It's October 2015

It's October 2015
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Thursday, December 26, 2013

My Cancer Gave To Me............

Christmas Eve 2013…the anniversary of my taking my first oral chemo, Xeloda. I've officially been toxic for a year. Since September 2012, the five year anniversary of my first breast cancer surgery, the following has occurred:

To be poorly sung to the tune of the chorus of "On The First Day of Christmas My Cancer Gave to Meeeeee"

On the first day of Christmas my cancer gave to meeee:
1 needle biopsy  
1 Thoracic surgery  
20 golden chest x-rays
1 super fun Pet scan
5 boring cat scans
4 months of oral chemo (which didn’t work)
31 Paclitaxel IV’s
48 weekly blood draws
10 chiropractic adjustments
Oooonnnneee EMmm Rrrr IIIIIIIIIII  ....
1 tooth pulled
2 bone graftings
2 epidurals
4 nasal probes
Cheeeeeemo-induuuced menopaaauuuseeee....
Put on 10 pounds
Lost my hair and eye lashes
2 wigs were made (and never worn)
A-aaannnnd ooonneee sha-ving accident (behind my ear).

Now the other version of this song goes something like this:
On the first day of Christmas my cancer gave to meeee:
Several amazing doctors
Three terrific phlebotomists
Several shrunken tumors
Lots of well wishes
A trip to the Caribbean
Summer in the Hamptons
Friends getting married
Some even pregnant
Wonder Woman gear
Amazing blasts from the past
One fu-u-u-nd-rais-errrr (thanks, Amy!)
To-o-ns of love and support
One great razor
Aaannnd the courage to face all of life's challenges (knowing every one of you friends, family and readers are in my life!)

Take a breath.................

Happy Holidays, Everyone! 

Love! Joy! Thanks! Peace! and Health in 2014!!!!

Jingle Bels


Exec. Producer Paul Faulhaber with Trish Goddard cheering me on!
Thanks, Annie!




Looking back from the start...
When it all began, thoracic surgery at Lenox Hill, November 2012. It sucked.

46th b'day party after recovering from oral chemo (Xeloda) hell, 1/12/13

First IV treatment, May 2013. F-U-Cancer!
Chopping hair off  on the 1st day hair fell out,
exactly three weeks to the day of 1st treatment.


Chemo chic a la Janet Wadell!

On a mission with Sandy to cover new bald spots.


This chemo chicK's got super powers. 


Warren Haynes and Boston Pops cover the Grateful Dead 
at Tanglewood on our 2 year dating anniversary. 


2nd time (probably last) since I'm 15 on a horse.


At the best farm wedding in Hudson, NY

Growing hair in the all the wrong places with Lady G.


Flying High (not really)


With Kid Rocks!

Gettin' fat at Sammy's Romanian


Chilly in Philly

Halloween W69th St.


Flying high. Really. First time parasailing. 

Turks and Caicos sunset cruise.

Beautiful sculpture, "Infinity" dedicated to me 
by my sister-in-law Harumi Osawa


Momma Me-a on Christmas Day!!

Healing. Always.



Thursday, December 12, 2013

I Would've Posted This Sooner....But I Forgot ?!

Chemo Brain....It's not a load o' bull...

Click the link above to learn about the frustration of your mind becoming a sieve.

Feel free to send me quizzes and crossword puzzles. I'm a big fan of Words With Friends, too!

Keep warm,

Liz

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Good News From The Chemo Lounge

Hi All,

Lots of good stuff going on, so much that I'm using it as an excuse for not writing lately. And if getting addicted to BREAKING BAD can be lumped into good stuff, other BB fans will really understand why I haven't written sooner.

For weeks I was really suffering from a strange cough-sinus-allergy thing. I don't exactly know what to call it. Let's just say it was a lingering viral cough, which isn't all that unusual except for the fact that I've been choking on my saliva and while doing so would be gasping for air.  After visiting my Pulmonologist, a really crappy ENT and then an excellent ENT (thank you, Naomi!) who just happens to practice in the building where I work, I am now on the mend. Robitussin, which ranks up there with blue cheese as far as things I hate to ingest, is a miracle worker when coupled with codeine. Dr. Geoffrey Pollack, I love you. This doctor is so caring, thorough, smart, attentive and yes, even funny. Of course he needed to diagnose my problem, but first things first, he said, let's get rid of that cough, as he watched me choke and involuntarily cry, blow my nose because it ran like a faucet and then try to regain my composure. Hence the cough syrup (seems like a no brainer but alas...).  Although my lungs have been sounding clear as a bell during my weekly check-ups, he wanted me to get a chest scan sooner rather than later to rule out any recurrence of my "cancer cough."  I was initially scheduled to go for one after I completed by second 12 week chemo cycle so we pushed it up by a couple if weeks.

On Columbus Day I went for my 11th chemo cocktail  and then for my cat scan of the chest with contrast. Talk about feeling toxic. I shouldn't have been allowed to walk the streets without a hazmat suit. The following day Dr. Dana was the first of three doctors to break the news that I'm still improving! The number of tumors has not changed but the tumors are continuing to shrink, which is exactly what we are striving for. Later on I spoke with my oncologist, Dr. B, who was very pleased with the results. He explained to me that because  (i) I am tolerating the chemo so well (ii) I have not reached a point of toxicity (iii) I have not yet reached the best results, it behooves me to start another three month cycle of the paclitaxel. Yesterday I had the last of my cycle two cocktails. Next week I will take a breather and on Monday, November 4, I will being cycle three.

Although I've plenty more to write about, it is 7:22am and I have to get to work. For now I leave you with this very positive news and as always send love and thanks for being part of my cheering squad.

Mo' later,

Buzz Belson


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Fuzzy Wuzzy Was a Bear...


Fuzzy Wuzzy Had No Hair...

Couldn't think of anything else to write. I was just remembering yesterday's bald comment du jour:

I'm waiting on line to check out at Fairway. There's one woman in front of me who for whatever reason turns around and sees me. Startled she says:

Lady: Oh. It's been a while since I've seen a... (Pause. Stare.)
Me: A what? (Knowing what she was thinking).
Lady: A, um, bald woman. 
Me:  Oh, yeah, well...
Lady: It's just been a while. 

Then she grabs my forearm to let me know it's ok.

Smiling she says in a singsong voice:
Lady: Well, I hope it's for something happy!
Me: No, I wouldn't say happy.  
Lady: Oh, I'm sorry.
Me: That's OK because I am happy!

And then she let me cut in front of her. 

OK, Ok, the woman was caught off guard, but would it be OK to say to someone, Oh, it's been a while since I've seen someone with one leg! Or, Oh, it's been a while since I've seen someone with a big zit on her nose! Or an Aboriginal tattoo on his face. Or a horrible plastic surgery! (which I see daily). You might glance, but to say something? No. But that's me. Maybe I have a better filter. 

Now that we're on the topic of no hair, I forgot to share this photo with my last entry. It's of me getting the blade at The Art of Shaving. I decided to do it because Sandy's shaver could no longer catch my fuzz; what little was growing, was coming back in patches so the razor head would skip. One night I went at it with my own Schick Quattro and it came out decent but not great. Maybe because I haphazardly did it while talking on the phone standing in front of the medicine cabinet. So I took it to the next level and went to the pros. The staff was so excited. We've never a had a woman go back in the back! (Where the barber is.) This nice man, whose name I forgot, lived for two things: Being a dad and being a barber. I loved the experience of the hot oil followed by hot foam, the massage, steam towel and doing the process twice (one with and once again the grain)... I did not like the ice cold towel at the end. I wondered how many women hailing from the (old) Five Towns of LI found themselves in a men's barber shop doing this (in the "new" Five Towns, this would be prior to getting a pre-wedding sheitel). I think I can get used to this! But a shave can be pricey. It was $35 before tip. I considered checking out some other less expensive barbers, but Sandy's keen on doing it for free and he does just as good a job.


And then there are those who like to make their hair the mane event. Anyone check out the September issue of Oprahhttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/05/oprah-afro-wig-o-magazine-september-2013_n_3709243.html   Her Afro wig, which she lovingly named Wild Thang, weighed in at 3.5 pounds!! You go, girl! But as my friend Whitney pointed out to me, as much fun as Oprah had with it, she still knows how to keep it real (pardon the pun):


Here's me and Chemosabe horsin' around in Times Square a couple of weeks ago...




Two week ago, Mom and I started the Jewish New Year off with a chemo cocktail followed by a fabulous lunch at David Burke. Heathens? Nah. We girls do what we gotta do.  Someone had to keep sales up in New York City that day!



Below was taken at last week's session where Sandy joined me. I was treated in the back room (a first) which although is more private and has a little TV, it can really use some sprucing up. If anyone has any wall art work they might want to donate, please send me a picture and I'll run it by the office. What I really think they need is this: http://www.amazon.com/Hello-Kitty-Deluxe-Recliner-Lavender/dp/B004DMA0ZG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1379543765&sr=8-1&keywords=hello+kitty+recliner

Unfortunately they don't make it for adults which is a crying shame. People would be lining up for chemo if they knew they'd get to sit in one of these!! I might look into some HK or Wonder Woman sheets to drape over the chair. ...As I write this I'm thinking, that's a great idea!


And tomorrow's another day. Pax Cycle 2, Week 8. Last week we started to discuss next steps following chemo assuming the next scan comes back OK. I can't say I'm thrilled with what's ahead. I started doing some research on the injections considered to officially throw me into menopause before I can begin hormone treatment. I found myself on Erin Brockovitch's website with her campaigning for a class action suit against the pharma company that makes it. I did this while lying in bed for two days with a hideous cold. You'd think with that, the effects of the NyQuil and the music I was listening to I might not have ever made it out to see day light again, but miraculously I came to my senses. Must be all the love I get from you guys!! 

My rock star friend, Zulma, walked her tail off for me last week at the
Komen Walk For The Cure! I love you, Z!!

One day at a time, Liz.

One day at a time....

Love and light to everyone and a special prayer for those in Colorado 
who are having an especially rough time right now.  

Huge hugs,

LB

P.S. For those of you with a keen eye who noticed that I took down my cartoon images, Google apparently has a problem with some of the content on this blog, so much so they've blocked any advertisers from the page. Thanks, Google, for bustin' up my tumor humor party. I have a bit more cleaning up to do if I want to get the advertisers back. If I wasn't collecting the money for charity I'd probably reconsider. Until I publish my book (if ever) I suppose I don't have much of a choice.



Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Cancer Diaries Part XXX.......

Sent to me by Rhoda Shore, a long, long, long time family friend.

Dearest Booble-heads,

Glad to be pecking away at the keyboard again. A lot of time has passed since I last checked in. The most important thing that happened was receiving the good news on my last CT scan. Two tumors showed up as having shrunk quite impressively; one shrunk 50% and the other 75%. The following week I started the second three month cycle of Paclitaxel, after which I will do another scan to see if I'm still progressing.

I've had so many themes running through my head the past several weeks and I unfortunately have let them flee from my sieve-like brain. Sure as you get older you forget things now and then. But chemo makes your memory feel like a drawing in the sand. One minute you've got a thought and the next  the ocean washes it away and you're like, Wait! Don't go! Why did I just pick up the phone? Who was I going to call? It's  quite frustrating so I try to enter as much as possible in my iCal and have reminders popping up constantly. I'm a big fan of Post-Its, too. Two days ago I somehow managed to wipe out several weeks of dates in my Google calendar. If I blew you off for something, now you know why. Argh. Anyway, here's a bit of what's been happening, working my way backwards (though I'm not sure why)...

Thursday, August 29th
I continue to get stopped on the street by people commenting on my hair or lack of it. Some just say it's cool, some say they wish they have the courage to "do it". A young woman in Pinkberry said she'd like to shave her head but would just die because it would be like like losing a body part. I suggest to these people that they don't wait to get cancer to go bald as if it makes it more acceptable. Granted, I never would've considered shaving my head before losing it to chemo but if I was really that concerned with how people thought I look, I'd be sweatin' my kishkes off in that ugly $3000 wig that I almost got stuck with. For those who don't know, I did win the dispute and got credited back the full amount from Joseph Paris. It took several very long, upsetting phone conversations with the credit card company but it was worth it.

Tonight on the way home from dinner, Sandy, my brother, sister-in-law and I were stopped at the corner of CPW and 7th Ave. A homelessy- crackheady type of guy felt compelled to yell at me, Stop the chemo, girl! We want you around!  I tried convincing him that my being bald was a fashion statement. He wasn't buying it. I know that's chemo! You should stop it... Damn, you look good, girl. You sexier than all them bitXhes who don't even have cancer.  Ok, none of this made sense, but it was funny. Sort of. Dark. The next day Sandy said, Hey, that guy liked you.. you could've had sex last night! 

Uh huh.

Wednesday, August 28th
Beautiful scarf compliments of Mom.

Monday, August 26th
This is what's left of my eyebrows and lashes. Somehow I can deal with the hair loss but the brows and lashes coming out make me look rather cancery. I've acquired a small collection of  Trish McEvoy eye brow shapers so that I'm never without one (for you makeup junkies, Trish McEvoy Arabian Nights gel liner is also the bomb). I obsessively fill them in throughout the day so I don't repeat glancing at a mirror in a restaurant only to realize that I've been walking around with half of a brow smudged off. Yes, it's happened.
After work I go home and eat the awesome leftovers from Sunday's dinner that Sandy made for me and I finally, after several weeks, get inspired to write again.

Saturday, August 24th
Modern Love
Attended one of the best weddings ever! Kelcey Edwards (of "Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines" fame) and Ben Segal wed in Catskill, NY on the beautiful Kaaterskill Farm. It was a super magical night and I couldn't be happier for them both. Unfortunately for Kelcey, none of her co-producers from her Wonder Women film could make it so I made sure at least one other Wonder Woman was representing (though there were plenty more)!
Flashing my Wonder Woman underthings purchased for me by Doctor Dana,
who btw, officiated the wedding (yet, another Wonder Woman).
How smokin' hot is this bride? 

Under the chupa.  That beautiful black Russian terrier is Boba the ring bearer.

Standing by my man who did anything to make me happy and comfortable
all weekend including buying me that special something covering my head
. :)


Wednesday, August 21st 
The Bald and the Bountiful
On my way home from work the next day I am somehow lifted knowing I have the next few days off just to relax and take care of myself. I pick up some groceries and make a point to find the artist whose work I saw yesterday but couldn't remember his name to check him out on line. Lo and behold, the man is there with all of his work packed up; he's waiting for the next bus. I walk up to him and ask, Are you the man who was selling his artwork here yesterday? I loved your poetry. He asks me which one poem and proceeds to pull posters out from a large canvas bag. Was it this one? Or this one? I said, No, it was about pain and art and landing on your feet. He pulled out the one I love. I told him how moved I was and the timing of seeing his work was serendipity. He said thanks, handed me all three posters (that he typically sells for $25 on line) and then said he had to catch the bus that pulled up. With my groceries in one hand and my three posters in the other, his words rang even more true to me. I had no reason to complain with two loaves of bread under my arms. I walked home fighting tears of joy. Funny, because if you read his bio, you'll learn that is his mission: to bring joy to the world. Please, please, please check out this man's artwork and poetry and perhaps buy something or donate to his cause: His main purpose and inspiration for his art is to build free Art Institutions around the world for the young of all ages to come and receive free art supplies; from guitars, pianos, and horns to paint brushes and theaters. Sir Shadow believes that art is the center of inner peace and the motivation towards a better world for each boy and girl.

Tuesday, August 20th
Me and My Shadow
The tears don't stop. Even at work. I am unraveling and decide I need a few days off so I put in for a long weekend and even cancel my chemo appointment for Thursday. With these crazy mood swings come some itchy, puffy eye allergy and I look like Jake Lamotta after a few rounds in the ring. I'm concerned that with this and minimal eye brows I'm going to feel horrible and look even worse for the wedding coming up on Saturday. I go to Sephora and spend $20 on Anastasia eye brow stencils which I try at home. This results in looking like the love child of Jake Lamotta and Joan Crawford. It ain't pretty.

On my usual route home from work I stop at the light on W72nd and B'way and am riveted by this man selling his artwork. On black heavy stock paper are simple yet poignant drawings in metallic ink. Beside them are small posters with this man's poetry. After days of crying I am so taken aback by his words as if they were placed there just for me to see. I rush home trying to remember his name...Shadow something, Shadow, Shadow something...




Monday, August 19th
Text to my mom: I'm eating veggies on a bench in front of Organic Avenue and texting u.  A bald man w a beard stopped short in front of me. I thought he'd beg for food. I glanced up and he said, I love your haircut and walked away.

I am still on an emotional roller coaster and the $12 steamed veggies and quinoa didn't make me feel any better. Yes, I actually thought it might cleanse me or something miraculous.

Sunday, August 18th
Off to the cemetery for an annual visit to my grandparents followed by lunch at my Mom's. I'm feeling better being with Sandy and surrounded by my family but admittedly I am hung over from the pain killer. How do people get addicted to that stuff? Seeing my niece and nephew makes me so happy. 

Saturday, August 17th
Sandy and I go shopping in the late afternoon. For some reason I get overwhelmed with nausea and horrible back pack pain. We cut our excursion short and he puts me to bed with an anti-nausea meds and an Ativan. I sleep for hours. 

Friday, August 16th
I'm still crying uncontrollably and I cannot get a grip on why. Sandy took me for oysters at night because he knows I love them. I ate six. I think five worked. Ba da boom! Drum and cymbal crash... My dad always uses that joke when ordering oysters.

I came home from work and found this card slipped under my door. 
It was sent to me anonymously! Thoughtful? Creepy? I don't know, it made me smile. 

Thursday, August 15th
Email to Mom from the chemo chair: One of my fave nurses from the practice just came in and boosted my spirits.  She doesn't know my name, rather, she calls me Inspiration whenever we see one another.  Today she commented she liked my brows, which oddly enough are falling out, so I have to artistically fill them in. I shared my new secret weapon, the Trish McEvoy precision Brow Shaper in Natural Brunette. She made a mental note. This nurse is so lovely, gorgeous and compassionate. A little peek in the room for a brief exchange of words brings a big smile to my face. Next thing you know the machines'll be beeping and it's time to go.

I'd been crying for two days. Not sure why but perhaps the combination of losing my
tooth and what's to follow, started to lose my brows, the nurse suggested I get a
port for chemo (vs. the IV because my veins are getting hard to work with), if my
hormone's are raging or what. I'm just not happy.
Saturday, August 10th
A Horse is a Horse, Of Course of Course...

Henry and me hanging with Bliss.
Sandy introduced me to his good friends Lory and Bob in Ringoes, NJ two years ago. I took an instant liking to them as well as visiting their menagerie on Dragonfly Farm which consists of three horses, a rabbit, three dogs, two cats, two Pigmy goats, two Sicilian miniature donkeys and I don't know how many chickens. Going to their house is a great escape from NYC and there's always some great element of surprise. Much to my surprise, during our last visit I took Lory up on her offer to get on one of her horses. The last time I attempted this, I was 15 and I lasted all of two minutes. This time was much different. Lory let me get familiar with Bliss by brushing his coat and tail, which by the way is amazing--the hair is so incredibly thick and strong, sort of like the indestructible black hair on my Cher doll circa 1975. Lory then showed me how to put on the saddle, I squeezed my big head into her tiny helmet,  and with very little grace in my yoga clothes and sneakers a size too small for me, I mounted the horse. Despite his calm demeanor, I was petrified of being up so high on a 1200 pound animal yet it was quite exhilarating. With the slightest movement I was terrified and Lory had to remind me that Bliss is a living, breathing animal, and yes, it would move. I never let her let go of the reins, but still, we circled the ring several times and I could say I rode a horse. What a thrill. I mean it.  This is a beautiful creature and I have a newfound respect for any one who does this with some sort of regularity. Your core muscles, back and legs cannot be the least bit weak if you don't want to strain yourself and this is being said after doing nothing more than taking a stroll. After my first official ride on a horse, we took a dip in the pool and ran errands at the local tractor and farm supply store where I found myself roaming the aisles looking for the latest trends in farm fashion. Whaddya think? 





Tuesday, August 6th
An amazing first.... Sandy and I were invited for dinner at the Friar's Club.
No celebrity sitings but who knows who might've sat in the chair I was dining in. Trust me, I'd flip out if Fallon or Kimmel walked in, but what I really wanted was for the pictures on the walls to come alive. Dino, Sinatra, Marilyn...I'd buy them all a drink, or ten.

Sunday, August 4th
Flying the Super Friendly Skies

This was taken on our Jet Blue return flight from PBI to LGA. Well, we weren't in flight just yet. Just before takeoff the skies opened up and turned black and we were stuck on the runway for a while. The pilot very casually took the mic and suggested we kick back and relax and invited the kids to come up and check out the cockpit. Why he singled out the kids, I'm not sure. But Sandy and I were sitting in the second row and I saw no reason why I should be excluded from the fun. So like a giddy seven year old I climbed into the Captain's seat and asked our co-captain, What's this? What's that? How do you fly this things?! She responded, Oh, it's not that hard, it's just a bunch of computer stuff. A bunch of computer stuff to me means managing this blog and checking email. Wow!! Yet another thrill just sitting in that seat, looking out the front window onto the runway imagining being responsible for taking 200 people up for a ride above the clouds. The only downside was not getting the little wings we did as a kid. That was back in the day when flying really felt like a privilege and although the food sucked, you looked forward to the ritual of having it served to you by hospitable, happy people who liked their job. 

Thursday, August 1st
We Are From France... (Cone Heads)
Not too swollen considering my mouth is filled with gauze.
I still get very uncomfortable just thinking about this procedure.

Tuesday, July 30th
Lost and Found
One #14 tooth. Had to have what's left of my back tooth (former root canal and crown) pulled. Why? Because when the dentist recommended that I replace the crown, I didn't want to deal with the procedure or the expense. The crown broke as he predicted, the tooth fractured and couldn't be saved, the expense tripled and I had to live through this crappy experience. Not only did I loose my tooth in the chair, I. Lost. My. Frigging. Mind.

 What broke off my tooth. Fortunately for you, I didn't photograph the remains that were yanked out.
Anyone care to Netflix Marathon Man

Total props to the surgeon, Benjamin Jacobs, DMD who is also a huge Seinfeld fan. How do I know? When the tray of tools were rolled out, I literally thought I'd pass out. I said to him, That's quite a tray of large tools you got there, to which he replied, Plumbers have tools, surgeons have instruments. I said, Oh, like the tiny instruments used on the squirrel on Seinfeld? CLICK HERE FOR TINY INSTRUMENTS He knew the reference and then we bonded (no pun intended). We chatted about Sein, Howard Stern, the Upper West Side and I was suddenly calm as if I were just hanging out with my friend in Monk's coffee shop. That is, until the procedure began and I got hysterical despite the gas. I have to say, Doc Jacobs was so patient, professional and has an amazing bedside manner. Lucky for me I get to visit him several times more for an IMPLANT. People, do WHATEVER you can to not lose your teeth!! You will thank me one day!! I think I can park a SmartCar in the gap I have now.


Saturday, July 27th


This was taken the last weekend of our summer house in Springs. I don't know for how many years I've been saying I must get to Jackson Pollock's studio and this summer there was no excuse since we were less than a mile away. Before you walk in you must exchange your shoes for a light pair of slippers since the floor is covered in the paint splattered about by JP himself while working on his large canvases. The studio is fairly small and there actually aren't any of his or Krasner's paintings on display but I swear you get transported back in time and his presence (and angst) can be felt. Being here made me feel very alive. 
I didn't take any pics of the interior of the house because it needs to be seen in its entirety. It's quite charming and hard to imagine such turmoil existed within the walls of this cozy home. Krasner continued to live there after the death of Pollock until her demise. You can purchase her spider plants' flowers which have been growing since at least the 80s, which we did for Sandy's mom.

Thursday, July 25th

I'm fairly certain this is the day my onc gave me the sex talk during my weekly follow up. Well, it didn't start out that way. We discussed how the chemo throws your body into menopause or what appears to be menopause--the undesirable symptoms are the same. We covered fun things like libido, hot flashes, and y'know, some other stuff. He gave me an unsolicited (though well intentioned) education on the benefits of Astro Glide as if I were not 46 and ever been to a drug store. I started snickering inside like an immature pre-teen having "the talk" with her mom about periods, tampons and boys and acted particularly infantile when he got to the part about being comfortable in any position.  Immediately after this two minute-which felt like an hour long-conversation ended, I jumped off the table and said, Well, Doc, that was a nice sex talk, patted him on the arm, spun around on my heels and headed for the chemo chair.


Saturday, August 31, 2013
Ding Dong. The unofficial end of summer.

Finally, what you see here looks like your ordinaryVietnamese Dong. It was given to me by my friend Melissa while catching up over sushi after not having seen or spoken to one another in over a year.  I thought this was her idea of a joke, trying to tip the waitress with Dong worth less than a dime. She explained she'd gotten two of these "blessings' at Buddhist temple during her travels, she'd kept one for herself and has been carrying around the other not knowing with whom she would share it until we were having dinner.  I was so touched by this gesture and now carry it in my wallet; every time I take out my cash, this comes out with it and I reminded of Melissa's love and friendship. Talk about paying it forward.

I'd like to share this blessing with you. Your love and support is what keeps me remaining positive. Sure, I'll have my setbacks now and then, but if things were really that bad, I don't think I'd be typing my thoughts on a Mac computer in the comforts of my beautiful home with my beautiful man beside me on a beautiful summer's day. Let's all take the time to give thanks for what we have and continue to look forward, not back.

Happy Labor Day. Happy Jewish New Year. Happy to be alive.

Life is good.

Love,

Me.