I was corresponding back and forth in the comments section of the Elizabeth Edwards post about selfishness, having children, not having children, going to enormous effort to have them. You could call me selfish for not having children. I was always afraid they'd have asthma, I was afraid I'd run out on them in a panic, that I would be selfish and not want to pay attention to them. I realized that I think strangers who've tried very hard (hormones, in vitro, etc.) are spoiled, but when my friends and family have taken this route, I'm very sympathetic. What does this mean except that I'm judgmental? Or maybe that I'm envious of celebrities who have been able to stop the clock, the way they've been successful in doing so much else. Both Wendy Wasserstein and Elizabeth Edwards had children late and both died of cancer. Connection? I don't know. I do know that both ovarian and breast cancer have been known as "the nun's disease." My sister has three children and has never had even a cancer scare. I don't have the BRCA gene, and I would bet neither does she. My mother has never had breast or ovarian cancer. She had two children and no more. Is there a part of me that wishes that I could have gone through all the body mechanics to have a child late in life? The truth is that I like options. I always want to feel that I could take up anything, marathon-running, or art or a new language, with my middle-aged chemo-addled brain and body. And you can always find role models. Take Grandma Moses, for example. I've always wanted to experience pregnancy and childbirth. When I come across an ad for a surrogate, I read it, and it takes me a second or two to realize that yes, though I am healthy (if you ignore the breast and blood cancer and asthma), I am not 35 years old any more.

Attention, bloggers

More media queries, for current and former bloggers:
If you live and work in the Chicago area and used to blog,
but don't anymore, and want to be interviewed, please contact
Lisa Bertagnoli (
Media Outlet:
Deadline: 05:00 PM EST - 30 December
African-American Bloggers: How Did You Begin Blogging? is looking for African-American bloggers to
share their stories of how they started blogging. How did you
begin blogging? Who (or what) influenced or inspired you? What
has blogging brought to your life? We want to know! All stories
will be fully attributed to you with links to your blog as well.
Photos are a plus.
Maurice Cherry (Black Weblog Awards)
Deadline: 11:00 PM EST - 31 December

Do you have Stage 4 breast cancer?

If so, and you're willing to talk to a New York Times reporter, read on:

Roni Rabin (New York Times)

Deadline: 07:00 AM EST - 10 December


I want to interview women living with Stage 4 breast cancer to
talk about their experiences, quality of life, hopes and fears. I
would prefer women willing to use their real names.

Elizabeth Edwards

What to say about Elizabeth Edwards? She tried to help others with cancer, and to raise funds for research. While her husband was running as John Kerry's running mate in 2004, she though she might have cancer, but didn't tell her husband John. She was diagnosed after the election, with stage 3. In 2007, it became stage 4, which means it appeared in other parts of her body, specifically, in her bones.
She died today at home, surrounded by family, including her ex-husband.
When she announced that her cancer had metastasized, I was annoyed with her for not speaking out about links between manmade chemicals and cancer. In fact, I wrote that I hated her. I conceded that I might have displaced my feelings about cancer itself onto her. I do wish she hadn't died and that she'd caught the tumor earlier. She reminds us that cancer is a serious, deadly disease. And that people find inspiration in those who try to do something about it.

The Adventures of Snow Bitch

I made my second snow person ever today. I'll post a better picture tomorrow but for now, here she is.

The second day of Chanukah

For those of you who are still eating Thanksgiving leftovers, it may come to you as a shock that Chanukah started last night. It's early this year. But as the joke goes (a weak joke), it's the same time every year on the Hebrew calendar, which is lunar, it's always the night of the 24th of Kislev. In some households, family members give eight gifts, one for each night of the holiday.
Wondering what to get your true love, especially if she's cancerous? And if your true love is an Ashkenazi Jew, as are 90 percent of the Jews in the US, she has a greater chance of being breast-cancerous than the non-Ashkenazim. I stole this idea from The Cancer Culture Chronicles. Go there to find other tacky items, listed under Pink Boob Award Nominees. Here is the Natural Contours Petite Breast Cancer Awareness Pink Ribbon Vibrator. Why do all these pink tchotchkes have long names, like M-&-M'S(R) Brand Milk Chocolate Candies Help Fight Breast Cancer?

A blog, a blog, why a blog?

[Venus with a Mirror by Titian]

I just looked at this blog with my picture on it and thought, What in the world am I doing? Am I still running for junior high student council? (Alas, that was a sad story. My friend A helped me for about eight hours paint a very sophisticated campaign banner on brown paper, consisting of Doonesbury characters speaking favorably about my candidacy. We put it up on the cafeteria wall and then then someone tore it down. Who knows why? I think I ran because K was running and told me I should. I ran again in high school and won. And why did I do that? I had no big desire to change X or Y about the school.)

Last year my acquaintance S said, as I suppose many commentators have, that nowadays everyone is a hero to his own group of friends. We're all famous and important or want to be. Every single thing we do is important, especially the unimportant things, which we record on Facebook and Twitter. Why? Because we don't want to be insignificant. And we can't stand the idea that we're going to die. And be gone gone gone. And because it's so easy to write, I'm cleaning off my desk. I'm waiting in line. I'm inhaling. Exhaling.

On that note, I'm offering more of myself. Today I did a phone interview with KMSU in Mankato, Minnesota. To hear it, click here.