Getting My Thanks On

Charleston or not, they can’t be trusted. Via letterstorob.wordpress.com

I’m not normally one to get too into Thanksgiving. In fact, it’s my third least favorite holiday. (For those wondering: least favorite is Canadian Thanksgiving because I assume it’s just like our Thanksgiving but colder and with more yetis; second least favorite is your birthday, because I just can’t seem to remember it. Sorry!) Regular readers know I find the food to be a collection of unpalatable, earthtone-colored mush. I’m not opposed to gluttony and a day’s worth of football, but if we’re choosing a deadly sin and sport I’d go with envy and basketball. Man I’m jealous of people who get to do that. And I always found the so-called “pilgrims” we learned about in history class a bit unsettling. Never trust a man in a wide-brimmed hat, I say. The wider the brim, the more they’re hiding…

But as usual, I digress. Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks, as its name implies. Just like how on Christmas we go to mass for Christ’s sake, and how on Easter we migrate to the east to flee a malevolent, egg-laying rabbit. So allow me to give thanks to some of the little things in life that so often go overlooked: Continue reading

The Growing Season: When the Past Comes Back to Haunt

This is the latest installment of The Growing Season by Stephanie Phillips. For all other installments, click here.

I have another OB visit that afternoon, and Jack comes straight from work to meet me there. I breeze through the standard routine–pee, weight, blood pressure—and Dr. Stone comes in to talk to Jack and me.  We exchange pleasantries, during which I lie and tell him I’ve felt slightly nauseous but otherwise fine because I don’t want to sound like a complainer to him or my husband.

The doctor seems fixated on my chart, and I’m starting to get nervous. “You’ve had a couple of cervical biopsies, right?” he asks. “Two in the past five years or so?”

I nod yes, remembering the cold table in the New York office building of my gynecologist, the deeply internal and uncomfortable stinging of the instruments, the tears that sprang to my eyes both from the physical pain and from the guilt at what I suspected was some form of punishment for being so sexually active, rather than settling down and having babies like a normal girl my age. It had started with abnormal pap smears, then a lecture from that doctor about safe sex and multiple partners. I had cursed my pre-New York ex in my head even while knowing that my behavior since him had been far from chaste. This was the part of casual sex that they didn’t warn you about on Sex and the City: this inside-piercing, morning-after, sterile-office call to accountability. The doctor then had glossed over the implications of the procedure on my future, saying mine was a minor case of dysplasia and mentioning a couple of facts about cervical thinning and pregnancy that had barely registered—that particular milestone seemed remote at best, possibly even non-existent. But now, as a baby grows inside me and my husband sits next to me, a sense of dread begins to take root. I begin a bargaining session with the God of my youth, whom I haven’t talked to much in the last few years. And I remember my now flippant-seeming judgment of Cara last year; who was I to look down at anyone? Continue reading

There Are No Wizards in Fantasy Football

I had never in my life spent much time worrying about Arian Foster’s groin. That is, until last week. It’s late November and I’ve discovered that fantasy football has transformed my day-to-day into an entirely different ballgame (mixed metaphor alert!).

I didn’t grow up watching much football or even paying much attention to it. As a pastor’s kid, Sundays were spent going to church–for many years, that meant a day-long marathon of going to church in Queens and Manhattan. When we finally got our Sunday afternoons free, my sister and I would admittedly dominate the living room couch and TV, watching cheesy Sunday movies like Somewhere in Time on channel 11. My father, always a man of few words, would occasionally watch a New York Giants’ game and Jackie and I would sit there with him, watching in silence. At holidays, my eldest brother would come to visit, put on a game (usually the Dallas Cowboys), seemingly zoned out until he’d stand up and yell at a play. But for the most part, football was not a regular part of my life.

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A portrait of the author…with former Jet Mark Gastineau.

There was this one time in grad school when I had to pick up a new phone at the Sprint store, and because Sprint sponsors the NFL, there were some pro football players around to autograph pictures. Mark Gastineau was there, so I texted my Jets-fan brother-in-law to see whether he wanted an autograph. This led to me waiting on a line to get Gastineau’s autograph for said brother-in-law, my uncle, and a former professor. When Gastineau asked me to spell my brother-in-law’s name (Jesus), he said, “oh Jesus. Do you love Jesus?” I replied that I did and he said “Good. Me too.” Then he started talking about church with me and I was all “I have to go back to class, sorry.”

All that to say, my experience with football has been limited. Continue reading

Wheelhouse Book Club: Everything I Never Told You

Welcome back to the Wheelhouse Review book club! Though I took an extended writing break earlier this year, I did not take a reading break. My physical book club is still alive and kicking, celebrating both 8 years and 100 books since I last wrote for TWR book club. Those were both very exciting milestones!

This month, we read Everything I Never Told You by debut novelist Celeste Ng. This book has been making mighty waves of late, having just been chosen as the Best Book of the Year by Amazon, and making it to the final round of the Goodreads reader’s poll. And it’s a perfect book for a book club, full of discussable characters, revelatory plot, pros, cons, and many things in between. Are you ready? Let’s goooooooooooooooooo!

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Photo Phriday (Thursday Edition): Beach Meeting

201409.10.11_Since the temperature is on a yo-yo continuum this week for part of the East Coast (60- wait!, no 25!, no wait wait! 30 degrees!), I thought we could all use a little beach in our lives as most of us bundle up to brave the next few months of weird weather. How about this for a business meeting?

*This photo taken and copyrighted by Verena Radulovic