Monthly Archives: January 2012

Words I Love: #6

Lamprocapnos spectabilis, known as the Bleeding Heart flower

I don’t really fancy labels.  I’m not speaking of the paper kind, but of the kind we affix to each other.  I don’t much like them because they have a tendency to be overly general.  Yes, we can be crazy one day, but then so grounded the next. Conservative when it comes to running around naked, but liberal when it comes to eating chocolate.  Labels are often so sweeping, they ruthlessly gather up people who might not really deserve them.  And then they keep us from really understanding each other.

Let’s consider the label cancer “survivor.”  What bugs me is the implied message that those who don’t get the label, those who have succumbed to the disease, didn’t triumph. Perhaps didn’t try hard enough.  There’s also something in there for me about a race that never ends, which happens to be true but I don’t really want to be reminded of it, thanks.

Cancer “thriver” is also now bandied about.  (And how is that for a great word?  Bandied.  So light and flirty and easy to pass around, which happens to be what it means.)  Thriver is better, because it doesn’t have any of the end-game feeling about it, but it seems weird to be affixing the concept of thriving next to a word that is so ugly and sapping.

So because as of late I’m being asked to provide short, pithy titles for myself, I’d like to share what label I will be using.

Aficionado.  Oooh, so foreign sounding.  And flamboyant.  Lots of great vowels involved.  It’s also close to impossible to spell correctly the first time, which makes it feel a skosh more important.  I am knowledgeable (another component of being an aficionado) about breast cancer.  Usually an aficionado is also enthusiastic.  While I’m not enthusiastic about having had breast cancer, or that breast cancer exists in the world, I am enthusiastic about my involvement with the cancer community and how my work is helping others.

Over and out.

Sue Glader. Breast cancer aficionado.

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Things I Love, And I Don’t Know Why #1

I love using something all the way to the very very end.

You know, squeezing that last little ooze of toothpaste.  Or putting a bit of shower water into the bottle of shampoo to make sure you’re getting the last bits out.  Plucking the last piece of wood from the pile.  Staying on my computer until the screen turns black, and there’s an almost audible sigh from the machine, as if it has done all it can do that day to help me.

I actually look forward to getting to that point in time when something is finished.  Not done, but finished.  Remember that over-enthusiastic, sing-songy “All Gone!” that we did with our young kids?  I thought it would make the idea of something great being finished more tolerable, because there was music involved.  I did it, let’s be honest, so my son would be distracted and not cry.  It worked often.

Like when the cookie was eaten, or the toy was returned to its rightful owner, or the last swirls of warm bath water had sashayed down the drain.  We would look up at me with that “say it isn’t so” raised eyebrow and quivering lip.  It even worked when the barber in town shaved my head because chemo had taken my hair follicles hostage.  My barber, kind old gentleman he, had turned the chair to face away from the mirror, and toward my son and husband.

I watched them watch me.  First, a metallic “click” and immediate hummmmm of the clippers, and without a pause, the barber paved a no-turning-back-now one-lane road down the center of my head, and kept widening it with every pass.  He had a deliberate and seasoned stroke, moving across the top of my scalp.  I appreciated how he didn’t waver in his job.  A waterfall of hair fell onto my shoulders and cascaded into my lap.  The essence of my femininity was clumped disgracefully all over my lap.

The whole procedure took less than five minutes and cost $8.  I walked straight to Anders and Hans without looking in the mirror.

“Where’s Mommy’s hair?” I asked Hans, and I bent my head down right in front of him.  His warm little fingers rubbed over my stubble and he giggled, thankfully.  “All gone!” I said as lightheartedly as I could at that moment.

Some women actually consider not doing chemo because they can’t imagine life without hair.  I can’t imagine life without life, so there you go.

So perhaps it makes total sense that I like to squeeze the tube until nothing else comes out.  Because that means, really, that you’re about to get a brand-spanking fat new tube.

And I love that, too.

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Words I Love: #5

This week it shall be words of gluttony, in homage to the recent holidays and the damage done to waistlines across America.

To wit, the word glop.  It just sits up there, all jello-y and slightly wiggling.  A glop of mashed potatoes is what everyone gets at the Glader house, because a spoonful just doesn’t convey the message.  And honestly, it’s more like 4 spoonfuls.  Which is equal to one glop, if you must know.

Sop is a cousin of glop.  Sop comes in and cleans up the mess that glop leaves.  Damn glop, can’t take him anywhere …  Sop is often found near a thick slice of bread, or, actually more precisely, sop is IN the slice of bread, because sop is what you do with your bread and that last drizzle of gravy smooshed all over your plate.  When I think of the word sop, I see glistening lips and hear lots of slurping sounds.

Now, we all need to make way for plop, who is the superstar of the family, forever known for her role in the Alka Seltzer commercial.  Ah, the days when advertising copywriters would use words that evoke sound!  Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, OH!  What a relief it is!   The “p” on the end of plop sounds like a beautiful bubble bursting, and it’s so fitting.  When you plop a few ice cubes into your cocktail, there is a satisfying tiny splash.

Then you can do some gulping, which certainly isn’t recommended if you are drinking my husband’s margaritas.  But gulp is so lusty and big.  There is bravado in gulp.

And I bet you have never realized that gulp spelled backwards is another fantastic word?  Plug.  Plug is not a word of gluttony.  It’s a word of control.  Which is what you need to do here in the new year to fit back into your jeans.

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The Universe Speaks

Call it the law of attraction.  Or karma.  Or just a spectacular coincidence.

But what would you call it if you had a conversation with your mentor about how you really really should think about speaking to others about your topic of passion, and not just in a casual way but in a Stand-Up-Before-You-And-Get-Paid fashion.  Then you leave that person and stop at the library and check out a few books on public speaking before you pick up your son to go home.  And at home the little light on your answering machine is blinking.  And the nice lady who just left you a message says how she would like you to be the program speaker for her upcoming fundraising event.

I mean, what do you call that?  Other than ah-mazing.

I’ll take it, of course.  And ask for many more helpings, please.  If all I must do is focus on what I want to happen, which is sometimes harder to do than I would like, then I should get on that.

And so should you.

Maybe we should all sit down with a pen and pencil, and just focus in on a few things here this new year that we would like to happen.  Maybe say them out loud a few times.

That way, whomever is listening can get right on the job of making our dreams come true.

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