I'm trying not to panic.

This is the day I have kind of dreaded. I have tried not to think about it, and yet it happens that because I'm trying so hard not to think of it, my brain goes into overdrive thinking about it.

I went to my doctor for an update on my prescription. Just a normal routine "hey, was in the neighborhood and thought I'd drop in." And get poked and prodded and drained of all my blood. She handed me a sheaf of papers of various things I should do – the boob squash test, the bone density test, the thyroid ultrasound test.

Yeah, the thyroid ultrasound test. The thyroid is a teeny tiny rice-sized grain of something, I don't know what, at the base of your throat. You have to throw your head way back so the ultrasound gizmo can even find the little thyroid. So, mine seems to have nodules. And one of them is "suspicious." This is a diagnostic term that makes my skin crawl. I've had "suspicious squamus cells" before. Suspicious raises the eyebrows of lab techs and they love to scrutinize those suspicious cells and find things. Like cancer.

Oh, I don't have cancer. At least I don't think so. I'm trying to not think about it – you know. Don't think the C-word and what do you get? Everything spells out cancer. The old lady crossing the street looks like Cancer. The kitty on the front porch looks like Cancer. You close your eyelids and they spell out Can-Cer.

So the doc called me today to say the tests came back (and I had lots and lots of tests), especially considering I only just dropped by for a friendly update-my-prescription visit. I am now scheduled for a biopsy. That's a scary word too – almost as bad as the C-word. Biopsy – the B-Word, the "just a little snip" word. In this case, the Ultrasound-Guided-Needle-Biopsy word. In my throat.

I'm trying not to panic.



Be My Valentine

People are asking for love stories and it struck me that I don't have one. How pitiful does THAT sound? I don't have a romantic prince-charming-on-a-white-horse-taking-me-away-from-all-of-this story.

It's sad to think I have gone this far in my life and through the years, I gave up on the Prince Charming dream. I started this path when I was very, very young. My Dad was my Prince Charming and I adored him. Then one day when I was 19, another Prince Charming rode by and swept me off my feet. We married and we had two children, both boys. Seven years later, when our boys were 2 and 3 years old, he became disenchanted and found what he desired in another man.

This was an event that started a heavy soul searching on my part. I look back now and think about how young I was and how innocently I saw things - it was just a given that a princess married her Prince Charming and they lived happily ever after for ever and ever amen.

Then I started dating "real men" and found most of them wanted freedom and several partners - and they avoided having partners with single mothers. (The "package" thing)

For several years I didn’t date. I focused on my boys, my job, our lives. But then HE came along.

When my Significant Other arrived, in a beat-up roaring white ’72 Charger (a steel horse with so much horse power under the hood that it could probably drive itself), he appeared as an overweight, shy, intelligent, awkward auto mechanic. He said he saw me and KNEW that I was his “little red-haired girl.” Just like Charlie Brown. He was smitten. He entered our lives when the boys were 10 and 11, and the same weekend that they had received letters from their Dad, coming out of his closet. To say we were a shell-shocked, ragtag, confused little family was an understatement. And this was absolutely no problem to my future Significant Other. He took them out to his car while he changed the oil, replaced spark plugs, took things apart, got greasy, put things back together, fired up the many-horse power Charger, and generally was an all-male, manly-man, Tim Allen-type guy, even grunting with joy when the motor hummed back to life. The boys were pretty much in awe.

Now, THAT is as romantic as he got. No card. No flowers. No romance. But I fell for him anyway. He was stable. He was committed to just one person – who happened to be me. And he blended in with my boys as naturally as if he were their Dad. His idea of a Valentine Card was to replace the faltering alternator in my car. (Lasts longer than flowers.)

That was 23 years ago. He’s still my Significant Other. He is finally introducing me as HIS significant other, too. Before, for years, I was his girlfriend. I told him that “girlfriend” sounds trivial and IN-significant. I’m not a one-night stand and I’m not temporary. I am not just a fling. I told him that he is my Significant Other because he is important to me; he is a significant part of my life and my happiness. He is my “most important” half of me.

So, that’s my love story. I guess I DO have one after all.



Friend or Foe?

So, I'm driving along the freeway to work, blithley happy in a new day, content in my life, when a commercial comes on for the Baby Fair this weekend, "sponsored by marriage-friendly communities."

Marriage-friendly communities???? What the heck does THAT mean. Are there unfriendly single communities? Are their communities that are NOT friendly with marriage? What about communities like mine that aren't married but aren't single either?


Does that mean I have enemies to my unmarriage with my significant other? Like, I can't shop at their stores, can't walk on their sidewalks, I have to get off the bus right at the line where . . . . unmarriage ends and marriage begins. How can I tell? And what does this mean for the unmarried mother – is she prohibited from going to the Baby Fair because the marriage-friendly communities have shunned her, right out of the stone age – gee, maybe they'll throw stones?

Now I've arrived at work all grumpy and cantankerous. And paranoid! All those marriage-friendly communities hissing through their teeth as I walk by.



Wrong Write?

Where has penmanship gone? I didn’t feel its loss until I recently received a letter in beautiful calligraphy. It brought back memories of 2nd Grade, learning cursive, bending over my paper, tongue perched over my lip, diligently and intently creating those smooth round letters that flowed together making me feel so very grown up. (smile) And how through the years of school, college, pre-computer era term papers and writing, writing, writing. Writing fast and furious to make the deadline of a final; writing Christmas cards, writing to friends, writing in my journal. And slowly over the years watching my finely honed script degenerating into scratches and marks and almost indecipherable ticks. And today most of my writing is done on a computer at lightning speed, sometimes faster than I can think, putting down words and thoughts before I think they come into my head.

There is a grace and elegance in calligraphy. It culls up a style and poise that seeps through the eyes like comforting elixir. The writer is more thoughtful in his words; they are carefully chosen and a phrase is eloquent and almost musical to the reader.

It’s a shame, really, that we have become so enmeshed in our computers and the wide world of the internet that nearly all our written word is through a keyboard and not through such a skilled artist’s venue as one holding an ink pen.