The Time I Scared Them Away

Can there be cancer humor? I think so.

Picture this: I was home last week, resting and recovering from my bilateral mastectomy, watching the Hallmark Channel like nobody’s business, when I heard someone at the front door.

I thought it was our dog walker, and I jumped up to unlock the door lest she have to wrestle to get the key out of the lockbox.

Turns out, it was two twenty-something, incredibly earnest young women on my doorstep.

Earnest Woman (EW) #1: “Good morning. We are missionaries visiting all the families in this area because we are concerned about the state of the world and our future.”

EW #2, stepping forward: “Are you concerned about your future?”

Me (with enthusiasm): “Yes! I am home today recovering from major surgery for cancer, and you can believe I am EXTREMELY CONCERNED about my future.”

This was definitely not on script for these two.

Their eyes widened. Their nostrils flared.

EW #1 (very flustered): “Oh my god, oh my god, I am so sorry. This is obviously not a good time. We will leave.”

(Both hastily retreating.)

Me: “You can pray for me if you want.”

EW #2 (weakly): “We will.”

So, to sum it up: my situation is so awful that I scared away door-to-door missionaries.

But I wouldn’t mind it if they followed through on those prayers.

Vacillations

I’ve been vacillating lately between two dichotomous moods: YOLO and Why Bother?

Regarding YOLO (You Only Live Once):

Being off work has held a special danger for me: since I’ve had more time than usual to spend online, this has involved online shopping.

My YOLO streak has included a serious spending spree at Jenni Kayne – a wildly expensive brand I mentioned a few weeks ago – that netted me two sweaters and THREE pairs of shoes. [Spouse, if you are reading, please, please resist the temptation to do the math on this haul.]

I also bought a new swimsuit. Seriously, this almost qualifies for like-a-fish-needs-a-bicycle status. My reasoning: I really want to go on a long-planned vacation in March and with my recent surgery, I don’t think any of my old suits may fit or look right. It pained me, but I ordered a one-piece suit from Lilly Pulitzer that looked cuter on the model.

Speaking of that vacation, it is still kind of on the fence. I booked it over a year ago, and it is a version of the same vacation we have taken ten times already: a Disney Cruise. I only mildly apologize for the dorkiness factor that comes with taking a Disney Cruise ten times. This one leaves from Miami, which is a new port for us. I was planning to arrive two days early to enjoy some extra vacation time, but when I went to find hotel accommodations I quickly discovered that high season in Miami comes with limited options and huge price tags. My beloved St. Regis was not even available. A similar property had very little space and the rooms were exorbitant – over 4 figures per night. I suddenly remembered the huge stockpile – almost a million – of Marriott points I had been hoarding (Why? Not sure what mythical trip I was waiting for), and in true YOLO spirit, I blew 250,000 of them for two nights lodging in Miami.

Girl Scout Cookies. Normally I would avoid these like the nutritional plague, but YOLO, I have made quick work of several boxes and the cookie season is not over yet.

Regarding Why Bother?

In my darkest moments, there are thoughts of Why Bother? Boiled down it could sound even worse: Why bother living if you’re dying from cancer? New shoes don’t matter when you’re dead. That swimsuit won’t see much use if I am confined to my sofa, too ill to travel.

One of my biggest vacillations is my wedding ring.

A supremely unfortunate, albeit accidental, trip through the garbage disposal NEARLY FOUR YEARS AGO rendered my wedding ring useless.

With salvage unlikely, I quickly decided to laugh it off and patiently bide my time until I could get a shinier bauble.

Suddenly we’ve fast forwarded to now, and I’m still ring-less, which reflects nothing on the state of my marriage and is occasionally confusing for people who don’t know me well.

Why Bother or YOLO? The ring of my dreams (rings?) is comically out of reach, so Why Bother with something else? After all, I’ve survived four years already without. Or do I just move on, find something more realistic and YOLO forward? I do not have the answer.

Holiday 2019

Yesterday I finished the last bit of holiday shopping and wrapping.

Well, at least until today.

Trixie and I hit the mall(s) early Sunday morning to avoid the worst of the crowds. It was *mostly* successful.

I heard on TV that Saturday had been dubbed “Panic Saturday” for holiday shoppers and was expected to ring up more retail sales than Black Friday or Cyber Monday. If that was Saturday, I’m not sure what moniker Sunday earned – perhaps “Last Chance Sunday?” “It’s-This-Or-Walgreen’s-Sunday?”

Hard to say.

In theory, I love Christmas.

I love the music.

I love the lights.

I love shopping and selecting the perfect gifts.

I love the holiday candy and treats.

I love the decor – as long as it’s not littering my house until March.

But the reality is that there are many things about the holidays I DO NOT love.

The endless wrapping.

The paper and tape that run out with four packages to go.

The post office. THE POST OFFICE!

Tripping over Amazon boxes.

Breaking down those Amazon boxes and deflating those awful plastic packing bubbles.

The puzzle-cramming operation that is fitting everything into our vehicle.

Driving back and forth to various family members’ homes, where we invariably are late and don’t stay long enough.

No one is happy in the end.

Of course it’s too late to follow through on my threat to spend Christmas in Hawaii, but a girl can dream, right?

What will happen:

  • Christmas will come and go. Too quickly.
  • There will be moments of joy.
  • There will not be enough sleep.
  • There will be laughter.
  • There will be at least one Can-You-Believe-That-Happened moment that we have to process later.
  • There will be one unbelievable gift that Everyone will be talking about.
  • We will make memories.
  • Someday I will wish I could reverse time and do it all again.
  • We will still struggle to fit everything in our vehicle for the trip home.

Happy Holidays, Friends.

Unsubscribe

Friends, in advance of Black Friday, I did something radical: I unsubscribed from over 50 automated shopping emails.

Yes, there is a part of me that has FOMO for 25% off candles, cosmetics, home goods or designer duds, but if It’s Out of Sight, It’s Out of Mind.

I’m trying to be more intentional with my purchases for 2020 and starting now feels right.

Will I probably still buy a few too many holiday gifts for myself?

Most definitely.

I’m still me.

Get Me Murray!

**** This is one of my favorite blog memories. It still cracks me up to the extent that I wanted to share it again. For what it’s worth, Trixie is now 10 and occasionally wakes up of her own volition. ****

I was dead serious when I posted last week that getting the children up-and-at-’em is akin to poking two bears.

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Trixie (5) has taken to wearing sunglasses in the A.M, which overall channels a strong 1990s Courtney Love vibe.

Here she is enjoying a nutritious breakfast of Fruity Pebbles, which was immediately preceded by her barking, “Where are my Fruity Pebbles? I ordered Fruity Pebbles! And why isn’t anyone pouring the milk?”

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Note that the picture quality is poor since I had to surreptitiously take them to avoid her wrath. Frankly, I’m scared of her.

Spouse has also worked out a whole backstory to her behavior that I find hilarious (and a helpful coping mechanism), namely that she’s an indulged, out-of-control socialite/actress/musician.

He’ll pretend to be Trixie (out of earshot, of course), and routinely provides bon mots like:

  • The sun! It burns!
  • I don’t get out of bed for less than $10,000 a day. And I don’t see any bags of cash in your hands.
  • Get the G6 gassed up and ready to go! I’ll be at Teterboro in 20.
  • See you in Ibiza.
  • Where the hell is my agent Murray? He was supposed to be here 10 minutes ago! Murray! Get me Murray!

 

 

 

Fancy Pants

When I saw that J. Crew was selling these pants, I almost broke my finger clicking “Buy Now.”

Fancy hot pink velvet pants? Sign me up!

But then I looked at the other images.

Ok, when this does not even look amazing on a 22 year old model, I can reasonably project that the rear view on a 46.75 year old Boss Lady Doctor will be less favorable.

One more shot:

I passed.

The search continues.

Saving Good Things

Do you save good things?

And by this, I mean do you consider some items so precious that you rarely use them, lest they get, well, used?

I do. And this is not a Good Thing.

Recently I realized that I hoard some of my nicest stuff, ostensibly protecting it from wear so that it will be (mostly) pristine when I want to use it. Which is often never.

This Prada bag is a great example.

bag

 

I bought this a couple of years ago with the idea that it’s a classic and an investment piece.

By “investment,” I also mean in my image and not in potential re-sale value.

This bag was supposed to say something about me: polished, luxe, sophisticated.

Of course I am often not any of those things, so it mostly continues to live in a box in my closet.

When I do take it out, it’s usually to go to a work event, like a conference, and then back the bag goes into its protective home.

I probably feel this way because I didn’t grow up with designer anything around our house and luxury items still sometimes feel irreplaceable if ruined despite consciously telling myself they’re Just Things.

To me, true decadence is having something nice and not really caring at all about it.

A former coworker used to sling around this giant Vuitton bag given to her by her boyfriend like it was a hobo’s bindle. She would carry (and spill) her lunch in it. Toss it in the corner of Labor and Delivery at our hospital. Drag it behind her. I couldn’t imagine ever being that carefree about something so spendy, but the more I think about it, maybe she had the right idea. It’s Just a Thing, and a practical one that’s meant to be used.

My weirdness for saving nice things also extends to travel.

I hate taking worn-out things on trips, so I practically have a whole separate wardrobe of things to wear on vacation.

There are swimsuit coverups and sandals that only see exotic beaches. Cashmere scarves and cardigans that are only meant for drafty airplane coverage. White tees that stay unworn so they can stay white. Delicate clutches for nights on the town. A Kate Spade wallet that I only use for foreign currency (!). You get the idea.

While it’s unlikely that I’ll ever get to my coworker’s carefree state of mind, I think acknowledging the problem is step one to solving it.

The tricky part is that I still am waiting for a personality transplant where I stop ruining everything I touch. Wish me luck.

What about you? Do you save your best stuff or use it with abandon?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Slipper Incident

Last week I said goodbye to an old friend, my five-year-old pink Ugg slippers.

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This is a small glimpse of them, taken last year while watching, I think, an epic rerun of “Fantasy Island.”

My brother-in-law brought these back from Australia for me as a Christmas gift, and man, did they see some use.

I strongly dislike being barefoot due to multiple toe stubbing/breaking incidents over the years, as well as the fact that I just don’t like having dirty feet.

Slippers are always nearby.

What I liked about this Ugg pair:

  • They were warm
  • They fit well
  • They had a sturdy bottom that allowed for quick trips outdoors

About that sturdy bottom: it also was patterned with an intricate design, a feature that proved to be a big problem when I accidentally stepped into dog poop last week.

Yep. Glamorous me, back again.

And not only did I make the initial step, I didn’t notice the problem until about three steps later when that intricate design basically turned into the world’s worst rubber stamp on our floor.

After gagging and clean up of the floor, I inspected the slippers. The pattern was so delicate that it would have required something as fine as a pin to clean out all the grooves. When I noticed a big hole in the left toe (how had I missed that?), the decision was clear: the slippers were getting tossed.

Which meant it was time to shop for new ones.

I decided to stick with Uggs and couldn’t believe my luck when I found this adorable pair on sale:

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These are currently half price at Ugg. I ordered them even though the site said they are backordered, although the expected ship date is in a few days so I am not worried.

And good news: the pattern on the bottom seems easier to clean, although I hope I never find that out the hard way.

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Sigh.

 

 

 

 

The Boring Tasks of the Weekend

Yesterday I did some boring but satisfying tasks, perfect for a cold Sunday.

These included:

  • Writing down birthdays, vacations and important dates (like when Trixie needs to be picked up from camp 400 miles away) in the Lilly Pulitzer 2018 agenda I received for Christmas
  • Meal prep for the week. I roasted red/yellow/orange peppers, as well as two heads of cauliflower. I baked tofu and garbanzo beans to make vegetarian bowls. I hard boiled eggs for the fridge. I made a quick Mexican street corn salad with frozen corn, jalapeños, lime juice and zest, red bell peppers, cilantro and a small amount of nonfat Greek yogurt. This was a lot of cooking for me.
  • Sorted through a huge pile of papers on the kitchen counter, tossing half a garbage bag’s worth of unimportant stuff. Organized tax materials. 
  • Collected all of the holiday cards we received and looked at them again. Updated any new addresses for people who moved over the last year. Ugh. This caused huge guilt because we did not get around to sending cards this year.
  • Filled out school forms for MGM.
  • Communicated with our realtor about our home search.
  • And the usual suspects: Target run, laundry, gym.

I also pre-ordered this book this weekend, “The Year of Less.”  The tagline is this:

How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life Is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store

I can get behind that sentiment right now. Looking forward to getting it on January 16th!

2018 *Must* Be Better

Last night – a few hours before the calendar turned – I posted the following on Facebook:

2017 was a shitshow. 2018 *must* be better.

Over 40 people instantly agreed. 

2017 was such a hard, hard year.

In the end, I am here and so are the people I love, and that is the most important thing.

But it took a lot to make it so.

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I don’t think I handled 2017 with particular grace, but there were some wins, particularly professionally. Personally, I have a long way to go.

My goals for 2018, in no particular order:

  • Train for and successfully complete races. I’m leaving the exact races and distances vague, but I want 2018 to be a better running year. I only did one race in 2017 (a half marathon) and while it turned out ok in the end, I was woefully undertrained and the whole thing did not feel good. I also set a goal to get a PR in a fall marathon and dropped out of training two months before the planned race. That felt like a failure. By “successfully complete races” I mean that I want to confidently step up to the starting line and finish strong.
  • Appreciate and encourage the unique qualities of MGM (10) and Trixie (8).
  • Be well. Eat healthy food. Exercise. Spend time outdoors. Take some time off.
  • Get taxes done prior to April 15th.
  • Find a suitable new home for all of us. Move. 
  • Celebrate 20th anniversary with Spouse. I tend to downplay birthdays and anniversaries, sometimes nearly forgetting them. I know. Bad. Our 20th anniversary is in early June, and I plan to celebrate all summer long. I already have two trips planned (one for just the two of us, one for our whole family) to bookend the summer. Considering that my wedding ring took an accidental spin in the garbage disposal over a year ago, a new ring would also be icing on the cake.
  • Continue to grow our medical practice. Practice medicine to the best of my ability.
  • Cultivate friendships, old and new.

Cheers, 2018.