Requested Reading List

December 7, 2010 at 10:05 AM (Help, Real Life) (, , , , )

I’m afraid I’m going to fail to fulfill a promise I made a few years ago. When my second son was born, one day the cat came to me and said (I’m paraphrasing), “Why do you keep bringing these men into the house? When will we ever have the chance to be alone together in the sunshine with all these boys around, and their hammering, running, zooming, and eating?” I told her, “Elly, one day you and I will have a girl room, with a chintz-covered chaise longue, late-afternoon sunshine, a mohair-y throw blanket, a pot of tea, and a stack of great books. We’ll spend weekends in there, dozing and reading. I promise.”

Well, the Girl Room hasn’t materialized yet, and unless they’re planning a big Christmas surprise for me, it probably won’t happen. But I can still lie around with a stack of books like it’s my job, and for this Cinderelly is truly grateful.

What I’m having trouble with is: what should I read? When I hit the bookstore, I look for interesting covers or for books I’ve heard mentioned by other people. Sometimes I hit; sometimes I miss. Whenever I go to the library, I wander around aimlessly, looking at covers and pulling out books I haven’t read by authors I already know. But I’m sure there are people (other than librarians and critics) who know exactly what is good, or a classic must-read, or not-just-chick-lit-but-good-chick-lit. Are they you?

If you had a year and wanted to make sure you read all the important stuff, including classics and contemporary literature (although maybe not so much poetry; sorry, Amy), what would you read? Tell me, tell me — there’s still time to put together an Amazon list…

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Making A Silk Purse Out Of A Swine’s Ear

January 8, 2010 at 5:19 PM (Energy, Family, Recovery, Treatment) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

We had the perfect family vacation week planned. After returning from the weekend in Philadelphia over Christmas, Mr. Wonderful was going to take the week off. We were planning a big New Year’s Day Open House party, something I’d been wanting to do for years (see my overcommittment issues posted earlier); I would have time to get to the gym every day, do some long-overdue organizing projects; ship hand-me-downs to the cousins in Cali; learn how to play Wii with the kids.

Well, we all know what happens to the best-laid plans of mice and men. And cancer chicks. Wednesday morning as the whole family was packing up for a day of snowboarding on the local hill, I realized I was feeling sort of achy, a little coughy in the back of the throat. First time I was going to be on skis since the ’80s, I was reluctant to back out – I’m a little sensitive about the three boys doing things together without me, as it feels like foreshadowing, and I’m not ready to relinquish control yet. But common sense (fortunately) got the better of me, and I decided to stay home, clean up, get the house ready for the influx of guests, etc. etc.

And a damn good thing, too – by 10:30 I was shivering on the couch in all-wool clothing and a throw blanket. By 11:30 I was in bed and on the phone with the Cancer Factory. Fever: 102 and change. Body: achy. Head: throbbing. Z-pack prescribed, I passed out, after receiving strict orders to escalate to inpatient IV antibiotics should I get any worse.

What the $(%&… I had JUST remembered to ask for the flu shot two weeks earlier at my last infusion appointment. “Do I need the H1N1?” I asked. “No, I don’t think it’s necessary,” replied the nurse. “Just seasonal flu.” Arm stuck, fears quieted. Now why am I lying in bed? Clearly, the swine had struck.

Four days later, I crawled to the surface. I had watched every cheesy Best-of-the-Decade TV show, learned how to cook countless holiday dishes, and finished an entire previous season of Biggest Loser. And while I was laid up, I kept having flashbacks of being sick, and remembering how much I HATE it. Not that lying in bed with my cat watching TV and napping isn’t nice, but the world keeps on turning without me. Mario Kart marathons were won. Photographs were taken. Meals were eaten, funny stories told. Like the kid who’s not in on the joke, I was reminded that there is, and will continue to be, life without me. Am I sad? Am I happy? The jury’s still out.

Short story long: the party’s postponed until tomorrow, when I’ll happily surround myself with the manic cacophony that is life in the ‘burbs when all your friends have kids under ten. And I have a renewed respect for the shopping-cart wipe-down station outside my Trader Joe’s.

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