What I'm Reading

Stardust by Joseph Kanon
Coming out in the fall, the next novel by the author of The Good German. It's so good I kinda want to lick the pages.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Many of you are used to hearing me talking about mushy things. But this time there’s a catch. We’re not talking emotion here, we’re talking food. Mushy food. Food I will be able to swallow after surgery next week.

I am a slightly… restless… sleeper. Words others have used include “scary,” “dangerous,” and “horrific.” (You know who you are.) I make horrible noises, I stop breathing, I kick, I can completely clear a bed of blankets in my sleep. It’s not pretty. Polly once told me on vacation that she thought there was a truck idling outside our hotel room, only to realize no, that was me. She also claims that I flip over completely in my sleep, but that was the same vacation where she got drunk enough to vomit for 14 hours, so her memory should be considered suspect.

I finally went for a sleep study, and was diagnosed with sleep apnea. So I did what any sensible person would do in that situation—I put the test results away for about a year and didn’t think about them. But a couple of months ago I finally saw a specialist, and this is it. I’m doing it. I’m getting my uvula cut down on Monday. No, it’s nothing dirty. It’s the thingie (thingie being the proper medical term) that hangs down the back of your throat.

I had friends offer to come with me to the surgery, but they were trumped by an offer I couldn’t refuse. My parents are coming. Of course, I’m just letting them come for their sake. It’ll make my mom feel better to be here. It has nothing to do with the fact that I’m a complete mommy’s girl. Or that every time I’ve been under anesthesia I’ve woken up crying for her (the most recent time I was 22). Or that she’s the most comforting thing in my world. No, I’m just letting them come for their sake.

So next week I’ll be eating mushy foods and sucking on popsicles. This week I’m trying to clear my desk, make lists, and in general prepare my life to go on without me while I’m recovering. Oh, and make sure my house is completely spotless for my mother's visit. Some things never change....

Monday, April 23, 2007

Happy Days Are Here Again

So after months and months, I finally figured out how to recover access to this blog. Which should make it easier for everyone. Unless I screw it up again. Sigh...

New York winters are long and hard. Now, I know there are many places where winter is longer and harder. But most of those places are not pedestrian cities. Plus, I don’t live there. So I win.

It’s 78 degrees outside, I got my first pedicure of spring yesterday, and I’m wearing a pair of sandals that I dug out from under my desk. They’d been there since last summer. I got a salad for lunch, and I was going to eat it outside, but they haven’t put the summer benches out on Rockefeller Plaza yet. And a few of you have reminded me, rather vehemently I might add, that I’ve been remiss in my blogging, so I decided to take the time to do that.

This good mood and general bonhomie has been particularly hard-earned for me this spring. I’ve been sick. I mean really, really sick. Sicker than I’ve ever been. I know as an adult I’m not supposed to still be blaming things on my mom. But this one really is her fault. See, I went home for Easter. My dad hates strong smells, so my mom has taken everything smelly in the house—scent diffusers, a particularly horrific eucalyptus wreath—and stuffed them into my bedroom. I understand her rationale. That way she gets to keep it, but it doesn’t bother him. Everybody wins. Right? Wrong.

I slept one night there, and broke out in this full-blown asthma and allergies extravaganza that turned into a cold that took two weeks of doing nothing but going to work, antibiotics, cough medicine with codeine, 2 inhalers, and finally a heavy-duty dose of steroids to clear up. Now, I come from a family of the bronchially challenged. There’s always someone sucking on an inhaler, and when my nephews were little, every trip to the beach involved trekking up to first aid to plug in their nebulizers. But it’s still shocking when it happens to you.

After two weeks of this, this past weekend was the first time I actually felt like a human being. So I decided, as is my style, to ease back into a social life gradually—by drinking for about 12 hours on Saturday. Now, it wasn’t exactly my fault. See, I had a bridal shower that segued into a bachelorette party. And there was champagne punch at the shower. How much do I love champagne punch? And then there were wine tastings. And wine tastings. And wine tastings. And really I was just drinking to be polite. And then there was the wine in the limo. And a few pitchers of margaritas back at the house. And then I think some read wine when everything else ran out. But really—I was just being social. Isn’t that the rule? You have to keep drinking so the bride has company? I think that’s definitely the rule.

So here I am, warm again, social again, and back in the swing of things. Happy days are here again.

Monday, April 16, 2007

When It Rains It Pours

They say that into every life a little rain must fall. Those of you on the east coast who have been traveling around in these torrential rains know exactly what that means. It's been kind of nice, actually. Growing up, we spent our summers camping, and the sound of rain on the camper was always one of my favorite noises. When it pours like that, I can listen to the rain on my air conditioner, and it makes almost the same sound.
My life seems to be attracting all sorts of metaphorical rain too, though, these days. My aunt Jeanne passed away last week. It's hard to really mourn someone who lived to be 98, though. She clearly had a full life. She was my grandmother's sister, and their family came to the States from Quebec when they were children. I interviewed 2 of their other sisters for a college course I took on the Depression, and they told me stories about how they all lived together (there were nine of them) and whoever managed to get a job would pitch their earnings into a communal pot. The girls had only one pair of hose and one nice dress, so they would take turns going to mass. One would go to an early mass, come home and change clothes, and the next would put the dress on and so on.
Jeanne was my cousin Missy's grandmother, and when my grandmother died when I was 8, Missy offered to share hers with me. We stole her money for the paperboy once, for or our "secret club." The club was a treehouse we built, and the money went for one thing and one thing only--candy from the corner store. (Missy, of course, confessed, and we got in trouble.) Jeanne used words lke "bad lucky" (the opposite of lucky), and one year after she was already starting to go senile, she showed up on Christmas in a pair of bright purple polyester pants and a fuschia sweater. And every time she'd see you, whether or not she remembered who you were, she'd give you a big hug and say, "it's so nice to see you," as though you had just made her year. She was the last alive of her siblings, or friends, and outlived her husband by 20 years. She used to say, "It's not funny, you know, to be the last one left." And now she's back with them all. I hope she told them all how happy she was to see them.