frogg files

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

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

I love Thanksgiving. As a holiday, I mean. (Two words: pumpkin pie. Two more: yeah, baby!)

However, as an act, the actual giving of thanks, well, I tend to like it in theory a lot more than I manage to accomplish it in practice. I wish that weren't the case, but too often it is.

This year, though, helped me a little bit in the whole "being thankful" department. Granted, that was after it threw me first into the "being scared I was going to die" department, but hey, go with what works, I guess. And the truth is, I don't think I'd ever given much deep thought to how thankful I am simply to exist, to be alive, until cancer forced me to realize the unwelcome fact that someday I won't be. Cancer may not be the thing that kills me, but something will. And there's nothing I can do about it.

I know that probably sounds both morbid and cliche, but oh well. It's still true. That's what makes me so grateful every time I slow down enough to notice that yes, I am in fact still breathing and what a miraculous gift that is.

Also, when I look back on this year, it seems like every horrible thing that happened opened a door to something good. Here's a few examples of what I mean:

Finding out I had cancer = horrible.
Friends and family who rallied around me, held me, prayed for me, encouraged me = wonderful.

Losing my hair = horrible.
Finding out to my surprise that I actually like how I look with short hair when it started to grow back = pretty cool.

Chemotherapy = HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE.
Friends who sat with me during treatments and parents who cared for me after each one = AWESOME, AWESOME, AWESOME.

I could go on. And since it IS Thanksgiving Day, I will! I'm thankful that my cancer symptoms waited to flare up until after I'd returned from Thailand; just a week sooner, and I might have had to be treated in a Bangkok hospital, awfully far from friends and family. I'm thankful for the doctor and nurses who took care of me and never made me feel like just another number, and never rushed through spending time with me to answer questions and concerns. I'm thankful for the countless people (even some strangers) who told me I looked beautiful even when I had no hair, barely any eyebrows, and just a handful of lonely eyelashes left. Though I still can't run as I used to, I'm thankful that I can run at all.

And I'm so, so thankful that I'm in remission.

I don't know what the future holds and I confess I still get scared. My CT scan is in a few weeks and I don't know what I'll do if, God forbid, anything turns up. But today, I'm working on being thankful. And you know what? It's not nearly as hard as I thought. After all, there is so much for me to be thankful for. Amen.

With kisses, hugs, and lots of thanksgiving love from the frogg princess...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Right Frogg is Right Here, Larry!

When I saw a link today on CNN.com to a Larry King blog post entitled "Blog From A Frog", for one crazy moment I thought that perhaps at last the world at large was about to discover the incredible genius so often on display for lucky readers of the frogg files (see, for example, my last post). I mean, how many other blogs from frogs can there really be?

Apparently, at least one. Boo.

Oh well. Someday, kids. Just you wait...

Monday, November 23, 2009

This Post Needs A Better Title

I've noticed a weird phenomenon at my favorite local bookstore on my last few visits there. The store has two entrances — one opens onto the street, the other leads to the parking lot in the back. There's a register located by both entrances, but the one near the parking lot always has a long line, while the one on the other side is home to a lonely clerk with nobody to wait on. I've wondered why this is the case, until this Saturday when I finally asked the clerk at the streetside register what was the deal.

"People say it's too far from the parking lot," he said.

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. I mean, I strolled from the streetside register all the way to the parking lot doors in about 30 seconds, maybe less. So that should tell you something about the size of the store. Also, as the clerk pointed out, "I can see the other doors from here." Hmm.

So yeah, I just realized this story doesn't have what you'd call a "point." I know that's really unusual for my blog, but sometimes these things happen.

On a not entirely unrelated note, it's Monday.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Forget 2012

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Of Square Burgers and Shooting Stars

So I'm watching TV tonight, and an ad comes on for Wendy's and not for the first time, I find myself wondering, "Why does Wendy's make square burgers?"

I know what you're thinking: "Just Google it." But the truth is, I'm kind of tired of all the answers to life, the universe and everything being Google-able. Or seeming to be, at any rate. I don't know if I ever thought I'd say this, and it sounds weird, but I'm tired of information that's right there at my fingertips; that costs nothing to learn but the few minutes — or seconds, more like — that it takes to type my question into a search engine and scan through the links that pop up in response. I'd like to reserve the right to wonder into perpetuity what the heck Wendy's is THINKING with their wrongly-shaped burgers. Unfortunately, I can't do this.

Yes, I caved and Googled it and now I'm stuck with my lack of ignorance on this important and terribly relevant subject. You, however, can remain blissfully unaware of the answer for as long as you choose, assuming you didn't already know it. This is because I'm not going to tell it to you.

Please, it's the least I can do. Or not do, as the case may be.

In other news, I didn't really get enough sleep last night. I'm sure you would never have guessed, based on the previous paragraphs' display of overwhelming perspicacity. But in my defense, it was because I was out watching the Leonid meteor shower from 12:30a.m. to 1:30a.m. That does not, by the way, include my driving time. I had to go an hour away from my house in order to clearly see that yes, the night sky actually does have stars in it. (How I love living in Los Angeles.)

It was a good night, though. I'm a sucker for shooting stars, and I saw quite a few good ones. As tired I was (and now am), the sleep I lost was worth the opportunity to catch even one or two (at least to me). Looking up into the depths of the sky while waiting for the next meteor to blaze its way through earth's atmosphere, I realized, not for the first time, just how ridiculously small we all are, and how vastly incomprehensible our existence in this universe really is.

I believe that's called a sense of wonder and awe. Thankfully, Google's got nothing on either of those — except for links to their definitions on dictionary.com and Wikipedia. And that doesn't count.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Wedding Recap

So at last, the wedding!

I drove up last Thursday intending to help the cowgirl with whatever last little details needed to get done before The Big Day on Saturday. Turned out that involved staying up til I don't remember what time, tying raffia onto 200+ little jars of honey (the wedding favors). If you think that doesn't sound like a big deal, you either have no idea what raffia is (hello, male readers!) or you are much better at tying raffia than I will ever be (hello, cowgirl!).

But anyway, we got it done eventually and went to bed, grateful at last for some rest... until we were woken up at about 5:30 a.m. by the dulcet sounds of a rooster crowing. Over and over again. Judging by the volume, I'd have said he was right under our pillows. Luckily for him, he wasn't.

We had hair appointments that day, which included my first haircut since I had to shave it all off back in March. After that, the hours flew by in a whirlwind of manicures, pedicures, a Michael Jackson TV tribute show, the rehearsal, the rehearsal dinner and more raffia. No, I'm kidding about the raffia. At least I think I am. It was all a bit of a blur by that point.

The day of the wedding dawned nice and clear. I know this because I was pretty much up at dawn (again), thanks to our friendly neighborhood rooster. The cowgirl expressed her enthusiasm for being awake at such a godly hour as follows:



Also pictured is my sister-in-law (left) who, not long after this photo was taken, proceeded to get all domestic and make monkey bread for everyone. This, frankly, amazed me. I mean, not only would it not occur to me to start baking before I was even properly awake myself, but it would not occur to me to bake anytime, anywhere, period. And even if by some incredible miracle it did, I'd have no trouble restraining myself and saying instead, "Make your own monkey bread, people." (I suspect these are reasons #456-458 why the frogg is still single, by the way.)

Here's some of the gang, enjoying the (deliciously gooey) results of my sister-in-law's labors:



Next it was time for hair and makeup. First it was my other beautiful sister's turn:



And now here's the cowgirl, curlers and all:



As we were all prettying ourselves (not that I'm saying we needed to, of course), outside everything was getting set up:





This picture was just too classic:



Here's me and the cowgirl:



We had a sandwich tray, but apparently that wasn't enough for me:



Yummy flowers! But hey, if I could have snuck some of the cake (and cupcakes!) early, I would have:



The finishing touches:



After that, I don't have much in the way of pictures, seeing as how I was kind of in the wedding. But I can tell you everything went off beautifully. Well, OK, there was one snag at the beginning. The cowgirl had had the brilliant idea of surprising the groom by arriving with her attendants in the back of a horse-drawn wagon. This was cool in theory. In practice, it left something to be desired; namely, the idea actually working. As soon as the wagon in which we were riding entered the wedding site, the wagon wheels sank into the slightly muddy lawn, and the horses (who were not what you'd call spring chickens) decided they really weren't being paid enough for the gig, and just gave up. Unfortunately (or fortunately, I suppose), most of the guests couldn't really see us from where they were, so no one had a clue what was going on. I'm not even sure they saw the horses.

Another snag involved the unity candles and the wind, and if I have to explain why candles and wind don't mix, then we're all in trouble.

There was also the loud train whistle that blasted through the air during a song performance and continued into the pastor's talk. But in the grand scheme of things, these hiccups were so minor. And to her credit, the cowgirl did not dissolve into Bridezilla-esque hysterics. I think she was actually relieved in a way that things went wrong. It brought some humor into the proceedings, and that's always good.

The rest of the evening went extremely well. Lots of dancing and, at one point, what looked like chicken fighting. Fun times! Also, not to toot my own horn or anything, but I would just like to say that I probably gave the only toast in the history of toasting that included the words, "castrated a pig."

Oh, and just for the record, yours truly did catch the bouquet. But don't get your hopes up for anything — I also caught it at my aunt's wedding when I was 11.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Me Am The Cancer!

OK, so I want to write about the cowgirl's (awesome) wedding. I do. And I will. But frankly, today was a bit rough. I've been struggling with fears lately that my cancer will come back, and today I had a hard time thinking about much else. So finally tonight, I visited engrish.com on a mission to find some much-needed comic relief. But I was still too wound up to really enjoy the mangled English the way I usually do. Then, for the first time, I noticed a button off to the left-hand side of the home page that said "Make your own Engrish!" Curious, I clicked on it and found instructions for (duh) making your own Engrish. Basically you go to babelfish and you type in a sentence in English, translate it to Japanese, then cut and paste the Japanese characters into the original box and translate it back to English.

I figured I'd give it a go and see what happened. So I typed in, "The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog" and here's what came out when I did the translation:

"The orphan of fast brown jumped over the lazy dog."

That made me smile. Encouraged, I typed, "I went to the store to buy a camel, but instead I bought a cat." Where that sentence came from, I have no idea. For one thing, I'd never buy a cat. I'm allergic. But I (shockingly) digress.

Anyway, here's the translation: "I did buying the camel to the store, but the cat was bought to substituting."

OK, definitely starting to feel better. Then, after a moment's thought, I wrote, "I am scared I will get cancer again." And this is what popped up: "I having made can to have, me am the cancer which is obtained for the second time."

Mission so accomplished.

Now it's your turn. Don't lie, you know you want to try it. Just promise to post the results in the comments below. Come on, I can use as many good laughs as I can get.

Alright, back on track with wedding news tomorrow or Thursday at the latest. Thanks for your patience! Or, to put it another way: your perseverance thank you!

The Deed Is Done!

Well, the cowgirl and cowboy are now officially hitched, and the wedding couldn't have been more beautiful and fun if I'd planned it myself. (Actually, if I'd planned it, it would have turned out something like this. Yes, horrifying and more than a little disturbing.)

More details to come...

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Countdown to the Cowgirl's Wedding

I'm off tomorrow to California's enchanting central valley to help the cowgirl finish getting ready for her upcoming nuptials on Saturday. Does anyone else think the word "nuptials" sounds weird? And has anyone noticed how many times I've used the word "weird" in the past few posts?

Anyway.

I'm very excited for the weekend and can't wait to procrastinate on updating the blog with details about it when I get back. Until then, you know the drill — be good and miss me, my darlings! WIth all the usual love and kisses from your friendly neighborhood frogg princess...

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Playing Catch-Up

Contrary to what you might think given the length of time since my last post and now, Boston did not kill me. Neither am I still there. In fact, I've been back for more than a week, but life has been going at this pace that is somewhere between not-slow-at-all and totally-insane, so there you have my reason for not updating the blog sooner. That, and the fact that I'm trying very hard to win the "Least Consistent Blogger of 2009" award. If it doesn't exist, I'm going to be bummed.

The rest of my Boston trip was great, though. And by the way, all the doom-gloomers who are busily prophesying the end of reading and literacy and books and so on would have been heartened by the many people who turned out for the inaugural Boston Book Festival on October 24. Especially when you factor in the fact that it was pouring rain most of the day, and when it wasn't raining, the wind was blowing. (Actually, sometimes the wind was blowing while it was raining.)

One of my treasured book festival memories occurred as I was signing up at one booth to win a free Kindle. Not that I am in favor of the Kindle per se, but hey, I'm as American as the next person, which means if it's free, I'll take it, thanks, and then sell it on eBay for a tidy profit. (Actually I'm lying about selling stuff on eBay. I'm way too lazy for that.) But the point is, as I was signing up for the free Kindle raffle, I overheard not one, but two people ask, "What's a Kindle?"

Hallelujah.

Another memorable moment for me was the entire John Hodgman/Tom Perotta conversation, held in the hallowed and gorgeous sanctuary of the Old South Church on Copley Square. For those of you who don't know who John Hodgman is, he's the PC on the "I'm a Mac/I'm a PC" commercials. For those of you who don't know who Tom Perotta is, he's written some books, one of which was the novel Election, which got turned into a movie. I don't really remember much about the presentation except that it was very funny, and contained three of my favorite quotes of the day:

1) John Hodgman: "I always wanted my own megachurch."

2) Tom Perotta: "I just wonder what it's like to be disturbingly ubiquitous."

3) John Hodgman: "It's nerd time, but the law still applies."

You kinda had to be there, especially for that last one. But trust me, it was hilarious.

There's a lot more I could say about the book festival, but this post is already long, and there's still a whole 'nother day of the trip to talk about, which encompassed a drive to Maine. Argh, I suck at blogging! OK, we're doing the rest in pictures. Here we go:



That's a pic of the Visitor's Center at Kittery, ME, one of the nicest rest stops I've ever been to. It was there that we learned about the existence of Lenny the Life-Size Chocolate Moose, who resides at a candy shop in Scarborough, about an hour from the Massachusetts border. Of course, we had to go see him:



Since Lenny also lives not far from Portland, we cruised up there for a late lunch. (A fact that makes it possible for me to boast that I've been to Portland, OR, and Portland, ME, less than six months apart from each other. Because, you know, that's something to boast about.)

Here's Portland in all its cuteness:



And here's me in all of mine:



I don't know if you can read the sign, but it says, "DEMILLO'S LONG WHARF SERVING NICE PEOPLE SINCE 1954." I wonder what they do to not-nice people. Not serve them, I guess.

Here's a sign I saw outside a store:



I think that speaks for itself.

On the way back to Boston, we drove through Kennebunkport, which was pretty much adorable. And then there was the coast:



As a copywriter with clients in the travel industry, there have been numerous times where I've had to write about the New England coast even though I've never had the opportunity to go there until now (thank God for my advanced degree in fiction writing!). So I'm relieved to note that the many adjectives I've deployed to describe said coast (stunning, spectacular, dramatic, etc.) are, in fact, accurate. (Although you wouldn't know it from the picture. Oh well.)

Anyway, there it is, my not-so-quick Boston sum-up that still leaves much to the imagination. And I'll leave you now to employ that as you will, but not before extending my deep gratitude to the gracious friends who let me take over their living room during the entirety of my stay, not to mention showed me around (and even, in one case, made the supreme sacrifice of climbing the Bunker Hill monument's 294 steps with me). Thank you, thank you, thank you!

OK, back to all of our regularly scheduled lives...