Archive for April, 2007

Best gift ever?

With thanks to Paul Simon:

Yesterday it was my birthday,
I hung one more year on the line.
I should be depressed--
my life's a mess;
but I'm having a good time.

Okay, so Charlie has given some amazing gifts over the years. But the one I got tonight (for my 50th birthday yesterday, which I was quite happy to let go by uncommented upon, but everyone at work thought otherwise) was incredible.

I liked John Edwards as a presidential candidate. I liked him even before the newest info on Elizabeth’s health. I sent him money after Ann Coulter attacked him and he had the gumption to fight back, not just explain things away, on the heels of a great interview on Beliefnet. And, after sending “Coulter cash” and seeing how the Edwardses reacted to the news of Elizabeth’s cancer, I decided I really did like him.

When Charlie discovered that Edwards was going to be in town today for a fund raiser, just a day after my birthday, it seemed to be fate saying that he should give a bit more money and we could attend the fund raiser. But then, for just a bit more money, he found out we could be event hosts.

So, tonight we hosted the Edwards fund raiser in Macon (along with about 100 other hosts, from the size of the “host reception”). The reception was crowded and the real fund raiser was supposed to be outside, but the rain moved in early (Macon’s under a tornado watch right now), so moved into the hosts’ living room.

And Edwards spoke to the crowd. And along with my name in the invitation, a glass of (white!) wine, and a photo-opportunity in the rain, I got the real gift. I got to hope for America again.

Edwards spoke of his time since the last election and how he’s spend so much time out of the US. America used to be looked up to by folks overseas, but now they have real, valid questions about us. We know there’s genocide in Darfur and, well, there’s genocide in Darfur. He says we are different, special, the only county that can lead in so many of these areas. And today we can’t separate domestic policy from foreign policy.

He knows how important health care is and has plans to provide it for everyone. In front of a room of big donors (I went on a scavenger hunt to find people who weren’t lawyers there and it wasn’t easy!), he had the courage to say he’d roll back the Bush tax cuts for those making over $200,000.

And of course, he emphasized education and the importance of the American dream and how everyone should have the chance. Still, if you could work, you should. But something’s wrong if the top 350,000 earners in US make more than the bottom 150,000,000.

He had sense to know the room was crowded and leave out all the details. But he didn’t miss the dream.

Hope. What a cool gift.

Of course, Charlie said I now have to give him an Edwards presidency for his birthday. If only I could.

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An R rated entry

Okay, get all the small children off the blog. The language is going to get sorta salty. The way I’d talk if I didn’t work at a Baptist university. The way I talked that got me through three years in the Army.

And don’t worry, I’m fine, but dreadfully self absorbed.

Two things to carry on about as you’re hustling the little ones out.

First, why is sex bad and violence okay in movie ratings? We want our kids to grow up to be happy sexual beings, not violent ones, so shouldn’t we be happier to have them see a lot more happy sex than violence?

And second, Mercer is re-examining its Baptist heritage. It’s really ridiculous. I went to a meeting last week. They all talked about how Mercer wasn’t southern and Baptist like most people think when they hear “Southern” and “Baptist” together. They want to be the happy, good tolerant Baptists. Seems there were some in the 1600s in New England. And yeah, there are some now. They want to be “Buddy Shurden Baptists.” He is one of the good ones. But who really knows that.

Sure. So, suppose I’m a high school student looking at colleges. I see Mercer. I see Baptists. Since I’m one of the smart ones, I realize Mercer is in Georgia and Georgia is in the south and I figure out transitivity and think southern Baptist and don’t read the pages of explanation that say “No, not that kind of Baptist.” Sheesh.

Okay, got the little ones gone?

Damn, damn, damn, damn, damn. (Don’t worry, it’ll get worse.)

There is way too much metastasizing going on. Yes, Elizabeth Edwards, but I’ve already commented on her.

But, to have something new to say, I’m a host for a John Edwards fund raiser. Yeah, a host! In less than two weeks. He’ll be at a private home (not ours, or I’d be too busy cleaning to post) in Macon and there’ll be a letter going out inviting others to come and I’m one of the ones doing the inviting (our last Democratic governor is another one doing the inviting). Cool, no? So, if you’re in the area and want to contribute to the campaign and meet the senator (I may get to talk to him next week during a phone conference and during tonight’s phone conference about this all they casually talked about “the senator”–way too cool), let me know.

Oh, they did let us know Elizabeth would be on Oprah Friday, too. So cool.

So, to show cancer is an equal opportunity pain in the ass, Tony Snow goes and has his cancer metastasize too. Now, I normally think of Snow as mostly soulless, but he does have a liver and its cancerous and I have to feel sorry for him.

But, much closer to home, a woman who went 6 months before me into this breast cancer thing, a wife of a coworker of Charlie’s, a woman who has sent all sorts of supporting email, just found out her cancer metastasized. Her blog is still positive, but she’s got at least three tumors in her brain, skull, and lungs. She’s got a full body scan tomorrow to see what else is happening.

And what the fuck can I do for her? Sure, I’ll light a candle or two, send a card, but…

And now the embarrassing, self absorbed part. This is far more frightening to me than having cancer was. With cancer, they knew what to do and there were things I needed to do to treat it. Hell, there was even a book they gave me at the oncologists–they had it so well figured out.

But this waiting for cancer that you thought you killed to show up again? That’s not in the fucking book.

So, now every silly little ache and pain I have is “maybe cancer.” Normally, I wouldn’t even bother, but boy, I’d hate to be wrong about my trigger finger. Sure, it’s probably the sheath rubbing against the tendon, but wouldn’t I feel stupid if it were a tumor? These other women didn’t think their problems were cancer when they saw their doctors.

So, do I go running to the doctor about these aches? (I already talked to him about trigger finger, so he won’t hear that again.) I don’t want to be a hysterical woman. Of course, there’s little chance of that happening for the next couple of visits. He thinks I was fooling myself when I told him the breast tumor might just be an insect bite, when I was really trying to stay calm and not blow things up prematurely.

But what the fuck do I do? Pretend none of it is cancer? Behave like all of it is? Stop watching the news until this wave of metastasizing is done?

In writing this, I have figured one thing out. Charlie was more worried than I about my initial diagnosis because he’d never known anyone close who recovered from cancer. He watched his grandfather and my mother die pretty lousy deaths from it. But I watched Mom recover from breast cancer, so I wasn’t too worried about it.

But I did watch Mom die a dreadful death from metastatic cancer. Lung, brain, and, in the end, all over her body. So that’s the one that bothers me. Because that’s the one I’d never seen anyone recover from.

But maybe you can, so maybe I can relax a little. Especially since it’s just trigger finger.

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