Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Back in the olden days, there was playground equipment that included a self-pushed merry-go-round. This week feels like being on the outside edge of one of those, holding on for dear life. The device I remember wasn’t one of those staid merry-go-rounds where you sit on a horse or worse, in a boat, to ride around in a circle to music. Instead, it was a single flat surface with bars rising out of it and it would go as fast as our legs would push it. These days, of course, such equipment isn’t safe and doesn’t meet standards, and so they’ve all been removed from parks and schools, at least in this neck of the woods. Still, I remember the feeling of riding one and it has many similarities to what this week feels like. There was the work of pushing and the thrill of throwing yourself onto the platform and holding on for dear life, knowing you couldn’t safely get off until it slowed down and simultaneously thinking “this is too fast” and “faster!," all the while knowing that you’d made the thrill yourself. Yup, sounds like my week. To make things worse, an idea came to me yesterday that is a really good, really attractive one, that would take time and energy that simply isn’t available right now--but it’s really enticing. At odd moments throughout the day and night, I find myself trying to figure out ways to shoehorn it into my life. Prudence says “no.” We’ll see what Tina says, when the time comes.

One of the pleasures of growing older is getting to know oneself and growing comfortable in one’s own skin. That knowledge tells me that the new idea is one I’m likely to explore even as I feel a little frantic about how I’m going to come through on all the obligations I already have. And, did I mention? I just noticed yet another small thing that needs to be fixed: the end cap trim on the bathroom cabinet has come off, so now I need to remember to ask Michael if we even still have it, in which case it’s a little job just to glue it on (one of scores of such “little jobs” on our lists) or whether it’s a bigger job--like the new hinge needed for the kitchen cabinet that needs to be identified, tracked down, ordered and, oh yes, replaced. I try not to think about the whole list because it gets overwhelming. Finding and gluing one end cap, if it’s floating around, seems doable. The larger list, not so much. None of it, though, fits into today’s plan, or even this week’s. Unless the cap is around, in which case, just getting the glue and getting it done seems pretty attractive: a small job, unlikely to mushroom, and then it would be done and satisfying.... If only I can remember to ask Michael whether we have the trim piece.

While cuddling asleep last night, I wondered about all the hundreds, if not thousands, of nights when we fell asleep in exactly the same way, except that then there was a tumor growing inside my head and we didn’t know it. Shouldn’t it have felt different than regular life? Eventually, of course, it did feel different, but not in any distinctive way that was definable as a brain tumor. Shouldn’t it have felt some specific way? I suppose that’s an existential question and not one there’s time to pursue just now. My guess is that this train of thought was stimulated by the scheduling of the next MRI in April, and that in the back of my mind (if not physically in my head), I am thinking about whether it will show tumor regrowth. The last scan was clear, but I’m apparently in the highest risk group for regrowth. Once the correlation between the train of thought and the scheduling emerged, as with so many such things, I was able to go to sleep and move on. Meanwhile, onwards and upwards. Literally. Flying out later this morning for the first of the talks this week. Home tomorrow. Take care, all.

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