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Newly resolute

I don’t know where to begin, so I’ll begin with my resolutions.

1.  Blog more.

I really do want to work on this project.  I like how it feels when I write regularly, and I think I could be good at it.  And hey, look!  I’m accomplishing this resolution right now.

2.  Keep the house cleaner.

I was really good at this while Faramir was in the hospital, mostly because a) I wasn’t doing anything else, and b) I was terrified that being in a dirty home would make him sick.  I even wrote to an advice columnist at one of my favorite websites.  She emailed me back within hours, with helpful and compassionate advice, but the question got published this week.  Being reminded of my former concern for cleanliness and sanitation has helped me realize that at this point, as things in our lives have normalized, keeping the house clean has become less of a priority.  Admittedly, part of this resolution stems from how difficult this Christmas was, for reasons I’ll explain below, and my own slightly insane belief that I can control all situations if I just!  Work!  Hard enough!  But it couldn’t hurt to be a little more conscientious in my response to clutter, mess, and the catbox.

3.  Spend more money on beauty products.

This one may seem a little silly.  Here’s the thing.  Almost all the makeup I currently own was bought at a CVS or a Duane Reade in preparation for a friend’s wedding.  In 2008.  Some of it, I’m ashamed to admit, is even older.  It has only recently come to my attention that higher-quality makeup looks better and lasts longer.  I’m an adult, I have a well-paying job, I’m gonna lay down some cash at Sephora or somewhere in order to feel special on special occasions.

So that’s it.  That’s how I’m going to live a little better in 2012.

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We need a little Christmas

Today was one of those wonderful days that happens every few weeks in which Faramir and I try to cram as many errands into as short a time as possible.  Yes, it was a Zipcar day!

First we went to our storage space to retrieve several boxes of Christmas decorations.  Storage spaces being what they are, this necessitated removing the chairs, childhood toys, end tables, and stacks of flattened cardboard boxes that were in front of the Christmas decorations, and then trying to stack everything back inside when we’d gotten what we wanted.  We then hit Target (ugh, pre-holiday Target…we got there around 9:30 a.m., so it wasn’t so bad) and a hardware store.  By then we were starving, so we stuffed ourselves full of delicious eggs and pancakes before heading to Safeway.  (We saw one of the oncology nurses at the restaurant, but felt too awkward to say hi).  Despite all this incredible efficiency, when the dust had settled and the car was returned, we realized that we still hadn’t bought a compost bin, a big sack of rice, or a mat with rubber spikes to stop Tabbouleh from hurling her body against the bedroom door when she decides it’s time for us to get up.

As we unpacked the Christmas boxes, I was surrounded by the ornaments and Nativity scenes of his childhood.  It was lovely and intimate, but a little lopsided at the same time.  The ornaments that I loved as a child are still at my parents’ house.  I realize that this is because I’m lucky enough that they’re both still living and still married to each other, and I’m not complaining exactly.  But this isn’t the first time I’ve felt somewhat overshadowed by his family’s story, to the neglect of my own.  Our little two-person family needs a few more Christmases before it really feels like ours.

Unrelatedly, this article made me simultaneously happy to be a teacher and disappointed in my current job.  That’s just not how my school thinks.  It’s increasingly important to me that I clarify my views on play and education, now that I’m no longer being indoctrinated.  Speaking of indoctrination, yesterday I actually went back through some of my Bank Street stuff for curriculum ideas.  Who’d have thunk?  All that grad school stuff might just turn out useful.

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Dashing through the…fog.

Just a quick update before I leave for work.  Yesterday Faramir and I went to a holiday party in San Francisco, thrown by our college’s alumni association.  We could see the group through the windows as we walked up to the restaurant, and it was clear that the crowd was a) small and b) old.  But things livened up soon, and we weren’t the youngest ones there.  I even met a young alumna who recognized me from having led her tour as a prospective student!  That was ridiculously satisfying.

All my students have a bad case of pre-holiday mania.  Naptime yesterday was like a game of Whack-a-Mole, and I’m not going to lie to you, I kind of wished I had a mallet.

Onward!

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Hey friends,I w…

Hey friends,

I wasn’t able to post yesterday due to a migraine.  I shall have much to say tonight!

Brynhildr

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November 18, 2011 · 7:11 am

Contrast

All right.  I made a decision today while I was walking to the grocery store.  Do you want to know what it is?

I’ll assume you do, or at least have a passing interest, since you’re reading this.

I’m going to start updating this blog on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays.  No matter where I am, or what is happening, or whether or not I feel inspired.  I’ve been pushing this project to the back of my mind for weeks now, assuming that I’ll get around to writing whenever the spirit moves me.  Well, the spirit is a fickle lady who’s easily dissuaded by how tired I am or how much other stuff I have to do.  I want to keep writing.  I want you to keep reading.  For those things to happen, I need to make myself a rule.  Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays.

We are learning what real life and real cohabitation feel like.  The apartment is messy.  While Faramir was in the hospital, the apartment was almost never messy, and not only because he wasn’t here.  Back then, I didn’t have the time or the inclination to use most of the space.  I came home from work, cooked, went to the hospital, came home, cleaned the kitchen, and went to bed.  On weekends, I cleaned everything else.  Now life is happening here; and life, as it turns out, is messy.  There’s clutter lying around.  There are ants who don’t know that the Internet says they don’t like vinegar and bay leaves, and keep crawling around regardless (I tried yelling at them, too).  A few months ago, every spare moment I had was spent scrubbing this place; now it’s a place where people live.  Now it, and we, can breathe a little.

Way back in July, a dear friend came to visit and help me out.  I remember talking to her about how strange it was to think that in four months, or six months, or a year, I would have a completely different perspective on Faramir’s illness and our lives together than I did then.  In response, she shared a piece of wisdom with me: “We know what we know by contrast.”

We know what we know by contrast.

Until Tuesday (I mean it),

Brynhildr

P.S.  Can you tell I spent the whole day cleaning?  It occurs to me, upon re-reading this post, that I didn’t quite make it clear how completely over-the-moon god-damn happy Faramir and I are to be together every day.  Life is certainly messy, but it’s also joyful and hilarious.  Just wanted to make sure that was understood.

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Remission!

Well, I didn’t want to bury the lede.

The results of Faramir’s post-chemo tests started coming back last week.  None were able to determine any abnormal cell activity, and the tumor on his spine is clearly gone.  Even though this should have been good news, we didn’t feel able to celebrate yet.  Friends would ask about his tests and recovery, and I would hem and haw, not wanting to share something that felt like it could be taken away at any moment.

But he had a bone marrow biopsy last week, and we were sitting in the exam room on Tuesday, waiting for the results, and his doctor came in and said, “You’re in remission.”  And then it was real.  We high-fived (well, what were we supposed to do?  Kiss?  Cry?  His doctor, while awesome and cancer-curing and everything, is kind of strange, so high-fiving is about the strongest emotion we’re comfortable expressing in front of him).  He’s in remission.

The sense of relief is quiet but pervasive.  It’s like we have permission to resume our lives.  For the first time in months, there’s nothing hanging over our heads.

There is, however, also a kitty.

Her name is Tabbouleh.  We’re taking care of her for a friend for the next few months.  She is delightful and annoying in equal measures, and we’re so happy to have a cat around the place.

If it weren’t past my bedtime, and there weren’t leftovers to put away and a litterbox to clean, I’m sure I could come up with a more eloquent way to end this post.  As it is…thank you for reading.  Thank you for your help, and good thoughts, and love.  I’ll write again soon.

Brynhildr

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Okay, well, I managed not to let an entire month elapse before posting again, right?  That’s got to count for something.

So many things have happened since I last posted that I’m not sure where to begin.  Let’s see.  While Faramir was still in the hospital to recover from his fourth and final round of chemo, the nurses at several major hospitals in the Bay Area went on strike.  Although the union had only called for a one-day walkout, Sutter Health and Kaiser locked the nurses out for five days so that they could hire “traveling nurses” (read: scabs) to fill their positions.  It was every bit as crazy as you’re thinking: hundreds of strangers, with minimal training in the policies and procedures of these hospitals, with patients’ lives in their hands.

Then he came home, and spent 48 fairly uncomfortable hours around the house until he was back in the ER on a Friday night.  Our caution and obedience–we were told to go in if his fever got above 100.5, and that’s exactly what we did–were rewarded by a four-day hospital stay which was almost as miserable as anything else we’ve been through over the past few months.  Ugh, it was so awful.  Faramir was in pain, and I was a mess.  Our only salvation lay in the fact that his cell counts had rebounded enough that he was no longer on the neutropenic diet, and thus I could bring him takeout instead of cooking everything myself.

Now he’s home for real.  We’ve had almost two weeks of recovery and domesticity, interspersed with tests and doctor appointments.  We’ve gone to restaurants, run errands together, and had friends over.  It’s eerily like normal life; I use that word because despite all the trappings of normalcy, there’s an intense and unsettling feeling of transition.  We’re moving into a new season, a new phase of our life together.  Experiences are becoming anecdotes.  This feeling makes it hard to sum up the past four weeks into one neat blog post that won’t take me four hours to compose; it also makes me reluctant to write every day.  It’s hard to concretize feelings and experiences when everything feels transitory and impermanent.  However, I am going to try to be more prolific around here, if only because the more I write, the easier it will get.

See you soon(er),

Brynhildr

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