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.

2 Comments

Filed under Things I Love And I Don't Know Why

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.

1 Comment

Filed under Delish Things, Words I Love

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.

2 Comments

Filed under Beautiful things

I’m Coming Out

Do you know what it feels like to come out?

I certainly don’t, but I’m trying.

Now, please, my sexuality is firmly fixed in the heter-oh category, but I’m speaking more metaphorically.  I’m not sure why this is so hard for me, but I struggle with embracing the fact that the things I care about matter.  And that expressing my point of view is valid, and shouldn’t mean I need to apologize.  Or be embarrassed.  Or worry that I am coming off as pushy.

There are so many facets to every matter, and we all have the power to stand squarely on our own convictions, just as long as we do it nicely.  With grace. Dignity.   I’d like to reiterate that point to the two rather militant ladies who set up shop across from my local market with signs of President Obama donning a Hitler mustache.  I told them that I would have been interested in learning of their point of view, except that the little hair patch they superimposed upon our Commander in Chief was offensive.  She wagged her finger at me and told me something about thermonuclear war and Russia and Israel, and that “I should be ashamed of myself” for not snuggling right up next to her and denouncing Obama, as he clearly is just like Hitler.

I wonder how successful she was pulling people to her side with that tactic.

Unlike this woman, I come from a mother who never wants to be a bother.  It’s a noble trait.  And her maternal point-of-view runs deep within me.  Although I sigh when I see her don the “I don’t want to be a bother” cloak, I do it myself.  My work now as a champion of talking to kids about a parent’s cancer means, by the very nature of the conversation, that I have to embrace my point of view and repeat it to others.

By the transitive property, that means championing myself.

So many of us are trying to sell ourselves, or our wares, or our thoughts every single day.  We struggle with, as my friend Karen so aptly described it, “the little voice” inside us that doubts ourselves, when we should be thinking of “the big voice” that carries the greater, more inspiring message we embody.

So here’s to believing in oneself.  Hip hip!  To not apologizing for our delightful points of view.  Hurray!  Because, as I tell my son all the time, if we all had the same point of view, then the world would be a very boring place indeed.

8 Comments

Filed under Beautiful things, Just something ...

No No

No.

I know no.

No, this can’t be happening.

No, I don’t want to lose my hair.

No, thank you, I’ll pass on daily radiation.

In truth, I couldn’t say no.  I had to figure out a way to square my new horrid reality. No matter how much I wanted to turn and flee, I had to face the music.

And yet.

Last weekend I had the chance to meet an array of women who have stomped on the word “no.”  I’ll tell you about two.

Rebecca Byrne, who along with me was chosen as a 2011 Pink Power Mom for her work as an advocate for breast cancer patients, was 13-weeks pregnant when she found out she had breast cancer.  Her doctor told her that no, she couldn’t continue her pregnancy.  She needed to terminate it immediately, and start radiation.

Rebecca pivoted out of that office and found another doctor, who allowed her to be treated for cancer while continuing her pregnancy.  Her daughter Emelia is now a happy 1-year-old, and not surprisingly, Rebecca used that same tenacity to start the We Will Not Lay Down 2 Cancer non-profit.

Karen Neblett, who heads up sales for Kids II, the company behind the Pink Power Mom program, has a different relationship to the word no.  Firstly, she doesn’t ever accept “no” as the final answer.  She likes to think of a “no” as meaning something more delightful, like “not at this moment in time.”  Things shift, she said.  Options open up.  At its essence, she said, a “no” simply means you must find another path.  The path to “yes”.

I am embracing this attitude.  Because life can be filled with people telling you “no” for a million reasons, but those who make things happen in this world simply pirouette past the word and sashay on.

So, here’s to staying nimble.  Let’s juke, jive, bob and weave around the negatives in life.

Remember, just like the Australian band Bomba said in their song “Busted”:

“Cursed is the walker who will never travel light.”

3 Comments

Filed under Beautiful things

Where Oh Where

“Everything is somewhere,” says my mom.

Except when it’s not.

Imagine my delight, then, when I could not find the fancy schmantzy electronic key fob for our car.  Conveniently, the car was locked in the driveway.  Clearly I had locked the car, and somewhere between the driveway and inside my house, the key had vanished into thin air.

Poof!

It was not in the obvious places, which I searched first.  Kitchen counter.  Dining room table.  Desk.  Purse.  Pockets.  Junk drawer. Under the car.  Not in the last place where a key had gone hiding; fallen behind the drawers in the kitchen.  Not in the couch cushions or under the chairs.  Not in the yard, mistakenly tossed into the compost pile, or dropped along the path.  Having exhausted all the obvious places, I turned to where it shouldn’t be.   In the refrigerator.  The silverware drawer.  The dog food bag.  I even checked in between my undies.

Nothing.

I sat quietly on Hans’ bed and beseeched Saint Anthony, the patron saint of lost causes, to point me in the right direction.  I retraced my steps and looked in places I had already looked, for close to 2 hours, actually.  Because, for Peet’s sake, my rational mind told me it HAD to be in the house somewhere.  But yet it wasn’t, and so I called the towing company to take the locked car to the dealership, where a new electronic key would be programmed for some obscene amount of money.

Scene change.  Next day finds me packing a change of clothes for Hans for after his championship soccer game.  Into an empty (I know because I looked) white canvas bag that I pulled out of a storage basket and unfolded, I placed one pair of clean jeans I had taken from Hans’ dresser, laid a belt for said jeans on top, then a long-sleeved t-shirt from his dresser, and topped it off with a fleece that I took off a hanger in his closet.

I ended up wearing the fleece, and the rest of the clothes stayed in the bag until I unpacked them the next morning.

As I pulled out the long-sleeve t-shirt, what did I find, but the key fob lying there between the belt and the pants.  As if that was a perfect logical place for it to be.

Except that it wasn’t.

I’ll just have to live with that fact, and wonder aloud who exactly moved it there when I was busy looking.

Leave a comment

Filed under Just something ...

Who Cares

Turns out, plenty. Plenty of people care, and sometimes it feels good just to see who does. As I take stock of what I’ve done in the past year, I’d like to publicly share the cancer centers where Nowhere Hair is doing good work.   I thank them for their support and for realizing that healing – true healing – comes when all members of the family are included.

Alegent Health Cancer Center Omaha, Nebraska

Alta Bates Medical Center Berkeley, CA

Baltimore Medical Center Baltimore, MD
Beth C. Wright Cancer Resource Center Ellsworth, ME
Beverly Hills Cancer Center Beverly Hills, CA
Bonheur Children’s Hospital Memphis, TN
Bozeman Deaconess Cancer Center Bozeman, Montana
California Cancer Care San Mateo, CA
Carol Simon Cancer Center Morristown, NJ
Cedars-Sinai Samuel Oschin Cancer Center Los Angeles, CA
Center for Breast Care Burbank, CA
Center For Cancer Care Goshen, IL
Central Florida Cancer Institute Winter Haven, FL
CHW Sacramento Sacramento, CA
Colac Area Health Patient Library Australia
Concord Hospital Library Concord, New Hampshire
CPMC Institute for Health and Healing San Francisco, CA
Cross Cancer Institute Alberta, CANADA
Dana Farber Cancer Institute Boston, MA
Diablo Valley Oncology/Hematology Pleasant Hill, CA
El Camino Hospital Cancer Center Mountain View, CA
Ellis Fischel Cancer Center Gift Shop Columbia, MO
Fairbanks Cancer Center Fairbanks, Alaska
Florida Hospital Orlando, FL
Foley Cancer Center Rutland, Vermont
Fox Chase Cancer Centere Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Frederick Memorial Hospital Frederick, MD
Gibbs Regional Cancer Spartanburg, South Carolina
Helen F. Graham Cancer Center Newark, Delaware
Hickman Cancer Center Adrian, Michigan
Huntsman Cancer Institute Learning Center Salt Lake City, Utah
John Muir Hospital Women’s Resource Center Oakland, CA
Kaiser Permanente – San Rafael Breast San Rafael, CA
Kansas City Cancer Center Kansas City, MO
LSU Feist-Weiller Cancer Center Shreveport, Louisiana
Marin Cancer Resource Center Greenbrae, CA
Martin O’Neil Cancer Center St. Helena, CA
Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center, W Virginia Univ. Morgantown, West Virginia
Massey Cancer Center Virginia Commonwealth U. Richmond, VA
Mayo Clinic Cancer Center Rochester, Minnesota
MD Anderson Houston, Texas
Memorial Cancer Institute Pembroke Pines, FL
Memorial Sloan-Kettering NYC
Mid-Columbia Medical Center The Dalles, OR
Mills Peninsula Cancer Center San Mateo, CA
Mountain States Tumor Institute Boise, Idaho
National Institutes of Health Bethesda, MD
Nevada Cancer Institute Las Vegas, Nevada
Norris Cotton Cancer Center Lebanon, New Hampshire
Norris Cotton Cancer Center St. Johnsbury, Vermont
Northwest Cancer Specialists Portland, OR
Northwestern Memorial Hospital Chicago, Illinois
NYU Cancer Institute NYC
Palo Alto Medical Foundation Palo Alto, CA
Payson Center at Concord Hospital Concord, New Hampshire
Pink Lotus Breast Center Beverly Hills, CA
Premier Oncology Santa Monica, CA
Providence Cancer Center Portland, OR
Queen of the Valley Medical Center Napa, CA
Rocky Mountain Oncology Casper, Wyoming
Roger Maris Cancer Center Fargo, North Dakota
Rutland Regional Medical Center Rutland, VT
Saint Anthony’s Hospital Cancer Center Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Saint John’s Health Center Santa Monica, CA
Sanford Cancer Center Souix Falls, South Dakota
Santa Monica Hem/Onc Consultants Santa Monica, CA
Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital Santa Rosa, CA
Seattle Cancer Care Alliance Seattle, WA
Seattle Cancer Treatment & Wellness Seattle, WA
Sequoia Hospital Redwood City, CA
Simms/Mann UCLA Center for Integrated Oncology LA, CA
Siteman Cancer Center St. Louis, Missouri
St. Johns Health System Anderson, Indiana
St. Louis Children’s Hospital St. Louis, MI
St. Mary’s Lacks Cancer Center Grand Rapids, Michigan
St. Peters Helena, Montana
Stanford Cancer Center Stanford, CA
Sunnybrook Odette Cancer Centre Toronto, CANADA
Sutter Cancer Center Sacramento, CA
Swedish Cancer Institute Seattle, WA
Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center Miami, FL
The Angeles Clinic Los Angeles, CA
The Cancer Institute at St. Alexius Hoffman Estates, IL
Touro Infirmary New Orleans, LA
Tower Hematology/Oncology Medical Group Beverly Hills, CA
UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology Los Angeles, CA
UCSF Cancer Center San Francisco, CA
U. of Arkansas, Winthrop Rockefeller Cancer Center Little Rock, AR
University of Alabama – Kirklin Clinic Alabama
University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center Chicago, Ill
University of Vermont Cancer Center S. Burlington, VT
USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center Los Angeles, CA
West Virginia University Hospital Morgantown, West Virginia
Women & Infants Hospital Providence, Rhode Island

Don’t see your favorite?  Give them my phone number:  415.388.2757 and tell them what they’re missing.

Leave a comment

Filed under Beautiful things