. She walked in saying, “Well. YOU had quite the year, didn’t you?!” Yay! It was nice to have that recognized right away.

I gave her the briefest here’s-what-happened outline, she showed me pictures from my colonoscopy - hey! that could be anyone’s colon!! - and we moved right along to the topic of my visit.

I told her about my build-up running schedule, my attempt to cross train, then my ankle pain and how when it didn’t stop hurting once for 36 hours after running I ceased and desisted. I added that I am determined to run again. I pointed out where it usually hurt and described the swelling that I did get, but don’t have now, and she did what I expected. She gave me a slip to get an x-ray.

She then made a suggestion I didn’t expect. She gave me the photocopied business card of a Physical Therapist. “He’s the expert, I just don’t know enough about these things.” Said she sends all her athletes to him so they can get back to doing what they love. Wow, was she calling me an athlete? That’s so crazy, I love it!! From what she knows she thinks what’s going on involves the ligaments and didn’t think an x-ray would show anything, but that we ought to get one and rule out any bone issues.

Can I tell you what a relief it is, an oft overlooked boon to have a doctor you like, who you feel you can trust? Doctor, Nurse Practitioner, whatevs! It’s the security blanket you need, an expert you can call and you can rely on. (I say this about a good mechanic, too. Once I found my godlike (to me) mechanic, Tony, it didn’t matter that I moved all the way to Somerville, I still go back to Watertown whenever there’s a problem. The problem now is I don’t have a vehicle. A trifle! Pshaw!)

Seriously, though, I like this woman and felt immediately at ease. I was very sad when my last doctor left the practice to live full-time on the Cape. (This would be the doctor after the one who let me diagnose myself.) She was amazing; she even called me to find out how I was doing. Once was 5 minutes after I found out the tumor was cancerous, which was a pretty “woah!” moment on its own. She showed so much compassion and concern. I’d like to send her a note with a health update - be nice for her to have some closure - and my NP said she’d certainly pass that along for me.

Back to the ankle. Fortunately I didn’t have to go all the way over to Mt. Auburn Hospital; there was a facility in Arlington right off the 77 bus where I could get the x-ray, so off I went. I got it all taken care of and was back at work by 11AM. By then, though, my work was piled up all over my desk, literally, like someone had dropped a recycling bin all over it. Feh. Like I said, I gots plans, baby. Just you wait.

shake it up

Said I’d try new things and face my fears, so today I took a new class at the gime. The class isn’t new, it’s new to me. Joanne’s been wanting me to try it for the longest time, but Saturdays were my day off when I was running. Now that I’m not running (and btw, I finally made a doctor’s appointment for my ankle - they’ll most likely just, hopefully, refer me somewhere to get an x-ray) I have my pick of days off. No matter what, though, I’m a 6 days a week’er.

Tried a new class, eh?, you might be thinking, doesn’t sound so scary to me. You’re right. For some reason I’m always a little nervous when trying new things, going new places. Even this morning I had some anxiety wondering what would be required in this class, what equipment I’d need, whether I’d get a ticket…. Friends tell me I seem so confident most of the time, but that’s just me maintaining calm, I mean, I’m “such a leo,” as Tony says, afterall. But my exterior often belies a nervous wreck inside.

(With the exception of when I’m nervous and start running off at the mouth. My friend Eric always called it “babble filler” like I’m talking to cover up silence. Pretty right on. And kind of embarrassing. I look (listen) back and remember very stupid things I’ve said…unplanned and inappropriate… yeah. I hate that.)

The class is called Bosu Bootcamp, or it was until recently. Now it’s called Bosu Challenge. I prefer the former if only because I like alliteration. Either way, it kicked my ass. Class was at 11AM so I had time for a full night’s sleep (the only other resolution I’ve made is to get more sleep), a cup of coffee and two waffles. Got there and Joanne was second in line so she got me a bosu and settled us at the far end of the studio next to the windows. She’s so good to me.

In case you don’t know what a bosu is, it’s an acronym for both sides up (officially both sides utilized, but whatever). It’s a half ball on a round plastic board and you use either side, depending on the exercise you’re doing. Jo and I stand on them when doing our upper body strength exercises because it requires balance and makes you engage your core muscles, always a good thing.

This class is how I picture army bootcamp, except inside a slightly cushy gym, with cool music playing and all women. Started with 2 minutes of jumping jacks, on to hopping from one foot to the other and tapping the bosu with the foot that wasn’t on the ground for another 2 minutes, then using the bosu like a weight and working our lats with it, then squats on it, then… I won’t give a play by play, but was really hard. And Sean, the instructor, doesn’t give room for breaks. One hour of intense work, going from cardio to strength to plyometrics to cardio to strength… it was incredible and exactly what I wanted and needed.

I wanted something new to shake up my routine, to incorporate into my routine. I’ve started using the cable machines at the gym to change and challenge my weights schedule and last week Jo showed me how to properly use the bench press - I can now say with confidence that I bench 55lbs! hee hee But since I’m unable to run (and just when I was beginning to dig it) I needed to throw something else into the mix. This is it.

I stayed for the next class, abs and glutes, and got my ass kicked some more. Tomorrow I am going to be in some serious pain, I can tell. I’m actually excited to tell my friend Ken about this class, too, because he and his friend Thad (the musician we went to see at the Exit/In in October) have been doing the “300″ workout. It’s the one that the actors in the movie 300 supposedly did to get in that incredible shape, to get those impossible abs. He described it to me and it sounds daunting and hardcore, to say the least.

Can I take a moment here to say how fabulous my friend Joanne is? I’m so lucky lucky lucky! She got me to watch 30 Rock, now my favorite show (give those writers the deal they deserve!!!), she inspires me to stay after 2x spin (sometimes to stay for 2x spin) to lift, she had me over to her place for New Year’s, she has offered to drive me to get big groceries (and gave me a ride home today), and when she and her husband Josh came over to watch the Pats v the Giants last Saturday they not only brought a nice bottle of red wine, but a 12 pack of cherry Coke Zero, my favorite.

And now she’s introduced me to an awesome new class and I can’t thank her enough. Then, when she’s dropping me off at home she tells me that the first time she tried that class she couldn’t do the whole thing, so I did a impressive job. She congratulated and encouraged me telling me I have a great fitness base. Well damn. How nice is that? I mean, a year ago I barely knew Jo, but now she’s one of my closest friends. You just never know, right? Now she’s going to try to get me into her Ultimate Frisbee thing. But before that, I want to learn how to make pottery - hers is beautiful.

New things, right? So tonight I wanted chocolate. Dug through my pantry and found a box of No Pudge Fudge Brownie mix. I completely forgot I had these and I had yogurt, so I made them. Yep, that’s all you need is some vanilla yogurt (or plain and some vanilla extract). Holy shit, they’re good; great consistency, chewy and gooey and zero fat! If you like brownies, I highly recommend.  Plus, they made my apartment smell yummy.

no g’news is good g’news

with Gary Gnu!!

This morning I finally met with my Oncologist, Dr. Jain, and his assistant Dr. Elizabeth Buchbinder. No dread because I knew the most they’d do to me was take blood. Which they did at the end and did so to check the level of something in my blood that would indicate …. man, I don’t know. But they wanted to make sure the levels hadn’t risen. I try to pay attention, I’m now thinking I ought to write more down.

After my vitals I sat down with Beth and we talked. This was more them checking in with me than the other way around. She asked if I’d been nauseous, dizzy, any stomach aches, numbness in my fingers or toes, and as usual I said no, no, no and no. I stopped taking the nausea medication they gave me long before I finished chemotherapy. I honestly forgot to take it because I didn’t feel sick. Said it before and I’ll surely say it again, but how did I get so lucky?

Once Dr. Jain came in we discussed what to expect in the future. I made an appointment for another PET Scan in March and a week later another meeting with the docs to discuss. At that point we can talk about removing the porta-cath. I’m fine with this. The port is unsightly and once in a while I bump it and hurt myself, but I’d prefer to leave it in as long as necessary. The thought of surgery to remove it is one thing, but there’s always a possibility of recurrence and slight as that chance is, I’d rather not have to have more surgery to put another in.

Dr. Jain wants to see me every three months for the next two years. It’s so strange to me to think ahead that far. With most cancer they say you’re in the clear (for the most part) after five years. Wow. I still can’t believe this all happened, you wanna know the truth. It’s very surreal. When I got to the hospital one of the receptionists said to me, “I know you, right? You look familiar.” I said, “Yeah, I had six months of chemotherapy here.” “OH, yeah. Hi.” Funny, I mean, I only finished at the end of August.

I’m supposed to call them if anything comes up before the three months out appointment. Dr. Jain saw my vitals and said he wants me to gain weight. HA, yeah, right. Not planning on that and told him so. Didn’t tell him the weight on the chart was with all my winter clothes on, including my boots. Mostly he just doesn’t want me to start losing weight rapidly, but I would see that as a sign of something dangerous, too, so we’re on the same page.

I had to go to work afterwards and was slammed from 12:30PM on, which certainly made the day fly. Beth called me around 2 to let me know my blood came back with levels of whatever they were looking for even lower than last time. Good news all around.

this is the new year

Last December I was on the phone with K8 and I told her 2007 was going to be a year of changes. Little did I know how right I’d be. Among many other things:

  • my brother, David and his wife, Beth, had a baby boy (Daniel) in January
  • that same month K8 found out she was pregnant (then gave birth in August to Matilda)
  • K8’s dad, Fred, with whom I’m close, had a brain tumor removed (and is doing great)
  • I had a painful, “angry” cancerous tumor removed from my colon and underwent six months of chemotherapy
  • my brother Michael had an exhibition of his photography in Greensboro, NC in May
  • my long-time romantic relationship with Todd is now a friendship, one I cherish and hope we maintain for a long, long time
  • my parents went to Australia a second (!!) time to deliver a paper he wrote (yeah, you’re so “retired” dad!)
  • I met (and not only get along with, but totally dig) my two half-siblings on my mother’s side

Looks like I was right with my “prediction” for changes. Dude, don’t give me that look. I know every year brings changes, but geez, come ON, this is extreme. And believe me, my list is incomplete. I left out how my friend Ken qualified to compete for his Pro mountain bike event, but then got hurt (pretty badly) and couldn’t compete. I left out how Mel’s mom broke her leg. This was a crazy weird year. And there’s more!

Clearly these changes weren’t all bad or even negative (and if you know me, I’ll look for a way to see a bright side, dur….). Finding out I had cancer wasn’t the best day of my life, but I did what I had to do and I’m alive, and I’m healthier than ever. (Did I happen to mention how when I ate Krispy Kreme in Nashville I felt sick sick sick? My body can no longer handle it thanks to my healthy eating habits. You believe that? I sabotaged myself!) And here I am with that same feeling again: I feel big changes for 2008, at least for me.

I don’t make resolutions, I make plans and I try to set goals. But if I did have any resolutions they’d be my usual mental reminders to stay focused, be diligent, attempt to prioritize and manage my time better (this is a constant problem), and to not be afraid to try new things.

In fact, I’d like to try a lot of new things this year. I’m not going to make a pronouncement about trying something new every single day. Certainly not this late in the game, that’d be like saying I’m planning to run a marathon next month. Not only would it require a training schedule and forethought, but why put myself under that kind of pressure? It’s bad enough I make to do lists to help remind myself of the crap I want to get to then let them rule me! oy vey. That’d be a good resolution, not to let my silly to do lists box me in.

I’m determined to get out there and try new things and face some fears. If you think I’m being cagey about my plans and goals, you’re right. Let’s acknowledge that and move on.

May you have a tremendous, successful and joyous 2008.