Tuesday, May 31, 2005

This will be a brief entry. I have been miserable sick for the past few days culminating in an unable-to-move state with a fever of 101. I was sweating so much I soaked the sheets. Many things happened this memorial day weekend which are a blur. Give me time, I will share them with you all.

I do remember seeing The Sea Inside. I remember talking to my sister. I got your message my friend you know who you are.

I am tired so I will talk later. Adios.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Another trip to the medical profession today, this time to get more blood tests at an outside service. I know my ladies at the hospital so well that whenever I go elsewhere to get blood drawn it gives me a lot of anxiety. I had to fill almost five vials today. Fun. No cheerful banter either. Que sera.

I saw Vera Drake over the weekend. A very quiet brutal film. Mike Leigh did well. I still can't watch Naked. Not sure if I ever will. Anyway, Imelda Staunton was amazing. Such quiet. The film was so quiet. She led such a quiet life. It made the brutality of her sentencing so more dramatic. Very much the antithesis of Dancer in the Dark in its dramatic narrative. Besides, Lars Von Trier is an autocrat (so says I). It made me think of my favorite critic, John Leonard. For years I would wake up Sunday mornings to catch John Leonard on CBS Sunday Morning and listen to his elocution on whatever media or TV show was current. He once said, critically, of the movie version of The Cider House Rules, that it differs from the book by leaving out Candy's narrative and asked how you could make a movie dealing with abortion without a female narrative? This film seems in a sense to answer that.

Friday, May 20, 2005

So my counts are low again. Who knows why. Could be anything. Right now I am struggling to get through work.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

These are the things I will remember:

Gabrielle sitting on the back porch doing her homework with Stella at her feet. Atticus sleeping as a baby. I know the memories will grow and fill my head, maybe some will get lost, some will hibernate, some will become part of my daily conversation with the grocery clerk, with the ladies at daycare, with the nurses who draw my blood every week. I will remember Irene laughing. Me standing behind her and moving her arms like a puppet and making her laugh. Watching her cut hair. Remembering the first time I talked with her. I’ll remember waking Gabrielle up at 11:00 at night and hugging her telling her I am sorry for yelling at her and I love her and her crying and saying I love you too.

I’ll remember walking through Evanston with my sister one summer and talking so loud and obnoxious, linking my arm in hers just to egg her on. I’ll remember hiding her away when she was a child so she wouldn’t see all the shit going on.

The first time I saw my dad cry when I was a child after his own father died far away in India. My mother and I talking when I was younger in a way we would never talk again. Artfares with my Lisa (opening the tent up sunday mornings), driving from St. Louis with Jon, sitting in Shari’s house knowing there’s only an hour or two left before I head back out and we don’t see each other for a long time, hearing Bina’s voice on the phone, watching Dave’s face, in interviewing the other Dave in his office in Normal and realizing we actually kind of like each other. I’ll always remember that interview. I’ll remember all the interviews I did with all the people and all the things I learned. MJ sitting cross legged. Riding the metra downtown, meeting my girlfriend at the time, I remember being afraid and excited to hold her hand. Watching my brother flirt with all his nurses.

Not all the memories are good. You always remember the bad ones too. Besides the ones that make you cry and hurt there are the ones that make you cringe. You know the ones I am talking about. You actually physically cringe remembering them. I've done such stupid things, such hurtful things, I've been a bad friend. And there are times I've done the opposite of all that.

I’m happy not to be in certain places and moments in time and to be here. I'm happy to have gone through it all.

I had doctor’s visits today, all day. It’s comforting to see the girls. I call them girls affectionately but they are women, all of them. The uniform of nurses has changed over the years. What was once simple white with a cap (and sexualized endlessly) has given way to patterned tops, sometimes scrubs, sometimes black flared out pants and doctor’s coats. I love seeing my girls. We have a little routine. I wait. They open the door look in the lobby smile because they all recognize me. We banter about Atticus (now that he is here) and how all my veins have thinned out and we have to switch arms to find a good one.

You're too young for this they say.

Yes, I guess so, I say.

Sometimes the people in the oncology ward, the patients, the people I have grown accustom to seeing and talking to and becoming close with, they are like photocopies, slowly becoming less and less themselves until even they cannot remember the original. The thing that saves them is their will and their humor. they are super tough. they’d take any’all. anytime.

Monday, May 16, 2005

He'll be going to Exit in no time.  Posted by Hello

It's the end of the century. Posted by Hello

I like the little belly. Posted by Hello

Post-shower curly hair. I have a feeling that when he gets older it will really curl. Posted by Hello

A very difficult weekend. I was horribly sick for most of it. Sunday I attempted to eat solid food. Such a mistake. Besides feeling ill, my head went all over the place. This is really the first time I've been sick (aside from the whole cancer thing) for a long while. Because the feeling was the same as before the surgery, naturally my mind reached a very bad place. I kept thinking, it's back it's back. Irrational but very real at the time.

It's funny. I have this vessel that I completely abuse. I put horrible things into it. I mean, I am getting better. I quit smoking last year. Except for every now and then I don't drink much. But food is and always has been an issue. I once subsisted on Pepsi and ho hos for almost six months (and alcohol) years ago. Now my body can tolerate less and less. I am trying. My diet has actually changed considerably. But I think it needs to be even more...militant, more aggressive, or at least that is the message I am getting from my body.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Hello? Posted by Hello

Gabrielle at her final day of acting class. It was open to all parents and friends. Here they have to improvise as if they are on the telephone Posted by Hello

Again, I have no caption for this one. His expression says something.... Posted by Hello

Mother's Day Posted by Hello

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

I promised my sister I'd post this one. Posted by Hello

Monday, May 09, 2005

In honor of Sleater-Kinney's new album The Woods I am posting Janet's "Mix Tape You Might Find In My College Desk Drawer". I told Mikey this morning that Sleater-Kinney could start playing Lawrence Welk and I'd still buy the record.

Janet's Mixed Tapes

"Mix Tape You Might Find In My College Desk Drawer"
Velvet Underground - Here Comes The Sun
Echo And The Bunnymen - The Cutter
REM - Driver 8
The Clash - Radio Clash
Robyn Hitchcock - I Often Dream of Trains
Big Star - Back of A Car
The Minutemen - #1 Hit Song
Van Morrison - Cyprus Avenue
Modern Lovers - Pablo Picasso
The Jam - Going Underground
The Smiths - William It Was Really Nothing
X - Blue Spark
Dream Syndicate - When You Smile
Husker Du - Somewhere
B-52's - 52 Girls
Bob Dylan - It's All Over Now Baby Blue
Donner Party - Godlike Porpoise Head of Blue-eyed Mary
Meat Puppets - Lake of Fire
Elvis Costello - You Belong to Me
Tom Waits - Ruby's Arms
The Replacements - Unsatisfied


"A general road trip compilation"
1. If There's A Hell Down Below, We're All Gonna Go - Curtis Mayfield
2. Apples and Oranges - Pink Floyd
3. Collage - The Three Degrees
4. Moonlight On Vermont - Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band
5. Third Uncle - Brian Eno
6. Jingling Baby - LL Cool J
7. Picture Book - The Kinks
8. Opening - Philip Glass
9. Hound Dog - Big Mama Thorton
10. Girl U Want - Devo
11. This Will Be Our Year - Zombies
12. Deadlock - CAN
13. Crosseyed and Painless - The Talking Heads
14. Sucka Nigga - A Tribe Called Quest
15. Black Country Rock - David Bowie
16. Ides of March - John Cale and Terry Riley

Have I ever told y'all that my dog, the bassett hound, really loves ice. Ice cubes are like a treat for her. I usually toss them to her when I am sitting and eating cereal in the kitchen.

I came home yesterday and found a message on the answering machine from my brother. Hello Hilesh. I love you. My brother is physically disabled but a cannonball. He has a wanted sign on his door: Ashish Patel, wanted for having too many wives. Ha! Such a flirt. He is the loudest one on the family. If anyone of you have met me and my sister then you will realize why this is amazing.

We watched To Kill a Mockingbird this weekend. Irene fell asleep so me and Gabrielle stayed up through it. I wasn't sure if she'd like it but she got into it. Those kids are crazy, she told me as she watched them get into trouble. I got to see my favorite part of the movie, besides of course Atticus Finch. The trial has ended and all the people in the balcony are rising. The Reverend says to Scout:
Miss Jean Louise. Miss Jean Louise, stand up. Your father's passing.

And when Scout comes to her realization at the end and says, Boo.

I watched the dvd extras and heard about Harper Lee's father who was the inspiration for Atticus being utterly bemused that his tomboy daughter would grow up and win the pulitzer prize for stories revolving around him and their town. It reminded me of a Carolyn Forche quote from years ago about how she had picked her father's brain for his, god I can't remember, working experiences and how he found it amusing that his college daughter would be interested in this (was it about strikes?) but at the same time there was a quiet glow of pride too.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

I really can't think of a caption for this one Posted by Hello

and more. Posted by Hello

More dancing. Posted by Hello

Easter. Irene is teaching everyone to Greek dance. Posted by Hello

Easter. Posted by Hello

My boy is charming Lisa and she is charming him. Posted by Hello

Atticus got to see Jon and Lisa last week. I think he hade fun. Posted by Hello

Tomorrow I spend the whole day at different doctors' offices being poked prodded and questioned. Blood test and nerve tests to gauge a complete picture of why the numbness persists. One theory is that the chemo depleted my system of both vitamin B (6 and 12) and that deficiency has caused the aforementioned symptoms. We'll see.

I have too many thoughts running around in my head like crazy children. I want to write about them here, share them with you but I am having a hard time corralling them into a linear narrative.

This past Sunday was Greek Easter. Monday I finished the Time Traveler's Wife and cried. I imagined myself on a boat drifting away. I was waving goodbye. My hands cramped and were stuck in fists Sunday morning. I woke up terrified. I didn't wake up Irene. I went into the bathroom and freaked out then slowly calmed myself and ran both hands under hot water using my feet. It took about a half hour to slowly ease them out of their clench. Atticus started daycare on Monday. He's a heartbreaker already. I love that place. He did fine. Mom....well, any mom would have been sad. I was sad. Yesterday listened to Mark Lanegan and read Pablo Neruda.

I am swimming towards something. I can't see it yet. My chest hurts. I will talk later.