Monday, December 27, 2010

On Boxing Day My True Love Gave To Me One Golden Ring

Yesterday was Boxing Day. It was also Dave-O's and my 23rd anniversary. You might be thinking we were crazy to plan a wedding the day after Christmas and we're too old and tired to put up much of a fight on that count. But back then, we were young (22) and naive (wondered if the soundtrack to Rocky was the theme song for Boxing Day). We were in college and it was Christmas break.

When we grew up we realized that Boxing Day is a bank holiday. Boring. When we got even older and wiser, we further realized it's not even celebrated here in the States. Actually, I don't know if it's technically "celebrated" anywhere, but rather observed. (Although, if I were a banker, I'd sure celebrate a day off, not to mention a mention on calendars all over the world.) Which brings up good question: Why in the world is Boxing Day in my way every time I go to write my anniversary every time I get a new calendar? This kind of higher knowledge* helps keep me pretty humble, because I've yet to figure that out.

My first idea was to flip over the calendar and see where it was made*. But Wiki says China doesn't observe Boxing Day either. And anyway, my 2011 calendar was made in South Korea, which says "(Canada obs.)" the holiday.

Btw, happy belated Boxing Day, Canada! Not to mention, my UK peeps, although, I'm not sure if your Boxing Day was yesterday or today?

And speaking of Boxing Day, you're probably wondering how we observe it at the Evanshire. First of all, if Dave-O merely observed it, that would be about as boring as a bank holiday and we'd be in therapy. We didn't have prenups, but celebrating every small little thing was a given. As in, he knew I do when he said he do.

Well, I gave him the movie, The Number 23. Obviously. He gave me 23 lottery tickets. Here's how that went down: We won $23 with the first batch, which was a little dejamovie-ish. Of course, we traded our winning tickets in for 23 more lottery tickets. The second 23 started down the slippery slope, into 19, which dwindled ever so quickly to 13, which crashed at 1, which made a surprising last stand, to 9, which immediately plummeted to 2, which flatlined. We let Amanda scratch off a few of the tickets and pointed out the obvious: gambling doesn't pay.

Dave-O also took me to shoot the gun he got me last year for our anniversary. Yep, of course it's a 22. Did you even have to ask? Then we went to Bonefish and had Bang-bang shrimp. What else would you expect me to pair with a night at a shooting range?

After dinner we went to seeThe Fighter. Which seemed appropriate, since it was Boxing Day and all.


*For Christmas Dave-O and I gave Amanda a dress we'd bought for her in Cancun. It wasn't until she opened it up that we realized it was made in China. So now, we're not quite sure if we even got her a souvenir from Mexico? Or if we got her a souvenir from China, which would be quite a feat, since we've never actually been there? Or is it like a double word score in Scrabble, and we get to count both China and Mexico?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Mark of a Good Year

A year ago today I downed my last of 24 chemo cocktails. Time sure flies when you're not in a chemo fog. Also, when you're having fun. And I've been having the time of my life.

For instance, as my readers may know, I am in the process of a campaign to outlive as many pink survivor bracelets as I can. As of last Friday I've worn out three of them until they've fallen off my wrist.

I got the first one at my very first Race for the Cure in 2008 which I somehow did only 2 weeks after my double mastectomy. Back then I didn't even know if I technically qualified as a survivor since I was still under the influence of pain meds from the surgery and wasn't sure if I'd actually survived yet.

I wore that first pink bracelet out before the 2009 Race for the Cure. I have to be honest. At first, I panicked when it broke. I know this sounds crazy but a tiny part of me wondered if it might be a bad sign. I not only raced for for the Cure that year; I also raced to the pink bracelet booth to get a new survivor bracelet.

There was no panic involved when the next one broke. I was like, "Psh... is that all you've got?" when my second pink survivor bracelet didn't survive to accessorize my wrist for the 2010 Race for the Cure.

And in a super savvy move, I got two survivor bracelets at this year's Race. Part of me felt bad taking two. But I knew all of me would have felt way worse when it broke last Friday - after only three months - IF I didn't have the foresight to grab an extra.

Three months must be some kind of a world record. That's what I call living hard, in other words: the abundant life.

I'm glad I had another to put on right away when it broke the other night because my wrist feels naked without a survivor bracelet on it. Understandably I'm concerned about my sole surviving pink bracelet, since our next Race for the Cure 2011 is 9 months away. And no, taking it easy is not an option. Which is one of the reasons I'm planning to do a few other Race for the Cures across the country in 2011. This is still very much in the brainstorming stage, but you can follow the progress of Team Shaken Not Stirred's Race for the Cure at my web site.

So besides breaking out my back-up pink survivor bracelet, what did I do to mark the occasion of tossing out the old calendar that counted down my chemo cocktails? Look in the mirror.
No, I wasn't trying to trick you into saying that I'm the fairest of them all. And no, I didn't join the National Tattoo Association, Inc. But I got a tattoo to literally mark the occasion. Most of the times I'm mostly a metaphorical kind of girl. Every once in a while I like to spice things up. This time, with three leaf clovers.
Amanda (above, to my right) has talked about getting a tattoo with me ever since I got cancer. I thought it was so cool that she wanted a permanent mark on her body as a sign of her love for me when I was feeling so very temporary. She first mentioned the idea of wanting to get a tattoo where my port was when it was being such a pain in my pec. That area still gives me issues, and isn't quite ready for a tattoo. Yet.

That Christmas she told my sister Jennie (above, to my left) about our tattoo idea and she immediately decided she was in. We decided that once the cancer and the chemo were in my rear view mirror, we'd all get a tattoo together. We've been talking about our tattoos for the past two years, trying to come up with the perfect design. Recently Amanda found a simple three leaf clover that all three of us felt was the one.

I liked the idea of a three leaf clover on a few levels.

The three leaves stand for the three of us, but also reminds me of the three in one of the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Which is significant to me, not only because that is the beginning of what I believe, but also, our roots go back to County Cork, Ireland. So meanings go deep and are interwoven, like the celtic weave in the clover. Also, I like the color green. In Lord of the Rings it is a symbol of hope. It's also the color of my eyes. And tennis balls.

I know a four leaf clover is supposed to be the lucky one and all. But I say hang the rules. Why not switch it up a bit and spread the luck around?! Psalm 50:10 says that "the cattle on a thousand hills" are God's. Just imagine all the clovers that all those cows are chewing on all those hills all over the world. That's a whole lotta luck just waiting to be found if you ask me.

Why do we make things so hard?

Anyway, my lucky charm is a cool and constant reminder to me of how very lucky I am. If you don't believe me, check out this picture of me with my favorite band, Over the Rhine, taken at their Acoustic Soiree at St. Elizabeth's Cathedral this past Sunday.
If you still don't believe me, check out the one from last year.
If you still don't believe me, how about the one from the year before that?
Tic-Tac-Toe... See? I win!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Arriba! Arriba!

Honestly, I don’t even feel like I belong in the company of the women in this video. They are my heroes.
I know I should be packing right now. Our plane to Cancun leaves at tomorrow at 9 a.m. But I just watched this video again. Which left me beside myself again. So I poured another glass of wine and lifted my glass to Karen, Karen, Karen. Her friends tell me this is the proper way to toast this amazing woman I never had the pleasure of knowing.
But I have had the pleasure of playing tennis with some of her friends, who have become my friends as well. So Karen and I share these wonderful friends in common, and tennis, and yes, breast cancer.
And now we will have Mexico in common too.
I don’t mean to be all melodramatic, but my hub and I had just booked a Caribbean vacation to celebrate our 20th anniversary when I got diagnosed with breast cancer. My mastectomy got scheduled right in the middle of our holiday so we had to cancel it. The kind people we had booked with let us out of our obligation, without even keeping a deposit. Not only did they wish me well; they invited us back when I was.
Look out Caribbean, here we come!
Wow… just wow.
Tomorrow I will be on a beach in Cancun. A year ago I was wrapping up my last round of 24 chemo cocktails. I couldn’t paint a prettier picture of contrast if I knew how to paint. It’s sublime and intoxicating at the same time.
Which brings me to cheers, to Karen, Karen, Karen!