- Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys ~ A gift from Melissa, who always knows what I will like. And I liked this a lot. The author really got New Orleans right in every way I can imagine, which is rare. I would like this book to have a sequel.
- Better Nate Than Never by Tim Federle ~ Another from Melissa. Totally cute theater boy discovers NYC book.
- The Beginning of Everything by Robin Schneider ~ Gift from my friend S. I kept picturing Ezra as Miles Teller, which made me like the character a lot. This book started strong and kind of fell off as it went along, which was kind of a bummer.
- Catching Fire ~ I don’t know if my experience was swayed by my glee at escaping my house for the first time in a week and wearing jeans and feeling healthy enough to eat Milk Duds and also popcorn or what, but I thought it was FANTASTIC! And I had pretty much forgotten the book so there was plenty of satisfying gasping and surprise. And Jennifer Lawrence is perfect and we might as well just accept it; long may she reign. I loved Jena Malone as Joanna — her “love is weird” was pretty much my favorite line reading of the whole movie. And Finnick … Finnick 4 life.
- Thor: The Dark World ~ Annual Thanksgiving week matinee with brother. We lacked the emotional strength to see 12 Years a Slave so opted for this. Thoughts: Natalie Portman, distracting hair, waste of space. Hemsworth, handsome to the point of ridiculousness. Hiddleston, everything. May I recommend YouTube videos of Tom Hiddleston any time you feel sad? They cure all. I also enjoy all of these Hiddleston-related posts. Also, this.
- About Time ~ Clearly I’d been waiting to see this for months and months, as I am me, and it didn’t disappoint. (Trailer.) From the first piano chord of the film’s opening, from what is possibly the biggest punch in the heart song there is, I was hooked. The ginger lead was wonderful, and I never knew he was the son of Brendan Gleeson from my dear old In Bruges. And everyone knows Bill Nighy is perfect. This movie perhaps could have used a tighter edit, but that would have meant less of it, of which I cannot be in favor. I don’t even care that all time travel movies always ultimately cease to make sense on some level and that this one is no exception. My beloved “Spiegel im Spiegel.” Cornwall! Rachel McAdams’ luminous face! I cried a lot and I loved it. The end.
- My go-to feel good music these days: Guster.
- One of my favorite fall discoveries is a very old song that is new to me via a rerun of Parenthood. It is Donovan’s “Catch the Wind” and I think I will love it forever.
Favorite things on Internet:
- Al Lowe is not only one of my favorite friends, she is one of my favorite writers. And this might be my favorite thing she has ever written.
- Aaron Laughs With Cancer — much of this blog rings very true for me.
- How I Learned to Stop Explaining How Old Things Make Me Feel by Linda Holmes:
Lamenting my age, at this point, even in jest, feels ungrateful. It’s sort of an insult to the integrity of my intact life, without which I would not be sitting here. You pull out any of the pieces, however much I may have hated them at the time, and the results would be unpredictable. This is where I am, this is how long it took.
- Scott Simon – Thank You, Mom
- Thanksgiving memories ~ When I was 11, my brother was 14, and my sister was 9, we snuck upstairs on Thanksgiving to watch Days of Our Lives, and it was this wonderful flashback episode, and it pretty much made it the greatest Thanksgiving Day of my life up to that moment. I’m not sure what that says about our childhoods, but gathering around the TV every afternoon after school to watch our VHS tape of each day’s episode was basically the only thing the three of us liked to do together or that my brother and I could do without wanting to murder each other, and I just always remember this particular episode, especially the ending montage, when I remember that.
- Richard Lawson’s review of About Time:
There’s not much of a main plot in About Time, just as there isn’t in most lives … Curtis’s observations and urgings may be simple — try to enjoy the present moment, be grateful for what you have, be awed at the inherent wonder and beauty of what so often seems mundane — but the film offers them up so kindly and wisely that their simplicity only proves how vitally true they are. About Time is a bittersweet marvel of a tearjerker, and is, I’m not ashamed to admit, perhaps my favorite movie of the season so far. Not necessarily the best, mind you. Just the one I love the most.
I accidentally had a psychotic retail therapy break and bought one hundred million items of winter clothing. Direct quote from my sister when I called her somewhat freaking out about it: “You are allowed to drop a ton of cash at the outlet mall the week before you begin freaking chemotherapy, for the love of Christ!” It made me laugh and laugh. She is the best of the best.
I’ve been lucky to have many friends visit lately and extend to me absurd kindnesses that I will never be able to repay in this lifetime, and I shall now state on record that my friends, lifelong & new, along with my family, obviously, are THE BEST. But I’ve only had one official weekend houseguest lately, and Anna Beth’s visit coincided with my return to actually being up, out, about, and dressed for the first time in many weeks, and I think she was the best medicine, along with wearing our robes a lot, juicing multiple grapefruits, spending many consecutive hours on my patio with the sun on our faces, visiting the wig shop and trying to figure out how to make mine look less like those of a crazy country singer, and living our best, dumb lives. Overall: This visit was nestled in the sweet spot between recovering from surgery and starting chemo, which I tried to savor as much as possible, and I’m glad I spent it with my sweet friend. It made me feel happy and sad and well. And like myself.
Best Food Eaten:
I tagged along with my dad one night when I had severe cabin fever on his drive to New Orleans. We visited at the old neighborhood coffee shop I used to frequent with B., he headed to his dinner, and then B. and I headed out for catching up over pho, which was the yummiest. It was nice to spend this time with my dad and my sweet old boyfriend. Plus, the sunset over the Bonnet Carré spillway on the way to the city practically made me pass out.
Pets Still Alive:
I’ve gotten to spend some real quality time with both of my pets this fall, and I am grateful for it.
Most Exciting Patio Development
I have spent much of the fall at home, and much of that time has been spent on the patio. I want to stay out there all the time, basically, and do not want to be deterred by cold weather. My kind friends brought me their wood burning stove from their farm and stocked me with a high pile of firewood so we can all sit out there all the livelong day and night no matter how cold it may get. I am so happy about this that I cannot even.
On a cold fall night with good friends, I saw the Avett Brothers in the middle of the woods. It was the most ambitious outing I’d had in a while, but it felt so good to walk until my bones ached and feel the autumn chill. They closed the show with “Life” … One comes of it, love it, love it / Let go of it, love comes from it / We’re not of this world for long / Faith and promise keep me honest … and they sang “November Blue” under a blue November moon, and it was lovely.
I could write a million words about cancer and stupid, stupid chemo, but I don’t feel like it. Chemo is terrible! Obviously. But it could have been worse for me, at least round one. Everything could always be worse. I could make a list of all the things chemo is doing to my body and my mind, but I don’t want to. I want to take myself out of that mindset and not give my whole life over to this experience. I want it to be on the outskirts of life and not at the center. But let’s face it, that is kind of impossible at the moment. S0 here I am, writing about it.
One major attitude adjustment I had of the 10,000 I have per day was when I started getting really mad that chemo is turning me from a well person into a sick person. Like, I felt like, if they can’t find any more cancer, and my incisions are healed, then I am well! I had never felt better! So — mad. Mad for that reason and lots of other reasons. But then I thought, what if I were a sick person who needed chemo to make me into a well person? And what if I do have some stealth cancer cells on the loose in my body which could very well be the case? Well, then shouldn’t I get down on my knees and thank my lucky stars that there is such a thing as chemo and aren’t I being such an ungrateful cow? So that kind of snapped me out of that funk.
As did the nurses in the infusion suite who were like, “We rarely see ovarian cases getting a mere three rounds,” because it’s almost always found so much later and at a more advanced stage. As did my conversation with a woman diagnosed with ovarian cancer at stage three who has to have 21 rounds vs. my three and is counting on the chemo to get rid of the cancer that spread to her intestines and colon — So: I get it, universe. I am lucky. But I would feel luckier if this never happened. I recognize, though, in this scenario where it has happened, I am the luckiest, etc. etc., thanks Ben Folds, barf.
It’s just so weird and crazy-making, and I am trying really hard not to be crazy. I’m writing this on Day 14. (Treatment is Day 1.) I didn’t feel truly human again until Day 7. I felt like a mostly-dead human on Days 3-6, and I barely remember Days 1 and 2. Thank God for my sister, without whom I would not have eaten, slept, breathed air, stood upright, or basically continued existing that week. Who the hell knows, but I feel like the sun is out, Thanksgiving was nice, the Tigers won twice this week, so let’s all just carry on. The top of my head feels like it is about to burst into flames, which I think means the hair thing is happening pretty much now. It feels like the most dire thing in the world on the one hand, but it is not. I know this deep down, but I still have to remind myself over & over. Gah. Let’s think about flowers, which make me think about life.
Flowers, Plants, and Trees:
Oh, how I love my mother’s magic camellias.
November brought unexpected bursts of color and light all over the place, truly.
Every fall brings the pelicans back. I have no idea how they find their way back to us, but they always bring strangers together upon the lake’s edge as we pull our cars and bikes over in a frenzy and stand there breathless and thrilled in the sun, like, can you believe what you are seeing? No? Neither can I! And so forth. It happens every year but somehow we are not jaded. We love them. I love them. They will be here next year at this time, and God willing, so will my hair and I and you.