Wednesday, September 8, 2010

What Do I Know?

I just reconnected with a family friend who I love dearly. (That's for another post, Annie).

She had sent me some information about cancer--very helpful and most of it I'm already doing and then some--that got me thinking about what happened to me about a year ago. I had been writing this blog for myself, mainly, and also for anyone who cared to know about me and my thoughts. I never thought about it "getting picked up" by others in the blogosphere. Until I received an email from CR Magazine and how they wanted to talk to me about my blog. Really? Me? CR Magazine is published by the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), the world's oldest and largest professional organization devoted to cancer research. (Note the word "devoted". Nice). And they wanted permission to interview me and publish one of my blog posts.

The writer in me was flattered. The cancer patient in me was humbled. The voice inside my head said, "yeah, baby". They asked me which was my favorite post. I told them the "last one I get to write." (Yeah, there was about 5 seconds of silence on the other end. Just a little gallows humor. Keeps me smiling and not taking myself too seriously). She said "you don't have a favorite?" It's like trying to pick your favorite kid--if you have more than one--you just can't do that. (Not because they might find out they're Daddy's fave). Because each post I write is energized by a moment in the day, a look on someones face or a milestone in my life. And many other special reasons.

A year later, I'm not sure if I feel better because I know more about cancer or because I can't FEEL any cancer in my body--I posted about this before--or because people like NCI, AACR and StandUp2Cancer are doing something about the millions who have to deal with cancer every day of their life. What do I know?

I know there's more good in this life than we know.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Table Dancing

Now before you go thinking I was either a participant or witness, let me tell you I've never seen/been either. That I can remember.

This has to do with the tables at Charles Town Races & Slots in beautiful West Virginia. My Wife, Teresa, and 2 long lost friends, Rosie & Marty, headed to try our hands at gambling over the Labor Day weekend. Regardless of the outcome, I thought, a drive through some of the most beautiful country in the USA on a gorgeous day was just the thing to do. We packed up the cooler with some adult beverages and headed off to God's Country. And tried to bring some luck with us.

I had never been to any gambling establishment on the East Coast. Las Vegas has always been my favorite place to go--and when you live in LA, the trips get more frequent and addictive. But LV is a place where you can do a lot more than gamble--people watch, catch a lounge act or two, stuff your face for a reasonable price and people watch--and you feel the action even if you're not the one creating the vibe. Charles Town is NOT like that--no lounge acts, one casino, an OTB--and is a very different mix of people. So I still got to people watch. And watch them look/stare at me with my long hair and my group that looked a little out of place.

It used to be that if I was losing at the Black Jack tables, I would keep "paying the casino's rent" and chase good money after bad. Nothing where I'd lose the mortgage payment but thanks God I had Teresa with me to keep me in check--most of the time. This time, I was on my own as I circled the tables like a vulture looking for it's next meal. $50 tables. $25 tables. WTF? Where are the $5 and $10 tables? This is high stakes stuff. And I'm not going to play poker. No way, not in this small town with some locals who just wait for "tourists" like me to drain my pockets. So I looked for the best table. And finally, I found a $15 one. So I set my cash limit. And 15 minutes later, I was out of chips. Bad players, an extremely lucky dealer and the smell of smoke did me in.

I've posted before about "first" after cancer. This was my first time really gambling. And this was the first time I could remember not having a strong urge to keep doing it. Normally, I would keep hopping from table to table to find the right one. This time, I didn't. I didn't get the rush. Didn't get the urge to win it all back. I just hung out watching others. Waited for Teresa and Rosie & Marty--who were winners so at least SOMEONE walked away with more than they came with--and took it all in. I'll dance another day. Happily.

Maybe on a beer pong table.