Pretty Much The Best Month Yet (As Long As You Don’t Think About That Inoperable Tumor) Except For That Week I Was Worried I Was Going To Get Shot By Crazy Right Wingers Which All Turned Out OK In The End Anyway

This is the millionth episode of the Cancer Diaries, which begins here.


Not mentioned, but I also went to & chocolate-catered a beautiful wedding.

October 1.

I spend the first week of October attempting to recreate the Chicago Diner Radical Reuben (which my mother misses more than anything in the universe), and it works: my guilt at not doing enough for her is somewhat tamed. As a secondary concern, my mom also likes the sandwich. After I do a lot of guesswork based on a close reading of the menu I come across a Vegetarian Times recipe for the dang thing.  I’m pleased that mine took different routes to get to the same goal, but the idea of pickle juice and beet juice in the seitan is a good one. I intend to make the seitan the 1970s way, from high gluten flour and lots of water-wasting squeezing, but take the loser way out and make it from gluten flour.

I really enjoy recreating this sandwich. 

I bring her the sandwich three days in a row and on the third day I forget extra sauce and somehow the world continues.


cakes & cookies by Maresa, natch / beautiful fire extinguisher


I start doing a thing where before I leave the shop I stop and take a good meditation-style breath and clean out my mind and quietly ask my wild brain

{{{{what am I forgetting}}}}

And it works to quiet the weirdly intense stress I get when I forget a fork or dessert or her mail or laundry.

I visit her once a day, for about an hour.

It doesn’t seem like a lot.


October 4.

They do the catheter surgery. It’s just a little tube in her lungs, so the fluid that’s been collecting in them—no one knows why, no one seems to think it’s weird that no one would know why, and when I ask I always get, “Oh, it’s just one of those chemo things,” and there’s no talk of it getting better (or worse) or attempting to learn more about it—can be periodically drained.


Here’s a weird thing—she’s pretty much had no pain this entire almost-year of cancerness. Cancerosity. Cancerism. Isn’t that strange? If it were me, I’d be in pain all the time because getting my blood taken and literally everything else would have me doubled over with needle-chills and blood-chills. But that doesn’t bother her. She hasn’t even had nausea.

Having cancer has merely robbed her of her strength, vitality, cold tolerance, energy, balance, hair, body fat, yoga practice, red blood cells, iron, ancestral home, life savings, hobbies, volunteer work, healthy blood, and self-confidence. But pain—not much to speak of, except from the falls.

But the surgery causes pain. She starts taking non-addictive pain pills and is so worried she’ll get addicted I have to remind her she’s never been addicted to anything. She takes one or two a day and toughs it out until it passes.

October 7.

Her case worker at rehab is making arrangements for the visiting nurse service to do the catheter drainage. They tell her they need to train someone in the household to do it in case the nurse can’t come for whatever reason. I knew this was coming and it stresses me out. Bodily stuff. Why can’t I have a responsible sibling?

My brother.

Is less and less every day.

Can’t find a job, can’t hold a conversation. Whenever I don’t get a text from him for a few hours I’m jittery until I see his sullen face or get a sullen text. Who knows what kind of floor there is to his great depression. When my mother or I ask him what’s wrong he lashes out as us—all the same things. It’s too late for him to do anything with his life. He should have had more help when he was a kid. She should have done more for him. There are no jobs here. He applies sporadically for jobs he’s unsuited for, then stops applying at all.


October 8.

I’m thankful every day my mother is in the rehab facility. It’s clean and luxurious and well managed and so what if it ate up dozens of acres of open space in the heart of town? So what if it’s run, like all these places, by a faceless corporation viciously creating profit for its shareholders as its singular goal? Five years ago when it was in the works I was vaguely opposed to it, now my gratitude is slavish. Except for the food situation it’s heaven. She has rehab twice a day for over an hour each time. She has a nice big window with an apple tree outside. The night nurses give me the door code to the locked kitchen so I can get her fresh pitchers of pellet ice with lemon-infused water.

It’s almost completely outsourced my caregiving. My only tasks are to bring supplementary meals, run errands, laundry, find her a place to live after it’s determined she has to leave rehab, fix my brother’s life, and—it sounds like a lot, but comparatively it’s nothing. I’m not coming over every morning to help her get dressed and every night to help her get undressed. I’m not driving her to doctor’s appointments that are hours away. I’m not cooking her every single meal. The relaxed caregiving means I’m calmer with her. I’m able to see her annoyances as cute quirks instead of serious insanities that, at best, take hours of venting to dissolve and, at worst, call into question my own sanity by virtue of pure DNA.

She’s in the most hospital-like wing, but there are three other levels of care, and a brand-new, made-up movie set-looking street with houses with two car garages and gorgeous mountain views. There are fountains and game rooms and art studios, a heated pool, a gym, a pub, two dining rooms, a grand entrance with a beautiful fireplace and overstuffed couches.


I figure it couldn’t hurt to see if her insurance could pay for her to move into the more independent wing when her stay in the nursing wing is up. If she keeps walking so many steps a day the physical therapy techs will have to submit forms to her insurance saying she can’t be there much longer. The very nice woman I speak to on the phone informs me that their independent living suites include housekeeping, linen, and meals, and have an initial entrance fee of $298,000 (90% of which is refunded when you leave, which raises many questions I do not ask), start at $3600 per month and skyrocket alarmingly from there. “Most people pay the initial fee with the proceeds from selling a house,” she helpfully tells me. My mother has bought many houses, none of which she’s paid for, I want to tell her. My parents had a habit. I thank her and hang up the phone carefully.

Except for worries about where she’s going to live in a few weeks, I sleep heavily most of the month, not worried she’s getting up in the middle of the night. She’s having no treatments, so the side effects have mostly died down. Who knows how long this calm period will last. Months or years. The type of radiation she got is so new. The tumor is there, but quietly. It’ll grow back, probably in other places, but pancreatic tumors are slow growing.

The staff are more competent and kind than the ones in the darker, smaller, less corporate, less clean facility she was in last month. The patients are probably more moneyed or with better insurance. I walk past their homey decorated rooms and wheelchair clusters.

She doesn’t mingle. She is surrounded by people with dementia and people ten and twenty years older than her. Her mind is perfectly fine. She refuses to assimilate into the community of old people. Baby boomer hippie forever forever. She’s proud of herself for being a vegan trailblazer in the rehab facility—their first!


October 6.

When she’s done with the pain pills, we start sharing a glass of wine with dinner most nights. One night she dunks a Ritz in it (wine = cracker sauce?) then offers the glass to me.

“Would you like some crummy wine?”

October 10.

My mother understands my way of existing in the world better than pretty much anyone. I luxuriate in it. How many people understand you?

“You’d like this book, it’s the story of this woman, she loves fancy schmancy ferpitzed cooking and all that, she’s a real balebusta, then she falls in love with this woman who eats very simply, blah blah.”

“Sounds dramatic.” I raise an eyebrow at her.

“OK, it’s a stupid book, it’s true.”


“What’s happening with your hair?”


“Your bangs, they’re sort of farkakte.”

“I haven’t taken a shower in four days.”

“Ah. I haven’t taken a shower in months!!”



My brother and I stand outside the shop and the leaves are starting to fall and he tells me that the capitalist system is the reason he isn’t doing ok. The system is keeping him down. He alternates between yelling and whispering. We go around the same things we always go around. He screams at me that he doesn’t know why he can’t do better, can’t do anything, is so stuck.

It’s an odd feeling to hear someone being so passionate about being so depressed.


Winter CSA: week one. <3

October 11.

I have a rage episode. First one in a while.

I wrote this all up and intended to publish it with this person’s real name, but weeks have passed and I’m not that person anymore. I’m not good enough not to publish it at all, though.

Here’s the story, written while I was In It.


XX, quintessential Nice Guy, came into my life two weeks ago when I called him about renting the most perfect apartment from him for my mother. I got an instant oily feeling from him, as feminists do from nice guys, but landlords have all the power in the world so I was kind to him as people who must sublimate their power in order to get something from nice guys are.

I hate sublimating my power.

As soon as I could, I mentioned my shop right down the road. He said his wife went there. He was impressed.


I look easily ten years younger than my age. In a misogynist world that has arbitrarily and stupidly decided that youth is all, this is power. If I can use this power to humiliate men, that’s ok. Reparations. Steal what you can, for the game is rigged against you.

I hate having power, of course. Except when it comes in handy. Of course. I hate it because it means I’m playing within the system. Having power means by definition you’re robbing others of power. Having power means indulging in capitalist end times. Using one’s power means agreeing to the rules of the game when you’d rather overturn the board.

It is possible to use one’s power for good reasons. Is it? Who fucking knows. In this story I was attempting to use my power to help those without power.

In this story, my power comes from:

  • Having a good credit score.
  • Being an upstanding member of my community.
  • Being a fellow landlord.
  • Bringing Jacob along to meet Nice Guy.
  • Being white, able-bodied, and fairly sane? Of course, these things are hard to judge. It’s hard to judge how much these things matter to XX. And it’s hard to judge how sane I am.

Here’s what we do know:

People who typically don’t have power in our community:

  • People of color.
  • Women (XX listed his wife’s chef credentials for many minutes but when I asked him what she was doing these days, where she was cooking, he stared at me. “We have two kids.”)
  • People who are not able-bodied. More about this in a minute.
  • People who are not mentally stable. More about this in a minute.
  • People with bad credit. More about this in a minute.

Oh, XX. Oh XX, manager of —, a company he is but a patsy for, who acts like he has decision making power when in fact his father-in-law controls him in every way. XX, I wonder how many times I can repeat your name before it comes to the top of anyone Google searching you? Let’s find out! XX, who is friends with ten of my Facebook friends. XX who runs a business with two lovely pals who I hope won’t disown me for hating on XX as I am. As I will continue to do.

I called XX and was my friendliest self. He went on at length about what a nice group of people they had living in the building. Was I wrong to have suspicions right away? Usually when nice guys say they are part of a nice community one is right to have suspicions. A nice, quiet community. No students. It’s actually legal to discriminate on the basis of whether or not someone is a student. It makes you somewhat of a dick, but I get it: it’s a college town, and students do often ruin everything. We showed the apartment above the shop to some kids who wanted to split it with four other students (six kids in a two bedroom apartment!), and we opted instead to rent to a nice family. Dickish? Everything’s a continuum.

Every time I talked to him on the phone or in person he mentioned what a nice group of people he had living in the building. Nice = code for “our kind of people”? Who knows. I’m not saying XX is a racist, Google, because I have no basis for saying that. Yes, XX did describe his wife as “kind of [non-white] looking.” I am assuming she is of [country] descent.

XX asked me who would be on the lease. My mother and brother. Are they working? My mother, yes, full-time. My brother is unemployed. I then volunteered that he is on the autism spectrum, as I thought it might explain being unemployed a little better.

I’m an idiot, but I lean toward justice. What can I say.

I told him I was looking for a new apartment for them because my mom needs an apartment that doesn’t have stairs, she can’t get up them. I told him she wouldn’t be coming to the showing because she had broken a bone and was in a rehab facility for the next few weeks.

“Other than the broken bone, is she healthy?”

I know of course, being a landlord myself, that this is an illegal question.

Being an idiot, I decided it could be advantageous if their new landlord (O optimism, I was already crashed against your jagged rocks) knew what was what, so I told him she has cancer.

“Oh, I’m so sorry. Is it advanced?”

At this point I figured: fuck. this. dude.

“If you’re asking if she will be in the apartment for a long time, I expect for her to be there for years.”

He hastily apologized and I got off the phone. Everyone working in the shop stared at me. “Did he just ask…if your mom’s cancer—was advanced?” Shana said in a gasp.


We go to look at the apartment and it’s so perfect.

Two blocks from the shop. Five minute walk. I could walk over breakfast, lunch, and dinner for her. Not a stair, or even a raised threshold. A wheelchair could sail right on in. Light and space and just perfect. We took it on the spot after the obligatory chatting. I let it drop about the Planning Board. Claw at any power you have and use it to your advantage. A diva is a female version of a hustler, etc etc. Lo, XX was impressed by my standing on the Planning Board. Hilarious when people are impressed by a volunteer job, but nice guys are often easily impressed by anything that even vaguely speaks to power.

Jacob went along and did what Jacob is so good at: schmoozing. He could tell what was what within one second with this dude. He let loose a few details of bands he tours with and allowed XX to talk about the dad-bands he’s into and they chatted it up about our mutual friends and I was so fucking happy. I’m so fucking exhausted with this house search. I can’t take it any more. Time is running out and she needs a new place.

I’d found the most perfect apartment, I’d made it happen like I always manage to, now I just needed to limit my exposure to nice guys like XX and I’d be fine.

Time to go back to work.

I want to be clear that I knew all along I was using my privilege to get this apartment. It was clear that XX only rents to people he gets good feelings from and it was clear he gets good feelings from certain kinds of people and I’m not calling him racist, ablest, or a dickhead. XX, ablest? XX doesn’t rent to people with health problems? Who knows! Nothing was said outright!

There was the small matter of the credit report. By some miracle my mom’s last landlord didn’t check her credit. XX did. Well within his rights. And my brother has no credit and my mom’s credit is fucking terrible. I had a solution to this, though. From the start, I offered to put myself on the lease. I have, dear reader, pretty much perfect credit. I own a ton of shit, and I pay my bills like goddamn fucking clockwork. I learned perfectly what not to do from my parents, as most kids do.

XX called me up and you know how nice guys are dicks faster than Valerie Solanas pecking away at SCUM Manifesto when they have bad news to relate? He told me he couldn’t rent to her because of the credit issue, and I calmly said, no problem—I’ll put my name on the lease. He can hold me personally responsible. He can check my credit. I own a shop two blocks from his dickhead handpicked community and if she doesn’t pay the rent on time he can breeze on in and tell me all about it (the current landlord does it, and I calmly write him out a check for the rent). No dice, says XX. His father-in-law owns the building and says that the person living there has to be the person on the lease. X “I basically own the building” X.

People sign leases for their college-age children or elderly parents all the time, but XX didn’t have a chance to hear that because I hung up on XX and it’s been three days and I just can’t get un angry so maybe this blog will help.

New Paltz has a 1% vacancy rate. I’ll never find an apartment that good. I’m so unused to cruelty, I feel permanently smacked in the face.

Yes, it could have been because of the credit.

Or the cancer.

Or the autism.

I’ll never know.

What I do know is that XX is a fucking asshole.

*        *        *

Writing this riled me up so much that I called XX up.

“I’m just calling to say that I’m not going to sue you. Though I certainly could.”

Would you be surprised to know that his version of events is different from mine? Would you be surprised to know that this phone call ended with me screaming at him that he’s a dick?

*        *        *

After the apartment thing I start watching The West Wing again—my fifth circuit around that particular track. It always gives me energy to work hard and long and to stay calm and focused. Bartlet wouldn’t have screamed at that guy.

The West Wing always makes me better than I am.


October 12.

There are two women with severe dementia on my mom’s floor who yell almost constantly. One of them is always trying to leave, doing that weird wheelchair shuffle some of the residents do where they scoot their feet along the floor to pull the chair around. The nurses and aides spend half their time wheeling her further from the exits, so she won’t beg people coming in and out to be let out. Once I walk in and she hands me a blank piece of paper and yells in her loud blank voice THIS SAYS I CAN LEAVE NOW. I whisper “I’m so sorry” and sidle by her, to talk to my mother about politics and what Seinfeld episode is on.

October 13.


Things with my Secret Project are moving along slowly, as these things do, then quickly, as they sometimes do, too. I fill my mom in on it and she’s more excited than I’ve ever seen her, more excited than if I were to get married and have a baby. I’m on a high from her excitement for days.

A writer I know adds me to this list of influential women chefs, and I post it on Facebook and my mother reposts it with the caption, “I am schepping lots of nachas!” and I mean, come on.

Today is her 11-month cancer diagnosis anniversary.

I go visit her around 6 PM, dinnertime in rehab land. There is a line of wheelchair-bound people queued for dinner, the one big event of the day. My mom never goes to the dining room for dinner, she eats in her room with Seinfeld or Friends.

I walk in and she’s working away. Tuesday is her deadline day.

“Oh, I was just texting Matisyahu.”


“I’m interviewing him! We’re old pals now—I’ve interviewed him three times. Listen to those old biddies outside—can you believe they eat so early? 6 pm! My god.”


October 14.

Harriet is coming to visit for a few days soon. We’re talking about what to do when she visits, and she says, “You know, Harriet made a lot of good choices in her career—specializing in jazz journalism, working her way up at The Tribune…her mother was a real macher—she used to being flowers to oil the wheels a little with her editors. My mother and father didn’t believe in any of that—even though my father could have easily used some connections to help me find more prestigious jobs. I missed out on a lot of opportunities, I know that. I could have worked on The Tribune, but it would have been in the Women’s Pages and I refused. Same with the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. I wouldn’t work on those sections, it wasn’t real journalism. Today they call it ‘Style’ or ‘Lifestyle.’ Same junk.

I don’t regret anything.”


October 20.

I walk outside at 6:16 to bring my mom dinner. Even though she doesn’t eat as early as everyone else, her sad canned-vegetables-and-mashed-potatoes dinner comes at 6 and I hate the idea of her sitting there with the little plastic covers on her food, waiting for better food. It is a weirdly warm day, 70°. Everyone is out in shorts for the last time, maybe, and the air is perfect liquid as I balance the box of food, the bag of laundry, the bag of mail and arrange them in my backseat. It’s been a good strong hard fast workday, my favorite kind. My mind has been focused all day. I get in my car and put on my seatbelt. I look at the moon for a minute. I haven’t yelled at anyone since XX. Nine days since an anger incident. I absolve myself. I breathe in the moonbeams shooting down at me.

I feel like I’m supposed to be mad or sad or upset about something, but I can’t remember what it is.


October 21.

I have crazy work deadlines because we’re doing a huge winter market in NYC that starts in two weeks. And leaf peepers are still descending on the shop in astonishing numbers. For about a week we have almost nothing on the shelves, and suddenly we have eight people working every day. We’re so organized. Alexis and Kate keep everything on track and steer the ship so beautifully. I love work every day even though I mostly give up on making things myself, for now, and devote myself to what I call expediting, as if I were working a restaurant line. I do computer work and sign for deliveries, put away inventory and, mostly, be there for questions and quality control. I look over everyone’s shoulders in my sly way where no one knows I’m looking over their shoulders. I stand at my spot by the cutting board and stare ahead and mentally circuit around the shop before I turn my head or move toward a potential problem. What is everyone doing right now, is there anything we’re forgetting about, does anyone need anything from me. I prowl around, being of service.

Later on Jacob, who looks at these things, tells me October is the busiest month we’ve ever had at the shop except for last December.



A few days ago at the Planning Board someone on the board—who I won’t make any judgments about whatsoever because butter could melt in my mouth, baby—brings up saying the Pledge of Allegiance before meetings.

It’s mandatory for elected boards to say the thing, but we’re an appointed board. The reason for doing so is apparently to “combat bullying,” but we’re the only board in town with friendly, kind humans who don’t get into screaming matches.

I could obviously go into a long backstory to explain why certain things get brought up at certain meetings by certain people. I’ll spare you. Small towns, am I right?

At the time I thought I probably sounded hotheaded, but later on, when it’s all over Facebook and whatnot, when I’m wondering if I should call the police or whatnot, I force myself to watch the YouTube video (1:37 mark!) and I realize I sounded perfectly calm. I said that I’m not in favor of saying the Pledge because it’s silly, third grade-ish, and smacks of loyalty oaths and McCarthyism.

Meanwhile, Maresa bought a brand-new oven. Huge treat!!

Meanwhile, Maresa bought a brand-new oven. Huge treat!!

Two days later an internet firestorm starts that interrupts my otherwise very boring, calm, not-in-any-way busy life for far (far) too long. Basically I am internet bullied like wild. My friends and I enjoy the show of idiots being idiots until the clip gets shared with unsavory libertarian right wingers. An event is created to go to the next Planning Board meeting and say the Pledge. People start emailing me that—seriously, this is how people get shot.


Jacob is watching the various Facebook pages where the damn thing is being discussed to see if any threats are being made against me and says he’ll call the police if there are, but by the time of the next meeting it’s calmed down to just the typical townies saying their typical things. At the meeting not much happens except four women or so get up to say the Pledge then someone speaks during the public comment period saying he’s “disgusted” to see someone on the board speaking “that way” about the Pledge, then the whole thing is over and guess what? I never lose my temper, and manage not to get shot. The meeting is four hours long (typical), and Kate and Maresa stay for a good share of it, angels in the bleachers I keep trying not to make weird faces at. I sleep hard that night. One of our customers brings me flowers the next day, for “your courage, man!!”


October 25.

Harriet and Len and Kate and my mom and I go out to dinner.

First time my mom’s been at a restaurant in forever. My brother orders a beer, and the waiter hounds me for a drink order, but I’m driving. He starts to walk away when my mom calls out to him. “I’d like some wine, please.” He takes her order and says,

“Grandma wants some wine, cool.”

My mother and Kate and I shoot daggers at him.

Toward the end of the meal she flags him down again.

Grandma would like a second glass of wine.”


October 28.

A woman comes in the shop with an amazing bun. I make it a point to complement women when I like things about them. So I tell her, even though she looks way too cool, a real untouchable kind of woman, that I really love her bun. She instantly smiles—she doesn’t seem like a woman who’s in the business of smiling (best kind of woman)— and she yanks it out and tells me how she does it every morning. God I love that kind of shit! I wear my hair up with a minimum of eight bobby pins a day. Uptight upright pinned. People who do that kind of effortless hair shakeout thing: my eyes are heart eyes.

Not having huge mom stresses means I get to think about things like bobby pins again.

And I think I’ve found her an apartment, on the next street over from her current one.

Breathe. Breathe.




That night I tell my mom the one secret I’ve been keeping from her (from you, too). She’s a little puzzled, but fine about it. Look at me, being open-hearted and honest and shit.



October 31.

I was never into Halloween before having the shop. Who cares about Halloween? Turns out, Kate. What a fucking pagan. For reals though. She’s gotten me into it, and I’ll now get you into it: what other holiday is anti-religious, anti-capitalist, vegetarian-friendly, and absolutely 100% wiccan? Which yeah is a religion, but a good one, so who cares. Halloween is about what’s happening with the earth at this moment (pumpkins etc), facing death in a non-spiritual way (skeletons etc) and getting things for free from your community.

A friend added me to this ridiculous childfree secret group on Facebook, and I hate it. I don’t leave because I like making fun of the idiots in it to my friends, but childfree people (i.e. the me of 10 years ago, just scroll back on this blog) who make it a point to hate breeders & babies irritate the shit out of me. It’s obvious they are so insecure in their choice not to procreate that they need to huddle together in the corner and shoot rubber bands at kids.

Henry's one year birthday party wow wow wow

Henry’s one year birthday party wow wow wow

It’s childish and time-wasting, and since no one ever gives me any shit about not wanting kids I’m freed from being defensive, and can admit the truth: I like kids. I love my friends’ kids and I like being in a world with small doses of them. Then I like leaving that world and quietly reading a book or (more likely) working all night long while listening to a Toni Morrison audiobook. I like it all. I like my choices and I like your choices and I’ve matured to the point that I can admit that I like your child without being so fucking worried that everyone will think that affection means I want to pop one out of my own (my absolute horror at the idea of carrying an intrauterine parasite myself continues unabated).


My point is that when I realized that having a shop meant once a year seeing an 8-hour parade of children wearing outfits that are specifically designed to reflect their innermost loves and hopes and pleasures, and making their parents endless rounds of Drinking Chocolates, I began to love this weird little holiday.


My town is mega-big on Halloween. For a little upstate town, we do a lot. There’s a wild parade with thousands of people in it, Huguenot Street (a 30-second walk from the shop and the Oldest Continually Inhabited Street in America [if you’ve got it, flaunt it]) does a big haunted house thing with people dressed in period costumes. The business up the street from mine, The Bakery, hosts a pumpkin carving contest so well-known and hallowed that one year someone proposed to their sweetheart by carving MARRY ME into a pumpkin and submitting it. Every year we make a special chocolate to give away, every year making more and more of it, every year running out before the night ends. Does Halloween get bigger and bigger every year, or do more people just know to come to us every year? This year I made huge pans of Halloween Bark, swirls of white chocolate tinted black with edible charcoal and orange with turmeric-based colorings in a base of dark chocolate and Alexandra broke them up into hundreds of pieces and bagged them up. We ran out by 5—Halloween on a Saturday is a Halloween that is not messing around. We had customers out the door from 3 PM until closing, when we had to quickly lock the door before the next crowd descended. While we cleaned up people kept knocking, and we’d go give them some scrappy chocos.

Jacob flew home from his last tour of the year, came right to the shop and started handing out chocolate so Meredith could take a little break from helping people.

His tired, pretty, homey face.


My mom, busted out on a day pass, sat on the couch for five hours and watched the whole thing. My friends kept coming by with their kids or their partners and showing her their costumes, I kept bringing her little treats. It was probably an insane sensory overload, and when Jacob & I drove her home she was exhausted and happy.


I had planned weeks ago to dress as Marty McFly because I need a costume I can work in and because who doesn’t love Marty McFly, but when I realized 2015 was the year Back to the Future Two was set in, I figured everyone would be Marty, and felt stupid. The night before Kate and I watched “I Am Divine,” because she loves drag queens and I love John Waters, and she had the idea that I should add a little John Waters mustache to my Marty ensemble. I loved the mustache. It felt very natural, in a weird way. I’d wear it every day if I wasn’t chickenshit like that.


*        *        *

And that was October. I didn’t get shot, my mom didn’t have to go to the hospital. I breathed in the autumn air. My mom practiced walking up steps at the rehab center. Preparing.


4 Responses to “Pretty Much The Best Month Yet (As Long As You Don’t Think About That Inoperable Tumor) Except For That Week I Was Worried I Was Going To Get Shot By Crazy Right Wingers Which All Turned Out OK In The End Anyway”

  1. Rebecca

    Wow (re: the landlord). What a terrible person. Good luck in your search!

    One of the three times out of the year I’m guaranteed to get Lagusta chocolates is coming up yay! (Xmas, Valentine’s Day, and my birthday).


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