Cookin’ Like Crazy

 This past week was a tad insane around here, but it was the good kind of insane where I got to make lots of yummy food for folks.  Not the bad kind of insane where I used a breast cancer bagel to beat the living daylights out of an entire table full of gum-smacking, loud-talking, OMG-saying girls at Panera.  Nope, that was the week before.  

Anywho, last week saw the convergence of three separate events in the span of two days.  Thursday was the surprise party for Bagel Sis who was doing the mini marathon up in Indy on Saturday.  Much to my amazement, BIL Bobo and I managed to pull this off without tipping off Bagel Sis.  This is particularly impressive considering that I spent several hours with Bagel Sis on Monday and without saying something stupid like, “Hey, do you know if Garlic Sis is going to be able to make it to your surprise party on Thursday night?”

 Prior to Thursday, I’d already spent the first part of the week cooking items for the Domestic Divas ladies event at church.  Divas was scheduled for Saturday, but since the fam and I were leaving town on Saturday, I wouldn’t actually be there.  All of my eleventy-seven platters and cake stands would be, however, and they’d need to be set up Friday night.  But, they couldn’t be set up until after the Vigo County Relay for Life survivor dessert, which ran until 8PM.  Oh yeah, I made a couple of cheesecakes for that, too.  See what I mean by insane? 

 But it was good, really.  I enjoyed the whirlwind immensely.  Because one of the hardest things about the whole cancer experience for me was all of a sudden having people not ask me to do things I loved anymore.  Granted, when I was doing chemo, I wouldn’t have been able to manage all this stuff in a weekend.  But the problem is that once people stop asking, they forget to ask again.  I know you’ve all heard me say (okay, maybe that should be “seen me write” but it just sounds weird) that from my experience, what a cancer girl craves most of a big slice of normal.  Well, it’s not normal for me to sit on the sidelines when food is involved, so the past two years or so have been difficult in that regard.

 So, Friday night was the survivor dessert, and I think I’ve finally figured out how I can participate in this type of thing without feeling weird about it–do what I love.  This time last year I posted an entry about the Relay for Life, where I talked about how the survivor activities just suck the very life out of me.  But Friday, I got to be a part of it by doing what I do best.  Now that’s MY kind of survivor activity. 

 Funny thing was, when I went to tear it down at 8PM sharp—because remember, I still need to drag all this stuff over to church and get it washed and set up there—I swear I was getting this entitlement vibe from the few survivors that were still hanging around.  Like, “I’m gonna stand here in front of this chocolate fountain as long as I want, until the cows come home, in fact, because I’M a survivor!”  I told my friend Dawn, who works for the ACS and is kind of in charge of this deal that next year I think I’ll wear one of my pink Komen shirts or maybe just go topless.  You know, whichever one she thought would be more effective of getting the message across, “Hey, I’m a survivor, too, so get your badonkadonk out of the way so I can get out of here before that creepy luminaria ceremony!”

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Corncorncorncorncorn

When I was a kid, I’d often go to spend time with my grandma and grandpa, who lived about 25 miles away.  Their house was out in the middle of nowhere, so getting there was one long stretch of watching the passing scenery from the back seat of their Chrysler Cordoba.  Of course, this is Indiana, so for much of the year, the scenery consisted primarily of corn fields.  I remember watching the corn go by and saying “Corncorncorncorncorncorncorncorncorncorncorncorncorn” all the while, pausing only for the occasional house or woods or bean field.  The fact that my grandparents didn’t beat the tar out of me after the first half mile’s worth of corncorncorn is a testament to their saintly character.  God knows I’d have lost it after the first 15 seconds and been like, “If I hear corncorncorn come out of your mouth one more time, we’re going to stop this car and cut a corn switch for your behind!”

But, of course, my grandparents were better people than I am—most everybody is, really—and so they never said a word, and I didn’t realize how truly annoying that would be until I became a parent.  What I did discover, however, is that if you say a word enough times in a row like that, it loses its meaning. Try it next time you’re driving past some corn.  Pretty soon, it’s like your brain just gives up—which, come to think of it, may have been what was really going on with my grandparents.

I thought about corncorncorn, because Garlic Sis works for the Indiana State Museum, and yesterday she was telling me that they’re planning a future exhibit all about corn.  I started laughing.  “Are you serious?  Really, that sounds like the most boring thing ever.  I mean, this is Indiana.  I feel saturated with corn knowledge just from living here.”  Garlic Sis, who is the voice of authentic Hoosier culture at the ISM, agreed, and said she’d tried to explain this to the hoity museum types, but that they just didn’t get it.  I said, “Let me guess…they’ll include things like ethanol production and corn being used to make biodegradable packaging.”  “Yeah, they were talking about those things,” Garlic Sis replied with a chuckle.  “That’s what I figured, ” says I, “we already know about that stuff.” 

But that was no great shock.  Hoity museum types are nothing if not predictably condescending.  However, what did come as a shock, was their complete lack of knowledge about a traditional Hoosier cultural event called cornin’.  She suggested to one person at the ISM that they include cornin’ in the exhibit.  “What?  I don’t know what that is.”  Garlic Sis was like, “What do you mean you don’t know what it is?!”  She tried a couple of other folks, even adding the proper G sound onto the end of the word—cornING—Garlic Sis is fluent in both Hoosier and Hoity Museum Speak, you know—and only found one who knew what she was talking about. 

Garlic Sis began to wonder if it was strictly a west-central Indiana phenomenon.  She called and related the story to me.  After I finished ridiculing her for saying cornING, I said, “It’s those city folk you work with.  Of course they don’t know what cornin’ is.”  We decided that I should ask all you guys to put your 2 cents in.  Do you know what cornin’ is?

Hair

My hair has reached the point where it’s becoming more and more of a challenge. Basically, I have two choices: helmet head or butch. I’ve been opting for butch. Though it’s never been my aspiration to look like Ponyboy from The Outsiders, it sure beats the heck out of looking like a Mom Jeans model. Last night Hubster was griping about my hair being so stiff. I explained that without copious amounts of product, I have a helmet head. “No…you don’t have helmet head,” blissfully ignorant Hubster tried to reassure me. “Yes, I do…you just haven’t seen it without all the hair goo,” I explained. He was unconvinced, so I went in the bathroom and brushed my hair out. Then, for added affect, I combed the front down into little helmet head bangs. I went back into the dining room where he was working on his laptop. “See?” I said, pointing to my helmet. “Wow…I guess you do have helmet head,” he admitted. Yeah. Not something I’m really happy to be right about.

And another thing…hair this short is not adequate insulation when it’s cold outside. I’m so thankful that I’m not actually bald anymore, but sheesh! I’m used to way more protection than this ‘do provides. Why on Earth anyone would choose to have hair this short is quite beyond me. Sure, it doesn’t take much time to do in the morning, but I really never spent that much time on my hair anyway. I’d say I save 10 minutes, tops, by having hair this short. Not a fair trade for frostbitten ears.

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Some of you already know this, but for those of you who don’t, I have another sister who is also due with her first child next week. Yep, that’s right. We’ve just got more babies than you can shake a stick at around here. The good news is that since Potato-Fork sister is actually near her due date, we presumably won’t be having all the drama that we’ve been having with Sister Basketball Fingers & Blink. Routine delivery…that’s what we’re shootin’ for on this next one. Of course, Potato-Fork sister has been ginormous and miserable and ready to be done with being pregnant for the last several weeks. Lately she’s been trying all those various old wives’ tales that you always hear are supposed to cause you to go into labor. She’s tried everything from eating spicy food to juggling cats, with no success. The only thing she hasn’t tried is castor oil—she’s not quite THAT desperate. Fortunately for her, the doctor said she won’t let her go past her due date, which is next Thursday. So at least there’s light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak. Heh heh.

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So, some of you are probably thinking, “What’s up with this? This is supposed to be a breast cancer blog, not A Baby Story.” That, my friends, is where you are mistaken. This is neither a cancer blog, nor a sisters & babies blog. It is a blog chronicling my life during this whole cancer thing—and my life, folks, is NOT all about the cancer. Cancer is not my new identity…I’ll keep the old one, thankyouverymuch. In fact, I really don’t sit around and think about cancer much at all, and I tire very quickly of cancer conversation. Want to make my eyes glaze over in record time? Start talking to me about everyone you ever knew who had cancer.

What I do here is make observations on everyday life. My everyday things are sometimes different than yours unless you’re doing the cancer treatment thing, too. But sometimes they’re just normal, and that’s just fine by me.

Shame

I went to co-op yesterday. Of course I’m not allowed to drive, so Susie came and picked us up. Everyone was surprised to see me, and I enjoyed chit-chatting with my homeschool mom friends. When I got home in the afternoon, I had 9 messages on the answering machine. There were also 4 cards in my mailbox yesterday. I really appreciate all the encouragement and concern. Today I had had a good belly laugh when I read the card from Cherylle thanking me for keeping everyone *abreast* of my condition. She claimed there was no pun intended—yeah right, Cherylle! They removed a boob, not my brain!

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Last Saturday was the big Race for the Cure. Check out the pictures I’ve added to the gallery. It was a good time—although the heat was downright oppressive. Since Potato Fork Sister and Sister Basketball Fingers are both pregnant, the heat was extra fun for them. There was even some trash-talking between Potato Fork and I as we ran (Yes, ran.) the last yards of the 5K. It went something like this:
Me (over my shoulder): “Ha ha! I’m ahead of you!”
PF: “Yeah, well I’m pregnant, so cut me some slack!”
Me: “So?! I’ve got the cancer and I’m still beating you!”
PF: “Shut up!”

About this time we come to where the rest of the fam is standing and hollering. I go over to them, mistakenly thinking that I’ve already crossed the line. Potato Fork, who is merciless to poor cancer patients, keeps running. Even guilt can’t catch her as she trucks away from me in an effort to come out on top. The fam is like, “You’re not done yet! Keep going!” So, I take off, as fast as I possibly can (you can almost feel the wind rushing by, can’t you?) in an attempt at a come from behind win. Hubster, who is about 2/3 legs, is running along side me offering affirmation and encouragement in the form of, “Can’t you catch her?” (Well, as a matter of fact, Daddy Long Legs, I WAS on pace to catch and pass her until she HEARD you say that. Thanks a LOT, Honey.) She then sped up the last couple of yards, and all hope was lost for me.

Beaten by my pregnant younger sister! Oh, the shame of it all.