Friday, August 29, 2008

we clean up nice

But could we get one pic where all of us were looking at the camera and smiling? Um, no.
Updated to add this cute pic of D. and my nephew, in their matching ties. S. had a matching one, too.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

wow. this makes it so real

My sister found this when she googled me the other day.

It's funny how something can be simultaneously extremely cool and utterly terrifying.

That's not the final title and it's not coming out until the spring of 2009. Even so, I am embarassed to say how many times I have clicked on this link, just to prove to myself it's still there.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

eating cake and the 20 second update

I have been out of town for a couple of days, spending time with friends at their cottage. We were four adults, four boys ranging in age from 17 months to 11 years and five dogs of various ages and sizes. It was barely controlled chaos and absolute bliss.

I am home now. In a few minutes I will turn off the computer and go curl up with a good book and a slice of my friend M.'s divine lemon pound cake (it contains an entire cup of butter and six cups of sugar. That's before icing) Perhaps I'll even have a ice cold cider with the cake.

In other news, I have a new post up at MyBreastCancerNetwork.Com, called "The Challenge of the Twenty Second Update."

This past week end, I went to a beautiful wedding with my family. In attendance were relatives I hadn’t seen in many years, lots of people I had never met and one of my favourite teachers from grade school.

I always feel a bit of awkwardness at these kinds of events, as I brace myself for the inevitable questions, “What are you up to these days?” or “What do you do?”

No one wants to drop the c-word at a wedding, least of all me.

You can read the rest of this post here.

I hope you are all enjoying summer's last gasp with your own cold cider and lemon pound cake. Or whatever it is that makes you happy.

Monday, August 25, 2008

when boring is good

This is an excerpt from a post I wrote for MyBreastCancerNetwork.Com. I wrote it last Tuesday morning, before chemo:

When I am done, I will crawl off the bed a lot more slowly than I climbed onto it and my friend will take me home. For the next few days, I will feel like I have the flu. As my physical symptoms improve, my mood will worsen. By Friday, I will have to keep reminding myself that my rage and my sorrow are temporary.

And then Saturday will come and I will feel (more or less) like myself again.

If all goes well, things will continue like this over the next few months. Chemotherapy every four weeks. Clean scans every few months. And my echocardiograms will show that my heart still beats strongly and with regularity.

I am left with little to tell about my life as a cancer patient that is earth shatteringly new. But, as my spouse is quick to point out to me, when you have metastatic cancer of any kind, boring is very good indeed.

You can read the rest of this post here.

Friday, August 22, 2008

beautiful faces

Updated to say that my spouse thinks I should have edited my leg out of the second picture. I am feeling extremely lazy today, so I can't be bothered. I think it looks fine, as it is.

Updated again: A very nice reader of this blog cropped the pic for me and I concede that it really does look much better.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

food meme

Recovering from chemo always provides me with an excuse to spend time online getting caught up on the blogs that I love. I am stealing this meme from Average Jane, who also posted the following instructions:

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment at linking to your results.

It took me a while to do (I cut myself some slack when I am in my jammies for days on end) but it was fun.

And I have the following observations:

1- I don't know as much about food as I thought I did. I had to look a lot of these things up.

2-I am not as adventurous as I was in my younger days. Not sure that I would eat frogs' legs now. Or that I would have turned down head cheese, had I been offered it when I was younger.

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:

1. Venison

2. Nettle tea

3. Huevos rancheros

4. Steak tartare

5. Crocodile

6. Black pudding

7. Cheese fondue

8. Carp

9. Borscht

10. Baba ghanoush

11. Calamari

12. Pho

13. PB&J sandwich

14. Aloo gobi

15. Hot dog from a street cart

16. Epoisses

17. Black truffle

18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes

19. Steamed pork buns

20. Pistachio ice cream

21. Heirloom tomatoes

22. Fresh wild berries

23. Foie gras

24. Rice and beans

25. Brawn, or head cheese

26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper

27. Dulce de leche

28. Oysters

29. Baklava

30. Bagna cauda

31. Wasabi peas

32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl

33. Salted lassi

34. Sauerkraut

35. Root beer float

36. Cognac with a fat cigar

37. Clotted cream tea

38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O

39. Gumbo

40. Oxtail

41. Curried goat

42. Whole insects

43. Phaal

44. Goat’s milk

45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more

46. Fugu

47. Chicken tikka masala

48. Eel

49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut

50. Sea urchin

51. Prickly pear

52. Umeboshi

53. Abalone

54. Paneer

55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal

56. Spaetzle

57. Dirty gin martini

58. Beer above 8% ABV

59. Poutine

60. Carob chips

61. S’mores

62. Sweetbreads

63. Kaolin

64. Currywurst

65. Durian

66. Frogs’ legs

67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake

68. Haggis

69. Fried plantain

70. Chitterlings, or andouillette

71. Gazpacho

72. Caviar and blini

73. Louche absinthe

74. Gjetost, or brunost

75. Roadkill

76. Baijiu

77. Hostess Fruit Pie

78. Snail

79. Lapsang souchong

80. Bellini

81. Tom yum

82. Eggs Benedict

83. Pocky

84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.

85. Kobe beef

86. Hare

87. Goulash

88. Flowers

89. Horse

90. Criollo chocolate

91. Spam

92. Soft shell crab

93. Rose harissa

94. Catfish

95. Mole poblano

96. Bagel and lox

97. Lobster Thermidor

98. Polenta

99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee

100. Snake

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


One of my least favourite of household chores is the making of school and day camp lunches. It is an entirely thankless task, one in which I often see the results of my efforts returned at the end of the day.

And, ten year old S., in particular, has told me on more than one occasion that the lunches I make are not nearly as good as those of his peers. I am not sure if this is because white bread, sugary drinks and most highly processed treats are off the menu, if his perception is distorted or if my lack of enthusiasm for the task is reflected in the end product.

At any rate, I have not had to pack him a lunch in a while and I haven't missed it.

However, S. has spent the last couple of weeks staying with his Grandma and attending a day camp at the Royal Ontario Museum (an animation camp. They are making movies!). On the first day, Grandma asked S. what she should make him for lunch.

"Mama always makes me a ham and cheese sandwich with butter and a little bit of hot sauce."

Perhaps my efforts have not gone entirely unappreciated after all.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

i'm too busy to have cancer

I have far too much on my plate right now to go to chemo.

But I must.

See you on the other side.

Meanwhile, I have a post up at MyBreastCancerNetwork.Com.

Friday, August 15, 2008

another incredbible piece of writing

Jenny, who writes at "At Least It's A Good Cancer," wrote this piece, on the change in identity that comes with being a cancer patient:

At first, I wanted so much to maintain my professional identity, to be the smart, strong person who just happens to be going through cancer treatment. I didn't want to be like those grey, wispy, shadowed people sitting in the waiting room in their headscarfs and their wheelchairs. When I had surgery and couldn't wash my own hair, it was hard to accept help because it just drove home my incapability. When I couldn't walk outside for a full half hour at a time, I felt the loss of my physicality more than I had ever felt its presence.

What the writer doesn't say, and what happened too slowly for me to watch, is that you really can go back to something like your old life, and leave that self-loss behind; but it's almost like a projection of your old life, one rendered in all the same colors and moving in the same patterns, but against a different screen, parallel to the old but never quite touching.
I cannot say how much this spoke to me, even though Jenny has completed treatment and mine is ongoing. I have been thinking a lot lately about how strongly I feel about wanting to be seen as strong, vibrant and above all well, that I have even become defensive when anyone implies otherwise.

You can read the rest of Jenny's post here.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

more random

I am feeling a little scattered today so here are so more random thoughts:

1. I have been in such a good mood since my manuscript came back from my editor. I think I am just basically relieved that she didn't say, "This is a piece of sh*t and I have no idea why we said we would publish it." Sometimes it pays to set your expectations really low.

2. I am finding time management or the organization of my day to be a real challenge. No matter what thing I do well on any given day, there are several that I should have done and didn't.

3. I am very sad that Jeremy Hinzman is being deported.

4. I took a deep breath and gave some thought to an email before I wrote it today. In doing so, I realized that the other person had raised some valid points. I think cancer has made me grow up a little.

5. I am very psyched for the Ottawa Folk Festival. It had better not rain (as it has almost every day this summer). We had such a good time last year.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

my 'best of the blogosphere'

Today's blog is brought to you by other people. Only they don't know it yet.

I am behind in my blog reading and even further behind in life but here are some of the best posts I have read this week, the ones that I keep thinking about:

I Don't Want to Be Dooce by Sassymonkey.

Ambulance Chasing by Mary P. Jones (MPJ)

And look what my friend Jacqueline, of Rebel 1in8 has been up to:

the view from here

The internet can be such an interesting place, no?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

completely random

1. When it comes to John Edwards and his affair, I am just about completely indifferent. Elizabeth, however, remains my hero.

2. I realize that I never did blog about meeting her at BlogHer last year. I'll have to do that.

3. I looked up the live-blog of my session at this year's BlogHer and found this. It feels a bit to me like she wasn't at the same session as I was. I remember lots of laughter and a mostly hopeful message. Am I being over-sensitive? Also, I thought live-blogging was meant to be straight-up recording not editorial comment. Feel free to set me straight on this.

4. I have been running with my ten year old son and my big dog. We are now at the place in our program when we run 8 minutes and walk 1 minute (twice) and then run for two minutes (for a total of 18 minutes of running). When I was diagnosed with mets, I threw out my running shoes, so sure was I that I would never do this again. I am so proud of myself and so happy to be running with my son.

5. Yesterday, in my son's absence, I decided to initiate the puppy to running. I had the big dog tied around my waist and held the leash for the little one in my hands. I looked like the crazy dog lady. I know that we have to be careful not to push puppies too hard but I am a VERY slow runner and I kept checking to see if she was flagging. After the run, I took her to the dog park and she tore around some more. I don't think that I pushed her too hard.

6. Today, a big dog walked up to me in the dog park and peed all over my legs and my nice red sandals. The owner was barely apologetic. I would have been mortified.

7. My spouse and I are giving his cousin some wine as a wedding present. We have been using this as an excuse to do our own wine tasting. We currently have three open bottles, going to vinegar.

8. When I won the DS at BlogHer, I thought I would just give it to my kids. Who knew there were such fun games for adults? The game came with a crossword game (I am hooked on the anagrams) and I got two more brain enhancing games for my birthday. It turns out that I am not very smart. And I am having to ration my game time.

9. I wanted Katee to win So You Think You Can Dance. Joshua was my second choice, though, so I'm OK with that. I started watching by accident when they were at the Top Ten. I was quickly hooked. I hadn't actually watched any TV in months.

10. My book just came from my editor. It's time for my last crack at revisions. She was happy with it, thank goodness. I have been glad for the break from it and feel ready to get back at it.

11. What I really feel like doing is walking the dogs, knitting, eating and reading. Oh and hanging out with my family, too.

12. Thanks for all the birthday wishes. It really was wonderful. I slept in, ate lots of goodies and spent time with some people I really love. Great day.