I am very excited to be participating in Nancy’s 2019 Summer Blogging Challenge. I am relatively new to blogging, although my whole life I have felt an irrepressible urge that I had information about myself that must be shared so that the world would not cease from spinning on its axis. I should also note that I do not generally care for summer as I am not what one would call a “hot weather person.” Thus, to have any good reason to stay indoors suits me just fine. I owe a huge thanks to Nancy for providing me with such a reason, and with any luck I can parlay it into an opportunity to avoid having to apply sunscreen and Deet for people’s unnecessary BBQs, impromptu badminton tourneys and other outdoor activities. (Plus, I already have cancer – do I really need to push it by trying to add a melanoma to the mix or coating my skin in yet another toxic substance?)
Without further ado, I will now focus on addressing Nancy’s thought-provoking questions. I apologize in advance for any narcissism that I let slip out in doing so, but I hear that it is okay to be so these days.
1. Who am I? This one is pretty easy: I am just a more-or-less regular guy and family person, blessed to have a wife with whom I just celebrated 10 years of marriage and two wonderful sons (from said marriage), ages nine and six. Along with our Golden Retriever, Casey, these people are my whole world. (We also have two cats, but since they never leave the basement I feel like they have downgraded themselves somewhat.) We live in a suburb of New York City on Long Island, where people have odd accents and pay way too much for housing. But it is a good life and we are fortunate to have many friends and family nearby. Odd fact about me: I am originally from West Virginia. That is odd in and of itself, but I am also Jewish which makes the odds of that occurring slightly greater than those of winning the Powerball – but I keep playing!
2. Have I ever participated in a blog hop before? I must admit that I am a blog hop virgin. Anyone reading this far is probably painfully aware of this fact.
3. What’s my favorite sort of blog post to write and/or read – personal story, informational, how to, controversial, political, opinion, rant or other? Although I can be highly argumentative – ask my in-laws – I try to shy away from controversy on my blog. I feel like having cancer gives me enough tsuris (that’s a Yiddish term basically meaning grief or aggravation) that I don’t want to solicit any more from anyone. I mostly write about what it is like to have a form of cancer that, while currently in remission, is not currently curable. But rather than focus on the negative aspects of it – which would give me an infinite amount about which to write – I try to discuss how I live with it and, most importantly, find humor while enduring all that one with cancer has to go through.
4. Describe myself in just three words. Unbelievably debonair. Not!
5. Name three of my favorite books from my youth that had an impact on me. (1) The Westing Game, which gave me an early love for mysteries. (2) The Hobbit (but not any of the trilogy that came after it), which encouraged me to allow my mind to imagine the fantastical. (3) Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck, in which he says something that has always stuck with me: before embarking on a trip, no matter how much anticipated, there is so often the sense of not wanting to go and leave that which is familiar. (I would have also said The Five Chinese Brothers, but I grew up in the 70s and I am not really sure that this book is in the least bit acceptable today.)
6. What am I reading right now, or what’s on my to-read list for when I have time? At the risk of being a Debbie-Downer, I don’t really read many books any longer. I am just too tired by the end of the day, and since I am a lawyer (uggh) I get my fill of reading during the day. The last book I read – by which I mean started to read before I gave up after reading the same paragraph for two weeks straight – was about the struggle for supremacy of India by the European powers, including the efforts to control the regions between south Asia and the Middle East. This is 100% the truth – who would make this up?
7. What’s your favorite dessert of all time? My Great Aunt Bertie’s pistachio cake. I used to be afflicted by migraines, and one trigger was chocolate. My Aunt Bertie, who was one of the greatest people I ever knew, wanted to come up with a dessert I could enjoy that was special for me and that did not contain chocolate. Plus, it is made with Jell-O pudding, so it has to be good.
8. Tell us about a special pet I have, had, or would like to have. (Never wanted a pet, that’s okay too.) Our current dog, Casey, fortunately cannot read; thus I can write about her immediate predecessor in our home – another Golden named Maggie. Maggie was the dog I had always wanted, and she was my best friend. We shared so much (nothing weird), including, unfortunately, blood cancer. She passed away two years ago from complications resulting from her chemotherapy, roughly one year before I began my own such treatment. I miss her profoundly every single day.
9. What’s something people don’t know about me and might be surprised to learn? As much as I love to cook and bake, I do not believe I have ever made a cake that tasted as good – much less better – than any I bought at the supermarket or, blasphemous though this may be, came out of a Duncan Hines box. (This excludes, of course, Aunt Bertie’s pistachio cake – see # 7 above.)
10. Do you believe healthcare is a privilege or a right? I do not see how we can live in the wealthiest country in the history of human civilization and yet still be unable to provide quality healthcare to all Americans. I don’t have the answer to the problem, sadly, and my wife is a doctor so I understand it somewhat from the provider perspective as well. But “the system” just doesn’t work. It is not right.
11. What’s your favorite thing about blogging and/or reading blogs? Ideally, and I don’t know how successful I am, I like to make others laugh. Particularly those with cancer or who love someone with cancer or another chronic (or acute) illness, I hope I can brighten their day just a bit by turning things slightly on their head to allow room for some occasional levity.
12. What’s something you really suck at? Keeping perspective would be my natural inclination for an answer, but it could be, depending on how this is received, blog hopping.
13. What’s something you’re pretty good at? Worrying. Actually, I am excellent at it.
14. How do you escape from cancer (or life in general) worries? If family is around, then by surrounding myself with them. If I am alone, self-medicating.
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