Wednesday, December 30, 2009

perfect match series: i'm waiting...

With the holidays and hoopla, I'd almost forgotten about the bone marrow donation thing. Here is a brief update...

A few weeks ago I had blood drawn for confirmatory typing. At the time they told me it would take two weeks to get the results back because of the infectious diseases test they run. A few days later I received a letter from the donor bank saying that it could take up to a few months for me to hear about my results and whether I would be donating marrow. It seems that it can take weeks for the doctor to weigh in about whether I'm a good enough match and whether the patient is ready to receive the donation.

So now I sit and wait. If and when I am contacted for the next step there will be physical exams to take and procedures to have explained. For now it is anyone's guess...

Monday, December 28, 2009

post-christmas colds and quotes - a mishmosh of things

Seems I've come down with a nasty cold. It started yesterday and today I can't hear a blasted thing. So I'm vegging out in my dad's chair watching Season 3 of the Tudors (a Christmas gift from my brother) and eating a burrito from my favorite taco shop for lunch. A cold will not stand in the way there. I have also eaten entirely too many cookies and other goodies this week. I hate to turn into a cliche but it is Christmas and I am "home" so I'm indulging with every intention of going back to status quo once I am back in New York.

Christmas in this California household was filled with the usual: immediate family and lots of food. I tend to feel a bit blue during the holidays (all the hype and pressure perhaps) but am feeling pretty peaceful this year. We went to my cousin's house for a belated extended family dinner last night and one cousin asked me if I'm in New York forever. I always chuckle inside when people ask me this as if I really want to say to them, "You don't know what it took to get me here. I just got here. And here I will stay." Why would I leave? I really do love my life in New York, despite some feelings to the contrary every once in a while. I was thinking today as I was driving to get my beloved burrito that I do have the best of both worlds. A life I built with my own two hands in New York and roots in Southern California.


I wrote that a few days ago and intended on finishing it but never did. My cold is better but sticking around and I just don't have the motivation to do the things I should - namely start cleaning out my old room here. My mom now uses it as an office and, rightfully and expectedly so, she wants to make better use of the space. So I need to get most of my stuff out. And yet here I sit watching Teen Mom online and sending e-mails. Oh well. I still have a few more days.

I'm considering trying Match again. As of late I have had some unexpected, albeit brief luck with this method of meeting people and I do wonder if the onslought of New Year's Resolutions and lonely onlys will work in my favor.

I know I have a New Year/reflection post to write at some point but I'll leave it now with these quotes. They really sum up so many things...

I think that somehow, we learn who we really are and then live with that decision. - Eleanor Roosevelt

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. - Anais Nin

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Shop Talk - Faves of 08 - Top 2!

The end of the year is drawing near so I suppose I should finish recapping my Favorite Books of 2008 before it is time to start on 2009's list. These last two were favorites for different reasons: one, because of its literary merit, and the other because of the effect it had on my feelings about the scientific, sociological and women's issues discussed after I'd read it. If you haven't noticed already, I mostly read fiction. I find it much more pleasurable to lose myself in character, time, and place than I do in facts, data, and non-fiction. Therefore, the one non-fiction book that graces this list does so for an important reason.

2. God of Animals by Aryn Kyle
*read in March of 2008*

This coming-of-age story is centered around twelve-year-old Alice who is growing up on her father's dilapidated horse farm in Colorado. The family is facing hard times so, to help make ends meet, Alice's father begins boarding horses for well-to-do clients. Alice's sister has run away to marry a rodeo star and her mother refuses to leave her bedroom. On her own, in a sense, Alice must figure out life and her approaching adolescence alone. I love reading great "first novels", especially those written by young people and this was definitely one of them. Alice is reminiscient in a way of To Kill a Mockingbird's Scout in that she has a childlike innocence but also possesses a great believable wisdom in her narration. The story is simple yet alluring. A sweet yet undoubtedly accomplished novel. Definitely try this one out if you want a great story that will echo in your mind for months to come.

1. Pretty is What Changes by Jessica Queller

*read in March 2008*

If you watch Gossip Girl you will be familiar with some of this
author's work. She is a producer on the show and her former writing/producing credits include favorites of mine: Gilmore Girls and Felicity, among others. I originally picked up this book intending to flip through it and glean some inside tidbits about writing for teen dramas but I was almost immediately sucked in. The subject matter is understandably tough: as a young single woman Queller lost her mother to cancer and then tested positive for the breast cancer gene. Though there were a few fun stories about her job it is the honesty and simplicity with which Queller narrates the book makes it addicting. Once you're in it (if you're a woman, that is, and maybe even if you aren't) you discover the importance of this topic and are glad for the knowledge the book gives you. Queller addresses issues of beauty and womanhood and how it is defined and changes as well as the issue of science, DNA, and the role the gene test has in informing one of her destiny. Needless to say I pondered these topics myself long after I finished the last page. The book struck a chord with me and I've since given it to many to read.

Every woman must read this book!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

California Christmas

Merry Christmas to those who celebrate and Happy Holidays to all.

I made it home to California yesterday with no complications. By 3 pm Pacific Standard Time I was eating tacos outside in 65 degree weather. I'm home.

The last couple of days before Christmas is always hectic but when everyone goes back to work and it is just me and the dog, I'm sure there will be more blog posts from me.

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

just like Charlie Brown

I'm feeling blue.

I've had a rough week and feel like I've been through the ringer. I feel like I'm at the end of my rope and am so tired of so many things. I don't know what to do differently.

It snowed here in NYC last night. I looked out the patio door this morning to see a fluffy blanket of snow covering our table and chairs. Still amazes this California girl every time. Wonder if it will ever stop...

I did laundry today and no one was there. They were all out sledding in the park, I'm sure, since the sun was out and the streets were glistening with powder. But even though snow is still a magical thing to someone like me, I can't shake the melancholy. I head home to California on Wednesday and I must say the timing is perfect. I miss my family and will be glad to get away and clear my head a bit. I am so looking forward to Christmas and celebrating the season with those I love dearly but right now I feel like the little Christmas tree on Charlie Brown. Small with only a few needles and Linus' blue blanket wrapped around it. All it needs is a little love, right?

To my fellow New Yorkers, hope you enjoy the last bits of weekend snow before it is back to the daily grind.


Saturday, December 19, 2009

dating deja vu: what if my favorite season is cursed?!

Do you ever experience deja vu?

It seems I have the dating sort.

Last year I met Mr. West Coast, appropriately named Mr. West Coast because of his own ties there. Obviously we had something in common from the start and hit it off well. We met in October and by early December had been on several dates. Something seemed to be going a bit off by the end but I ignored it chalking it up to being a worrywart and wanting things to be too perfect. For the most part I thought they were until a couple of days before last Christmas he broke it off. He wasn't my boyfriend but I certainly felt dumped as I really liked him.

Fast forward to November 2009 and my first date with John Doe. He's nice, normal, and seems to see the world much like I do. I daresay we had that illusive chemistry! Date #2 is made. Also a hit. Hopes elevating. Date #3 goes smoothly (with a bit of awkwardness at the end but that's OK...) That was nearly a week ago and I haven't heard from him. I'm more than a bit confused.

The timelines for these guys are eerily similar. Am I just doomed to have potential autumn romances turn sour? This is a little freaky. Am I cursed or something?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

perfect match series: confirmatory typing

Since I am now feeling well enough to resume regular life, I figured I would do an update post for my bone marrow experience.

The next step in the process was confirmatory typing. I had an appointment on Monday morning at a lab across town to get blood drawn. Easy peazy. And it was. They did take 7 vials of blood though, which didn't really bother me... Little did I know that later that night illness would strike! I almost worry now that they won't match me but I think that just shows naivete and ignorance on my part.

They are testing my blood to determine how close of a match I am to the patient I've been matched with. Apparently there might even be someone out there who is a better match than I am which amazes me because as I was watching the blood fill the tubes (sorry, people but I'm not squeamish when it comes to my own blood...) I wondered just who this person is that I'm so randomly linked to in such a way. Yes, we are all linked, we are all one people, peace and love and all that but this is different than just having the same bone structure or the same blood type. This is a cheek swab turned chance meeting of two complete strangers who will stay that way throughout the entire process. As the donor I am entitled to know the age, sex, and illness of the patient and the patient will, in turn, be told my age and sex. That's it. So I wonder if this person is male or female. Is it a child or an old man? Is he or she Caucasian or black or Asian? I hope he or she has family close by right now, isn't in too much pain, and knows that even a stranger such as myself cares enough to wonder about him (or her).

The second part of the process is the testing for infectious diseases which takes two weeks. So while I am in California for the holidays I'm guessing I will get a call or an e-mail to find out whether I will continue on this journey with this person. And I really hope I get to.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

pity party for 1

fever this morning: 101.3
cab ride to the doctor because there was no way I was braving the subway: $12.14
minutes spent in the waiting room: 72
number of docs I saw: 3 (if you count the PA)
number of times I said, "I think I have strep throat": at least 4
number of strep tests they did: 2
throat pain on a scale of 1 to 10: 7
co-pay: $25
cab ride back home: $14 something
prescription: $10 (not bad)
number of times they played the same 5 Christmas carols in the waiting room and at the pharmacy: too many to count
ice cream for the throat: $5
gatorade: $2

the rising feeling that a good date begets illness or injury: priceless (unfortunately)

Friday, December 11, 2009

perfect match series: chronicling my experience with bone marrow donation

I've decided to chronicle my experiences here as a potential bone marrow donor. Even if I don't end up donating, it is still a process - an important and serious one at that - and I, for some reason, have been fortunate enough to be selected to save someone's life. This is a task I don't take lightly and something with which have been blessed not to have experience.

It all started when I signed up for the bone marrow drive at my office, something I've blogged about previously, only six months ago. Earlier this week I received an urgent e-mail from a representative with the bone marrow bank. I'm a match for a specific patient with leukemia. That night I talked to my parents about it. Almost right away I knew I was going to donate, if asked. When I signed up I asked what would happen if I changed my mind. The rep I spoke to at the time informed me that I could, however, it would be like getting someone's hopes up only to devastate them. As I said, this wasn't a decision I took lightly. I never would have signed up if I didn't intend to donate. The idea of saving someone's life is very humbling yet exciting. I've often spoken about my love for volunteering. This takes it to an entirely new level.

But as the process has become a reality and I've learned more about it, I'd be lying if I said I didn't still have reservations to overcome. And I intend to be honest about them here. For now, though, I first have to learn if I am a close enough match. So I am going for "confirmatory typing" on Monday. Having already faxed a multi-page health history questionnaire (very similar to one you might fill out if you were giving blood) I must go have some blood drawn so that the doctor may first test for infectious diseases and second determine if I am the best candidate to donate.

This is a slower process than I'd imagined. I might not be donating for a couple of months. It is all based on what the doctor deems best for the patient, their current health, etc. But first things first. A little blood donation never hurt anyone...

I will be updating periodically throughout this process and am happy to ask questions if anyone has any. Thank you all for your support. I am very excited (though a bit nervous) about this special undertaking.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

what's in a nickname?

I have French Furniture Guy, Saved by the Bell, and most recently the Cowboy (because of his Texas roots).

Yes, I'm guilty of naming guys I've dated. My dating blog haunt, Single-ish, talks about this phenomenon today so I'm reminiscing with my friend (whose current "beau" I also nicknamed).

Why do I do it?

I find that guys are all named the same thing (Mike, Joe, John) so it is easy to get them mixed up... especially when telling stories to and commiserating with friends. So until names like Vern, Alfred, and Elmer come back, I'll stick to giving them nicknames based on what they do, what they look like, and my first impression of them. At least for the first few dates or so.

Cruel and impersonal? Nah. I think it is fun.

I just never want to know what someone called me...

Anyone else out there do it?

if only...

Dear Santa,

May I please have this for Christmas?

I've been good...

Love, M


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

perfect match...

I found one. Or one found me.

Remember this? I volunteered for a bone marrow registry back in June. 6 months ago. I have friends who have been in the registry for years. Only 1 in a hundred or so people will be matched with someone in their lifetime. I was just notified that I'm a match for someone. There's a good chance I'll be donating in the coming months. The chance that I would even be notified (whether or not I turn out to be a "perfect" match and therefore donate) is less than 1%.

How's that for making someone feel special?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Dear world, I'm feeling emo today...

Dear NYC cab drivers,

I realize that your job is hard and traffic here is nuts but the last two cab rides I took left me feeling incredibly queasy and crappy when I exited them. Braking hard and swerving so often that I get nauseous doesn't encourage me to tip you well.

Dear John Doe (aka last week's date),

Please call me. I'd like to go out with you again and this says something because, I don't generally like most guys I meet.

Dear knee,

I appreciate the fact that you are getting better little by little but please hurry up. I was stupid enough to look today while I was being weighed at the doctor's office and Turkey Day plus the lack of excercise this week... well you can guess... Plus I miss dancing. So get better pronto. I need to start moving again.

Dear Producers and Writers of My Sister's Keeper (the movie),

You kind of butchered the book, I'm not sure I like the Cameron Diaz casting but thank you for providing me with something interesting to do on my emo day.

Dear Jane Doe (aka former potential roommate),

Thanks a lot for backing out. I know we have a few more weeks before the current roommate moves out but now we have to start all over again.

Dear M (aka me),

Things are fine. You're employed, healthier than many, have lovely friends and a loving family. You're a good person and deserve good things. Be kind to yourself.

Dear Blog Friends,

Hope you're having a wonderful Friday.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Shop Talk - Don't be discouraged! (Faves #4 & 3)

4. When We Were Romans by Matthew Kneale
*read in August 2008*

If you liked The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, you'll love this. Told in the voice of nine-year-old Lawrence, this book is charming and hauntingly good. Because Lawrence is nine, his spelling is off and his paragraphs are often filled with run-ons but don't let that deter you. He wonderfully narrates his own story as he and his mother and younger sister Jemima flee from his father (who Mom thinks is dangerously stalking them). But there is more beneath the surface. Travel with the trio as they go from London to Rome and learn what it is like in young Lawrence's mind. You'll fall in love with him, I promise.

3. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

*read in November 2008*

This book is quite a tome but in keeping with today's happenstance theme, don't be discouraged! It is part The Kite Runner and part Grey's Anatomy (ok, that part is just for the medical stuff) with a hint of Slumdog Millionaire thrown in for good measure. The story of two brothers, Shiva and Marion, who are borne out of a forbidden union between a nun and a surgeon and pretty much reared in the halls of a missionary hospital in Ethiopia, this book journeys from Africa to India to the U.S. It is beautifully written and its characters are unforgetable. Once you get into it, you won't want to put it down.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


So remember that skating trip I talked about? Well I forgot to mention something...

I fell. Took quite a spill... and I landed on a knee that was already a little angered and now that knee is pissed! So here I lay immobile with a blue squishy ice pack instead of making the most of night at dance class. And I'm pissed. It was kind of just a matter of time, really. I first hurt my knee about four years ago when I fell down the stairs carrying an armload of laundry. It was a sprain and I had to take time off work because I knew working with children meant it was impossible for me to remain seated at all during my day. A few weeks ago during my brief stint with dodgeball I tweaked the same knee again and since then certain things have made it a bit sore.

I'm a horrible sick/injured person. When I first moved to New York I was sick for almost two months straight. First with a horrible cold, then with the stomach flu (over Christmas, really) and then with bronchitis, the residuals of which lasted for weeks. It goes without saying that I was miserable but what I remember most was being terribly, terribly homesick. When I'm ill I want my mommy. I'm three years old again and I cry because I don't know what else to do. When something hurts I just wanted to be waited on and big girls who move to New York all by themselves usually don't have people to take care of them. I didn't, anyway and aside from a wonderful roommate who got me a fresh ice pack and the bottle of Aleve out of the medicine cabinet, I still don't. Things like this make me feel alone. Things like this remind me I'm alone in all of this.

So though the skating was totally worth the angry knee, I'm pouting and really wish someone would make me dinner.