Sunday, June 25, 2006
I've been thinking a lot about the way people who have lived through a profound experience don't feel that anyone else can understand it. Child birth, disease, war, violent attack, whatever.
The thought sharpened for me this week when a friend, a new mother, was talking to me about someone else she knew that she wouldn't see again because, "She can't understand, she's never been married, she's never had a kid." And, well, me neither. My friend didn't mean to hurt my feelings and she wasn't thinking about me either, my role in her life is different than the person in question. Still, it felt awful.
It feels awful every time someone says it. She's not the only person who does this, tons of people do that to their single and/or child free friends all the time.
I'm not blameless, I don't want to imply that. I have a hard time listening to people talk about the 9/11 attacks if they didn't live in New York at or before that time.
The deal is that it's a feeling, so no one can really be blamed for feeling a certain way. We can, maybe, be blamed for not trying to explain our feelings to someone else. There are things about child rearing that I may never be able to understand (just get me started on infertility treatment, I'm sure to say something regrettable) but I get a lot more of it than I think I often get credit for.
I've been watching Band of Brothers courtesy of Media Guy's boxed set. I admire the way these gentlemen are explaining not only the facts of where they went and what happened to them there but how they feel about it now and how they felt about it then. Isn't that what we ought to do? In understanding are we not able to move toward repeating the same mistakes?
This seems a natural way to introduce something I've been wanting to write about for a while now. There was a writer on the internet named Jessica. I came to her blog quite late. I jumped there from a link on someone's infertility blog. The sketch of the story is that she was undergoing infertility treatment and was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. I read with interest as Jessica wrote serious essays about slowly letting go her dreams of having a child and grasping the seriousness of her disease. She also wrote poems and songs about the indignities and frustrations of the disease and her treatment. Not long after I began reading the posts dwindled.
On May 12th Jessica died.
Her family, in accordance with her wishes, is keeping the blog up through July 15th and then will close it permanently. I have corresponded briefly with her husband who allowed me to link to the blog and to quote a particular article. He is a lovely man and I am sorry for his loss and grateful for his generosity.
Read the whole thing, go quickly, July 15th isn't far away. The post I want to talk about is here. Go read it, then come back.
The post, Reflections on a Yellow Jersey, talks about the practice in our society of likening cancer patients to sports figures or, more usually, to warriors. "Cancer myth making at its best -- myth making that vastly misleads the American public about the state of cancer research and that portrays a simultaneously reductive and conflicting image of contemporary cancer survivors." She was infuriated by the way this manages to essentially place the blame on patients who don't fight hard enough.
"The fear of cancer lives on. The corridors of hospitals across the world continue to echo with the relieved proclamation "It's not cancer!" while at the same time countless numbers of those chorusing this refrain unquestioningly suspect that with the kind of progress touted by reports like CBS's Sunday Morning, most people experience cancer as a chronic illness, and all it takes to do so, or to beat it, is a Lance Armstrong-like will to live."
This is, as you know if you read the article before you finished this piece, a fallacy. The same number of people are dying today of cancer who have in the past. Even when those numbers are massaged to account for changes in the population. The actuality is that there has been advance in treatment but not in cure. There is still no cure and the treatment works well on some kinds of cancer and not on others.
I know rather a lot of people who have or had cancer. MamaKizz, Mrs. X, Audio Girl, Heaterly, Mrs. Bricklayer, Theresa, ChemE's mom, a number of MamKizz's neighbors, Grammy Charlene, Grampa John. If I sat here long enough I could think of many more. I don't claim to know everything there is to know about the process of treatment but I do feel safe making a blanket statement that people do not want to advocate for a cure or make political statements while they are being treated. It takes all your mental and physical powers to make the decisions and navigate the treatments and continue whatever parts of your "normal" life still require your attention. So, as I've probably said before, it makes sense that testicular cancer, breast cancer, lymphoma and prostate cancer have large and vocal advocacy groups. A large enough number of patients with cancer in those areas of the body survive and are then able to fight for research money, for awareness.
I believe the information that's coming out that says that cancer treatment is successful on specific types of tumors and that these types of tumors can show up in any part of the body. As it's set up now research money is distributed to people who study specific parts of the body rather than specific types of tumors. It seems to me that needs to change. I certainly hope that, if it does, larger strides can be made in treatment and toward cure.
I'm inclined to stand up and scream, "This is so obvious! Why is no one changing this? Who won't someone fucking well stand up and put a stop to this idiocy?" But I'm smart enough to know that if someone is in a position to stand up and yell something like that it's likely that the person yelling is going to be identified as the person to stand up.
So, I'm standing up, and I'm asking for help. I don't know how to make these changes. I don't know how to focus more energy on the types of tumors that are more likely to appear in the lungs, the ovaries, the uterus, the brain. I don't know how to take the small funds I have to donate and maximize their effect. I don't know who is in a position to make even a small shift in the way that research money is awarded. I'd like to know. And if enough of us stand up and yell I hope we can find out. Even vague notions are welcomed.
I'm sick. I'm sick of seeing people I love die. And you ought to be too. I'll let you know if I find out anything useful. In the meantime I'll just keep on yelling until someone hears me.
Saturday, June 24, 2006
It's a bit of an unconventional selection, I know. Most people would, at the very least, chosen the other Wahlberg brother. Donnie's been growing on me lately, though. I loved Boomtown and I just finished watching Band of Brothers where he played the ultimately nice guy cum bad ass. His character's job before he enlisted was helping his mother run a boarding house and then you watch him run at the enemy, draw their fire, get everyone else into fox holes, carry wounded men, rat on a bad officer...the list goes on. So, I give you Donnie Wahlberg (The Other Wahlberg, That Naked Guy At the Beginning of the Sixth Sense, the White Guy from Boomtown) as your hot person of the day.
I have a lot to say I just can't get my head and my fingers to communicate. So enjoy the boy for a bit and I'll get back to you.
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Today is Miss Alita's 5th birthday. I now understand why every relative on the face of the planet insists on looking at you and saying, "Aw, I remember when you were this big.
I think that April was the month where some of Alita's growing up sprang out at me. Her family had just come back from Disneyland and they brought back pictures. There was a picture of her running toward the camera in a rides and games sort of area and she just looked different, older, taller. There was something in the picture that let you glimpse what she's going to look like when she's 15 or 30. She's beautiful. Which, of course, you knew already. Later she was sitting next to me while I held MusicBaby and I asked if she wanted to give him a kiss. She grazed the back of her index finger along his fuzzy hair and, in the middle of a crowded, loud restaurant, she whispered, "I don't want to wake him up."
Thankfully she's not too old yet. At brunch in May she came into the restaurant, climbed up into my lap, put her face in the crook of my neck and just sat there for 5 or 10 minutes. So, there's still some time before she's too old for that and I'm very glad.
I hope she has a happy happy birthday and many returns of the day. We'll get together on Friday and have sushi and cake. I can't wait!
Monday, June 19, 2006
Here are 2 reasons I love Aaron Sorkin and the serialized stories he creates.
President Josiah Bartlet: I was wrong. I was, I was just... I was wrong. Come on, we know that. Lots of times we don't know what right or wrong is, but lots of times we do, and come on... this is one. I may not have had sinister intent at the outset, but there were plenty of opportunities for me to make it right. No one in government takes responsibility for anything any more, we fuster, we obfuscate, we rationalize. "Everybody does it", that's what we say. So we come to occupy a moral safe house where everyone's to blame, so no one's guilty.
[sigh] I'm to blame. I was wrong.
And the people:
Josh Lyman: All I'm saying is, if you were in an accident, I wouldn't stop to get a beer.
Donna Moss: If you were in an accident, I wouldn't stop for red lights.
Looking forward to Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.
Sunday, June 18, 2006
It's a lot harder than I thought to find a picture of my dad on the internet. It's sadly really hard to find a picture of him on my computer. I think I have a better one on a disc somewhere but I'll be damned if I know where the disc is. I'll keep looking. So think of the pics below as reference for the person you want to look for in the better picture in this lead off strip of photos that I "borrowed" from the Mugford Street Players.
When I saw dad last week I gave him a DVD copy of Slapshot for Father's Day. Have you called your dad today?
MKAEP and I have been talking about our homes, our bodies and our brains. We don't feel we're doing right by them. So we're making a pact to try and be better but it's hard to commit, it's hard to admit the problem, it's hard to be consistent. Or, rather, it was until she said this:
"I love you. I would never treat you the way I'm treating myself."
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
I'm still here, I'm just sickly. So I don't feel like doing anything except whining about being sickly. I will try to refrain from the whining and give you a couple of quick shots to hold you over until my brain defuzzes.
My iPod won't turn off. Better than not turning on yet still not particularly useful. I'm going to let the battery drain completely (like I have any choice), recharge and see what happens then. All the buttons work for their other intended purposes. It irks me, though, since the Pod isn't even a year old!
I really enjoy Sars. I haven't jumped on the bandwagon with her fiction but her essays just crack me up. This week's is no exception, and she beautifully expresses my own dislike of camping, too. "Nature can eat you. Nature wants to eat you."
I want these. And I might fashion tin foil bracelets to go with them. Tales of lassoing the criminal element of Brooklyn will surely be forthcoming.
When my dad called me on Sunday morning to tell me my flash presentation sucked I might have been a more effective communicator. Instead of yelling, "It's. Just. Not. Worth. Spending. ANY MORE! MONEY!!!!!" I might have gone with, "You know I don't think a lot of people are going to get use out of this." Or, "You know, I'm not somewhere I can talk about this right now." Or even, heaven forfend, the brutal truth, "I actually chose the quotes and the pictures for that presentation, not the woman who put it together, so, when you're telling me how badly she sucks you're actually telling me how badly I suck. Could you not, you know, do that please?" Yeah, but I'm not a terribly effective communicator, at least not verbally. Everyone should really just write to me, I'm much better that way.
Write to me. Leave a comment. It will heal me.
Thursday, June 08, 2006
A couple of posts earlier Kath asked me to post a pic of Denis Leary to cheer up Audio Girl, who had some surgery. Actually Audio Girl's tastes run less to the Leary and more to the "softer sex" so for her I give you Callie Thorne, also of Rescue Me.
I'm not going to pass up an opportunity to post a picture of the lovely Leary, though, hence the double shot of hot people this morning.
Also HA! It was Blogger and not the photos.
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
Just tried to load some pictures and it's not working. I think it's probably blogger and not the pictures. ("No, really, it's not me, it's you.") I'll try again tomorrow.
Big news for today? I finally replaced the battery in my pedometer. I get geeky excitement from my pedometer. It's a little digital pat on the back for all the walking I do. I don't know what the guidelines are right now but back when I got the gadget I think the average parameters were 4,000 steps a day to maintain your weight and 6-10,000 per day for weight loss. I suspect I'm going to have to adjust those estimates.
But why, you ask?
I only put the pedometer on around 1pm today and the read out? 5,751.
This weight loss thing sucks ass.
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Friday, June 02, 2006
I've been accumulating pictures to post and talk about and my desktop is almost covered in them. I can't even see Clooney as he scrolls by in my background. It's crazy. I just downloaded some more pics so I'm way behind. In honor of this weekend's enduring damp here in the northeast I give you last month's wacky scary flooding in my hometown in southern NH.
All photo credit goes to Mrs. X.
Pony Express is a year older today. As part of her present I am not posting a picture of her here. She hates having her picture taken. I've got a few, some are digital even, but it's her birthday so I'm being nice. Instead I've got a picture of someone she's often wanted to grow up into, Etta James.
For about a month Pony Express has been yelling at me. We were born in the same year but I'm in January and she's, well now. Recently she realized that she's been turning an age in June, taking about 6 months to get used to the idea then I turn the next age and she takes on that age for herself right then in January since we're born in the same year and that freaks her out for few months until she realizes she's younger than me and feels all superior, not to mention younger, just in time to actually turn that age. Somehow she calls this my fault and not, say, my parents fault. Again, it's her birthday so I'm letting it go...until tomorrow.
She's busy as the proverbial one legged man in an ass kicking contest so she may not swing by here for a little while. Leave her some birthday greetings anyway, will you? She'll be happy (and the tiniest bit freaked out) to get them when she has a chance.
Thursday, June 01, 2006
It's Pumpkin Chili's birthday today! I'm late in wishing her a happy happy day.
This picture was on a day in April when she came and saw my show and made friends with this fun lady who taught her to play a tune on the piano. What I loved most about it was that PC played the song once and you could tell by her face that she didn't feel like it had gone well. She didn't slink away, though, she sat there stewing a little and the lady asked if she'd like to try again. That was exactly what PC was waiting for and the second time she was smashing, perfect, I thought! She's got sticktoitiveness, I admire that.
A big hug and kiss to the girl, I can't believe I've known her for over 8 of her years!