Something to Look Forward To

L has said that if my cancer metastasizes--if I get "the mets"--we can get a dog. (He said this in response to a question, not as an offering. He claims we're both allergic to dogs.) And yesterday I heard on the radio about a woman with Stage 4 ovarian cancer who was helped in her end-of-life anxiety by psilocybin, which you may recognize as the active ingredient in "magic mushrooms"--which, by the way, the Future Farmers of America in my high school were said to have grown and harvested and ingested. I've never tried mushrooms and don't intend to.

Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of my last chemo treatment. I kept thinking yesterday that it was still the 29th, so that today would be the anniversary. So in a way I missed it.

Click here and scroll down for excellent photos of dachshund puppies. (Of course, all puppies are cute, even Rottweilers and pit bulls.) I am convinced I will be reincarnated as a brown (technically, "red") dachshund. (More on this here.)

To adopt a dachshund, check in with Almost Home.

For beautiful beagle puppies, click here. This is not an endorsement of the kennels.

Cancer in the News

Cancer has been big in the news in the last fortnight or so. There was the report about breast self-exams in Russia and China. Based on their study of two populations of factory workers, researchers found that self-exams didn't help women survive breast cancer. You can find a very good look at the study here. The message (or "take home message," as people are saying now) is that you shouldn't stop examining your breasts. As Socrates said, an unexamined breast is worth examining. Or something like that.

Then from the U of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute comes a warning about cell phones. Don't put 'em directly on your ear. Get a headset or go wireless. They could cause brain tumors. They might not, but you should play it safe.

And the New York Times told us about a kitchen with a radioactive counter. Granite. I feel vindicated. The realtor describe my condo as having a "1990s kitchen and bathrooms--need updating." Need updating? Not really, unless you're allergic to tile. And it seems lots of people are--they need kitchens and bathrooms with granite and slate and quartz. The sellers of our new house remodeled their kitchen and bathrooms before putting the house on the market. For some unknown reason, they put in dark, dark slate on the floors of the bathrooms and on the lower half of the bathroom walls. Why would someone do that? They put in stainless steel refrigerator, stove and dishwasher, and dark blue/black granite countertops. What if they're radioactive? What if they emit radon? Should we get a technician to come out with a Geiger counter?

What will be the next new thing that we need? And will it imperil us?

On the Bus...

...the woman said, Do you think Pastoral has gift certificates?

(Pastoral is a fancy cheese store in Lakeview and downtown. We're talking aged, aged gouda that's so hard it's crystalline. And sweet. And expensive.)

The man said, The Cook County jail at this point has gift certificates.

After a time, the woman said: And there's no expiration date.

Sis Boom Bah! Fighting Cancer Can Be Fun!

Cancer Bitch is trying to figure out what she thinks about a new initiative, Stand Up to Cancer, which has all the hallmarks of everything she's suspicious of in Cancerland: big names (Sarah Jessica Parker, Katie Couric, Lance Armstrong), big sports (major league baseball, making her think about "pink washing," the cleaning up of team/corporate images by association with breast cancer), a telethon (on all three networks at once! just like newscasts in totalitarian countries), a buffet of not-healthful food (hot dogs, white buns, roast beef, Caesar salad, potato chips) served on plastic (plates, with drinks from an open bar served in plastic cups). But she is getting ahead of herself. Just where were these free hot dogs and drinks, and how can I get some? you may be asking. Alas, you're too late. Cancer Bitch found herself yesterday in what is called in Houston a sky box and may be called that here, too--a restauranty room in U.S. Cellular Field, where the White Sox play, where muckety-mucks and their guests can sit in air-conditioned comfort or venture out to a patio and watch the game from chairs pretty close to the field. (Which part of the field was the box was closest to? The green part.)

Cancer Bitch was invited because she has this blog and apparently someone doing PR for Stand Up to Cancer put two and two together (or rather, cancer and Chicago and blog together in a Google search) and thought CB might like to be a "fly on the wall" before a taping of a TV segment (for the marathon) featuring Lance Armstrong. CB was inclined to pass on this but her husband said she should go, and she did, though not before getting caught in Sox traffic (She knew the event was taking place at the stadium, but thought it was going to be when there wasn't a game; maybe Armstrong was going to ride his bike around the field, a notion she got probably from having in the back of her mind the famous Velodome d'Hiver roundup on July 16, 1942, in which Jews were taken from their homes and stashed, in horrifying conditions, into the cycling stadium, then sent to concentration camps.). So she arrived late into this very large and very beige shopping-mall like stadium complex, very different from her neighborhood Wrigley Field. Cellular Field was sea after sea of parking lots (she paid $22 to park, O irony of ironies, she who has charged $20 and more to Cubs fans), and uniformed parking lot attendants with holstered guns and golf-carts, and families tail-gating--sitting in their fold-out chairs around little grills, or standing and playing corn-hole, and smoking cigarettes and drinking beer before the game. They had to provide their own, partly because there weren't a mass of bars all around the field, as in anarchic Wrigleyville. This was a Compound. With gates all around the lots, providing a barrier between the field and the nearby apartments.

CB arrived late and so was a fly on the patio looking down at the field pre-game as Armstrong and Elizabeth Edwards filmed (three times) their spiels, each shown on the big screen by the field, each taping accompanied by 20 seconds of fans' applause. Armstrong said the number of Americans dying of cancer equals the equivalent of the number killed on 9/11 every two days. Roughly one in two men and one in three women will get cancer some time, he said, statistics which Cancer Bitch doubted until she saw them verified later on the American Cancer Society web site. To illustrate the stats, he had every other fan stand up while the others sat down. Elizabeth Edwards was standing next to him, wearing a yellow t-shirt that said Survivor on it, under a bright blue (Cubs' blue) blazer. She said: People sitting to the left and to your right are your mother, your father, your brother, your sister, your husband, your wife, your best friend or your child. She said this three times and still Cancer Bitch didn't fully discern her meaning; she guesses that Edwards was saying that even if you aren't struck by cancer, it will strike someone close to you.

One of the people out on the field was Randy Marzouk, 10, of Buffalo Grove, wearing an oversized Kenarko shirt. He was diagnosed with neuroblastoma when he was two-and-a-half. His father was with him and his mother Michelle was outside the fancy skybox. She and her husband work with Little Heroes, which raises money to treat neuroblastoma patients at Children's Memorial and Comer Children's hospitals. She said the Stand Up group was making people aware of all the cancers. Cancer Bitch asked her if she thought the effort would help her son and she said maybe, that she wants to find out more about the group but, It's probably a good group or it wouldn't hav epeople like Lance Armstrong or Elizabeth Edwards backing them. It's not like they have a lot of spare time. Randy underwent 20 rounds of chemo, three stem cell implants, three weeks of radiation and hundreds of blood and platelet transfusions.

Soon it was time for the press conference, with Armstrong, who did not look familiar to Cancer Bitch--he reminded her of a Ken doll with pale lips--, Elizabeth Edwards, telethon producer and survivor Laura Ziskin, and on either side, two cancer doctors. The three in the middle explained that Stand Up was funding research not just to the usual suspects, but to innovative scientists, and to researchers working in dream teams across disciplines to apply their research quickly to treatment. The American Association for Cancer Research will administer the funds. Amid all the softball questions, Cancer Bitch asked (moderately articulately, and feeling like a Trotskyite at a democratic left conference; the Trots are notorious for asking long questions that are really policy statements) about research on the environment and cancer, and what about the use of plastics in stadiums? Ziskin said that all baseball stadiums were going through a "greening process," working with the Natural Resources Defense Council. She said Stand Up chose Cellular for the taping of the opener of the telethon because Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf was an early backer of the program and brought Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig on board.

Cancer Bitch left before the seventh inning, during which another short program was planned, which would urge fans to text on the phones in order to donate $5 to Stand Up. (Do good without even moving from your seat! Hey vendor, another one with mustard!)

Stand Up has produced an oversized post card featuring a photo of a Cincinnati Reds star (Ken Griffey, Jr. Stands Up to Cancer. What does that mean?) and the words: We have the technology. The brilliance. What we need is you. As if the reader of the post card was water and technology and brilliance were the powder. Doesn't technology + brilliance imply that we have the cure? That it's around there somewhere, misplaced in a lab underneath a dusty beaker, hidden by government red-tape and obscured by turf battles--and all we need are citizens to roust it out? On the back of the post card: Cancer finds us in our neighborhoods and our cities. Our countrysides and our schools. But it's a disease we need to seek out and destroy. It doesn't take a Susan Sontag to see that Stand Up has taken up the language of anti-terrorism. Those with long memories may think, also, of McCarthyism, which warned us that Communism, in the form of teachers' unions, had infiltrated our schools, and in the form of liberals, poisoned our Congress and neighborhood associations. Stand Up to Cancer doesn't investigate which neighborhoods are more likely to harbor cancer, either due to neighborhood gullibility (This waste dump won't hurt you.) or environmental racism, or both, or which schools, due to lead chips or asbestos or other products of homo faber. But, to be fair, there's an op-ed on its site by Devra Davis, about cancer and toxins. Davis directs the Center for Environmental Oncology at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and author of the recent Secret History of the War on Cancer.

So, Cancer Bitch, what's wrong with cancer researchers getting money? Today she had a brief appointment with a physician's assistant at Fancy Hospital. He removed the drain sticking out of the lipoma incision and she asked if he'd heard of Stand Up. He said he'd seen something on TV about it. She said it was supposed to form the "dream teams" of researchers working together. As opposed to what? he asked.

Last night CB dreamed of her friend A, whom she hasn't seen in years. A had a sweet round face, blond hair and blue eyes, a soft voice, and investigative reporting that brought down a big-city mayor. Cancer Bitch dreamed that they were interviewing Elizabeth Edwards and that A asked her about her spinal fluid, and Edwards said that it helped when people rubbed it, and there was her spinal fluid in a plastic tub, and CB felt some empathy and got a lump in her throat. And then she woke up.

Back to Fancy

I had this big lump called a lipoma on my upper arm. Lipo as in fat. It's a fatty tumor. I had it removed in the early 1990s and it grew back so that sometimes people would think I had a big muscle there. It made me self-conscious. More self-conscious than having just one breast. I can't explain it. Earlier this year at a routine appointment with the breast surgeon, she offered to take it off. I said, Wouldn't that be a waste of your talents? She said no. So I decided to go ahead with it. The guy who took it off the first time was a talented surgeon, but was quite annoying. I remember when I left his office after a follow-up appointment, he said, Now be a good girl.

We must have been about the same age. What was that supposed to mean? I may have asked him that. Or not.

Today was lipoma removal day, and because the breast surgeon was doing it, I was in the breast surgery section of Fancy. While I was waiting I read Harvey Pekar and Joyce Brabner's Our Cancer Year, about Pekar's lymphoma during the first Gulf War. They were also buying a house. I was reading about being in a hospital while I was in the hospital and waiting to be sedated and inside his life and my life at the same time. Many doctors and nurses and a fellow came through and my doctor marked on my arm where she was going to cut. They gave me Versed, the "twilight" anesthetic that knocks you partly out. The weird thing about it is that it erases the experience so you might have been in pain while under its influence, or even awake and aware. All I remember is being in the little pre-op room and then hearing a man telling a woman, jokingly, that he was going to sell her uterus. I mentioned this to a nurse and she said, Oh, so that's when you woke up. Did she explain that someone was getting a hysterectomy? Maybe.

They unhooked me from the IV and a nurse put a bandage over the vein and she stepped out so I could dress and I put my shorts on and suddenly there was blood everywhere. Drops of it all over the floor and bed and I couldn't find a nurse button to push so I went out in the hall, dripping more blood on the floor and a curtain, and the nurse told me to sit down and she used bedclothes to wipe the blood from me and the floor. It was quite dramatic. I felt like a character in a fairy tale dropping rose petals. She held gauze to my vein very tightly then put a bandaid on and all was well. I finished dressing and L came and got me and we took the L to our new home, where D the contractor told us that the foundation (walls made of brick) are damp. L had asked him to check them out after seeing that a portion of expose brick was flaking and powdering off. So we begin the Money Pit portion of our show.

Now I am very sleepy and tired and have an Ace bandage wrapped very tightly around my upper arm. There's a drain bulb that I have to empty twice a day. I recommend Our Cancer Year. It's agonizing and political and emotionally complex and a little bit funny.

The Wait

She said she hated being pregnant. When the baby was born (C-section), she didn't feel connected to it at all, no big grand all-encompassing love like you always hear about. No natural mother love emanating from her. That instinct just didn't kick in. She felt bad about it. She felt bad, period. Maybe hormones had something to do with it. This went on for months. Her husband took care of the baby. She looked for excuses to be away from the house. She was a hairdresser and she said she gave bad haircuts because she was so upset. She worked as many hours as she could. And then one night, after about eight months, the baby cried. The mother woke up and got a bottle. And her child looked at her, in recognition, like a person, and she fell in love.

Today is about a year later. The baby, she told me, is in every fiber of her being. She loves her husband but she could live without him. But her child, she said, that's another story.

A Summary

This has been a summer of birthday parties. Before the 50th birthday described below, there was a 51st for M and a 59th for B, both parties on Tuesday nights in the front yard of B and S's house. The most memorable comment was at B's, when I walked inside the house and thought I saw a friend, but realized it was her daughter. I said to the daughter, O, I thought you were your mother for a moment. She replied: I have bigger breasts than she does. I said, I was just looking at you from the back. I should have said, I have only one breast. I had to sell the other one to pay for graduate school.

This is a young woman who tries to provoke.

English has so many more words than other languages, but the French are so good at combining the words they do have. There's l'esprit d'escalier, the spirit of the staircase, which makes me think of a ghost hiding in the banister, but it means the words that you should have said that don't come to you until you're leaving, walking down the staircase.

This should not be confused with Geisterfahrer (Austrian German): one travelling the wrong way up an autobahn (literally, ghost driver).

We are all traveling the wrong way and not being as clever as we would like to be, the words arriving late if at all. Who is the saint of lost words, who will put them back into our mouths and brains when they fall instead to our feet? No one. Or никто, as they say in the Russian.

Mergers and Acquisitions

Today we bought: a push lawn mower, a Weed Hound, an outside light for the back door, and oranges and popsicles for the construction people who are starting Wednesday. (They don't seem like case-of-beer types.) The Weed Hound is a wonderful invention (or tool, outil, as it says in the directions in French.) It looks like a green pogo stick and you push it down into the middle of a dandelion or other mauvaise herbe and twist a little and when you pull up, you've got the weed, along with its root. What is more quickly satisfying than pulling weeds? I could go on and on but I think I already have.

I also had lunch with D, whom I've written about in the past. It was quite fun. It is strange to know someone well for many years, and then to be mostly out of touch for 10 or 11 years, and then to have lunch (or walk along the lake and talk, as we did recently). There are huge chunks missing in your knowledge of one another's lives. I met her daughter once and I saw her son once or twice. They are 10 and 7, regular people, and if we had been in touch I would have been Aunt Cancer Bitch and invited to their birthday parties. We would have a history.

But I was not ready to let go of resentment and twisted bitterness, not ready for that weed to be pulled from my heart. Until now.


It used to be that you would go to a party and then go home with someone and if he reached for a beer in the morning or otherwise became tarnished in your mind, or if he got up early and left a note for you to lock the back door, and then he never called, you would know that it had been a one-night stand. If, on the other hand, you both got up and out at the same time and went for brunch, then you had a Relationship. And the Relationship would chug along for months, which was a long time then, but it was a fragile thing, though it could be intense and you would spin a life together in the future, in your head, and then the Relationship would fray and fray and then break.

This is why you never got so good at arguing, at talking things out, because when things got tough, one or both people would bow out. It would be painful, and memorable--both the breakup and thinking about the breakup and the Relationship itself, and sometimes you would be teary and resentful for months longer than the Relationship had lasted. And then you would go to another party.

This was in the late 70's and 80's, before AIDS was a widespread threat. This was back when you had to choose which Halloween party to go to because you'd received three (paper) invitations, and there were always costume parties where people would dress up as A Shadow of My Former Self or Free-Floating Anxiety or John the Baptist with a collar around his head that was supposed to be a plate. When you could have a birthday party and ask everyone to dress up like a lizard and they would. When it was easy to make friends, because everyone was untethered, and moving, moving, into an apartment and making curtains for it, or into a new job that was absolutely perfect or a stepping-stone to one that was, and everyone had open calendars, and there was room to meet for lunch or dinner or even breakfast at Ann Sather's on a weekday at 7:30 am. The L was faster then, with its A and B and AB stops, and you could jump on at Belmont at 8:30 and be downtown easily in 15 or 20 minutes, like the CTA signs used to advertise.

This was also a time BP, Before Prozac, a time of anxiety so heavy it didn't float, it dogged you and settled around your throat--and your not sleeping enough made daily life even more difficult and brittle. But also more energetic and bright--you would leap and jump and run on the sidewalks on the way to your destination, day or night.

And then came Prozac and half a year later, L (the person, not the train), whom you met on a bright late spring morning, not at midnight at a party of a friend of a friend's, and he and you begat the longest Relationship you'd ever had, and then a mere nine years later, marriage, and one thing led to another and now there is the House. And the Rage. And you must talk about the Rage because this is a Marriage, it is supposed to be permanent, though of course you know the statistics, and a friend tells you that marriages often break apart after the buying of a home. L calls you passive aggressive and says in the past few weeks he's seen for the first time why -- and -- said you were mean, he'd never seen it before, and you feel like a failure as a person. And you say what should we do, and he says, get through it, and then you go on a long walk with J and V, you talking to J, and L talking to V, and J says marriage counseling works for some, and you think about it, and after the walk it's like it was before, BH, before the house, and the rest of the day, too, and the next. Though L still gets frustrated with you because he says you don't help him get his house ready for sale, which is partly true, at least, but you ask his advice on buying flowers to plant--one problem had been that he'd been so parental and all-knowing and bossy when he talked about not planting yet, like he was the expert, which of course he was, having tended his garden and yard for 30 years but still, you wanted to put echinacea and cosmos there in the corner to replace the dead bushes, and more geraniums in pots on the front porch steps to show possession. To prove to yourself that This is Mine. And His. To show the neighbors that you had arrived and cared about flowers. Which also means caring about the neighborhood, because your yard is public.

And you ride bikes to a party, a 50th birthday party, where everyone is supposed to dress up like the '60s, and you both are wearing your share of denim and old buttons: Labor for Hatcher, Pigasus for President '68, Question Authority, No Nukes--some from the 70s, most from L's past. The Pigasus button you just made yourself, to refer to the pig that the Yippies nominated as an alternative to Humphrey, when they gathered in the park during the the Democratic National Convention. You put on eyeliner, top and bottom, and put foundation on your lips so they hint at the chalk-white lipstick that was so popular back then. At the party you and L are the most decorated, everyone else is wearing party clothes, with a few love beads here and there. You dance to Cream and other '60s and '70s and '80s music, and there's a DJ and a disco ball and a light that casts bright green squiggles on the wall, and there's a birthday cake and cupcakes and fondue because it's retro and delicious, and there's someone who's had a 70th birthday party (which you weren't invited to) and your friend from Boston who helped shave your head and there's someone dancing around vibrant with a sleeveless top that fits closely around her real breast and the post-mastectomy one (she had silicone implants) and it looks 100 percent natural. You'd met the guest of honor years ago at another party, about 3am, at one of N's series of 39th birthday parties. Or was it 29th? In the summer of 1968 you had no notion of Pigasus, you were at summer camp, applying your eyeliner and mascara every morning, wheezing mightily, suffering from your asthma, and finally taking steroids for it, which gave you two periods in four weeks and you didn't wear tampons then. You remember your counselor telling you that Bobby Kennedy had died. A girl died at camp that year (or the next? your photo albums from camp are in boxes already), in a car accident on her way to or from a dental appointment in the nearby Ozark town, and when the summer was over the camp closed down and was sold and renamed. In early November Nixon won and a few weeks later you had your bat mitzvah, wearing velvet and taffeta inspired by the Franco Zeffirelli film Romeo and Juliet. And you wondered what your life was going to be like, if you would always be the tall one, and if boys would ever like you, and your father would tell you and your sister that when each was 35 he would buy you a Cadillac if your husband hadn't, (though no one in your family, including yourself, ever wanted a Cadillac), and you knew that at at 35 you would be so old you'd be impossibly frumpy, though your mother was 41 and elegant, and you planned after high school to go to Paris and the Pratt Insititute in New York and be an artist, or a writer, and you'd be famous, as famous as Louisa May Alcott, as you used to say to yourself, as you consoled your wheezy, asthmatic self to sleep the first time at summer camp, your head propped up on a mass of pillows the counselor had put there to help you breathe.

Days of Rage

For a few days I have been rageful.The contractor and painter came to the new house yesterday and we talked about colors. I was outraged that L thought he was entitled to an opinion. I'm so used to making all the decisions about paint (always off-white, but still) and furniture and pictures and such. L has his house in Gary but he's lived here for years, with his apportioned half the bathroom and closet, dresser and most of a desk. (See how magnanimous I am!) I could tell L thought I was being extravagant and over-compensating when I asked the contractor how much it would cost to remove the paint from the trim around three windows. All the other window trim is the natural wood. I lived in this place, my condo, for nine years without doing anything except paint, and I'm determined to get all the changes made in the new place before we move in. I've been so lackadaisical and now I'm the Mad Perfectionist. At least we both agreed that we don't need to have the steps leading to the basement stripped. The treads are painted midnight blue and that's fine with us. The basement bathroom is dark pink and we'll leave it, too.

I told him yesterday how scared I was, that I hadn't actually lived full-time with anyone for 26 years, except once, for nine months. Am I deep down afraid of being taken over? That's not it. I am just so accustomed to my space. Which also translates to time; it took years and years to train me to discuss plans for the upcoming week with him. I was so used to not being accountable to anybody.

We took a field trip to G and F's house to see the yellow walls in the dining room. We rode bikes. On the way back, we encountered P, who told us that yellow walls are WASPy, and that he has a slate gray wall, and that I shouldn't discount neutrals. I told him I don't like wall colors with brown in them, which covers a lot of neutrals. He said that I was greedy because I'm going to have two (small) bedrooms as my office. I said I was thinking about red walls, and he cautioned me about them, saying instead I should save red for furniture.

L and I have both had yellow kitchen walls in houses of our families of origin, and we are 100 percent non-WASPS (though my father used to call himself a WASH--White Anglo-Saxon Hebrew). So that kills that theory about yellow walls and WASPS. I think yellow was a favorite kitchen color in the mid-20th century.

Today I was finally calm. We went to a paint store today and agreed on: creme brulee for the foyer and living room, light yellow for the dining room and hallway to kitchen and my second office, funky fruit (pale orange) or the kitchen, fresh mint for the bedroom walls,tear drop (pale blue) for the basement, french lilac for the first office. My first office will be spare, with a desk and a futon and maybe a bookshelf. I want it to be a clean, clear space. I'm influenced by the serenity of the lavender walls of Namaskar, where I took a yoga class on Monday. My second office will have my file cabinets and bookshelves, though I'm not sure how many will fit in it. I bought a little sample bottle of orangish paint for $4 and I'll try it out on the kitchen. I'm not sure whether orange is a good idea. The kitchen is blue now, and it's too dark. The former owners liked blue. The front steps and porch are blue, which we're keeping. I felt so American in the paint store, choosing colors for a home of our own. Our home. Our colors. Our desires. Home improvement is the opiate of the bourgeoisie.

We Buy a House

We closed yesterday. We sat in the title company office and signed documents with their blue pens, because blue shows up better. Our lawyer, whom we had just met, advised us. She said we had to sign something saying that we would resign something. We went to the house and pulled up weeds and pulled down the ivy from the sides. We talked to our next-door neighbors, whose house is for sale and which we'd looked at twice. We met another neighbor who said that there was a block party the summer. L met a neighbor who lived about three houses down and does gardening. We found how terribly thick and unmoving the branches are that hold up ivy and weeds. I dug and dug to get at one tap root. For dinner we took the bottle of champagne our realtor C gave us and went to Tango Sur, a wildly successful restaurant around the corner from our new place, "on the Southport corridor"--a designation that sprang from the head of some realtor. L's lower back has been spasming so everything's been difficult for him. He can't sit very long and when he gets up to walk around he's still not entirely comfortable.

This morning I slept as long as I could despite disturbing dreams of getting to an appointment late and having my high school friends take me in a helicopter. I met with a client and then went to the new place, where L was meeting with our contractor J and his helper B. It still is so strange to think you can move walls and build in cabinets and add floor. We're opening up the wall between the living and dining rooms. Right now they're separated by a big doorway, and you can theoretically pull out dark pocket doors to close off the rooms from each other. We're going to take out the pocket doors. J said that he has a friend who used a door like that as a head board. I like that idea. I could use the other one as a desk but I don't know if I want one that has a pattern on it and isn't quite flat. I don't want to ravage the house. I want to respect it.

We have a head board already on the captain's bed that we were planning to sleep on. We could take off the headboard, which contains shelve inside it, but we'd lose the space. Suffer for beauty, I thought of saying, a quote of my mothers.

A friend called today from Oregon. I hadn't heard from her in years. She'd just given my name to someone at a convention and when she Googled me to get my number she saw this blog. She told me she'd had a mastectomy about 20 years before. She didn't do anything to restore the breast until she realized she was wearing bigger and bigger clothes. She decided to buy a prosthesis.

We need to decide on color for the walls. I want to visit a friend's house to see what she's done with yellow. She's out of town but we have her keys. I'm afraid of color and always admire friends who use it. But I don't want the blue that's in the new house in the kitchen and two upstairs bedrooms. Make things look too small.

How utterly bourgeois and also to be reading a book called The Emotional House. I hate the Ikea ads that say that home is the most important building. It's not. It's the polis. We are a community who must band together. And yet, home is where we get the energy to go forth each day.