Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I know this is supposed to be the post when I wax poetic about my first year of marriage, declaring how wonderful it is and how in love I am. While all of that is true enough, I’m not great at expressing emotions. In fiction, SURE! But on my blog? Not so much. So instead, here’s one of my favorite romantic quotes:

“here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)”

-e.e. cummings

When S & I got married, we didn’t have a religious ceremony. (With him being Hindu and me being Jewish/Catholic, it would have been 7,000 days long.) So, instead of a traditional Bible reading, we had my cousin read that e.e. cummings poem. I found it to be more us. 

However, I’ll admit,that was my second choices. My first choice was far too long. I tried cutting it, but it lost so much meaning that way. So, we went with that beautiful poem and no one knew about my original idea.

So I’m letting you all in on it now! While there are so many writings on love that I adore, one of my unexpected favorites is…(drum roll please)….the essay “The End of the Affair” by David Sedaris (found in his book Dress your Family in Corduroy and Denim). Weird, right? Have you read it? It’s fantastic. The basic premise is that large attention-grabbing dramatic gestures aren’t needed in true love. While, sure, they’re nice, sitting close to someone in a cafe may be just as lovely. Here’s my favorite part:

“Movie characters might chase each other through the fog or race down the stairs of burning buildings, but that’s for beginners. Real love amounts to withholding the truth, even when you’re offered the perfect opportunity to hurt someone’s feelings…I pulled my chair a few inches closer, and we sat silently at our little table on the square, looking for all the world like two people in love.”

Which is kind of like us, after all. I can’t wax poetic in my blog about him, but he still knows I care.

What’s your favorite romantic bit of writing, unexpected or cliche?


The other night while discussing the game M.A.S.H. with a friend (something we talk about regularly, of course), I had a strange realization. You know how in the game you choose different cars, jobs, husbands, honeymoons, etc? I thought: “Oh, my future honeymoon will totally be in Italy.”*

Which is kind weird to think considering…I already had my honeymoon.

You guys…i’m married.

It’s not like this is new information, of course. I’ve been married since September. We had a honeymoon in September. I’ve had quite some time to process this  new development. But sometimes it’s weird to think that this big, huge, momentous occasion I’ve, to some degree, thought of my entire life…has already happened.

Not that I’m in any way sad about it, or wanting to re-do it (believe me, I’m not). I loved our wedding. I loved our honeymoon. (Heck, I even love my husband.) It’s just weird to not have that on the horizon anymore.

I later told S that I forgot we were married, and he gave me his normal response of “well, it was just a practice wedding.” And then I shoved him off the bed because honestly, one wedding is enough.

*We did in fact go to Italy for our honeymoon!

A bird in the hand

Yesterday, a simple trip to the mall turned into the greatest scavenger hunt in the history of mankind.

Let me explain.

Last weekend, S and I got a Christmas present for my mom from the ultra-fancy Neiman Marcus. (I’m not mentioning what said gift is in case my mom is reading. In case I’m right, hi mom!) As it turned out, if you spend over $100, you got a free $50 gift certificate to the store. Awesome, right? I was overjoyed, thinking of the one pair of underwear I might be able to buy without going over. Maybe. If it was cotton.

Unfortunately, our exciting gift certificate came with rules. It could not be used on: cosmetics, fragrances, undergarments, gift cards, online purchase, certain brands or sale items. There were probably more exclusions listed, but we stopped listening. There went my new pair of underwear, or $40 nail polish. There went any hope of using the gift certificate because what, pray tell, was actually affordable at NM at full price?

Last night I decided to see. S begrudgingly came along. It’s not like he hates shopping like most men, he just hates certain stores, such as ones like NM where you feel like a total outcast. Where wearing Target isn’t considered cool. He was also convinced I was on a failed mission. I had to prove him wrong.

We searched the store for a bit and were happy to find a few gift bags full of teas and hot chocolate for around $15. Fantastic! We figured we might need a generic gift for someone. So we picked two up. On the way to the cash register, we found something else that I just needed.

ImageThere, on a display, was the ugliest and best thing I had ever seen. It was an iron bird bottle opener. For $10 it was a steal. I needed it. I had just built us a bar, so it was meant to be. With the bird we were right around $40. Our mission was complete.

At that point the lights were dimmed. Apparently NM closes an hour before the rest of the mall. We didn’t know that, so we ran to the register and apologized profusely. Thankfully, the employee was super nice. Which was awesome because our transaction was doomed from the start.

The gift card, as it turned out, was a mystery to everyone. He had to call a manager to help figure it out. (1st call) It was then that we learned we couldn’t use it on the food items.


Whatever, I figured. At this point they were closed. We’ll just get the one ugly bird. At least we got something. But then, out of nowhere, a miracle happened. Silent through most the trip, S piped in –


And then he was gone, running back to the display to get three more ugly birds. Birds for everyone! I didn’t even consider who we’d give the rest to. Really, who would want such a weird Christmas gift? Clearly someone we didn’t want to be friends with anymore.

I’d never seen S move so quickly. Like a flash he was back, birds in hand. Apparently he grabbed the last ones. The guy rang them up and yet again we were met with a problem. (Call to manger #2) Apparently you had to spend $50 minimum.

Oh NM, you think you’re tricky don’t you? But you can’t mess with us. I looked over at S and yelled.


Now with five ugly birds, we were ready for the register.

Quickly thinking, S spotted something else. Socks! Apparently ONE PAIR of socks was $12. So we swapped out three of the birds and got socks.

Socks for everyone!

And so, our extremely patient and kind store employee continued ringing up our stuff. He had to call over another employee because the gift card wasn’t working (Call #3). At this point most of the lights were off, and only those two employees were left on the floor. We felt awful. They were extremely apologetic. Apparently other people had problems with the cards. (Call #4 after the register stopped working correctly. Seriously.)

But thankfully, 25 minutes later, the transaction was complete. Receipt in hand, we left the store proud new owners of three pairs of socks and two ugly birds. (We paid $5 extra, but it was worth it.)

During the ride home I laughed for 30 minutes straight.

Because, seriously, who would we have given four ugly birds to?

When Bears Attack

When moving to Florida with my family around ten years ago, we never thought there would be bears walking down our street on a regular basis. That happens in movies, not quaint suburban Florida neighborhoods. But, just that happened, one night when I was already in college. I had come home for the weekend and was out with my friends when I got a call from my dad.

“Call me before you come home,” he demanded nervously into the phone. Still at an age when I thought parents didn’t know best, I retorted: “Why?”

“There’s a bear eating our garbage right now.” Sure enough, a black bear was outside my parents’ house knocking over the garbage can, digging up remnants of dinners past. My mom was trying to take a picture from the safety of the living room, which overlooks the driveway.

When I approached our street later that, I never thought I’d see not one, but three baby bears run in front of my car when the headlights caught their eyes. I never thought I was able to break so fast, feeling my heart almost rip out of my chest. And I never realized how scared I could be, as I wondered where the mother bear was. Needless to say, my father swooped me inside as soon as I called.

The bears didn’t stop there, of course. Instead, they came back every year, much like unwelcome guests – eating all the food and never offering to help clean up. In time, we realized that they wouldn’t actually hurt us unless we got in their way or somehow disturbed the cubs. My mom started to see them as giant puppies and I had to continuously remind her that those “puppies” should not be pet.

Right before her operation, my mom went out for a walk with Jetta. As they rounded a corner, she saw movement in a tree. Assuming it was just a bird, she kept on walking until there she was, face to face with a giant black bear. Both she and the bear balked at the same time, wondering what the other was thinking. Or how close the other would get. She could see the blacks of the bear’s eyes. Thankfully, a fence was between them, but she knew from previous viewings from the safety of the living room window that bears can quite easily scale any sort of bastion. Heart thumping, she started to pull the dog away, moving him ever so slightly. Of course, that was also the time the dog decided to relieve himself, unaware of the impending danger.

The bear’s eyes never left hers as she slowly moved down the pathway and jumped into a nearby bush, covering herself and the dog. When the bear’s movements stopped, and only the chirping of birds above could be heard, she grabbed the dog and ran back home.

I was at work when I got the phone call.

“I was almost mauled!” she yelled, still frightened from her near-death situation. By this time, I had already moved out of the neighborhood and almost forgot that it was bear season.

“Well,” I answered, after hearing her story. “at least you didn’t try to pet him.”

Rock Star

Hi blog, remember me?

First off, my mom is okay!

That said, I’ve learned that cancer isn’t something that can just go away one day with a surgery. There’s so much more to deal with, prepare for, and undergo.

To back up, mom’s surgery went well. It was almost three weeks ago (!). Watching the doctor’s roll my mother away to the operating room, not knowing what to expect, was one of the most frightening and depressing things I’ve ever experienced. I’m sure there’s a more poetic way to write that, but certain situations don’t call for flowery language.

We were warned of all the side effects and possible outcomes. On the plus side, the worst case scenario was blood, swelling and pain – in cases of a surgery, things could be much worse, so we were hopeful. The ten hours we spent in the hospital (before, during and after the surgery) were draining. Every time the door opened, we jumped, hoping for news. People came in and out, some with smiles, some with frowns.

She spent the night in the hospital and came home the following day. Despite pain, she was able to walk around and have visitors. I stayed with my parents that weekend to handle the cleaning. Since then, I’ve visited most days during my lunch break and Sundays. (During all of this were midterms for grad school, of course. I didn’t sleep much.)

She had a full mastectomy and reconstruction. While the surgery did remove everything, in further testing of her removed lymph node, they found 2 mm of cancer. Fearing it may be in other lymph nodes, we’re deciding what to do next.

It’s interesting (and frustrating). Six years ago, after the surgery, it would have been done, over. They didn’t see any other cancer, they only found the 2 mm after biopsying the removed node after the fact…in a test that was only created six years ago. Since the test is so new, and research still going on, there’s no specific route to take next. It was believed that since it was found, surgeons should go back in and take away more nodes. Yet, recently, it’s been deduced that that doesn’t actually solve everything (thanks, by the way, to J who sent me the NPR article about this – EXTREMELY helpful). So, we’re meeting with oncologists and radiologists and whatnot to see what to do next. I say we because I feel like I’m in this almost as much. (Although I know I’m not.)

To my mom’s credit, she’s so optimistic. She’s gotten to the point of accepting the disease, and moving on. She can’t cry over it every day, so she admits it’s awful, admits her fear, and keeps going. She’s gone on walks, gone to Target. She still has drains in her (weird), but they should be removed by the end of the week. She’s a rock star.

I went to the OBGYN to get tested. Since it doesn’t run in my family, the doctor said there’s a strong chance I’ll be fine. Still, I’m to take precautious. Stay healthy. Exercise. Yearly checkups (which I already do). Mammograms starting at 30 or 35. (I’m 27 now, so I still have some time.)

My job has been amazing. Two people, including my boss, have gone through this, so they’ve let me take afternoons off, extended lunches, and days off to help out with driving my mom to appointments and such. I couldn’t have asked for a nicer present.

The day of the surgery, I received some of the nicest emails, text messages, and Tweets in regards to the situation. I wasn’t very public about it – this is really the only forum I’ve posted about the situation (I’m not very personal on Facebook-go figure), so it was lovely to see everyone’s concern without a status message to remind them. When waiting in the hospital to get the results, I thought about all the people from all over the country – world even (we had messages from UK) – wishing my mother well. It was incredible, simply amazing, to see so many names all coming together to hope for the same thing. It makes the world seem very friendly.

And so, we’re still going. There’s more to undergo, but we’re positive. We’re just one more step toward putting this all behind us. There’s just so much more to look forward to.

But, I have to admit – it’s put a new spin on everything. Deleted document, forgotten lunch, cut off by a bad driver…none of those ordinary things are as bad as cancer. None of them. Days seem so much more pleasant knowing that.