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Just popping in on a whim. It's late and I'm awake at Chateau Marmont, this is highly unoriginal. I thought about updating Partygirl, but it didn't seem the time.

So here I am. I'm in a junior suite rumored to be Jim Morrison's former residence. We found a hidden bottle of champagne, tucked away in an empty closet. We chilled it and broke it out for late night - a small, exclusive soiree that I hosted.

Here for a special event with my new crowd. I've been in Philly for about 4 and a half years and as I type this I'm digesting the fact that I have a new life there. Part of me thought I'd never make it in Philly, that the NYer in me would prevail, but it hasn't. I'm still a NYer, but I have duel citizenship. It's a great way of life.

I fell into the perfect job with really, really cool, talented people; I've befriended more cool, interesting people and have a great life. Sure I miss NYC, my life there, and my friends, but that place/life is gone.

Cancer should just eat my heart

My father is dying. I try to maintain hope that he'll beat this cancer, that treatment will work. But we both know that he's dying. We've entered that last stage of his life.

On paper, this should all be logical. My father is 70, an age that says elderly/full life. I'm 35, an age that says I'm an adult. But we were never paper folk. He's far more fit than his 70 years and I'm far less mature than my 35.

There's nothing I can do that I'm not doing. I call him every day, sounding upbeat and keeping the conversation on the same topics we always cover: a few jokes, my job, funny updates on my wacky friends. He does his part, more cheerful than ever on the other end, throwing in some zingers on the news/political topic of the day. Neither of us are fooling each other.

He ends each conversation asking me to call or speak with my mother. This is a new thing. I assume he does this for two reasons: first, because he's likely worried about her carrying the massive load she is carrying, working a 40 hr work week and caring for him and second, because he's easing himself out of the picture for both of us but better connecting us.

Lately, he's been shortening our phone conversations. They get shorter and shorter. I believe he's doing this to ease himself out of my life. What it's doing is ripping my heart out of my chest. This knowledge triggers a lot of silent tears.

And that's where we are now.
Work is good. I'm very happy at my new job, it's a great fit for me culturally and creatively. I have an awesome officemate and I even like the clients. Since my work life is running smoothly, it makes sense for my personal life to downward spiral. Life can never provide good hands of both, simultaneously. I've known that for a long time.

I've mentioned here that my Dad is sick with more cancer. That's still the case. No new information, he continues to get chemo every 3 weeks and he's only been 2 two appts. I think he has 6 total. He seems to be deteriorating, but I could be reading into it. He's only *just* completed 2 treatments. Maybe it gets worse before it gets better. Maybe I'm misinterpreting side effects of chemo as progression of the cancer? Anything is possible. I haven't been briefed by his docs and he doesn't relay much detailed information about what he's dealing with/going through.

It's the rapid deterioration of his condition that concerns me. The week before Easter, you'd never have known he was sick. He was mobile and showing no pain. A week later he was diagnosed and could barely walk/sit up. The last 3 weekends, he's less and less mobile. Nearly bedridden, but not quite, only out of pride. He refuses to fully succomb to it and still join the table for dinner.

It's hard to watch because the last thing he wants is special treatment, and his greatest concern is that people will found out about his illness and pity him. So you have to pretend everything's fine while alleviating him of things he'd normally do like take the garbage out or pick up a ream of paper for the printer.

Saturday of this weekend, we had our first yard sale, a first attempt at scaling down all of the "stuff" we've collected over 47 some years of them being married and primarily in this house. Of course it was a record-setting heat wave yesterday. Ugh. We sold a few items, but there are loads more to unload b4 moving. No idea when they may move, they don't have the house on the market nor buy lined up. They have identified 2 properties they are interested in.

Anyway, I'm maintaining hope that the treatment works on my Dad's cancer.
My parents surprised me on Friday by calling from center city-ish and asking me to join them for lunch. I gave them a tour of my new workplace and my Dad said "well, this is definitely the most avant-garde office space I've ever seen. You've certainly gone 360 from X (the last place I worked)." My mom noted how the agency is filled with guys, different from the usual female/gay male heavy agencies that I worked at. I think they were both pleased with my new job.

They were in town to see one of my father's doctors. His radiation is completed, but it either didn't end up shrinking the spinal tumor or didn't shrink it enough to alleviate the pain. He starts chemo on Monday. The immediacy of the chemo treatment worried me. I immediately started thinking the worse - that the cancer is worse than I know or the radiation isn't working at all. Somehow, I was able to distance myself from overdramatizing what I don't know and just step back from it. That was a first.

This cancer is out of my hands. Letting it consume my emotions is both premature and bad for everyone. Chemo is a whole different world today from years ago. It just might do the trick. I'm remaining hopeful:)

Taking it as it comes

I'm up late for no reason and every reason. Sometimes the Internet can suck me in, which is a good thing, because my job requires me to dig deep in these here tubes and sometimes, I'd rather just loiter in the ease and comfort of my favorite social network or two rather than explore the daily new frontier. It's so vast online, and so rapidly evolving, it's sometimes overwhelming to try to keep up.

My life's a little bit like that right now; steamrolling forward with me trying to jog with a bad knee and catch up.

I owed my mom a call from Friday and hadn't spoken with my Dad other than a quick "hi" on Friday and text about the spring in NYC.

I'm coming to terms with the fact that my Dad has a serious terminal illness. You may think I should have come to terms with that some time ago. I mean, his first incidence of lung cancer was two years ago. That was a bucket of reality/mortality, isn't it? It was, however, a successful and non-invasive surgery followed by two years of freedom from cancer made it seem like a memory.

Spinal cancer is a new ballgame. Did you know that one of the risks of spinal cancer is that it rapidly leads to brain cancer? I learned that today. It hasn't spread to his brain. Yet. He had an MRI on his brain last week, it was clean. But now that's OUT THERE. Looming. Brain cancer.

The radiation isn't working. His last appointment is on Monday. By working, I mean it's not alleviating the pain. Who knows if it's shrinking the tumor? Apparently the spinal cord is a ton of nerve endings so it could be shrinking and still affecting the nerves, causing the enormous pain. That's the one thing that I've learned. Cancer HURTS. A lot. And that sucks. It makes me wish cancer were a gameshow, like family feud or millionaire and we could work as a team or a lifeline. Call me for the pain! I'll take some of it!

My dad told me he's going to start looking for a toupee next week - that's when I knew things are bad. When he broke the news over Easter, a toupee was not reality. I think he thought chemo wouldn't end up happening. That he'd get another "get of jail free" card. Now he's planning for a toupee and chemo in Philly. He asked my bro for a spare key to his place in case he's too sick to make it home.

I keep reminding myself that at least w/ cancer, he's not dying today or tomorrow. That I'm lucky to have this time with him. That does help, but it's still sad.
This weekend I did something I wasn't looking forward to and attended the wedding of someone who I used to be very close too for a long time. A guy friend from college, who played the role of my best guy friend for many many years through my 20's and into my 30's. By 30, he was a bit smothering in his friendship and I unconsciously worked at moving away from him. He had given me an undeserved and unrequested first place in his life, even though we weren't romantically inclined. I don't even think he was attracted to me, but for some reason he decided to but me on this pedestal that was unhealthy. Nice and flattering but unhealthy. I distanced myself and he met new friends and had a few relationships. Eventually it was easy for us to drift because our differences became as vast as a sea.

By the time I decided to leave NYC, we were squarely on separate paths in life and not at odds about it. It was just how our friendship grew. Suddenly after I left, he met a girl, fell in loved and moved back to his hometown of D.C. to live with her.

Since we both moved, we haven't done a great job of staying in touch but we kept up. There was nothing unfriendly about us.

So he proposed to the girl, it happened very quickly, and then they planned the wedding to follow quickly (all of this happened in a little over a year) and as lives tend to be, ours were both busy, so I never had the opportunity to meet his fiance. And here we were, wedding weekend.

In truth, I had no ill feelings toward him or her, but I did regret not having met her before their wedding day. Then I felt slighted that he hadn't made the effort to bring her to meet ME. I guess my ego was a little bruised, remembering many years and many gf's that he would (unfairly) warn that they had to gain my approval to date him. That used to drive me crazy, because it gave me power I didn't want and embarrassed me on behalf of these demeaned girls who would try so hard to be my friend because they liked him. I'll admit it though, yes, it was flattering that my opinion meant so much to him, even though I vehemently voiced how wrong that was.

I also dreaded seeing some of our other college friends, which is silly because we're all like family. We hardly separated after college; we just moved the party into NYC and made that our campus. Literally, we all went to NYC. Many of them were in the same industry and the rest of us were looped into everything. We threw business each others way, we shared leads, we hooked each other up with jobs and contacts, we met up for happy hours and saw each other at what became our annual parties. Some of us remained roommates into our 30's. A lot of my friends did get married, a bunch of them to each other, and others to spouses they met through our college group.

Because we *are* so close, and we're mostly upper-middle class Irish Catholic, there's plenty of gossiping. So-and-so didn't make his bonus figure, so-and-so gained weight, so-and-so looks anorexic, so-and-so still isn't married, etc. We all acknowledged our cattiness with our favorite saying in college: "Be there or be talked about." And that's the god's honest truth.

These people are probably my closest friends in the world and if I were to ever be in a major jam or need help, they would move mountains to bail me out. Same with me, for them. However, I know the second I walk out of a room, they are kicking shit about me. I do the same thing to each of them. It's how we do.

Knowing that, I just did not feel like dealing. I've been so happy lately, I didn't want to open up any potential mood killers. I've also packed on mucho lbs since college, which both embarrasses and stresses me out. Somehow, they've all LOST weight. *And* had kids. Literally, every single one of them has lost weight since college. I can imagine what they must say about me. Literally. That's the problem.

There was nothing I could do about my weight now and I certainly couldn't bail on a longtime friend's wedding, so I sucked it up and went. Of course it was fine. It's not like anyone would have said anything to my face. And many reverted back to college behavior. The groom kept us up until 4am the night before the wedding.

I ended up having a nice time, although decidedly low key. People were definitely disappointed by my early exits (by early, I mean 1am, then getting UP for late night in my room until past 4am and 2:30 am the wedding night. apparently that was unacceptable)

My friend's new bride is lovely. Absolutely perfect for him. Our moment together, and it was one moment, was a bit "My Best Friend's Wedding" when Julia Roberts realizes that Cameron Diaz is the perfect girl for her best friend and that Cameron is hopelessly in love with him. I felt an enormous happiness surround me, maybe contagious from her glow as a new bride in love, as she genuinely took my hands and intertwined our fingers, gently squeezing mine and sincerely looking into my face and telling me how wonderful it was to finally meet me, that she feels like she knows me from all of the stories and times that her now-husband speaks of me to her.

This may be strange to say, but her bliss spellbound me. It was magnetic and powerful. Heady. I might have given her my wallet had she asked. She made me happy because she is perfect for my friend, and obviously in love with him, and that kind of "true love" is too rare. I was totally stoked for him/them.

Tomorrow, I head to Chicago for a few days for work. Shouldn't be too bad, but I am beat after the weekend and clearly on a weird sleep schedule. I've booked myself solid in Chi-town, with more college friends and some former biz contacts to see in 2 days time. I guess I can sleep on the plane, so no complaints...for now.

Wedding #1,345,672

I have a wedding in DC this weekend and I have to tell you, I just don't feel like going. After 10 years of a vigorous wedding circuit, I'm over the whole mentality of weddings as one big party. On top of that thought, this wedding is that of a college friend that I was tight with for years but as these things happen, I have drifted away from over the last few years. It's a tricky situation, because he dubbed me his "best friend" years ago and we didn't have a falling out, but it's unspoken and evident to both of us (I think) that we are not BF. We certainly are friends, but are geographically and mentally further apart and in fact, I have not even met his fiance. Ha!

I am thrilled for him and truth be told, wouldn't miss be there and toasting him and his fiance/wife for anything in the world. I also look forward to catching up with his family that I am close with. I am not looking forward to catching up with some of our more catty college classmates that he has invited. Frankly, I just don't feel like dealing. They are now suburban moms, eyeing each others houses/cars/jewelry/clothing/children. It's an ugly game.

I know that they have no impact in my life and honestly, will probably have little to say behind my back since it hasn't been long since we all last caught up. I just don't feel like doing the push-ups. Especially now, when I am so happy in my job.

On the upshot, I received an unexpected call from a former college roommate who has also dropped out of the college clique and found success in something very unexpected. She called me out of the blue and as it turns out, I'll be in her zip code next week, which is ideal because she just got engaged. I am thrilled for her and even more delighted that she thought to call me and tell me. We haven't spoken in years, although I've tried to keep in touch (kinda!) and I was touched she included me in the 3-4 college friends she said she was going to notify.

I guess that's it for now!

Dealing with the cycle of life

Well, it's not like I didn't anticipate this. If I weren't so lazy, I'd link previous entries where I spoke about this. Strangely, anticipation of bad news to come does not prepare you. Or maybe it did. Maybe I would react differently if I hadn't anticipated it. We'll never know.

My Dad's got more cancer. Cells from the lung tumors 2 years ago metasticized to his spine. Apparently, they suspected that might happen but he didn't follow up on it. Now he's got a tumor on his spine. He's moving in enormous pain. Not sure how long he'll be moving. This development happened fast. Just last week I was home for days and he didn't indicate any pain; of course he had it, but not as bad as now. The doc gave him heavy duty pain pills, but he avoids taking them. He'd rather drink but frankly, I don't think anyone can drink away that pain.

So, radiation will start as soon as possible and then chemo, to kill the shunken spine tumor and the two new tiny lung tumors they found in his clean lung.

Not good, but I'm in a decent place about it. I was a basket case over the w/e but I've had some time to get used to it and be positive.

Grabbing another brass ring

I have *always* loved riding the merry-go-round. Sure, I took a spin on all the thrill rides, but less out of desire for the rush and more to satiate the group. Living my life has been an ongoing adrenaline rush, I didn't need amusements for the thrill. Probably *because* I've spent my life toeing the line and chasing/running from trouble, I've gravitated toward the merry-go-round when at an amusement park. To me, amusement and enjoyment at a park is sitting and enjoying the ride. Taking it all in from a nice, slow, dancing seat. Organ music cranking, white lights twinkling and at the right time of the day, a chance to reach out and grasp rings, hoping for that one brass ring.

The rings come around every so often when you're a career gal or guy. As you probably guessed, I was mindlessly playing and luckily landed the brass ring.

I'm thrilled. You know how friends (or maybe you) in happy/healthy relationships say they "just knew it was the one" when they connected with their S.O.? I know this is completely bizarre, but that's how I feel about this job. This is it. It's not going to be easy; I'm identifying improvement opportunities for the agency and planning my strategies and tactics for clients, left and right. I'm not overwhelmed by any means. I'm seeing a big picture for me and this agency and a long, totally outstanding partnership where together we just change how adv/marketing is done. I'm amped. Stoked. Whatever. I'm not sure if I've ever felt like this, and it is exciting!

Tomorrow is my last day at my current job. It's been a valuable experience and I'll miss a lot of colleagues who became friends. Fortunately, I'll still work with them on some projects and my new office is just a few blocks away.

I'm taking a few days off between jobs and I plan on (hopefully) relaxing. I'm going to spend a couple of days in my hometown with my parents, who are looking at new houses and want my opinion. It's a bittersweet task. They'll be moving out of the home we've been in for my entire life - and my older brother's too! I'd guess 45 yrs in the same house, since they've been married 47 years and spent a yr or two as newlyweds in an apt.

I think I'm cool with moving out of that house. I am more excited for them to start over someplace new, since I recently did that with great trepidation and found it freeing and uplifting. I think starting over is going to re-energize them at a time that they sincerely need it.

That said, I will secretly share with my LJ that I am fairly certain that my Father is sicker than he informs us. I suspect that the impetus for this move isn't really age or finance or the robbery last fall, but because my Father is sicker than we know and is making arrangements for my mother in a future without him.

Do I have any evidence of this? nope. Just the sum of lots of hints and slipped information. For a while, as the hints festered in my overzealous mind, it was heartbreaking. My Dad is my best friend, plain and simple. But the reality is that we're all going to die and we can't pick or choose when that will be. I'm not a kid being robbed of a parent. I'm an adult now. And I don't have a single regret of talks or time's with my Dad, other than a greedy wish for more.

I have too much respect for my Dad to push him to disclose anything he doesn't want to disclose. My father is a patriarch through and through. He is and always has been a provider. I wouldn't dream of emasculating him in sickness or death to defer to me before he's ready to do so. I've made it clear that I am here for him. I ask questions about his tests as patiently and tactfully as I can and I spend as much time as possible with him.

I think that's the best I can do right now. That, and pray. And hope. And make him laugh and smile as much as possible:)

Suckuary, not really sucking

Hey there!

I'm in transition. I'm leaving my current job for a better opportunity and very excited about it! I wasn't looking, but the opportunity presented itself and the timing couldn't have been better.

My cousin pointed out that I haven't bitched about "suckuary" at all this year and the same thought had entered my mind. Traditionally this short, dark month totally blows for me. Something vicious and evil usually happens, sinking me even deeper into depression. Not this year. Suckuary 2008 hasn't sucked at all! I'm thinking I've broken my pattern/curse!

Let's hope so:)