Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Thankful for Small Things

“...my obsession with gratefulness. I can't stop. 

Just now, I press the elevator button and am thankful that it arrives quickly. I get onto the elevator and am thankful that the elevator cable didn't snap and plummet me to the basement. I go to the fifth floor and am thankful that I didn't have to stop on the second or third or fourth floor. I get out and am thankful that Julie left the door unlocked so I don't have to rummage for my King Kong key ring. I walk in and am thankful that Jasper is home and healthy and stuffing his face with pineapple wedges.

And on and on. 

I'm actually muttering to myself, 'Thank you... Thank you.. Thank you...' 

It's an odd way to live. But also kind of great and powerful. I've never before been so aware of the thousands of little good things, the thousands of things that go right every day.”

Monday, June 18, 2012

What I want to say to my husband the night before he starts chemo

I've been "really brave" and "handing this with such grace." At least people've been telling me so.

My overly analytical brain's been processing this, well, analytically, absorbing medical journals and clinical trial results. Because knowledge is power. Right?

Testicular cancer.

Stage 2c to 3a extragonadal germ cell tumor. Seminoma (better than its evil twin, the aggressive, drug-resistant nonseminoma).

No one prepares you for this diagnosis, especially to receive it within days of your first wedding anniversary.

For about two days, I shuddered - literally - with morbid fears. Then I started reading. Statistics made me feel better, more in control. An "Oh, that's the best sorta cancer he can have!" from my internist during a checkup was assuaging.

Then today, I filled two prescriptions I'd shoved to the bottom of my purse two weeks ago when the oncologist handed them to me. "Fill these and keep them handy. We have great pills these days to help with the nausea and vomiting."

I should have known when the pharmacist handed them over, soft-spokenly answered my questions, and looked at me with a sideways sympathy as if to say "But she's so young..."

I should have known then that one ought really never read the "Contraindications and Side Effects" fact sheet provided with prescriptions. They'll just scare the ever-living shit out of you. Instead, ask your good doctor good questions and move on.

"THIS DRUG IS AN ANTI-PSYCHOTIC," the first fact sheet began. Fuck.

"This drug may cause seizures." And so it went.

And right on cue, my palpitations began.

So, I've been handling this like a champ, right? I've been really brave, right?

But tonight, when my husband finally forced himself to try to sleep, I didn't join him. I couldn't lay next to him like this. A sense of dread - panic? - has suddenly gripped me like a Charlie horse and brought me to my knees.

Instead, I picked myself up and got in the shower. The feeling followed me into the steam. It's like a freight train bearing down on us at full speed, and I must, I MUST, jump in front of it to protect him.

Thing is, we stand so near one another, as lovers are wont to do, that my taking the hit will only delay his own, not prevent it. And what good am I to him then?

But what good am I to him at all, I ask myself.

I press my forehead against the tile and cry out to God, begging for forgiveness for my sins, for my daily lousiness at being the wife I wish to be. I pray that God protects my husband from sickness, that he doesn't suffer, that the medicine does what it should, that he is rid of this silent, sneaky bastard.

(He's had cancer for possibly five years, the urologist estimates, and yet it will ultimately be the treatment that causes his first feelings of illness. Oh, the irony.)

I pray, too, that the rushing water and thin walls of this house mask my sobbing and gurgling. I can't bear for him to hear me. He mustn't know my weakness. Afterall, HE is the one with a fucking grapefruit growing next to his spine. Who the hell am I to be scared?

I don't know what scared is.

So, tonight, what I want to say to my husband, just seven hours before he starts 12 weeks of poisonous cure (God willing), is this:

I can't jump in front of this train for you. There is nothing I can do to derail it. But I will stand right here next to you. We will dig our heels in and brace our arms and muster all our strength. And we will hold off this fucking train together. It will know the power that is us. And you will not fight on this track alone.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Smudge of Dirt


Laissez les bons temps rouler!

It's coming down to the wire. Less than an hour left to splurge before Lent begins, and I've yet to decide what to sacrifice this year...

Thinking of going to Mass every morning before work, or maybe praying the Divine Office each day, or some sorta fasting (beyond one meal and no meat on Ash Wednesday and all Fridays).

That would cover two of the three tenets of Lenten sacrifice: prayer and fasting. The ubiquitous Rice Bowl covers the third: almsgiving.



I just don't think giving up chocolate or Diet Coke is gonna cut it. We're grownups now, kids! Guess I better start trying to act like it.

One list suggested putting a popcorn kernal in your shoe to facilitate some suffering. I read about a guy who gave up his bed and slept on the floor!



For me, getting up super early, not hitting the Snooze button, and forcing myself to make quiet time for prayer would be a big sacrifice - and can only be a good thing, no?

Maybe I should give up Facebook! Naw, can't; need it for work. Oooh, texting. That I could give up, and cell phone apps, too. Would force me to be more "present," I'm guessing (more on that later). Hmm...

Anyone else sacrificing something for Lent? Ideas?

...Now, any guesses on how long it'll take before someone at work tomorrow tells me, "You have a little somethin' on your face there."

*sigh* No, it's not just a smudge of dirt.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Wanderlust: Fort Collins

If you know me, you know wanderlust gets the better of my waking hours more often than not.



Today's daydream: Gateway Natural Area, Fort Collins, Colorado

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Film: City on Fire

Adorable Chow Yun-fat's 1987 catapult to stardom. Rat tails, pleated pants, English dubbing... Pretty cheesy, but perhaps a bit too cheesy. Bordering on "processed cheese food" kinda cheesy, and not enough action to make up for it.



*Disappointing, though we do get a nice rear view of Chow's rear view. ^.^

Postscript: Who knew there was a website, also called City on Fire and similarly lackluster, that reviews Asian films? Ah, the serendipity of Bing.

100 Years... 100 Movies

One the New Year's resolutions that Hubs and I made is to stay home more often, cooking, spending time together, nesting (and saving moolah for our first house!). So there will undoubtedly be a lot of movie watching, and we've decided to update our Netflix queue with AFI’s "100 Years… 100 Movies". Some of these I've seen, but it's been so long that they're worth another go 'round. Perhaps, if I'm feeling so inclined, I'll post here about each film as we watch it. I'd love to read about your fave flicks and what you think about those on the list.


(Those in bold, I've seen.)

1. CITIZEN KANE 1941
2. THE GODFATHER 1972
3. CASABLANCA 1942
4. RAGING BULL 1980
5. SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN 1952
6. GONE WITH THE WIND 1939
7. LAWRENCE OF ARABIA 1962
8. SCHINDLER’S LIST 1993
9. VERTIGO 1958
10. THE WIZARD OF OZ 1939
11. CITY LIGHTS 1931
12. THE SEARCHERS 1956
13. STAR WARS 1977
14. PSYCHO 1960
15. 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY 1968
16. SUNSET BLVD. 1950
17. THE GRADUATE 1967
18. THE GENERAL 1927
19. ON THE WATERFRONT 1954
20. IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE 1946
21. CHINATOWN 1974
22. SOME LIKE IT HOT 1959
23. THE GRAPES OF WRATH 1940
24. E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL 1982
25. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD 1962
26. MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON 1939
27. HIGH NOON 1952
28. ALL ABOUT EVE 1950
29. DOUBLE INDEMNITY 1944
30. APOCALYPSE NOW 1979
31. THE MALTESE FALCON 1941
32. THE GODFATHER PART II 1974
33. ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST 1975
34. SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS 1937
35. ANNIE HALL 1977
36. THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI 1957
37. THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES 1946
38. THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE 1948
39. DR. STRANGELOVE 1964
40. THE SOUND OF MUSIC 1965
41. KING KONG 1933
42. BONNIE AND CLYDE 1967
43. MIDNIGHT COWBOY 1969
44. THE PHILADELPHIA STORY 1940
45. SHANE 1953
46. IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT 1934
47. A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE 1951
48. REAR WINDOW 1954
49. INTOLERANCE 1916
50. THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING 2001
51. WEST SIDE STORY 1961
52. TAXI DRIVER 1976
53. THE DEER HUNTER1978
54. M*A*S*H 1970
55. NORTH BY NORTHWEST 1959
56. JAWS 1975
57. ROCKY 1976
58. THE GOLD RUSH 1925
59. NASHVILLE 1975
60. DUCK SOUP 1933
61. SULLIVAN'S TRAVELS 1941
62. AMERICAN GRAFFITI 1973
63. CABARET 1972
64. NETWORK 1976
65. THE AFRICAN QUEEN 1951
66. RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK 1981
67. WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? 1966
68. UNFORGIVEN 1992
69. TOOTSIE 1982
70. A CLOCKWORK ORANGE 971
71. SAVING PRIVATE RYAN 1998
72. THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION 1994
73. BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID 1969
74. THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS 1991
75. IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT 1967
76. FORREST GUMP 1994
77. ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN 1976
78. MODERN TIMES 1936
79. THE WILD BUNCH 1969
80. THE APARTMENT 1960
81. SPARTACUS 1960
82. SUNRISE 1927
83. TITANIC 1997
84. EASY RIDER 1969
85. A NIGHT AT THE OPERA 1935
86. PLATOON 1986
87. 12 ANGRY MEN 1957
88. BRINGING UP BABY 1938
89. THE SIXTH SENSE 1999
90. SWING TIME 1936
91. SOPHIE'S CHOICE 1982
92. GOODFELLAS 1990
93. THE FRENCH CONNECTION 1971
94. PULP FICTION 1994
95. THE LAST PICTURE SHOW 1971
96. DO THE RIGHT THING 1989
97. BLADE RUNNER 1982
98. YANKEE DOODLE DANDY 1942
99. TOY STORY 1995
100. BEN-HUR 1959