Wednesday, August 26, 2015

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

I stopped eating gluten. Developed a taste for ghee. I learned the fine art of pomade and we swam in the pool, the lake, the ocean. (Not that those things are necessarily related.) We watched Charlotte's Web and Stand By Me, both of which took some fast forwarding. I told Ozzy to say please when he yelled at me from the bathroom to wipe his butt. I did this 243 times.

This is the slow end of that particular montage, and while I know sentiment is cheap, I can hear the music rising.


Today was the first day of school. It slips in quietly surrounded by noise, and before you know it you are taking photos of a 4th grader and your son in Pre-K, standing on your lawn brown from the drought.

Don't. Stop. Don't. Stop. Remember how Popeye would say that in the old cartoons when Olive Oyl was kissing him? The joke being that as he said it faster it sounded as if he was asking her not to stop. I thought that was so funny when I was a kid. Don't. Stop. Don't. Stop. Don't. Stop.

4th grade and Pre-K. This is the first day.

xo,
S

Monday, August 24, 2015

Jenkins

I am so in love with my family. And I'm not just talking about Bryan and the kids, although yeah, I have to watch how hard I hug them, because sweet Jesus, they are squeeze-y. No, I'm talking about my family family: aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins once removed, removed from what, I don't know because I love them so.

When I was in Israel, which--well let me just back up. I kind of hate starting anything with when I was in Israel because I don't want that to be my thing. I don't want that to be the most interesting thing about me. Whatever. Moving on. Love. My family. When I was in Israel I felt terribly far away from everything that made me me. So I pulled the chemo card and sent an email to my extended family to initiate a family reunion. It had been too long since we had all been together. I didn't want to wait for another wedding or god forbid a funeral to see them.

My Aunt Eleanor offered up her farm in New Hampshire along with a family summer cottage 20 minutes away, and after months of exchanging emails it was set.

So last week we traveled from San Francisco, Boston, Denver, Phoenix, Oregon, Nebraska and Santa Fe and spent time teasing each other, laughing, swimming in lakes, kayaking, looking through old photos, and staying up until 4am to talk. It was one of the best vacations I have ever taken.

The farm, aka Uplands.
Oz walking from the cider press barn with all the tractors to the original barn with the chickens.
He was more than a little infatuated with the chickens. In fact, I am trying to figure out if I should do the whole urban-chicken-thing, although cleaning cat litter is already too much for me.
Me and my cousin, Tess. She is my sister from another mister, although that other mister is my uncle so technically that means she is my cousin. But she may as well be my sister. One of my favoritest people on earth, and the only one who likes to do bad accents as much as I do.
Zoey and cousin Ian chilling in the hammock. Some of my best childhood memories are with my cousins, and I so hope Zoey and Oz have the same experiences.
Speaking of cousins, mine are tall. Farish, 6'8", Lucas 6'6", and Georgia, 6'. Not pictured: Oliver, 6'4". I got the hair that flairs red with the sun, freckles, brown eyes and the twisted dark humor, but sadly I did not get the tall gene.
Lake swimming! So much lake swimming. It was a first for my west coast kids, but they loved it, hard. 
How could they not? There was a Sunfish, kayaks, a canoe, a row boat, a rope swing over the lake, and a thousand water skeeters that stopped no one.
Zoey and Ian in the kayaks.
Ozzy was pumped on jumping into lakes.
He also loved the tractors. So chickens, lakes and tractors = his new favorites.
Also...children of the corn. Or El Hombre of the corn. Whichever.
We stayed at Tip Ridge, my aunt's summer cottage on a lake and it was straight out of On Golden Pond. Here are the cousins reading a book. I mean, right???
The sun porch might replace a remote beach on Mykonos as my special place I go to in my head when I am getting my blood pressure taken. So. Freaking. Peaceful.
Forget freaking. It was FUCKING AMAZING.
Back at the farm we went to the frog pond, picked apples and played field golf.
And this happened. But I don't like to think about it because creep-to-the-New England-eee.
On the last night we had dinner in the barn and watched old family videos including one that all of us older cousins made on Christmas 19 years ago called The Real World, Santa Fe. I hadn't seen it since we made it in 1996. We were 24 and drunk and stupid and wow, it was embarrassing. But fun. Fuck, we have fun together.
You know, chemo sucked. I cried, I puked, I even pooped my pants a little, but goddamn if it wasn't worth it to remind myself of the importance of family. I love these people, my tall freckled witty smart family who not only reminds me of where I come from, but where I can always go.

Do me a favor and call a cousin today. ;)

Love you all,
S

And a special thanks to my Aunt Eleanor for hosting, and to Susan for organizing.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

"Like"


The year I was born a Big Mac cost .65 cents. I wish I could taste it. I bet it tasted different.

Zoey hates her camp this week. Feels left out from her friends, is afraid of Stand Up Paddleboarding, told me to throw away the camp shirt because she is never going back there again. 

She has been on Instagram for a few months now, set to private. We sit together and look at her friend requests and delete anyone I don't know. She posts pictures of Cinque and Ike, her Littlest Pet Shops, of her brother asleep. She "likes" every single photo people post, and when I told her you're not supposed to do that, only the ones you really love, she asked me why. I don't know what I said, only that she told me that's stupid. Why not "like" every picture because it makes people feel good?

Tomorrow she is not going back to that camp.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Check Out My New Hair Don't

This is for those of you who say, oh, but it must be easier! Right? Short hair. Just wash and go! Except this is how it looks when I wake up in the morning. Do not pass go, do not collect $200.
Straight up Don King. So no, it's not easier, or even easy. It's fuzzy and weird, curly thick and downright lofty. Which means my sink is littered with pomades and creams, pastes, and god I hate the word paste. (Product is not much better.) So when you see me looking like this, kind of awkward and wrestled, patted down and pulled, know that this is the best I can do and please don't look at me too long.
Seriously. Look away. A great big nasally meh

I thought maybe I might be ready for hair accessories, the very thought of which filled me with exclamation points and the hope of a thousand Lisa Frank stickers! Except this:
I don't know but something about it feels very Ethel Mertz, and I do not aspire to being anyone's neighbor. Maybe it's the polka dots? Maybe women over 40 should stay far away from polka dots? *sigh* So I tried another headband/scarf thingie, only...
...only there's not enough there there. Enough hair or 'do or even don't. I just kind of look like I forgot that there is a something on my head because clearly it is not serving an actual purpose.

Oh, I also tried bobby pins, barrettes, both of which were too sad to photograph, plus a metal leaf headband that would look absolutely darling on Michelle Williams. But.

It's kind of my fault. I was talking to my friend who said I just need a hair stylist to partner with, to help me grow it out gracefully and teach me how to deal in the meantime. The problem is I've always been a total hoary slut when it comes to my hair. Never seeing the same stylist twice, going wherever Groupon takes me, trimming my own bangs, Supercuts because sometimes you just need a little, you know? And now here I am needing a real relationship with someone who knows me, my hair, and I got nothing.

Nothing but a big bush. And you. Anyone have any ideas? Tips? I mean, I don't even know if I should get haircuts to clean up the back and the sides, try to maintain a short cut until some mystery switch is ready to be flipped to go long, or do I just go full bush from the get go, close my eyes and think of England?

Please send help. Especially if his name is Chaz Dean.
xo,
S

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Will Be

It occurred to me today that my mom would have loved to talk about Caitlyn Jenner with me. Hours of convo right there, and it made me sad that my mom never got to know that Bruce Jenner was really a woman inside.

There are other things she will never know. That I have (had?) MS. What I look like with a pixie cut. She will never know that # is a hashtag and not the number symbol, she will never hear the song, "Happy."
This is not to say that I spend a lot of time brooding over my mom. I don't really, or I do, but I don't. It's just a shock sometimes when I realize she is still gone and that Bruce is now Caitlyn.

Of course it also occurred to me today that I have a dad who is one of my best friends. I have a husband that I geniunely like, kids & in-laws that I love. I am lucky in seventeen hundred ways and only unlucky in sixteen hundred and ninety-nine. Down 7, up 8. But who's counting?

Halloween is only 3 months away, something I also realized today when I looked at the calendar. My friend, Penny, who is a goddamn Halloween genius told me I simply must incorporate my hair into my costume, and I have to agree. I anticipate reaching Cosmo Kramer by then, maybe Al Sharpton, something with loft and fluff, definite inexplicable curl, Patrick Dempsey in Can't Buy Me Love, a poodle, a cone of cotton candy, a chia pet, a dandelion, close your eyes and make a...

What? I welcome all suggestions in the comments below.

xo,
S

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Where I've Been And What I've Been Eating, + A Tour Of My House (A Fascinating Exposé On The Last Few Weeks)

Remember when I told you I was going to rehab?
Only the rehab was for sugar, and I began seeing a nutritionist who not only said no sugar but also no dairy, no gluten, no grains, no soy, no vinegar, no corn and strangely no pineapple or fluoride either? Yeah, that. Well here I am freebasing something called L-glutamine to curb the cravings of my molto dolce vita past. Life is such that I perv out on 86% cacao now, but only sparingly, choke it down chalky with a handful of raw almonds and water, but not tap water because tap water has fluoride in it and I am intolerant to fluoride. Sans fluoride and brushing with hippie paste, maybe soon I will have nasty crack teeth to match my coke whore habit of rubbing L-glutamine on my gums.* *footnote: I have never actually done coke. Just not my jam. Not that I judge you if you do. Except if you're this guy in which case I totally judge you, though you do seem rather polite. 

In hindsight, this was not the ideal time to re-do my whole way of eating, what with me going back to work. It was also probably not the best time to do a major remodel on our house, but that sort of happened by accident. See, when we went to the beach for a week before I went back to work we had intended to get new windows put in our house. Super clean, in/out, the windows were supposed to be installed by the time we got back. The old ones were single pane aluminum and you could feel the wind blow through them, that sort of boring blah adult decision thing that makes your throat close up as if swallowing a very large vitamin. But when the contractor opened the wall to put in the windows he found buckling beams which led to the discovery of rotten siding and a deck that was thisclose to collapse. And suddenly our quickie window job became a chaotic ka-ching of you're-fucked-if-you-don't-do-it-and-screwed-if-you-do, also known as re-siding the whole house, painting it, new windows and shoring up beams and a little deck rebuild. 

I should also mention that before we went to the beach for a week we had ordered a port-a-potty for the workers. My husband told them that because I am immuno-compromised we can't have everyone using our bathroom. Which was something of a white lie. Anyhoo, the day that we drove back I had to pee super bad. When we finally pulled into our driveway, Bryan parked the car and I raced into the kids' bathroom doing an impressive pee-pee dance, and gah! The toilet was inexplicably taped shut with blue painter's tape. I thought maybe that was just a construction thing, so I did some kegels and leaned down to quickly unpeel the tape from beneath and opened the lid to find a massive shit in the toilet. Like the size of a dinner plate. And a few days old at least. Someone not only took a huge shit in the toilet and didn't flush it, but also taped the lid down. And because I was kneeling down to untape the toilet, my face was inches away when I saw it. Touché dear construction workers who apparently did not like the Honey Bucket we ordered for them.

So that's where I have been. Coming face to face with shit, living in a construction site of dust and plaster, eating fistfuls of legumes, eggs and probiotics. Every morning before work we had to re-tarp our entire house, and every night when we came home we had to untarp our beds to sleep. Quite the re-entry into working full-time again. I was white-knuckling the Before-ness of it all.
Which is why I haven't been here. Because my laptop was under a tarp, but also because of chaos and dust and strange men walking into my house starting at 6:45am. 

I still don't know which one of them is responsible for the big shit, but we are very nearly almost done, so I am willing to forgive. Here is our living room today:
Note the new windows--we have to keep the labels on them until our inspection is done. The window wall was the one buckling.
Bear in mind: I am not a decor blogger. While I would very much like to get rid of my porn-backdrop stone facade of a fireplace, it's not happening because $$$, so I have decided to embrace the brown chicken brown cow vibe.
In addition to being paper thin, the previous windows also had bad bubbling tinted shit all over them, as if we were looking out into the world through the windshield of a used Gremlin. So that's gone. Though you might notice the crumbling deck is not yet done.
Ozzy's Spicoli van holds a multitude of sins/toy mess.

Speaking of which, here is Ozzy's room with new windows.
And Zoey's room. Her old sliding glass door had been installed backwards, so the lock was all wrong. Now it's all right, alright (alright), and she took the opportunity to paint her room blue. (*sob* the days of little girl pink are over.)
And finally our room. Where the proverbial magic happens. Our old window didn't open and was cracked. I chose not to take that as a symbol of anything.
So that's where I've been. What I've been eating. 20 grams of protein per meal and 7 servings of vegetables a day. Did you know there is soy in pretty much everything?! It's hard as fuck, but easier now that I have my table untarped to sit at.

Missed you all.
xo,
S

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Let's Do This

This is it. This it, that is. One of many its, because let's not be too dramatic about it; life is made up of so many of them.

This is it and that was that. It's the night before I go back to work after 6.5 months of being on medical leave, and something about it feels enormous. Even though I know this is just a Sunday night like so many others, and just because I go back to work doesn't mean anything is final. That's the thing with this disease and the treatment I had--there is no closure. Just take a stand and say a prayer. I mean, I did the most aggressive treatment, the riskiest but with the best odds of success, leaving me with the most fuck you way to fight back of all--moving forward. 

So on this night before a day that doesn't mean much at all, I am going to unabashedly post a string of pics of our last week in Stinson. Because these its are why I fought so hard and will move forward even harder. In no particular order, this is its...
Bryan, Zoey and Ozzy. My loves. If it's easy like Sunday morning, then Sunday evening is sappy. Whatever, I'm owning it because damn it if they don't take my breath away.
Foggy beach mornings chasing seagulls, and afternoon wrestling on big, ploufy beds.


 The cutest cafe in the sand. The cutest kids in all the land. 
Absolutely covered with sand, cuddling in the dunes.
Commandeering beach huts and finding that the best toys are driftwood, rocks and sand.


 Horseback riding in swim trunks and wetsuits. The horse didn't mind at all.


 On top of the world (even though this ladder only goes up about 12 feet).


 Getting over fear, and finally understanding what it means to get stoked.




Pretending to be a mermaid, or a shark. Even if that shark harness looks a little sub-alt-something or other, the goggles and the cheeks kill me.
This, all of it. Even with the horror of these last few years, I am the luckiest of the luckys, and no amount of thanks will ever come close to how very grateful I am.
Moving forward with a smile in my heart and a hug in my hand...happy Monday (tomorrow) and every one thereafter.

With Thanks & Love,
S