Delights & Shadows

Blog title borrowed from poet Ted Kooser


Jul 28
Dime-sized lizard on the back patio table, keeping me company as I soak up the hot evening while my kids sleep and my husband flies home Chicago.

Dime-sized lizard on the back patio table, keeping me company as I soak up the hot evening while my kids sleep and my husband flies home Chicago.

It’s so awkward

when your kids start disciplining their toys.

Jul 25

Surgery for forever boobs is a short month away. Wow. The end of treatment. Removal of my port. Cutting the umbilical cord between me and my oncologist as we stretch our visits. I am attached, to all of it. Parking on the third floor of the garage every Tuesday morning. Sitting in Joann’s room, the non-chemo infusion room. Chatting with her while she sticks a needle into the quarter-sized plastic object just under the skin below my right collarbone—a direct line to my jugular vien. Reading while I wait for the bag of Herceptin to drain, which takes 30 minutes. Checking in with my oncologist, Dr. Wang, of Miami breast cancer fame. I worry out loud about a blood test/ultrasound/scan and she says: Just expect it to be okay. Let me tell you, I’ve taken those words to heart. I’m fairly certain Dr. Wang, who is a medical doctor through and through, did not mean to point me in the direction of New Thought, but that’s where her attitude of expecting things to be okay led me. I can’t bring myself to fully believe that if I think something it will happen, but I can say with certainty that if I think and behave like a healthy person, I feel like a healthy person, and I’m happier that way—happier than when I think about the stats and worry about what slice of the pie I’ll end up in. Sweet baby jesus, would you believe me if I told you I just meant to write about my forever boobs? 

So anyway. There are choices. Round. Teardrop shaped. Good arguments for both.

Happy Friday, friends.



I get so nervous the morning of my kids’ check-ups when I know they’ll be getting shots. I hate the instantaneous switch from I’m happy! What’s that thing? I’M SCREAMING AND NOT HAPPY NOW.

I took Lu for her 2-year appointment and held her tight while the nurse gave her a vaccine. Luci pushed me off, looked at the nurse and calmly said, “I need a bandaid.”

Jul 22

Oh hey, Tuesday morning

At 6:30 our son opens his bedroom door and my husband sits up in bed. It’s his turn for the breakfast shift. I used to sleep longer on his days, but now I keep my eyes open. I trip out of bed, tired from staying up late, my husband and I wrapped up like a pretzel in bed, talking, deciding not to talk, then talking some more. I sit in the chair by the window and tug open the curtains. The sky is barely light. I meditate for 20 minutes—the girl who has always hated mornings, carving a new relationship with the time of day that feels like an ill-fitted outfit. I keep doing this—tripping out of bed to meditate—and I keep doing it because morning is teaching me things and I’ve always been a happy student, and when I open my eyes after meditating the sun is coming up behind the neighbor’s roof. Later, after I’ve packed my kids’ lunches, I take a shower, and while I’m in the shower I see my kids walk into the bathroom with their bike helmets on, just back from their morning ride with Papi, and they deposit two flowers each next to the bathroom sink. I brush my teeth and think about what a wild week I’ve just come off of—the anniversary of my diagnosis—and wow I didn’t realize what a shitstorm of emotion that would bring. I look at those flowers while I brush my teeth, and the borders around my life feel so small, for just a few minutes, before I step out my front door into the great big world.

Jul 21
Red cabbage. Hello, beautiful.

Red cabbage. Hello, beautiful.

Jul 14

The quietest quiet

Diego started camp at his school today, 9-3, which is his longest stretch to date. I put Luci down for her nap at 12:30 and talked on the phone with a friend while I made a lentil salad and prepped for dinner. When I got off the phone I listened to my Taylor Swift Pandora station and being a rock and roll girl I never thought I’d say this, but country music has a soul. A big, simple soul that makes me feel thoughtful and happy and nostalgic—lots of times all three in one song. Right now it’s 2, and Luci is napping, and the lentil salad is eaten, and the music is off, and the house is so quiet.

So quiet.  

Jul 10


Can’t get over the gorgeousness

Can’t get over the gorgeousness

I’m a sucker for nostalgia. Last night Luis and I met my high school roommate and her husband for dinner. I could’ve reminisced about 17 year-old shenanigans all night. I loved being a teenager. I also loved the drive to the restaurant, along back roads through quintessential New England small towns, and eating outside on the water next to boats, and the yummy baked fish, and the extra glass of wine.

“The basic ground of compassionate action is the importance of working with rather than struggling against, and what I mean by that is working with your own unwanted, unacceptable stuff, so that when the unacceptable and unwanted appears out there, you relate to it based on having worked with loving-kindness for yourself. Then there is no condescension. This nondualistic approach is true to the heart because it’s based on our kinship with each other. We know what to say, because we have experienced closing down, shutting off, being angry, hurt, rebellious, and so forth, and have made a relationship with those things in ourselves.”

Pema Chodron

This is one of my core beliefs, which is reaffirmed on a daily basis.

(via atreb)

Jul 8

Do you know about Food Babe?

I’ll get to her in a minute, but first I’ll tell you this: One of my dear friends was diagnosed with breast cancer a few weeks ago. What are the chances? Apparently higher than ever. I keep meeting or hearing about young women with breast cancer, many of whom have babies. The number of older women with breast cancer (and people of all ages with all types of cancer) is rising.

What the fuck is going on?

There are many theories. One that I am paying attention to is that more chemicals in our environment leads to more cancer. Most breast cancer is hormone-related, and there are countless chemicals in our food, personal care products, and medications that are known to mess with our hormones. Besides that, there are tons of chemicals that are believed to be linked to cancer in other ways.

So, Food Babe. I’ve been following her for a few months now, and she is an excellent resource for not only educating yourself about this stuff, but also doing something about it. She calls out companies for putting nasty chemicals in their products (remember the yoga mat chemical that Subway and many other companies were putting in their bread?) and uses social media to gather momentum to pressure these companies to clean up their ingredients.

I often feel overwhelmed by the power of the mega corporations in our country, but this woman is proof that things can change.

There is no reason that we should be ingesting or absorbing chemicals that are banned in many other countries due to their toxicity. There is no reason that chemical-free food and personal care products should be a privilege for those who can afford them.

Jul 7

Boat nap after an incredible whale watch. We saw so many whales!

Boat nap after an incredible whale watch. We saw so many whales!

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