Days pass, years pass

Do the seasons have to be so obvious in their passing? At this point, at my age, it almost feels like a cliché. Except, of course, that this year the season seems to change and also not change. We switched the furnace on a couple of weeks ago. This did not bring an end to our need for the air conditioner. We are forced to inhabit this duality now.

Last weekend, I was exhausted from more than my usual share of childcare — the kids had a three-day school week because of Jewish holidays, and the same is happening this week. J took them out for most of the day, and I took myself to the botanic garden. I was on the lookout for migrating monarch butterflies, because a friend told me her backyard milkweed plant had hosted hundreds of them during the week. Not in those numbers, but I did find them.

 

I also saw these autumn crocuses, which seemed like such a good metaphor for my mental state.

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“It is exhausting to be beautiful.”

And I spent a long time reading a book recommended by a friend. It is a memoir written by a woman who decides to undertake the daily study of a page of Talmud known as daf yomi. It surprised me that I would even think of reading such a book, and I will admit that spending my time reading about someone reading seemed a strange use of my limited attention span. I have been enjoying it, though, because it juxtaposes her daily study with the events of her life. It has made me curious about the Talmud, which I never considered something that a person as un-learned as myself might ever get around to.

Also, reading about her daily practice dovetails with a need for daily rigor I’ve been trying to impose on myself. I’ve been mostly off sugar for about a month now, not eating sweets and not adding sugar to coffee and also (although not obsessively) avoiding foods with added sugar. Fruit tastes almost unbearably sweet, sometimes. One thing I have yet to kick, however, is this:

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Fingernails ARE NOT FOOD.

Nail biting was lifelong habit until I was 25 years old, when I suddenly stopped between one day and the next with no rhyme or reason to it. I probably took it up again recreationally when I got cancer. Now it seems to be back as a daily affliction, especially with all the suspenseful episodes of the original Twin Peaks series that J and I have been watching (so that we can watch the new ones).

I’ve also been concerned for a while about my use of social media and my phone. And it appears that I’m not the only one who is concerned about the pervasiveness and the addictive nature of social media and smartphones. This article sheds light on the very people who created this state of affairs now avoiding their own creations. Food for thought.

I’ve been putting this post off for a while, but I finally had to post today. Because it is the third wedding anniversary of our dear friends, Jeff and Holly. And their wedding, three years ago, was beautiful and fun and stylish and in every way a singular night. This would have been the case even had I not just started immunotherapy treatment for my lung metastases. But I had. I was euphoric about it, because I wasn’t feeling sick to my stomach, and every indication was I would be fine. And as it turns out, I am, in a manner of speaking, fine. Recalling this day three years ago means returning in my mind to a different state of being — when I didn’t know that treatment would make me ill, and that it would be suspended… but then would turn out to have worked, anyway, leaving my lungs NED since April 2015. I didn’t know that melanoma would be coming after my brain next. I could fill a ballroom with the things I didn’t know. Instead, I’ll raise a glass to Jeff and Holly and spend a little while looking at this photo of J and I from the photo booth at their wedding. A goofy one, to be sure, but I love its [mock] ferocity.

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Don’t blink.

Finally: My dear friend Tehilah is running the New York City Marathon in a few weeks, and is doing a little fundraising, because she has a loved one dealing with cancer. I’d love it if you could add a contribution to her campaign.

 

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