Friday, August 28, 2015

The State of My Eyebrows (with Video!)

I never imagined "eyebrows" would be on my birthday list, but there they are, staring me down as sure as age thirty-seven is just around the corner. Nope, I am not complaining. I am happy for every year of it, but it is downright weird to be approaching my late-thirties. I still feel like I should be in law school babysitting for people in their late-thirties in order to have some grocery money.

Yet here I am, thirty-seven on the horizon, and my eyebrow situation has not improved much over the last couple of years. Chris asked me -- over bath time for Quinn, which is when we have time to talk lately -- how much they cost.

"Between $200 and $500, depending on who you go with," I told him.

"I feel like tattoos on your face aren't exactly the time to go with the discount person," he reasoned. "Unless you're Mike Tyson."

True, but even at the costlier, fancier place, the thought of tattoos -- specifically tattoos on my face -- scares me. I'm scared of both the pain and the permanence. I mean, what if I don't like them? What if the artist has a muscle spasm mid-brow? What if I look surprised or angry or any number of emotions expressed by one's eyebrows for the rest of my life?

And then Quinn broke my train of thought and asked why I would need someone to put eyebrows on my face. I could feel the mood shift as Chris waited to see how I would answer.

"Because I had to have some really strong medicine that made all my hair fall out, and all of it grew back except my eyebrows," I explained.

Quinn's eyes grew even more huge as he blinked back shock and processed the idea of something so strong it could make your hair fall out, and I realized he has no recollection of that time in our lives. Most likely because I am light years behind on putting together any kinds of photo albums from his first four years. We don't spend our evenings flipping through and reinforcing memories the way I did with my mom when I was Quinn's age. This is one huge downfall of the digital age, I think, but that's a whole other blog post. 

Have I avoided it because I don't know how to talk to Quinn about cancer? I have a therapy appointment for that exact topic tomorrow. I will let you know how that goes (and whether I have any major breakthroughs because this is still my biggest hurdle, how to explain what I'm living with to my son.)

In any event, here is a little something about my eyebrow process each and every day. In a nutshell, this is why I'm considering tattoos. Have you done them? Considered them? Would you? Let me stop before this gets to Green Eggs and Ham territory. 

Products used in this video and/or products I've found useful:

Makeup Forever's Aquabrow

MAC's brow pencil in Lingering

Anastasia Beverly Hills' Brow Powder Duo

Angled Eyebrow Brush

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

Summer's are for leaving Phoenix as much as possible, it's true, but we are outdoing ourselves this year. Quinn is fond of saying we have to leave or we'll burn up (which might not be far off of the truth). One friend on Twitter asked me if I was moving based on this photo I posted about leaving northern California.

No, is the answer. We don't have any plans to move anytime soon. As much as I love northern California, we were there to say farewell to my husband's childhood home, not put down roots (although I have to say those Santa Rosa roots look good on us).

In Santa Rosa, we cried and reminisced and told stories about my mother-in-law's giant heart and proclivity for ice cream and possible hoarder tendencies. We hugged family and old family friends and I tried not to think of how many memorials I've attended in the last several years (too many). We packed up memories and memorabilia stored in a house full of love and a lot of pigs (we could have started a pig museum). We sent a few items with sentimental value home to Phoenix and helped Chris's brother get the house ready to be sold. We said good-bye.

Before Santa Rosa, Quinn and I traveled up to Seattle for some healing time in a place that always soothes my soul, with people who never fail to fill our hearts to overflowing. Chris had a work trip to Mexico so I took the opportunity to leave town as well. We hiked to a waterfall where Q accidentally took a dip in a creek and told me the water was "as cold as that time we went to the snow with Grandma Maryann!" How's that for the opposite of Phoenix?

We rode the ferry up to Vancouver Island, where we built castles out of shells and identified whale bones on the beach and made brownie sundaes with Chris's Aunt Kathie (who always knows how to cheer us up).

Photo taken by Quinn!

We went to the top of the Space Needle, and I fell in love with my home state all over again. I drank a lot of coffee (I've heard it's good for the liver). And we roasted marshmallows to make s'mores and celebrated my best friend Alana's birthday as she and I realized we've been leaning on each other and reading each other's minds for more than two decades now. 

I came home practically begging Chris for a place in Seattle (even despite this article). He said I just need to sell my book. I'm working on that. 

After a blissful week in the northwest and an emotional week in Santa Rosa, we drove south east, my husband tells me, to Sacramento for my college friends' reunion -- which this year included 25 of us, eleven of whom were preschoolers ranging in age from eleven months to five years old. It was blissful in its own way, filled with the giggles and cries and overall adorableness of children who are forging the next generation of friendships amongst my tribe. It's pretty special to see.

I've been absent here because I've been really present among some of my favorite people, something I've learned the importance of over and over again the past four years. There is nothing quite like bookending a memorial service for your mother-in-law with separate visits with your best friends and their children for helping your heart heal.

I am so lucky to have such special people in my life (and fortunate that I've been healthy enough and have the means to travel to see them). I hope I don't take that for granted. I hope you all know how much joy and peace and promise you bring to my life. Thanks a million times over for that.

We got home Sunday night, in time for me to return to reality (and chemo) yesterday. As I put it on one Instagram post, "Home from a beautiful, soul-restoring trip to California that broke our hearts and then mended them in the most beautiful way, surrounded by the love of family and friends who are basically family. We are so blessed."

And today, I got to see Quinn off to his first day of his last year of preschool. Maybe it's the steroids, but I was pretty choked up this morning. I am so grateful to be here, to witness this. Four years ago, when I was diagnosed (cancerversary coming up tomorrow), I didn't quite think it would be possible. I repeat: I am so very lucky.