Christmas in July (August..whatever)

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Going through one of the many collections that have taken up space in my life and cupboards for nearly 30 years I decided to display the shot glasses on a little shelf.  I was washing them and reminiscing about where we purchased them. Some were gifts so I get to live those memories of trips to Paris and many tropical islands vicariously.   The best ones were the ones we bought on our own trips. New York, Boston, New Orleans, Texas, Florida. A few from his single days. Then there were the ones from Santa’s Village and Storyland.  Really? We bought shot glasses on these family trips?  I don’t recall doing that. I do recall wanting to drink. Badly.  For those of you who don’t live in New England, Storyland and Santa’s Village are in the beautiful White Mountains of New Hampshire located conveniently near each other. So near that after spending an entire day trudging through one, the little cherubs are sure to spot the one you didn’t visit.  Parents, you know how that goes.   We are approximately 3 hours away.  Most people would spend the night. Maybe do one park each day over a weekend. Not Mr. Frugal. He liked making it a day trip. We would leave the house at 6 or 7 a.m.,  my sister and her family coming along in their own car, drive for three hours, stop a few times to pee, eat, pee, puke (not me.. Thing 3). Finally we would arrive.  Complain about the gate fees, take a few forced family photos (one of them of my nephew even made it into the book Awkward Family Photos  – true story), walk until our feet were bleeding, buy over priced toys and souvenirs (I bet those shot glasses were not cheap!).   Storyland was just what you would imagine.  Like speed reading a children’s book on acid.  Santa’s Village (where we invariably visited on a day when it was 90 degrees with 100% humidity) had many of the same rides but with a Christmas theme, a fully suited Santa (he had to have a fan in his pants.. I don’t know how he survived otherwise), singing elves, mangy reindeer.  All the stuff of great childhood memories.   After a full day, we would pile the sweaty, tired kids into the car and reverse direction.. puke, pee, eat, pee.

So yeah, buying the shot glasses.. no memory at all. Wanting a drink (or three).. like it was yesterday!

If I had it do to all over again I would in a heart beat and I can’t wait to take my grandchildren. 🙂

Here’s the little prince  in the picture that made him famous. In my family alone we have about a dozen copies of this book.

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I’m sure he was just mad because we made him let the little one drive. She looks like she’s having fun, but she was probably talking smack every time they were out of earshot,.

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Happy merry whatever you celebrate.

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I get a chuckle out of people that wish Merry Christmas defiantly like a big FU with your holiday cheer. The imaginary “war on Christmas” is silly. For instance, how can a business possibly know what their customers believe/celebrate? It makes good sense to be all inclusive. My wishes for all of you to have a safe, healthy and happy holiday season are sincere and while I won’t go out of my way to offend, I also won’t get too hung up on whether I am giving the “proper” greeting. Likewise, if you extend good wishes to me, I won’t get hung up on your choice of words, but will appreciate the sentiment behind them. I guess if your biggest gripe is someone wishing you Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas when babies are being gunned down in cold blood, people are dying from preventable diseases and folks are homeless and hungry, you are pretty blessed. Mazel Tov.

I had an anniversary of sorts yesterday. One year of blogging. I know this because Word Press sent me a notification. I decided to wait until today to mention it in case the Mayans were right and no one would be alive to read it. I took a quick glance through my oldest posts. I started out so earnest and hopeful but it didn’t take long for the f-bombs to make an appearance. I’m sure certain relatives especially enjoyed that. Who would complain? I had cancer.

I’ve sat down to blog just about every day and instead spent my time reading the blogs that I follow. My morning coffee with the girls. lovecoffee I haven’t had a lot to say. We are kind of just going through the motions this holiday season. Honestly, I’ll be glad to see the back side of 2012.

I’m not even joking about the PTSD

Okay, maybe I am a little.  I don’t suffer from the kind of PTSD that has me diving under tables, self-medicating with drugs bought off of sleazy characters in back alleys or laying awake staring at the ceiling every night. Instead I have these little flashbacks of the past year that leave me feeling a little sick to my stomach or with a lump in my throat.  The next several months (ie. the entire holiday line up from now until July 4th) is one long anniversary of cancer.  I found the lump October 30. Happy Halloween.  I had surgery the week after Thanksgiving and started a 6+ month course of chemo two days after Christmas. New Years was spent sick and in pain from the first infusion. I started radiation the week before July 4 and that lasted the entire summer.  In every family photo celebrating holidays and birthdays I am either wearing a wig or a scarf.  Every celebration was wonderful, but I was exhausted or not feeling well through all of them.  Concerts, movies, even simple dinners out had to be planned so I could rest up a bit ahead of time and I always came this [] close to canceling, but never did.  I decided no matter how I was feeling to take the words “fake it til you make it” to heart.  99% of the time my attitude is positive, but then I have a precancerous polyp removed and a wonky pap smear and what would have previously elicited only a mild concern gives me pause.

Now I should just be putting this behind me and moving on (and I will!) but wouldn’t  you know the anniversary of my cancer diagnosis begins during the month of Pinktober, where everywhere I look there are constant reminders of breast cancer. I have an appointment at the Cancer Center tomorrow and I suspect it will be especially obnoxious. You literally cannot leave the house, pick up a newspaper or magazine, turn on the computer or television without being engulfed in a Pepto Bismol colored haze. It’s all good. Just in case, ya know, you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t heard of breast cancer. Now you know.

I’m not suggesting you don’t wear pink. You might look really good in pink! I’m not suggesting you don’t purchase pink items. I use a royal blue spatula myself and I’m not going to judge you if you want a pink one. My favorite present after my diagnosis is still the pink afghan my aunt crocheted for me that I wrapped myself in during chemo. But that blanket was made, given and received out of love. It wasn’t part of a marketing ploy to tug on heartstrings and loosen purse strings.  Be mindful of which companies actually support breast cancer charities when you purchase their pink items and which are only using breast cancer to fatten their bottom line.  Or, instead of licking pink yogurt tops (Really Yoplait?  You can’t just donate based on sales?) make a donation to the carefully researched charity of your choice. I support the American Cancer Society http://www.cancer.org  and recently have joined http://www.armyofwomen.org/ and signed up for a 20 year research study that anyone can take part in, men or women, any age, with or without a history of breast cancer https://www.healthofwomenstudy.org Check them out.

One more anniversary to mention. Today I am 

Look what I can do!

My Gift To Myself

I’m taking today to feel sorry for myself. I have spent the last 2 months trying to make everyone else feel better, pretending all is normal, this is just a temporary blip ..but it is exhausting. I’m tired, sad and scared. This isn’t normal. This isn’t just an ordinary Christmas. In 4 days I start chemotherapy. The better part of the upcoming year will be spent fighting cancer and how many years afterwards will be spent worrying that it’s come back?  Tomorrow I will put on a happy face and on the 27th I will begin my journey to survivorship, but today I am going to cry and be pissed and give myself a splitting headache. Later on after I’ve ruined a few batches of cookies I am going to have a big extra dry martini.  Merry Christmas.