Bald me


Graydon and I were coming back from an appointment Monday morning when we decided to use our Timmy’s rims to get coffees (large latte, yay!). I had taken my cap off while driving, and because we’d been at a meeting, I had used some of my “Look good, feel better” mad makeup skills and looked more presentable than usual. We were discussing my eyebrows and how I know they have thinned considerably, Graydon saying they haven’t thinned, and that all of us have weird eyebrows, when I pulled up to the window.

The woman there looked at me and said, “I love your look!” My look. Waaa? I do not have a look. I touched my hair, oops, no hair! and realized what she meant. No hat, I’m bald. “Ha! Really? I was just saying to my son, I think my eyebrows are falling out too.” “Falling out?,” she asks? “Oh, I’m sorry, I’m on chemotherapy—my hair came out.” “Oh my, I see, well I love your look! You are beautiful! You don’t need hair, girl!” I laughed, said thank you, she said again I was beautiful, and that I was laughing and must be beautiful inside too, and I should love and love every day because every day was a gift.

All of this at a Tim’s drive through.

I thanked her for the kind words, told her she was beautiful, and off we went.

In honour of her, here’s a second bald photo, finally. Can’t say I love it, but at least I can accept it now.



My logo/gravatar

My Aunt Karen has been reading my blog and thought a comment or two might have gone astray because she saw another woman—and I thought maybe she saw my gravatar. Then I realized I couldn’t put a pic of my gravatar in my reply, so here is a post all about it. Is this what you saw, Karen?

My sister Juli designed this logo for my cookie-making business—My Beautiful Cookies—in 2001. I had a website designed, a magazine cover featuring my cookies pulling in business, and all systems were a go when Graydon, then 8, was diagnosed with leukaemia. I cancelled the orders for cookies that I had already taken—thank God I hadn’t cashed any deposit cheques—and that was the end of that. But, I still make the cookies (see post for Feb. 18 and Feb. 26), and I use this extremely cute illustration for my gravatar. Thank you Juli!!!

Virgin: Really? A girl in a tree?

Female with feline capabilities, plus opposable claws!

Hey! My boss has a great post over at  Laggylife’s Blog, so pop over and read it first, then come back. I started a comment for her post, but it got tooooo large, so I migrated it here!

GO! Then come back!

Virgin is a very clever marketer, but as Laggy says, marketing and advertising are all about the bucks for companies such as this, and nothing about social responsibility. I’ll bet the conversation at the table went something like this:

“Uh, doesn’t that make this girl a stalker?”

“Yeah! You wish!”

“She can stalk me anytime.”

“But stalking is a serious thing—look at John Lennon and Rebecca Schaeffer.”

“Rebecca who?”

“Guys stalk, not chicks. A chick who stalks is hot.”

“Yeah, she can stalk me anytime.”

The ads are clever, but kinda sick and scary. Your tongue must be firmly planted in your cheek to enjoy them. The adverts will definitely win awards, and the creative types will wave them around as they endorse the use of “crazy” people and behaviours to sell their shit. I’m sure Virgin’s creative thinks it’s OK because men usually are the stalkers, and women are the stalkees (although there is a fair amount of male-on-male stalking, but there is always a victim), so hey!

“These ads are cool!”

“It’s a blow for women’s rights and feminism!”

“Chicks should thank us!”

There are stats on the Stalking Resource Center, although from ’98, that put the percentage of male stalkers at 87 per cent.

But what dude doesn’t have a fantasy that a hot chick just wants his body so badly she’ll follow him anywhere? Ask Paul Sheldon or maybe Dan Gallagher, Tom Sanders, Dave, or even Michael. Girl-on-boy stalking is fun!

Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience has an excellent article on the subject: These Boots are Made for Stalking: Characteristics of Female Stalkers.

My takeaways from this?

  1. Dating is hell, but it’s even more hellish a hell that before social networking.
  2. Stalking is creepy. Will she boil a bunny next?
  3. I get unlimited text, talk and data for $45 a month from Wind. Duh.

There are too many alternate realities for me

So, thank you Ms Laggy for a jumping-off point this fine sunny Monday noon.You might want to post the addresses and names you got at Virgin—I’ll fire something over, and I do still write long-hand too!



Christmas correspondence from Ukraine

Anastasia and Myk in Ukraine for Christmas (her hair is deep, deep brown, his is blond and army-short, and neither of them would wear those clothes)

From: tessa
To: jacquelyn
Sent: Wed, December 30, 2009 4:24:16 AM
Subject: Hi!

Myk and I are in Kiev right now, checking our e-mail. Luka would die not having internet at a house! No games or anything. It’s really beautiful here, and not as cold as I thought (so the jacket is warm enough, don’t worry). Also I barfed yesterday! It was eventful. I miss Luka a lot and talk about him a lot too. Also please read him this email.

Luka – do you miss me? I bet you don’t 😛 I’m joking. You can go in my room anytime remember, and the password for the computer is in that container, i hope you remember. Say hi to goosey for me, and call him crazy 😛

I love you Luka!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

And I love you too mum, and graydon…. i guess. I’m kidding. I’m getting souvenirs today, so hopefully i will find some good things for all you guys.

Okay. I am going, so say hi to…
Angel, Flopsy, Clover (crazy dog), and those stinky fish who i don’t love 😛

ps. bye lukey, i MISS YOU!!!!!!! A LOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Date: Wed, 30 Dec 2009 12:38:24 -0800
From: jacquelyn
Subject: Re: Hi!
To: tessa
Hello to you, Anastasia!
I was very glad to see your note when I checked in today. Luka and I are at the office for the day, me working and him playing games on the other computer. We brought a book, which he doesn’t seem to be reading (and he knows he has to read four books before he gets back to school!).
Not too much to report:
  1. Christmas tree still standing
  2. Graydon survived one overnight at dad’s
  3. Graydon is still sleeping as I type this at 2:30 p.m.
  4. Luka has finished the Indiana Jones DSi game already
  5. Nik gave me a silver bracelet and an aromatherapy unit for Christmas, and cooked an amazing two days of food
  6. we’re going to see the new Alvin and the Chipmunks movie tonight
  7. Luka still thinks he is the best (he dictated that to me just now)
And here is Luka himself:
>>>hi tessa i miss you to are u having fun?…i hop so and you better no i am just kideing or am i?<<<
And that’s the end of Luka’s contribution.
Tessa, could you please mail me back or call me with your actual return flight number? The email you sent said 8 o’clock at night, but I know we were talking about 8 in the morning at the airport. So just let me know the flight number and I can check it on my own.
Keep having a good time and call if you need anything.
We are totally missing you already.
Lots of love,
Mummy Jackie and Brothers Luka and Graydon (sounds monastic, don’t you think??)

From: tessa vvvv
To: jacquelyn waller
Sent: Sat, January 2, 2010 2:19:16 PM
Subject: RE: Hi!

Hello! We are at Myk’s dad’s house. I don’t know what the flight number is, but I think we arrive at 8:30 a.m. I miss you guys. But I will be back very soon, on Thursday (the seventh).

Luka, you are still the best.
Please take down the tree so I don’t have to help? Just joking. Kind of…..
I love you both!

Re: Hi!
Sun, January 3, 2010 2:22:41 PM

To: tessa

I just finished telling Juli how I was leaving the tree up because you like it so much and you missed a lot of Christmas here!!!
And I do know how much you love taking down the decos!

Ask Myk what the flight number is, please. I need it to get flight times, delays, etc.
We’re in Stratweird, going back home in 10 minutes. We miss you tons. Hope you’re still having an excellent time.
Love you too!

“Santa isn’t psychic.”

“Santa isn’t psychic, that’s why you have to send him your Christmas wish list. That’s why I put in the real names and the numbers of the Lego sets I want. And I mailed it. Or at least I asked Tessa to mail it. He could never, ever keep every kid in the world’s order straight. But God, God is psychic. He knows everything. He even knows when you don’t think anyone else knows. God would make a great Santa, really.”

Luka, age 8, two weeks ago

From the mouths of babes: a 15-year-old babe this time

My Graydon, my son, my cancer kid, my challenge. He is very, very bright, leading me to have as one of my mantras during meetings with helping professionals, “Use your smarts for good, not evil.”

At a school re-entry meeting on Thursday (yes, to need a re-entry meeting at school, one must have been turfed from school in the first place), in the first few minutes of the meeting as attendees straightened papers, found pens and opened diaries, Graydon let us in his latest telephone solicitation solution.

“So, I answer the phone, and it’s one of those ‘It has come to our attention that your car’s warranty is running out…’ ”

We all nod and agree, yes, we’re all getting those calls.

“So I say, ‘Oh yeah, really?'”

Graydon is 15, and only dreaming of getting behind the wheel.

“So, he says he has to confirm the spelling of my name, and I say Graydon, G-R-A-Y-D-O-N, Ponzi, P-O-N-Z-I.

“So then he says, ‘Now I have a few questions for you,’ and I say ‘Now I have a few questions for you,’ and he says, ‘Can I have the make of your car?’ and I say, ‘Can I have the make of your car?’ and he says, ‘Could I have the year of your car, sir?’ and I say, ‘Can I have the year of your car, sir?’ and he says, ‘Do you want to hear about our car warranty?’ and I say, ‘Do you want to hear about our car warranty?’ and then he says, ‘I’ll be putting you on our no-call list then, sir?’ and I said ‘Yes, thank you!”

Nice going, Graydon!

Weekend revelation: shopping list 101

Just a quick note off the top, following on what I wrote yesterday. On my listserve for parents of cancer kids, a parent posted an article that really resonated with me. It isn’t specific to parents of kids with cancer, but parents whose kids have struggled with any near-death illness or accident: the article isn’t long, but it will increase your depth of understanding when fellow parents have a child in a serious situation. It ran in The New York Times.


Mark Thomas, web man behind, found this shopping list under a bridge in Queens. You can see more of what he finds at

And now to the find of the weekend: In the neverending quest to get 8-year-old Luka printing-, writing and spelling-fit, every Saturday morning begins with him starting a shopping list. Usually it’s me dictating, him printing, with me reminding him to get back at the list every 10 minutes or so, or whenever I notice the list abandoned on the kitchen table. This is every time I glance in that direction.

When I was attempting to bring our fish tank back to life this weekend, I found a Luka-made list behind the tank. This is it, spelling intact:

marshemello mushrooms

kiddy littr



froz chips

blubarry and chocolate

aleein oooz

reel milk

hot chocolate

My observations:

  • Thank God for spellcheck
  • My child knows how to spell “chocolate” just fine, thank you
  • Since cole and aleein oooz are not my dictations, I put this list at a week before Christmas, which would be just about right, looking at the algae on the inside of the fish tank.
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