the vacation-that-wasn’t

August 25, 2010


the perfect storm:  leaving very early and driving 3 1/2 hours from brooklyn to new london, ct.; driving through sections of connecticut along the merritt parkway with less-than-wonderful cellphone reception so that messages went directly to voicemail and were discovered later; and an actual storm.  all added up to arriving at the block island ferry only to find out that, by 11am, all ferries were canceled due to bad weather.  so as the first 6 of us gathered at that location, we heard from another 2 who were unable to arrive from martha’s vineyard because their ferry out was canceled, and the last 2 who had taken a car up to the point judith, rhode island, ferry and – not knowing we’d be canceled, went onto the 10:30am ferry (car needed due to 2 senior citizens coming with us).  it all added up to a comedy of errors and a little sheer terror.  the 2 who bravely sailed forth called us 1.5 hours later to say that they had never been quite so scared nor quite so sick from the 8-10 foot waves hammering the barrier between the sound and the open ocean.  and 2 days later, they are still there…on the island having an enforced mother-daughter vacation even if part of the vacation entailed walking in gale force winds (the mother being one of our seniors) to get some dinner the first night.  rumor has it they are finding their way back on the last ferry tonite.  the rest of us took shelter in connecticut overnight in an attempt to make another attempt but that was quickly squashed when we got a call at 8pm from the ferry company politely informing us that no ferries would run the next day either.  sadly, we all end up having to pay a good portion of the hotel bill which we did not use.  didn’t like that innkeeper or her nasty attitude cloaked in righteousness.

good news: came home to sheet rock going up in the bare kitchen and actual insulation going into the cavity of the exterior walls – something that does not exist in the rest of my 1925 house. 

oh well, i’m oddly ambivalent about it all.  it just seemed like it was meant to not be. 


snip SNIP snip

August 10, 2010


i cut off most of my hair.  or, i asked for most of my hair to be cut.  no small moment for the woman who perpetually checks the mirror to be sure that her post-chemo hair looks decent.  i thought my hair would grow back in 6 months but the truth is it took almost 2 years to have a reasonable head of hair.  reasonable means that there were no major (plenty of minor) bald spots and i could start getting the stylist to cut pretend bangs.  pretend because the delicate hair at the front hairline didn’t really grow back – even tho using minoxidil helped the bulk of my hair growth – that front line just gave up the game. 

i’ve been trying to keep it long – for me that means that it just touches my shoulders and has some ‘swing’.  my hairdresser has known me for over 25 years.  he did my hair at my wedding.  he permed my hair in the 80’s into big beautiful curls when i was out in the world as a professional singer – oh the big hair!  when it became clear that i’d need a wig, i brought it in and he cut the wig.  i was trying so hard to be brave.  i put it on and had to hold it down while he cut it.  i was sobbing the whole time but determined.  everyone tried to pretend that i wasn’t sobbing.  he wouldn’t let me pay for that visit.  i cried more. 

for the past 2 years, he’s been working to bring my cut into normal focus and has really succeeded.  but lately, i’ve been looking in the mirror and realizing that i looked too old for my hairstyle.  my face was older – hell, i’m about to turn 53 in october – but my hair was the style from my 40’s.  respectable but aging me.  i made an appointment.  but not with him. i love him but  instinctively, i realized that i needed a new set of eyes looking at me – to help me reinvent myself – or, at least, my look.  but making that step – to voluntarily cut my hair to a level that was close to the growing-out phase had not been something i had been able to face.  i quietly booked an appointment with a local hairdresser who, i know, works with lots of women my age and seems to be good at the short haircut.  i didn’t talk about it with anyone.  i just put the appointment in my datebook and went.   he knew my story already so i was grateful not to have to repeat the telling.   and yes.  i have short hair.  i closed my eyes and didn’t open them until it was done.  he was grateful i wasn’t going to second-guess him.  and when i opened my eyes, i saw that i was right.  i was ready.  i was not the barely-haired woman from 4+ years ago.  i was a hip-looking tossled-hair 52 year old woman with noticeably less ‘blank’ spots and a physical and emotional lightness that i had only secretly thought possible.

the calm before the dusty storm

August 4, 2010


sluggy summer days – wonderful husband and i are enjoying our ‘quiet’ time together whilst teenage daughter is at camp.  tho there are the nights (and days) when we ache for her – each phone call from her tells us that she is rockin’ her summer with happiness and great friends but we surely miss her.  we’re continuing our summer tradition of taking long brooklyn walks together – often in the early morning before the worst of the summer heat sets in.  we like to walk past the houses – some in enormous disrepair and others looking like they were renovated with no regard to the historic nature of their neighborhood (really: ionic columns on a vinyl-sided 2 story house???).   the garden is churning out more tomatoes and cucumbers than we can eat in a week.  my contractor is thrilled to be the recipient of edible gifts each time he visits to remeasure some corner of the kitchen.

mostly, we’re getting ready for the big rip-out.  final contract signing with our contractor today.  appliances ordered, sink and faucet ordered (all after enormous research and even then, i know something won’t feel right or work right) and now, still worrying through the choice of flooring – but hoping that decision … no, giving ourselves the deadline that that decision will be made by friday.  a backsplash and some lights and we’re almost in the end-run of the gabillion decisions we’ve had to make.  phew.  now we just have to live through the dust, noise, and lack of actual kitchen floor.   

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