Cancer and My Face.

This past spring I was told I have more of “the good kind of cancer” on my face. Which means I will have to have it removed (again). There are options, so that’s good. But it’s my face and this pisses me right off. I still have a scar from where they removed the cancer on my upper lip. And they used Mohs for that, which is supposed cause less scarring. But it scarred. And it’s become more visible as I’ve aged; I mean, I knew that would happen, but it still sucks. I’m as vain as the next guy.

The options given to me this time were to use a cream for two weeks, three times per day; OR I could go in and sit under some blue light for three hours at their office. They both are relatively similar procedures. It all depends on “your lifestyle and whether you want to sit in a medical office for three hours” with nothing to do but zone out to silence or listen to a podcast?

Are you kidding me? Three blissful hours without any screaming children? Three hours of silence? I know! SOUNDS AWESOME.

Just kidding. I love my kids most of the time.

But, honestly, I still wasn’t sure what to do. It is my face after all. So I called my doctor and went over the differences. We discussed the redness associated with both, the swelling. She went over the recovery time. They are very similar.

“Basically, do you want it over with in one day? Or can you do it for two weeks?”

“I guess I can do the cream? I don’t know…”

“Oh, I will add that sometimes the light has an added bonus of smoothing out wrinkles.”


Three quiet hours WITH a podcast and when it’s over I might look a touch younger AND be cancer free?

Show me the light!

I can’t do it until after halloween because I plan on painting my face and getting totally decked out for the first grownup halloween party I’ll have been to in over 8 years, but I will post before and after shots and I may even live-tweet those blissful three hours.

Ok, not really.


I found out one of my childhood friends passed away unexpectedly last week. I am flying to Raleigh today to attend his memorial service.

His name was Aaron. He was the first person to talk to me when we moved to Raleigh when I was 10. He was kind, hilarious.

My heart breaks for his family. He has kids, a wife. He was loved.

He’s the boy in the hat.


I will write more a bit later. My head is a touch fuzzy this morning, still filled with under-processed dreams.

What’s the Right Thing To Do?

I have something I’m trying to work out and I am not sure if I’m being too insecure and lame or if this is legitimately something that should be bothering me. So maybe you can help me!

OK, so we moved Em’s birthday this year to September (during the school year) because everyone seems to go away during the month of August. And I sent out an invite and almost everyone is able to come, so that’s great. Three of the boys are also invited to spend the night. (I’d take them all, but I don’t want to lose what’s left of my mind.) There is this one child who Em adores. And so he was one of the boys who was asked to sleep over. One of the reasons we moved his party was specifically so this child might be able to attend.

Two days ago, I received a message from the boy’s mother. (I like this family a great deal, so I don’t want to come off sounding rude or hateful in any way.) But his mother said he would be able to attend but only for a short while because there is another party he enjoyed last year and so he wants to do that as well. She said that if he’s having a good time, he can choose to stay at Em’s party, but that he’ll likely not spend the night and will probably leave after a short while.

Ok. I mean, I get it. Kids want the best of everything. I know my kid would like to do it all. But wouldn’t this be a good time to say, “No, you make a decision and choose one. Don’t leave a person hanging.”? I’m sincerely trying to figure out what I would do in this situation. I think I would tell my kid that he would go to the one party until it ends and show up late for the other party. It’s fine to not spend the night. Or I would say, “Hey, dude. Time to choose which one you’d rather go to, commit and have fun.”

Am I taking this too personally? I am mightily hormonal these days! But I’m taking my meds and my head has been clearer and I am less anxious and, well, I feel pretty damn solid these days. So I wasn’t sure if the old, insecure me was visiting or not.

Anyway, thanks for reading. Even writing it out feels better. Parenting is hard.

Tuesdays With Murray: I’m So Happy He’s Home

Corie stopped by on Sunday and took these pictures of Murray and me. I am so grateful he came home. We still don’t know what he did for 5 days alone out there because he hasn’t wanted to talk about it, but he survived, came home a touch thinner and he doesn’t seem to want to return to the wild outdoors.


There Are Ghosts

Today is 9/11 and there are ghosts. But a lot of us have ghosts. So I’m not alone with mine. I know this.

There are a lot of things that remain unsettled when it comes to 9/11 at least for me and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone with that either. I know about the unsettled moments because trickle in at my most vulnerable times; times where I least expect it; times where my guard is down.

Like getting hit from behind; a sudden, blinding reflection from the windshield of a passing car; a dying baby squirrel, its screeching mother and a bird of prey.

On most days, I cast out lines and those lines come back to me with some sort of punctuation. At the end of each day I look at all those lines and I have some type of map, something that makes sense—an outline. Sometimes there’s something new at the end of a line. Sometimes, I let a line go. But when it comes to the lines I casted out on 9/11/01, they simply snapped. They were too taut or something, too much of my mind to handle at the time and they just snapped.

So there are ghosts. There will always be ghosts.

Last year, I spent 9/11 driving a dying baby squirrel to a vet in Madison, New Jersey, the only vet within the 20 mile radius who would accept a “wild animal” of 2 weeks old. He had fallen from his nest. His mother stood above screeching, a sound I will never ever get out of my head. Pure distress. So I scooped up his little body and drove him to the only vet willing to show this tiny creature some compassion. And we sat there together and watched him take his final breath.

When I returned home, the mother was silent but a hawk circled the nest above. And I sat in the grass and sobbed.

This year, Toby Joe Boudreaux and I are going to see DC United play the New York Red Bulls and this seems kind of OK somehow. It seems perfectly fitting to combine these two cities on this day in this manner. You see, it’s selfish, but that morning all those years ago, I had one brother working downtown right where the planes hit and another brother working in DC married to a woman who worked at the Pentagon. And I kept calling and calling and calling hoping to hear that they were OK, that everyone I knew from DC was OK. And I got though to one brother and I talked him into leaving the area where the planes hit and heading 10 blocks north to me instead of staying put, which is what the police wanted him to do—to stay put. I talked him into leaving and then the buildings began to fall and I watched them fall with my own two eyes from SoHo and was pretty sure he was dead. And I couldn’t get him on a line.

He was OK. He showed up dusted in soot, dust, and minute particles of human remains.

Everyone I knew was OK that day, well, physically at least. But I have friends who lost relatives and loved ones and I don’t have the right words to write here to them. I never have had the right words which is why I usually don’t write any. So I’ll just say today that I am so sorry.


This year, I am going to surround myself by other people—mostly strangers—who are also surrounded by ghosts. And maybe we can cast out some new lines and find some punctuation.

And I hope to experience some joy.

And I hope that nothing falls from the sky.

And I hope you’re OK with your ghosts, too.

My Cakes!

Hello! Sorry it’s been a while. We went to Disney for a week. It was a spontaneous trip since we had to cancel our annual Rhode Island getaway due to Toby and his work situation.

And then I had cakes to create!

They can be seen here.


I have a lot to talk about, a lot to write about. So much has changed in the last couple of weeks. I can’t wait to sit down and actually write about it.

Anyway, thanks for reading! I’ll be back to write more especially now that school has begun.

The Diva

Olympic swimmer Fu Yuanhui exploded into the mainstream media recently and became an international sensation not because she’s a kick ass swimmer, but because she mentioned having her period on live television, apparently shattering a barrier into a world where women menstruate.

In China, menstruation is still very much a taboo. Women often won’t use tampons because it is said to rob them of their virginity. It’s simply not discussed. To many, having one’s period is seen as unlucky.

We’re no better in the states. Menstruation and shame go together. When I was a preteen, I was mortified by the idea, anxious about the day it would come. And the first time I tried to insert a tampon in order to go swimming, I didn’t put it in far enough and spent the day with too much of it sticking out. How uncomfortable that was. I was too embarrassed to ask someone for help. (Granted, this was the 80s and I do hope that things have changed somewhat.)

I had terrible periods when I was a teenager. I suffered from migraines and menstruation was so painful, I would often pass out. One time, I barely made it into the office at school before falling to the floor. I don’t remember how I made it onto the small cot at the nurse’s station, someone must have carried me. But by the time I came to, the principal and the nurse had already called my mom and were having a hushed discussion about the drugs I might be on. I was so out of it, so tired, and so embarrassed by the truth, I didn’t try and explain that I wasn’t high; I simply had my period.

(My mom set them straight.)

I once asked two, male running coaches on a live Facebook chat about what professional female runners do when it comes to menstruation and long races. My question was liked dozens and dozens of times by women. The coaches responded with, “Well, female elite runners have such little body fat, most of them don’t menstruate.”

Oh. Um. Thanks?

But that was my fault. What I really wanted to know was what every female runner might do to help ease the discomfort of having one’s period on the morning of a big race. Because most of us have body fat and therefore menstruate. So, I didn’t ask the right question.

Every single woman menstruates at some point. It’s the most boring thing ever. So why is it so taboo?

I have known men who wouldn’t go near me when I was “on the rag”. And I can’t imagine I’m alone in that regard. I’ve met women who won’t use a tampon that doesn’t have an applicator because she’s afraid of getting blood on her hands or “fingering herself”. (Which is simply hilarious.) And how many of us have heard the saying: “I don’t trust anything that bleeds for five days and doesn’t die.” Yeah. Yeah. Shuddup.

So not cool. But given how often we judge and shame women for breastfeeding in public, none of this should surprise me. I can’t tell you the number of times I have read the following comment left by a man on an article about breastfeeding in public:

“Shitting is natural too, but you don’t see me doing that in public.”

But somehow I’m still surprised. I’m surprised something so biologically normal, something mammals have done since the dawn of time, something that exists so we can, is still considered so taboo.

The many double standards between men and women are so plentiful and so engrained in our daily lives, we don’t even notice how unbalanced it is most of the time. (Well, I don’t.) And then an olympic swimmer mentions having her period, and everyone goes nuts, and I’m left scratching my head, wondering how it is we are still all the way back here and not much, much further along.

Someone writes on social media about getting her period for the THIRD time on the morning of a half marathon and it’s met with an uncomfortable silence. (OK, that was me.) Maybe it’s what they refer to as TMI, but it seems strange to me that something so much of the world’s population deals with every single day can be considered Too Much Information. If I posted about pulling a muscle the morning of a big race, no one would care. If I woke up with a stomach ache, people wouldn’t think twice. But you mention menstruation and ew.

And it’s not about the blood. Noses bleed during sporting events, no one bats and eye. Nipples bleed due to chafing. Who cares? And if you forget the vaseline, chafing can happen between your thighs, sometimes runners even bleed, no biggie.

It’s not about the blood. It’s about the dreaded vagina.

Get over it. Get over the vagina. Get over all of it. Teach your kids using an open dialogue. Overcome all the shame. Fu Yuanhui should be hailed a hero for her swimming, not the fact that she admitted to bleeding every month. I mean, I am proud of her for doing so, and I think it’s awesome so many young women in China are cheering her on for her outspokenness. But we should be so much further along than this.

In truth, I sat down this morning with a cup of coffee wishing to write a post about The Diva Cup. It was going to be about how awesome it is. My friend Corie (who I adore and respect and will basically do whatever she tells me to do) made the final push. Prior this, women all over the Internet have written, “OMG! THE DIVA CUP! GET IT!” But I was always too afraid to make the leap. Until Corie told me to. And so. I did it. This is the first month I have used one and I feel like writing a broadway musical about it. It’s absolutely wonderful. I want to go back in time to when I was 13 and in that swimming pool. I want THIS wonderful invention.

I love it so much, I’m bummed I’m facing menopause and won’t need it for too much longer. THAT’s how awesome it is.

Go buy The Diva Cup*. And if you have any questions or you want to discuss just how awesome it is in the comments, I’m your gal. NOTHING is off limits.

I’ll go first: isn’t it awesome that with The Diva Cup you no longer have to pin the string between your asscheek and the toilet seat when you pee?

(P.S. This post is the blog equivalent to Pin The Tail On The Donkey. It’s as if I was blindfolded, spun around, and then told to find the point. Forgive me.)

*NO this is not a paid post. I don’t do that shit.


Bad Mouth

So, I started a fad diet. A friend of mine talked me into it. I like her a great deal. She’s one of my favorite people. My husband calls it a pyramid scheme. And I’m not sure if he’s right because I’m not actually sure what it is I’m doing. But I am going to try it for 21 days and see how things shake up. But just to make sure I don’t unwittingly end up spending hundreds of dollars on plastic containers and shakes, I set an alert for August 30th that reads:


Yeah. It’s that Shakeology thing. You know, the one where middle-aged suburban women in yoga gear walk around with plastic Shakeology cups. They discuss portion control, whole grains, good fats (that’s fats, not farts, all farts are good), workouts and waistlines. That’s me. Only I don’t have a waistline and I don’t yet own any yoga gear. Also: I like cheese and I don’t think it’s a good fat.

I broke two toes on Sunday night, ironically mere hours before my 21 Day workout was set to begin. I fell down the last few steps heading to the kitchen to get something for a screaming Walter (night terrors). It was kind of funny. And I didn’t really care at the time because it was 2 in the morning, and Murray had come home a few hours earlier. So I was happy. I did say the work “fuck” a lot which apparently woke my 9-year-old and he was not too pleased because he hates bad words. I apologized a lot for that the following morning. Sometimes I have a potty mouth.

Anyway, here is my foot. It’s gross even when it’s not broken. But I am a runner so I don’t give a shit. Feet aren’t meant to be pretty.


But it hurt. It still hurts. And I can’t run.

But I did start the diet and the workout, with some modifications because I can’t jump too much. After 30 minutes of that work out I wanted to punch the shit out of people. The word “fuck” doesn’t come close to what was going on in my head. “Lunge” is another word for “I’m going to murder someone” and “burpee” may rhyme with “slurpee” but they are not nearly as fun as they sound.

(Sorry, Em, for all the bad words.)

So, that’s where I am. I’m in a much better place than I was a few days ago. I started taking antidepressants a couple of months ago and then my doctor upped my dose recently and I think that’s helping. After years of saying I would never go that route, I decided it was time. I needed some help. No shame in that. You see, when I’m up, things are fabulous and I am pretty sure I can conquer the world. I feel indestructible. But when I am not up? I feel like there is absolutely no reason to do anything; complete anything; start anything; finish anything. I just want to watch Netflix, drink wine and wait until what? I don’t even know.

Right now, I’m up.

Sunday, I was not up.

I will continue to write here and share my thoughts and what I’m doing to try and make myself a better, more likable person. I hope that you will stick around and share your thoughts as well. Because over the years your comments and emails have meant the world to me. As I navigate growing older, and try and accept the fact that I can’t change who I am or go back in time, I will try and make my route a public one.

You can’t be what you were
So you better start being 
just what you are
You can’t be what you were
the time is now is running out 
is running out 
is running running running out
You can’t be what you were
So you better start living the life
That you’re talking about
You can’t be what you were

Thank you for reading.

First My Cat Disappeared…

First my cat disappeared. Then I started praying. I pray sometimes but only when it’s convenient for me, like when I’m on an airplane and I think I might fall from the sky. I pray for that not to happen. I prayed when my aunt got breast cancer. She’s still with us. I prayed when Emory was in the NICU and we weren’t sure what was wrong. He turned nine last week. And I prayed when my niece’s best friend, Erin, got sick even though I’d never met Erin. I prayed for her a lot. And even though I’m no longer a practicing Catholic, nor do I answer to any other religion, at the time I felt like my track record for being a foul-weather prayer was pretty good. So I prayed for Erin.

She passed away two years ago last week. And I was so angry at the time. I was so angry that all my praying, my silly routine, didn’t work. This little girl died and I became angry at a God I stopped believing in a long time ago.

On Sunday a mother of one of Elliot’s classmates killed herself. At the time of her death, I was baking a cake. She had three little boys, one of whom was just 5 months old. She must have been in so much pain. And I went back and reread all of our emails and I hated that I wasn’t a better friend to her. We continually did the “Let’s get together this week!” Missed that. “OK, next week!” Nope. Maybe if people had been there for her more, she’d still be with her family.

Then Murray disappeared. I was away for two days at my mom’s house so the boys could see the beach for a day since we had to cancel our beach vacation due to Toby and work circumstances. I left Monday with the kids. Toby stayed home. Murray was last seen Tuesday afternoon. And it damn near stops my heart that it happened on a Tuesday—his day.

Let’s see: I put up fliers. I put fliers in every neighbor’s mailbox. I knocked on some doors. I posted on every local message board. I posted on every local Facebook page. I called the vet. I called our animal control center. I even called the police. And then I called a plumber. You see, we moved into a new house (yes, I went back to the old house, many times) and there are a lot of little crevices in the eaves. So I paid a plumber to come with a fibrotic camera and comb through all those spaces making absolutely sure he wasn’t in the house. My words to the dispatcher, who is also a lover of cats (thank goodness) were, “Listen, if I don’t rule this out and then one day the flies come or he starts to smell, I’ll never ever get over that.”

They showed up later that day. Bless their plumber hearts. And gained a customer for life.

We set up cameras. Brought out his favorite blanket. Combed the streets again calling his name. Checked the gutters. We put out food. We put out a litter box. We exhausted every option. We still don’t have Murray.

So, the other night I prayed again. I told God, or whomever might be listening, I said, “God, I will stop drinking forever. I won’t touch another drink if you bring back my Murray.” I made this prayer well into my nightly bottle of wine.

I gave God an ultimatum. I would quit self-medicating with alcohol, something I’ve been doing for months, if God brought my cat back.

Some people hit a rock bottom. They do something devastating like drive drunk and kill someone. They get a DUI. They fight with the wrong person and get the shit kicked out of them. Some folks end up in prison. Some folks simply grow tired of saying so many stupid things every single night and then forgetting about it the next morning but still having to reach out and apologize for all the stupid things they don’t remember saying.

Me? I gave God an ultimatum. I tried to make a deal, negotiate.

Murray isn’t back. And I am starting to feel a darkness around me, a void that he is no longer with me on this planet and my heart hurts. I may never know where he is. He may never return. He may be dead somewhere. He may have been taken in. But this morning when I woke up at 4 AM to the faint taste of last night’s wine in the back of my throat, I knew he was gone.

And I cried.

I miss him. And I am not a very happy person these days. I don’t particularly like myself these days. And I’m not going to wait for my cat to come back to stop self-medicating with alcohol. And I’m putting this out there, perhaps irresponsibly, maybe this will backfire and people won’t hire me; or neighbors will judge me; they might look at me differently. But I need to look at myself better. I need to like myself again. So I’m holding myself accountable this time. Out loud.

God doesn’t have to bring my cat back for me to take care of myself. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I would give anything to have him home again. I miss him so much. But not drinking and my cat? These two things aren’t mutually exclusive. They’re absurdly unrelated.

I mean, I do want my cat back. God, please bring him back to me.

But I’m going to stop drinking without him.

I need to like myself again.