Mary Anne Mohanraj

Journal

August 4 -- 4:32 PM

Finished my summer re-watch of West Wing. Good convalescent fare, generally heartening (although the weaker episodes did stand out more the third time through).

Was struck at the end by how much emotional caretaking the women on this show do, especially in the last season -- as the pressures of the job / campaign get more intense, we see a *lot* of almost all the women going out of their way to take care of the men's emotional (and physical / health) needs. (To the extent of both Donna and Helen Santos pretty blatantly throwing their men some sex in order to de-stress them.) Even Josh's ex-girlfriend is concerned enough about his sex life to try to set him up with someone.

And it's not that the men don't need / deserve emotional caretaking (they are, in fact, rather desperately in need of it, because they're incredibly dysfunctional workaholics for the most part, driving themselves into early graves), but it's almost entirely a one-way street. We see very little of the pressures on the women, or of the men trying to take emotional care of them. Thank GOD for C.J. Cregg and Danny Concannon.

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August 4 -- 12:35 PM

I am a terrible, terrible patient. I get so angry and frustrated at my limitations right now. I have to rest after doing something like getting up to get a glass of water, or moving from the couch to the front porch (so I can keep an eye on the kids as they scooter up and down the sidewalk). I tried to repot *one* pot, and while I got through it, I made myself so shaky I almost threw up. And the kids don't really understand that mommy is sick, because I basically *look* fine, and they want to know how come I get to watch tv all day but I don't want them to do the same. Kids, I would gladly let you watch all my tv, if I could just get a few little things DONE.

(This has been your scheduled whine for the day. Tomorrow should be a bit better.)

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August 4 -- 8:02 AM

Woke up after many hours of sleep, felt totally normal and healthy for about fifteen minutes -- and then I got out of bed, and whoops, there's the chemo shakiness back again. Sigh. Still, hopeful that I can get at least a little bit done today; we'll see.

At least some reading -- I'm reading Ancillary Sword now, and enjoying it, though so far, it seems a lot more straightforward than the previous novel; the lack of mystery / confusion does make it a little less compelling, I think. How much mystery is a net good for the book, and how much just tips over into irritating? Inquiring writer minds want to know.

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August 1 -- 7:21 AM

Cancer log 109: Several people offered to come with us to the beach next time, which is very nice of them, but I think one thing I didn't mention about the whole beach trip is that my favorite part was being mostly alone in nature. Keeping an eye on the kids, yes, but there was lots of staring at the lake with its little waves, watching the clouds slide by, just being silent with the water and the breeze. That's the part that's most rejuvenating right now. This whole year, the more introverted side of my personality has been emerging; when I feel physically bad, I don't seem to want much in the way of company. I turn inward, and I think I've been lucky that Kevin is enough of an introvert that he can just leave me alone for most of the day without feeling upset that I'm ignoring him.

It's a little bit of a challenge getting out to nature -- a camping trip sounds idyllic, but is beyond my capabilities at the moment. But I find it where I can. Early morning in the garden, before it gets hot, is really helpful. I alternate little bits of garden work (as much as my heart can take at a time) with sitting on the porch with the laptop. And photos, of course. This little Canadian climbing rose (Darlow's Enigma) has been blooming pretty continuously for months and months this year. I don't always notice it, because it's blooming fairly high on a pergola at this point, but when I do, it always makes me smile.

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July 31 -- 4:48 AM

Kicking water never gets old. Kavya could use a new swimsuit, but oh well -- next summer. Slicing half a small watermelon to bring with you in the cooler is totally worth the trouble; we devoured it all, about half an hour after arrival.

Juice boxes are also popular. Kavya wanted to pose for you with her heart, dug out in sand and outlined in wet sand for more visibility. (I thought that was clever.) I love watching them play together in the water; Kavi really does a good job of encouraging him and coaxing him to be a little more brave.

It is totally worth bringing a little cash for when the ice cream truck tootles pass. Sheer joy (mommy had one too). After a hard morning of beach-ing, the kids took a little rest while mommy picked up her Ethiopian Diamond lunch. The big advantage of Foster Street beach over all the other beaches is that it is right around the corner from my favorite Chicago restaurant. I don't ever seem to have the energy to go that far just for a meal, but if I can tack it onto some other activity / errand, I am so happy. Shiro for the win!

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