Cocktails with the Cult: Box Wine

I am totally half-assing this post because I am on vacation right now. I’m sorry. Actually I am not even remotely sorry, because you know what? Box wine is totally awesome. And here’s why.

1. It is always ready. No mixing. No measuring. No finding halfway through preparing it that you are out of olives or tonic to whatever. It’s just hanging out there in your fridge saying “No pressure, I’m ready when you’re ready.”

2. It’s inexpensive. Even the fancy pants box wine I like (Black Box Chardonnay, and no, they aren’t sponsoring this post but I wish they were!) is at least as cheap as regular wine, if not cheaper. Vodka and fancy olives can get pricey.

3. It doesn’t go stale like regular wine. I don’t see it on the shelf in my fridge and think “shit, I need to finish that before it starts tasting funky.” So when I am in treatment and can’t even imagine wanting a drink, no biggie, it’s not going to waste.

4. It’s easier to serve when your friends come over than cocktails. They can help themselves from the handy spigot.

5. It’s not pretentious. It doesn’t say “Look at me, I am a fancy expensive beverage with terroir, pay attention to my legs and smell my bouquet.” No. You just drink it and feel good. Period.

Obviously there is no recipe for this post. Just go to the grocery store and buy a damn box, will you?

Enjoy Every Moment Redux

Last year, I wrote a post about how I hate when people tell you to enjoy “every moment because they grow up so fast.” And since The Cancer, as my worldview has become increasingly unique, I have begun to hate it even more, for two reasons.

First, as I explained in my post last year, it’s absurd to expect moms to enjoy even the shitty moments with their small kids. It’s absurd to tell me to enjoy the moment when I have to tell The Girl that I can’t pick her up because my arm is still too sore after my mastectomy. It’s absurd to tell me to enjoy the moment when The Boy acts out because he isn’t getting enough time with me, because I am too tired from the chemo.

When I actually do have an enjoyable moment with the kids, even those are tainted by The Cancer. I think to myself, “I am so grateful to have this moment, because I know I will feel like shit again soon.” Yep, that’s how fucked up this experience is, that even when you’re happy, there’s this layer of sadness underneath it. The NICU was like that too–even in a victory where The Boy made progress, they were victories because of how shitty the situation was. The good felt so good because of the bad that came before it.

Second, my kids are not growing up fast enough. I don’t mean that I wish my kids would be more worldly or act older than they are, because that would suck. I just mean that even in the best case scenario for my illness, I don’t have as much time left in my life as your average mom. I will be really lucky to see them both graduate from high school, and that has become my dream, the thing I long for more than anything else–to see them both to adulthood. And that feels like it’s so. painfully. far. away. Especially when The Girl STILL is not interested in being fully potty trained. They aren’t growing up so fast–they are growing up so slowly.

I feel like when you have cancer, you’re supposed to be all positive and really get the most out of every day and all that shit. Like, you know, that cancer is supposed to make it so you don’t waste a moment of your life because you don’t know for sure how many moments you have left. For me, that’s just not how cancer makes me feel. I’m not cashing out my bank account and going on that vacation I always dreamed of, or whatever. Because the thing is, it’s not like the rest of life stops when you have cancer. Your kids still pee on the couch and spill finger paint all over the kitchen. Your spouse still gets a cold or throws out his back. There is still a mortgage.

And lots of days, I just don’t even feel like going on that vacation anyway. I just feel like sitting in my recliner and playing 100 games of solitaire, to distract me from The Cancer. Sometimes being distracted is the best I can hope for. Expecting enjoyment from me is just unrealistic right now.

And the thing is, every parent has reasons to not be happy sometimes. Most aren’t as dramatic as cancer, but the everyday grind of life can be pretty darn hard. And in this world of smiling advertisements and Xanax and being grateful every day, we also need to make room for us to feel sad sometimes. It needs to be OK to be sad, not just when you have cancer, but whenever the situation warrants sadness.

“Enjoy every moment” tells people it’s not OK to be sad. But it IS OK. It’s normal, and human, and perfectly OK to be sad sometimes.

What will do you with your time when you aren’t working?

When I decided to take a disability retirement from my job so I could focus on killing cancer, I had a lot of people ask me what I would do with all my free time, or ask me if I was going to be bored without a job. I think that’s because people don’t realize how time-consuming it is to be a cancer patient. It took 4 weeks to recover from surgery, then the following week when I was supposed to just be back at work, I had 3 doctor appointments, each lasting over an hour. Also, I’m not just a cancer patient, I’m also a mom, so, you know, all that “why is my house a disaster area, there is so much to clean up” stuff that goes along with having small children? I got all that to do to. I’m really going from 3 jobs (mom, lawyer, cancer patient) down to two. Which is plenty, thankyouverymuch.

But then I realized I wasn’t thinking outside the box enough, and I should come up with a list of things I was going to do with all that imaginary free time, so when people ask me, this is what I will say.

1. Become a professional internet troll. You know that asshole who posts incendiary comments on your local newspaper’s website, the ones that get everyone all riled up and arguing? That’s gonna be me. I’m currently researching racist and sexist things to say, such as “That black kid was asking to be shot by wearing baggy pants” and “How will that woman juggle a CEO job and kids?”

2. Pinterest. Seriously, all of it, I’m going to make all that shit, every single pin. Especially this. And these.

3. Take over the PTSA. ALL THE POWER WILL BE MINE. You may think that sounds like a hard and mostly thankless job, and you would be right, but hear me out. The Boy goes to school in a really affluent neighborhood (that I don’t live in) and they raise a lot of money. That could buy me a lot of trips to Tahiti, oops, I mean, a lot of wonderful things for the kids.

4. Become a connoisseur of Jerry Springer. I briefly experimented with this during the government shutdown last year, but I literally could only take 10 minutes of it before I had to turn it off. It’s going to take a serious training regimen to be able to watch a whole episode, but now I’ll have the time to do it.

5. Organic gardening. HAHAHAHA, that was a joke, have you seen my yard?

6. Learn to play the autoharp. I was inspired by watching Walk the Line–if it’s good enough for June Carter Cash, it’s good enough for me! And now The Hubs knows what to get me for Christmas.

7. Try out all the insane cancer cures that people have shared with me since I got diagnosed, and blog about them. I think I’ll start with “smelling farts will cure your cancer.”

I’m out of ideas, but someone’s gotta help me fill up all that free time when I’m not in a doctor’s office or unconscious from chemo fatigue–so share your ideas in the comments!

10 reasons why I don’t read click-bait-y parenting articles

This is a list of the reasons why I don’t click on articles with titles like “What one mom wished she knew that might have saved her child’s life” and “10 things you are doing wrong as a parent.”

1. Every time you read a parenting article with a click-bait-y title, a puppy dies. Seriously.

2. All parenting articles are filled with information I can live without. Nobody ever accidentally turned their kid into a serial killer because they didn’t read some article on attachment parenting on the Internet.

3. When you click on click bait, the terrorists win.

4. I’m secure enough in my OK-ness that I don’t need to read things on the Internet to validate my world view.

5. Reading click-bait-y articles may give you The Clap.

6. I’m not kidding, I got a weird rash after clicking on some click bait article one time.

7. If we all stopped reading click-bait-y articles on the Internet, maybe they’ll stop writing them? Haha, I know, I am so naive.

8. Most of those articles claim to be based on scientific studies that only show correlation, not causation, and the authors of the articles are too stupid to know the difference.

9. Just as reading beauty magazines will only make you feel ugly, reading articles that promise to make you a more confident parent will only make you less sure of your parenting skills.

10. Because I got enough guilt in my life without the goddamn Internet giving me more of it.

Cocktails with the Cult: Aunt Mandy’s Sangria

I have a really awesome sister-in-law, the kind who shows up with a mocha for me to just hang out for a bit and talk. And she never complains when we ask her to babysit the Kids, who call her Aunt Mandy. She’s not a huge drinker, but once in a while, she’ll imbibe a little, and when she does, she makes a mean drink.

For example, last summer, she and a close family friend and I got together and had a yard sale, and she made sangria for all of us to drink while we sat out in the yard selling a little off our junk. (I made the most money, and yes I am totally bragging about it. Rematch, ladies?) It was the perfect thing to be drinking with two girlfriends in the sunshine. I asked her to share her recipe, and she graciously did. Without further ado, I give you Aunt Mandy’s Sangria!

1 bottle Chardonnay
1 6 oz. can pineapple chunks
1/2 cup rum
1/2 cup triple sec
1 orange, sliced
1 lemon, sliced
1 lime, sliced
1/2 cup grapes
1 apple, cut into chunks
2 cups lemon-lime soda

Put everything except the soda together in a large pitcher and let chill for at least four hours. Add the soda at the time you serve it, and enjoy!

No, I don’t trust my body

The big fad nowadays in health–and trust me, when you have cancer, EVERYONE tells you about the latest health crazes–is to listen to your body because its signals will lead you to health. The idea is, your body knows what’s good for it and what’s bad for it, so if you just listen closely to it, your body will tell you what it’s supposed to be eating and doing and whatever.

Yeah, right. This is the body that tells me to eat the entire bag of chocolate and the entire bag of potato chips when I am menstruating. It knows what’s best for me? Chocolate and salt is what’s best for me? Really?

This is the body that decided to spit out my son 3 months early, because, who the fuck knows why. That’s what was best for me? To try to kill my baby?

This is the body that decided to start making cells that will literally kill me, and it, if left to its own devices. That’s what’s best for me? To kill me?

My body has betrayed me in ways that have caused me more emotional pain than I hope anyone ever has to bear. I see my body as a necessary evil that I must keep to survive, but it is not on my side, and it lies to me every day. It said “You don’t feel sick, that lump can’t be cancer.” It said “That chemo is killing you, don’t you see how sick it’s making you? You have to stop this!” My body is either an idiot or a cruel, sadistic bastard.

No, I don’t trust my body. I don’t trust it for one second.

Worst Wife Ever Moment: The Poopy Toilet Conversation

You guys, I have the most awesome girlfriends in the world. Wanna know how I know? Because I had this conversation with them about our husbands’ poop habits and they totally agreed to me posting it on my blog. Because I am the worst wife ever, and apparently not only am I the worst wife ever, so are my awesome girlfriends! Sorry/not sorry not only to The Hubs, but to the husbands of my awesome girlfriends, for the public discussion of their poop habits. But seriously, this was too funny not to share.

I literally just scrubbed dried-on shit off the toilet. Literally.

What is with guys and them missing the toilet? I swear, my husband gets shit on the toilet seat too and in weird places in the bowl. I can even imagine the position you need to get into to get crap on that area of the bowl. It’s completely mind-boggling!!!

Seriously, this poo was on the inside front of the bowl, like the part under the seat. How do you get poo on there?

Ugh! I know what you mean. I ask my husband about it and he looks at me like it’s not his. Whose else would it be? Our infant son can’t poop in the toilet yet. I mean, come on!

OMG, I know it’s totally stabby-making, but I am SO RELIEVED it’s not just my husband with the fucking nasty poop toilets!

Oh and the poop..”Captain Splatter”


For realz.

but how do they shit and then have it stick on the wall?!?


OMG! Seriously! How does that happen!?!?

I mean, do they have like super sticky poo?


What contortionist position do they get into to make this happen?


wall of the toilet

Maybe it flings when they wipe

Oh yeah, I’ve had it on the FRONT of the bowl. The front…how the hell?


Oh….I was like shit! Fricken apes flinging poo!

On second thought, I don’t want to know. You can’t unsee that shit.



OK, this convo needs to go on my blog. For serious.



Also, HOW DO THEY NOT SEE IT???? And if they *DO* see it, how do they NOT FUCKING CLEAN IT OFF?!????


Remember, it’s not theirs. It’s the poop ghost.

Seriously. There are cleaning wipes!

I bet The Hubs would blame The Boy.

Or The Girl

Like blaming the dog when you fart.

Or the chair
What’s that noise? Oh it’s the chair… Right.

The Girl would say “Get your poop outta my poop!”
I fart wherever I want

I fart SO MUCH since chemo. Also when I was pregnant.

Chemo farts!

Oh the gas while pregnant was horrid.

And yet, all that farting and I never pooped on the front of the toilet.


Male readers, does your poop go all over the place when you poop? If so, how the fuck do you do that? Are you a contortionist? Because, me and my girlfriends really want to know.

Cancer is happening to everyone

Cancer doesn’t just happen to the person who has it. It happens to everyone around the person who has it. It’s happening to my kids, who keep asking if my cancer is gone yet, and why I have to quit my job, and why I can’t come play with them when I am chemo’d out or sore and tired after surgery. It’s happening to The Hubs, is now dealing with the overwhelming task of being a father, holding down a full time job, and being a patient advocate. And it’s happening to my friends and family, who are terrified of losing me and want me to be OK.

The reality of that, for me, is that I am finding myself alternating between propping up all the people in my life with my sunny disposition about all this, and collapsing at home in a pile of tears from the stress. I think it’s because I want my friends and family to be OK about as much as they want me to be OK. So, I am putting on a brave face as much as I can, not just because it’s getting me through the cancer, which it is, but because I know it helps everyone else get through the cancer. Because cancer is happening to them too.

Before cancer, when stuff happened and I needed to lean on someone, I would take off my brave face to my husband in particular, or to a few other family and close friends. But now, those are the people who are suffering from the cancer too. So I have to be careful about choosing who I lean on, and when, to make sure I don’t knock them over. Because, cancer is happening to them too.

I also learned in the NICU that you have to think carefully about who you take your mask off for, because some people you thought would hold you up, are actually going to step away when you try to lean on them, and you’ll fall even harder. Crisis can bring out both the best and worst in people, and if you choose someone in whom it brings out the worst, you will regret it. And it’s not because that person who stepped away is a bad person. Cancer is happening to them too.

But I also have to remind myself that in all my forgiving of people’s failures, and putting on of brave faces, that I have a terrible habit of taking care of the people around me, instead of taking care of myself, and I just can’t do that right now. So, I have been asserting my needs more plainly, and I have stopped trying to prop up the people around me as much. And that is really hard, and scary, but necessary. Because most of all, cancer is happening to me.