Here's what has been happening to me lately:
Zara got back Tuesday night from a lovely vacation in Minnesota with family there. She stayed with stirsmn, my baby sister, and her family and got to see fgherman and judyrose1390 and other people without lj names. Plus they spent a weekend at my SIL's uncle's farm in Iowa. This allowed Zara to enter a state no one else in her immediate family has been in - very exciting - and to have some other unusual experiences, as shown in the pictures.
Farms in general and tractors in particular featured largely in my early childhood and it's nice to see one of my kids having farm-and-tractor encounters. Zara is convinced that she should be able to get her driver's license on the strength of having driven a tractor :-).
As recounted elsewhere my brother Joel died in early June and my close friend Cecelia died at the end of June. It has been a summer of grief and dealing with loss for me. I'm doing all the right things, I think, but it's hard. I teach a writing class at work and the first session of it after Joel's death I explained the Jewish custom of dedicating teaching to the memory of someone you loved who died and I dedicated the lesson to Joel's memory. There were no Jews in the class, so it might have seemed kind of weird to them, but it was meaningful to me.
I talked about Cecelia's funeral elsewhere. She lived and died in New Jersey and the funeral was there. Some folks from my congregation were able to go, but more wanted to memorialize her than were able to attend the funeral. So I had a memorial gathering and service at my home around the end of shloshim, the thirty day morning period. It was on a Sunday afternoon/evening. I made a play list of music she particularly liked and played it as people gathered. There was food and music and pictures and stories and we had a brief service in the middle there. My friend Sara came early and helped me set up and then I had a steady stream of people from 5:00 p.m. until 10:45. I think there were about 45 people altogether. I was really tired by the end, but it felt very meaningful and helpful.
I'm really tired most of the time now. I keep thinking I can't get any tireder and then I do. It's partly because I don't have a working thyroid and one of the hallmark symptoms is fatigue, partly because I've gained a lot of weight due to that not working thyroid so I'm hauling a heavier body around, partly because I'm really busy and doing a lot, partly because I'm not sleeping well due to the illness, and partly because grief is fatiguing. I can't parse out what's what but it doesn't really matter. I asked for and got accommodations on work hours because I can no longer stand on the subway for any length of time. So I just wait until a train pulls up with empty seats, but it means my 90 minute commute to the Bronx is stretching to close to two hours.
In addition to work and a long commute and parenting responsibilities and volunteer work, I've started a new part-time job. It has occurred to me that adding this to my current workload while I have cancer as well could be a mistake, but it's good work and only a few hours a week and I need the money. It's not enough to solve my money troubles but it's something.
I joined Gilda's Club and have been to two meetings of my Cancer Support Group (they call it a "Wellness Group" but I totally refuse - I can't take too much of the upbeat cancer talk) and to one GLBT Cancer Networking event. I love it! This past Wednesday my group was meeting 6:00-8:00 p.m. and I had picked Zara up the night before at the airport, not getting home until almost 1:00 a.m. and then gotten up at 6:30 and worked all day, so I was tempted to skip it, but am very glad I didn't. It's a wonderful, supportive atmosphere and a great space to talk and listen.
Zara and I are headed off for a mini-vacation in Philadelphia next Thursday-Sunday. My summer vacation in Fire Island got sidelined by Cecelia's death and with treatment looming I don't know when I'll be able to get away again, so I figured if I could find a cheap place for us to go I'd do it now. We'll ride on a comfy bus with wifi for almost no money (thank you megabus), stay in a nice hotel cheaply (thank you Priceline) and see the new Jewish museum there and have a spa day. I don't know what else will do and I've warned her I may not have enough energy for a lot of activity, but I think we'll both just enjoy indulging in cheap luxury for a few days.