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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hurricane Irene—Bringing Out My Inner Bridezilla

In my last post about television, I conveniently forgot to mention one of my biggest guilty pleasures. And no, it has absolutely nothing to do with creative people putting their talents to the test. Bridezillas is a reality show on TLC that spotlights brides-to-be behaving badly. Very badly. Truly, some of the women on this show are a handful of the worst examples of humanity you could ever witness. Screaming at their mothers, bitching at their bridesmaids, and usually treating their fiances like something that crawled out from a crack in the pavement.
Many of them spend the week leading up to their wedding sporting oversized t-shirts airbrushed with the word Bride, and stand in front of the camera flailing their arms, yelling at their friends/moms/future husbands, "this is going to be my special day! This is the most important day of my life! You're going to be feeding me grapes while I'm getting my hair done! I hate you! Don't talk to me! It's my special day! Mine!!!"
Each episode leaves you wondering, why would anyone ever want to marry this woman? Sometimes their male counterparts actually threaten not to show up for the Big Day, and I'm always hoping they'll follow through. Shockingly, they never do.
Up until yesterday, part of my enjoyment of this show was how superior it made me feel. I am nothing like these people, I'd think smugly to myself. See how mellow I am? I'm getting married while I'm bald. My dress is from Banana Republic. I'm so down-to-earth. 
I'd always thought that I'd remain unfazed no matter what kind of complications arose surrounding the wedding. I wouldn't be the girl to flip out if I spilled wine on my dress, if the food ended up overcooked, if it rained a little and the reception got moved into the barn. The important thing, of course, is simply to stand and declare your love in front of friends and family.


Enter Hurricane Irene. 
So. My flight is scheduled to land in Hartford, Connecticut at half past midnight tomorrow, Monday the 29th. The wedding is September 3.
By Friday night (the 26th) I was freaking out that either a) my flight would be canceled or b) I'd get bumped from my flight so my seat could be given to someone else who had missed their flight over the weekend. I don't know where I got the idea that such a thing was even possible. I guess I was operating under the assumption that airlines are Never Fair, and reserve the right to screw you over at every opportunity. Apparently, this practice of "bumping" people was a complete figment of my imagination. Regardless, that's when the panic started setting in.
My anxiety was only worsened by the fact that the American Airlines website declared that flights canceled in the wake of Irene could take up until September 4th to be rescheduled. The wedding, as I mentioned, is September 3rd.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Annie Left and I Took a New Lover—Television

This blog has been a little heavy on the introspection as of late. While Deep Thoughts are to be expected from a Cancer Blog, lately the currents have been running a little more on the shallow side.
I'd wondered how I'd pass the time without Annie. I thought maybe I'd be forced to confront my inner demons, face boredom head on, and transform into a deeper, more evolved Self.
Instead, I gave myself over completely to Television.

There is one perspective from which this can be viewed as a positive transformation. 
I have written before about my inability to relax. How so much of my time in Visalia as a cancer patient has been spent avoiding a sick-bed. How, before and during cancer, any time I'd think about laying down and flipping on the Tube there was always that voice in my head saying read more, learn more, do more, cook more, yoga more, clean more, DON'T JUST SIT THERE!! Your brain will atrophy! (Yes, the voice sometimes does sound a lot like Dr.Dad, who hates television with every cell in his highly-toned, athlete's body).
So, if you look at it one way, honing my ability to lie in bed for hours in front of the TV and feel no restlessness, no judgement and no anxiety, just sheer bliss, can potentially be seen as Progress. It helps to have a cozy spot. (See photo)
My Television Nest

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Family, Norma and the Ultimate Gift

Golden Gate in the Fog
Yesterday was my Grandmother's 90th Birthday. Unfortunately, she was not able to celebrate, or even have awareness of this milestone. She has reached a very advanced stage of Alzheimers, and is locked inside her body in a place nobody can really reach.
Dr. Dad and I went up to visit her at her nursing home in the Bay Area this weekend, after having stopped at Stanford for a routine check-in with my doctors. Everything on that front appears to be going as planned—which is great—so there's nothing really noteworthy to report about the visit, other than the very first thing out of Dr. A's mouth when he saw me was, "Ohhhhh! You've gained weight!" 
Just what every gal wants to hear first thing as someone walks into the room. 
(I get it, it's healthier than being underweight, it will provide extra protection during my feeblest moments of stem-cell procedure. Still.)


The last time I saw my grandmother, about three and a half years ago, she was in her apartment under the care of live-in helpers. Her mind had started to slip, but she still recognized me and let out an excited cry of "Kia Joooooon!" (a Persian term of endearment, as she is my Iranian grandmother) then shed a few happy tears. 
She and I have never been able to make much conversation, as English is her second language, and by the time I was able to relate to her as a teenager and then an adult, her hearing had started to go. (Dr. Dad had not felt it important to teach me Farsi, his native language, when I was a child and therefore a sponge of language acquisition. This skill would probably be very useful to me now, but I try not to hold that against him anymore.) 
Anyway, it never seemed to matter that my grandmother and I couldn't make small talk. Whenever I visited she'd launch into high-pitched exclamations in Farsi, pinching my cheeks and planting kisses all over my face, fussing over me like the I was the only granddaughter she had (as I was). 
She also had a practice of cooking up a tremendous batch of ghormehsabzi, my all-time favorite Persian stew. It involves a mountain of mixed greens and herbs, cooked down and mixed with kidney beans, beef or lamb, dried limes, and served over saffroned basmati rice. With pita bread. And cucumber-mint yogurt. MMM! My grandmother would then demonstrate the depths of her love by feeding me bowl after bowl of the stuff. A common practice with grandmothers, no?
How I wish I could have made her a pot of ghormesabzi yesterday, in return for all the loving and feeding she blessed me with over the years.