frogg files

"She could never be a saint, but she thought she could be a martyr if they killed her quick." --Flannery O' Connor

Friday, October 23, 2009

In Boston!

OK, I haven't been in Boston long, but I have to say - so far, it's definitely near the top of my "Coolest Cities I've Been" list. And I'm not just talking about the weather (though admittedly it was a little on the frigid side today for this California girl).

Here's a quick list of what I did today:

1) Walked the entire Freedom Trail.

Whew!

What, is that not enough? Come on, it was 5 miles roundtrip! Alright, alright, here are some specifics for all you details-lovers out there:

1) Took the Red Line to Boston Common, where we saw a bunch of kids running around screaming and collecting autumn leaves. At least I think that's what they were doing, but it was hard to tell amidst all the running and screaming. I then lost my 7-day bus pass, all because I ignored a homeless man who was yelling at me.

Hmm, that sounds too weird to even try to explain, so I'll leave it at that and move on to

2) Checked out the cemetery right next to Boston Common, where Paul Revere and many other famous people are buried. Here we learned that Paul Revere would never have shouted "The British are coming" on the night when he supposedly did his midnight ride (but kind of didn't really), because at that time everyone in the colonies was still British and it would have been like running down Mass Ave and shouting, "The Americans are coming!"; i.e., very strange. What he actually would have said I can't tell you, because we learned all this by eavesdropping on a guided tour and it just seems unsporting. Sorry.

3) Visited the Old North Church, where we learned that the oldest church in the country is actually in New Mexico, courtesy of a man with an iPhone who was helping to settle a debate between two North Church docents upon whom we - OK, I - was eavesdropping.

4) Climbed the 294 steps up to the top of the Bunker Hill monument which, it turns out, is actually on top of Breed's Hill. But did I mention the number 294? I just want to make sure, because that's a lot of steps. 294, to be exact.

5) Visited the USS Constitution, but didn't take a tour because we got impatient at how long we were waiting (outside, in the cold) and got out of the line. Of course, the moment we did, they took the next group of people, which would have included us had we been more patient, and we probably would have been more patient if we had been less cold. But alas. So we consoled ourselves with a visit to the USS Constitution museum instead. Not quite as experientially historic, but definitely warmer.

5) Bought cannolis at Mike's Pastry. I should tell you that before I came on this trip, I asked a bunch of friends who had either a) lived in Boston or b) been to Boston, what things they would recommend me to do/see. Pretty much every one of them said to go to Mike's Pastry and try their cannolis. I now know why.

6) Used the restroom in the Omni Parker Hotel. The Omni Parker is famous for many things, not least of which is the fact that John Wilkes Booth stayed there 10 days before he killed President Lincoln. (I'd like to say that someday it will be famous for the fact that I made a pit stop there, but chances are that's not too likely. Oh well.)

So, can I say "Whew" now? In fact, let's all say it together: "WHEW!"

Thank you.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Off to Boston

Well, friends, I'm heading out on a red-eye to Boston tonight for a (much needed) long-weekend vacation. I'm quite excited, as I've never been to Boston before, and have wanted to go for ages. Plus I get to catch up with old friends I haven't seen in way too long. Fun!

I haven't mapped out any sort of itinerary for my time there; I do want to walk the Freedom Trail and visit Boston Common and whatnot. But I've been very lackadaisical about researching things to do. Mostly what I want to do is chill out and enjoy being someplace that is totally NOT California. Oh, and maybe hit up a book festival that just happens to be occurring on Saturday. (And no, I didn't plan my trip with the festival in mind; I didn't even know about it until a couple weeks ago! Although it's funny, isn't it — I went to Portland to see Powell's, now I'm traveling across country and going to a book festival! I am such a nerd.)

Not sure if I'll have a chance to update while I'm away, so if not, enjoy the rest of the week, be good and miss me, my darlings.

With love, and of course kisses, from the frogg princess...

Towards a Better Commodity of Faith

I don't know about you, but if I were going to run a campaign to raise awareness about atheism, I'm not sure I'd have picked New York City as the kick-off advertising venue. Seems like a waste of money. I mean, aren't you kind of preaching to the choir? (So to speak.)

Not that I am a particularly big fan of religious advertising, either. But aside from those God billboards they had a few years back, I can't really think of any I've seen that weren't on church grounds. (Maybe someone else is less oblivious to their surroundings than I am? If so, feel free to correct me in the comments below). Anyway, I'm probably more troubled by the commodification of faith that is so richly on display in your local Christian bookstore. Even the most die-hard Christian bookstore-shopper has to admit, the idea of reducing Christian faith to a cute blurb on a keychain made in China (!) is at least a little bit weird.

And by the way, that reminds me. My "favorite" pastor, Joel Osteen, has a new book out: It's Your Time. Please don't buy it. You could spend your hard-earned, recession-plagued cash on something so much more profitable. Something like this, perhaps.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Perplexity

OK, so I have to admit I get a little miffed these days when I come across articles about ways to reduce your risk for cancer, etc. (and there are lots of these articles out there). Before I got diagnosed with lymphoma, I could have checked off every box on the "what to do to not get cancer" chart. I am not a smoker. I ate pretty healthy; was practically vegetarian, in fact. I was active, running at least 15 miles every week, sometimes more. And don't even get me started on drinking green tea.

But none of that protected me from cancer. I was the poster-child for not getting it, and I got it. And there's no way to guarantee I won't get it again.

I don't understand.

I have a CT scan scheduled for December as part of my followup testing. I know I'll be nervous about it when the time comes. The thought of ever having to go through chemo again is so awful, I can't let myself contemplate it for more than about two seconds. Especially now that I'm feeling better than I've felt in a long time. As recently as this past August there were days when I could barely walk. Now I've started running again, and getting back in shape. I'm planning to run a half-marathon next year. And yesterday I went on a hike that was 2 hours pretty much straight uphill, and barely broke a sweat! I am the picture of perfect health.

Yeah. Perfect health with a biopsy scar and at least two more years of cancer testing still ahead of her.

What a weird world.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Happy Birthday To The Frogg Files!

I didn't mention it in my last post as I had slightly more important matters to blog about, but the frogg files just celebrated its fifth anniversary yesterday. Yay! Although when I say "celebrated", I really mean "did nothing to comemmorate the event". I realize that's not how most people define the word "celebrate", but welcome to my blog, where words mean pretty much whatever I want them to. I mean honestly, what good is an MFA in creative writing if I can't redefine the English language at will, right? (Please do NOT answer that.)

Anyway.

I've looked back through the archives every so often, and am bemused at some of the stuff I've written about. Sometimes I made myself laugh, and those posts remain favorites of mine to this day. Other times, I made myself cry, and those posts kind of make me laugh now, when they don't make me want to bury my head in the sand in embarrassment. But one thing's for sure: If anyone had told me five years ago that I'd still be writing my little heart out at this site, I don't think I'd have believed them. And yet, here we are!

Many thanks to all my lovely readers. I wouldn't be here without you! Well, OK, I would. But I might not be writing this blog, and that would be a shame, because it's been a lot of fun overall. And I consider it an honor to have merited your attention (although you might not guess it from how many posts I've devoted to totally random and inane observations; i.e., most of them).

ANYway. I'm not sure how much longer the ride will last, but I guess I'll take it one day at a time, as always. Hope you'll stick around!

With kisses, and a big hug, from the frogg princess...

Sunday, October 04, 2009

I Survived The Cowgirl's Bridal Shower

Yesterday was my sister the cowgirl's bridal shower. As the maid of honor, I was nominally in charge of the event; in actual fact, I was graciously, kindly and most expertly managed by the other two women involved in putting it together — probably because they knew that nothing would ever get done if it was all on me to do it. I am not what you'd call a good party planner. I run from that sort of responsibility in total terror as a rule, but this time I really didn't see any way of getting out of it, what with being the aforementioned maid of honor and all.

Just kidding. Sort of. The truth is, I don't usually like being in charge of events because I'm afraid of screwing it up and not getting everything exactly perfect — and in this case, the stakes were rather high because I definitely didn't want to let the cowgirl down, of all people. For one thing, she's my sister and I love her and would hate to throw her a crappy bridal shower. For another, she's way too handy with a rope and spurs and God knows what else, so pretty much the last thing I'd want to do is get her mad at me for throwing her a crappy bridal shower.

You see my dilemma.

But thanks to the other people involved, everything went off quite well. The food was great (of course, since I had nothing to do with making it) and the weather cooperated by being not-too-hot, but just right so that we could all eat outside in the courtyard at my parents' house as planned. The gift-giving time was also lots of fun, though I freaked out at the beginning a little bit because I had forgotten all about the fact that you're supposed to make a "bouquet" out of gift ribbons for the bride until a friend asked me, "So who's making the ribbon bouquet?" Uh, oops. Thankfully someone was there who was good at that sort of thing, and I happily delegated the job.

Unfortunately, no one wraps anything with ribbons much anymore; it's all gift bags these days, and we realized after the third or fourth gift that that might spell trouble not only for the bouquet, but for another bridal tradition — the one about the bride having as many kids as ribbons she breaks. But eventually she did get a few ribbon-tied gifts, and boy did she work hard at breaking those suckers — the ribbons, I mean, not the gifts. She got up to about four, after which point, when she was struggling to break a particularly stubborn ribbon, I said, "You're already going to have four kids, how many do you want?"

"I don't want any!" she said, tugging away at a particularly stubborn ribbon.

"Then why on earth are you breaking the ribbons?" I said as everyone kind of laughed, but kind of didn't because I think they weren't sure whether she was joking or not.

She gave another heroic tug on the ribbon and shouted, "I'm doing this for you guys!"

She's way more selfless than I am, that's all I can say.

Anyway, it ended up being a great day, with time spent praying for her, laughing with her, and just enjoying being together. I'd post pictures, but um, I forgot my camera (I know, I know... I'm probably a strong candidate for lamest maid of honor ever). So you'll just have to imagine it, I suppose, until people forward me some pics from their cameras. Which I probably won't post actually, because by then I'll probably have wedding pics to share instead! Oh well.

Oh and in case you're wondering, she made it up to seven broken ribbons, so... looks like one of these days, I'll have my hands full being the coolest aunt in the world.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Classic Confusion

Will someone explain to me why my "Chamber Music, Baroque period" Pandora station insists on throwing in music by Mozart (Classical period) and Bela Fleck (contemporary bluegrass/folk)? I mean, don't get me wrong. I like Mozart and Bela Fleck. And OK, at least Mozart is pretty much in the same general ballpark. But it's a little weird to go from, say, Brandenburg Concerto #5: Allegro, to the Clarinet Polka (?!).

Maybe it's just me.

Some Like It Hot

Everyone keeps saying, "Isn't it great that the weather has finally cooled off?"

I smile and nod, but I don't really mean it. Inside I'm sad. I miss summer already...