Thursday, March 26, 2009

Where's My Lollipop?

I had my annual breast MRI today, which meant busting out the orange panties and spending some quality time lying on my stomach on a narrow table inside a narrow tunnel, endeavoring to remain perfectly still for a good 30 minutes or so.

This would have been substantially easier if I had not:
  • had a runny nose from an inconvenient sinus infection;
  • been stifling coughs from the same source;
  • had an IV in my right arm;
  • been lying with my head facing left, to the dismay of my still-tender back and neck;
  • been surrounded by incessant clanging and clattering that was only barely blunted by the single earplug placed (not by me) in my upward-facing ear; and
  • been taken by surprise when the nurse "pushed" the contrast medium through my IV rather than warning me that in a moment I'd feel a warm, flushed sensation in my groin (an odd and startling but common reaction, and one easily mistaken for a bed-wetting episode).
Zach had the pleasure of accompanying me all the way into the MRI room (although not into the tunnel).

It was just as loud where he was sitting, reading the paper and waiting for me to emerge.

He, however, got two earplugs.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Back East

It took us nearly six hours of sorting through airline schedules and flight credits and enough miscellaneous scheduling constraints to create an LSAT-worthy logic game, but we have finally succeeded in planning our first joint return trip to the East Coast since moving to LA last year.

We'll be wending our way down the eastern seaboard, from Boston to DC, and hope to see as many family members and friends as possible during our just-over-a-week-long trip in late May, timed to coincide with Zach's high-school reunion.

We are tickled at the thought of getting a concentrated dose of home—getting to see so many of our favorite people and indulge in a few of our favorite things. (Fried seafood on the Cape! Theater in NY! More walking!!)

We've been talking about this trip in one form or another for quite a while, but actually having it on the calendar now is a great psychological boost.

Because not only do we have the promise of a great just-over-a-week—we also have a whole just-over-two-months to look forward to it.

Starting now!

Sunday, March 15, 2009


I realized with a start just a few minutes ago that it's been eight years since my initial diagnosis.

In some ways, that's an impossibly long time. (The length of the Bush presidency, for example.)

Yet because those first weeks and months as a cancer patient were such searing experiences, they remain vivid in a way that seems to compress the intervening years.

Most memories from that far back are faded and threadbare—and hard to get to, as if they're lodged behind a stack of boxes in a dusty corner of an attic.

These, by contrast, are always accessible—sometimes too accessible. They answer brightly whenever called.

And occasionally they do the calling.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

But I Wouldn't Do It Barefoot

I just returned from a long weekend in New York, and one of the truly wonderful things I got to do several times while I was there was walk around the city.

That's right.


Around the CITY.

When I say those words out loud, it's in a dreamy, wistful, almost reverent tone.

Because the way I feel about walking in the city—especially New York City—is how most people feel about walking on the beach.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Not the Best Morning

This morning, as I was standing at the bus stop reading the New York Times, an unwelcome missive from a bird on the power lines above landed right on A1.  (Above the fold.)

It was a pretty gross experience, between the splat! it made and the nasty way it looked.  I carefully tore the paper around the affected area and tossed the offending portion in the trash. 

Eventually, I boarded the bus and rode downtown.  I continued to read the paper and successfully distracted myself enough that I was no longer completely grossed out.

And then we reached my stop.  

I exited through the rear door right onto the sidewalk, where I narrowly missed stepping on a dead rat.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Savoring the Small Stuff

Fifteen things that are making me happy right now:
  1. The feel of our new shag rug under my bare feet.
  2. Hearing "Falling Slowly" as I type.
  3. Seeing Zach in an apron.
  4. Smelling the leftover short ribs he's reheating from the dinner party we attended on Saturday night.
  5. Knowing I made progress in physical therapy tonight, even though I'm sore as a result.
  6. That one of my dearest friends is feeling pretty damn good, all things considered.
  7. Watching "Snow Day in New York City" on the New York Times website.
  8. That our 17- and almost-18-year-old cats are spry enough to go outside and play.
  9. Having gotten a whiff of night-blooming jasmine on my way home.
  10. The candy-apple-red tote bag that I got for a song and that makes me look so much more stylish than I really am.
  11. Thinking about seeing my mom and my sister this weekend.
  12. Finding out that an old friend and her family will be in LA on vacation next month.
  13. Realizing that an even older friend will be here next week!
  14. Ambient intimacy.
  15. The possibility that before too long our living room will be repainted a much warmer and brighter shade.

    Sunday, March 01, 2009

    Lions and Lambs

    I'm not quite sure how March arrived so quickly, but here it is.

    There's a winter storm warning in effect in New York, while it was nearly 80 degrees here in Los Angeles today. And that, ladies and gentlemen, sums up the great divide between the two cities. (Well, I'm using the term "cities" loosely. Los Angeles is a major metropolitan area, but it's not nearly urban enough to be a city—in my book, at least.)

    Nearly everyone I meet here touts the weather as LA's greatest attribute.

    Maybe it is for most people.

    But honestly, it's just not my issue.

    I like the seasons—plural. The traditional ones, I mean. Not the LA versions, which I understand are distinct from one another (well, sort of) but truly lack the majesty of their East Coast cousins.

    I miss winter. And I love a good snowstorm, even if I have to shovel the walk and wear a million layers and wrap a scarf around my face sometimes.

    Do I enjoy the novelty of wearing shorts on March 1 (or February 1 or January 1 or December 1)? Sure. Who wouldn't?

    But isn't that what vacations are for?