Monthly Archives: March 2011

Ow . Ow. Tense.

I have had this same injury for over 20 years. My neck and shoulder get irritated due to me showing off in a weight training class in 1989. I can never say what sets it off, I could be sitting on the wrong side of someone for an extended period or I could just be too lazy. Sometimes, to be honest, it is a sign one of my favorite undergarments is wearing out.

Regardless, the neck and shoulder pain, combined with clogged sinuses can make for bad headaches. These days, I become paranoid about it. I am weirdly comforted by the pain I have right now. With motrin and ice, the headache went away. The neck and shoulder pain are still there, and my sinuses are still hurting. So I am happy my head is not pounding, even if my neck is on fire.

An Accomplishment

Not directly child related, not cancer related.

I had intended to make a complete class roster over the Christmas break (for Paco’s class). I never got there. We have a printed address list for the kids, and we have a separate email list. I had volunteered to do the merging of the two. It only took me 90 days to complete. To be fair, I only had a response from 5 parents and the directory was not published until the end of January. So ok, closer to 70 days.

The photo I did not get today was Clark walking Lemon out to the car after lunch. The small kid holding the finger of the 6ft dude.

Yea, yea Lemon bit Paco and left a huge mark on Paco’s waist. But just a few hours before, Lemon was as cute as can be.

Not Writer’s Block

Writer’s Gloom. The last few days have been the same as most, with the rain stopping the momentum of baseball practices and games and my not walking anywhere. I used to love walking in rain, Regretfully, pushing a stroller in the rain is different. Lemon kicks off the rain hood and then is soaking wet.

Steve and I are presently at a point of glumness. We each have our own stresses, but they are so different.  (Steve is hiring people and launching new projects; I am telling Lemon and Paco to listen and stop throwing things.) And we are different. We are back on the way up, and I know this is just the gentle roller coaster of marriage, alas, sometimes the up seems steeper than it needs to be. Steve is appreciating that we are actually in the best place we could ask to be in life. And I only remind myself of that when I tell my story for the first time to someone. When I can be an evangelist of positive thinking, it makes me think positively. When I have the chance to stew, I get pretty grumpy.

I don’t think this is Cancer-related gloom; I think, to some extent, my life is simply: normal.

And there it is, I can chose to see it as half-empty. I am incorrect. It is half-full.Yes, Lemon tried to bite me today, no nap, a lot of trying to throw peas around. But then, for a precious 45 minutes in Target, he kissed my hand, and kept nuzzling it as I pushed the cart.

Argh. I hate it when Steve is right.

A Repeat Blog

Addictions…Part I

My tongue is peeling. It seems anything can cause it. I am so lazy, and I think tracking the kick off to the peeling would just push me into a world where I do not wish to be. Everyone has vices or addictions. Mine is truly eating and something to put me at ease at night. I find I have three or four relaxation vices, benadryl, unisom, vodka. I see why Dr. Adams did not want to give me Atavan. I have not taken it, but it is more risky than any of my vices. It is more addictive.

I seem to waiver from wanting to be knee deep in the kids and wanting to be on my own. Today I sneaked off to …try on bras. So not really appropriate for bonding with the boys. I had 2 hours on my own and the entire time, I kept thinking about Paco.

I suspect that this is not so much cancer related, but rather stay-at-home mom related. We love our jobs, but man, a vacation in Hawaii sounds awesome too.


Geraldine and I always pick up right where we left off. I think we both miss us traveling to the UK. But for now, she understands why (more child and $ related rather than Glioblastoma-related). The trip was simply a good day. I went on a plane for the first time in 18 months, I was alone. I was good.

I rarely get to introduce Geraldine to new things. She has introduced me well to experiences. The experiences: Argentine market, Target and Tiffany & Co.

First, John honored my request of taking me to this small Argentine butcher in Burbank (I had flown into Burbank). It was a glorious few minutes of asking for what I wanted. What do the two people who worked there (butchers) prefer when it comes to Argentine Dulce de Leche or cookies (specifically, an Alfajor, which is a long explanation). The entire conversation was in Spanish (and too, I spoke Spanish to one of the airport traffic policemen). John and Geraldine noticed how I was treated because I gave Spanish a go. I am far from fluent, but my mom, has taught me to try. Always try. Because I tried, I was warmly helped in the circle of Argentine food. The butcher pointed me to the most expensive Alfajores, but to the cheapest dulce de leche. He could speak English, it was clear, but since I said why I spoke Spanish and I said thank you for letting me practice, he never switched. He just articulated words slowly and well. (Oh, the Alfajores were the best Paco, Steve and I had ever tasted from the box (bakeries, another story). We are now officially addicted).

Back to Geraldine…

At Target, she fell in love with the $7 t-shirts. At Tiffany, she was so impressed with how I was treated (I just went in to get the good earring backings they have, I cannot find the ones I bought in December!). Here I was, about to spend $5.00 and I was treated as though I were to spend $50,000.00 The man there even noticed the tiny silver Tiffany earrings I was wearing. This he expressed with a compliment. So from now on, she will go into Target, and go into Tiffany’s. I like this.

I was married before she was, but her marriage has been a wonderful guide. She and her husband were so different. We were gossiping (her brother and I) about how she and her husband have positively changed each other. Steve and I were more stubborn about changes, but we do try to follow the path they have articulated so well. He is the love of her life. It is such a huge bonus that she married a car fanatic. He and Steve have clicked from the moment they met. He has slowly let go of each of his collector cars (save for one) because he wants to share his life, substantially with her. She never thought that he should sell them, he just wanted to simplify his previous passions before he was part of her life. They met 10 years ago. And they still seem new. Vibrant. Impassioned.

I also felt unbelievably honored yesterday when she described our friendship (to another friend) over the last (almost) 17 years (holy cow). It too, is strong and vibrant. Her brother ensured that I knew of all my blessings. He knew the perfect words to say. He is a mentor in almost dying, and slowly moving forward.

I was speculating about relationships…those that last. I have a theory that it takes a third party to do the screening. I was thinking of my 5 Sac friends, and the good marriages we all seem to have (just the usual complaints, nothing crucial) and of the 6 marriages, all but one had a matchmaker involved (Shan was mine, thank you Shan!). All but one had a screening process of a friend or a matchmaking service. I was thinking that even for my mom, there was someone at the bridge center who thought she and Clark would make a good match.

Other than the chatting, the highlight of the adventure (aside from the Argentine interaction) was on the return flight. The plane was relatively empty, but across the aisle, a row back, was a guy who had been traveling. He was older, friendly, and had a southern accent, but had resettled in Roseville. The man in the window seat was also a local. I listened to them talk for the hour long flight and I held my tongue, tightly. The aisle guy started off ok, just talking about Japan and the tragedies in the news. They seemed just like two men chatting: one in his early 50s and one in his 60s. Then, clearly, the aisle guy let his politics show, (and not in sync with my own). I wanted to turn and start debating with him about ethics and morality but the man at the window eloquently posed logical questions and statements. Rather than arguing with someone’s politics, he chose to slowly and calmly express his views, his evidence. I was so glad I could hear how well issues could be put, how articulate one person can be in an intimate setting. The Window Guy wanted to make it a good, healthy discussion. He showed his political lean to the left, but no judgement for those leaning to the right. Openness. I was reminded of an old friend (gay) who said, if you want a world of diversity, one has to celebrate both sides of the rainbow.

I am worn out, for good reasons. Yesterday was a long and happy day. Today too. As Geraldine and John raved about my boys, I just missed them so. I missed them quietly for one, whole day.

I am now typing, listening to Peter Gabriel instead of Steve’s snoring. He told me I could stay up late tonight. It does not seem to matter what or why we squabble. At the end of the day, I cannot hold anger. I was frustrated by being…The Mom. All day I felt as though I were nagging (it was not even a bad day! It was a good day). Nag. Nag. Nag. I also felt like everything I said was being questioned (daily with Paco and I had a hilarious conversation with Judy about the Alfajores).

Steve asked me how he was questioning me. And I explained. Then I magically put the situation in a work context. We were lying here, describing completely different interpretations. It was hilarious if one thinks about it. He fell asleep in the process but my anger lasted about 70 minutes. Don’t get me wrong, I am listening to him snore and want to wake him up or turn him over. Or I want to make a list of naggable items and tape it to his head (garbage, garbage, garbage). But I have my headset in my ears and I am listening to Peter Gabriel’s Passion album and I am smiling to the snoring in the background. This album first came out in 1990 and I listened to the cassette then. I was not doing well with my father’s illness. I had a cassette walkman and would lie in the dark, listening to Passion. This time was before I had lived outside of Sacramento, before I had left the country, before I met El Roncador. In those days, it was escapism. two years ago, I listened to it to help me with the labor of Lemon. Tonight, it is to drown out the sound of snoring. To me, this is a sign of a simpler, better life.


I flew down to LA for the day. Geraldine was in from England visiting her brother. They offered to come up here, but my mom and beau-père stepped in at 7:30 this morning to care for the kids. Lemon cried for a moment as I left, but I doubt it lasted long.

Seeing Geraldine always reminds me of the positive places I have been and the good friends I have. And her brother, having faced death and escaped from it years ago, is one of my favorite mentors. I can be frank and ask questions. So from 7:45 to (now) 10:00PM, I was child-free. I am tired, but happy.

I should write more in detail about what an eye-opening day it was in the positive measure…but for now, I need to sleep. Tomorrow I am back on duty and Lemon will be asking for Barbara all day.