caller i.d.

Last night, I was driving to church when my phone rang. The town associated with the number matched the town where my rheumatologist practices. I wasn’t connected to a Bluetooth, so I couldn’t pick up, and in the two minutes it took for me to stop at a red light and play the voicemail, I decided that my doctor was calling because he had either misread my recent chest x-ray or missed something in my bloodwork. Something fatal. I was dying. This was it. The big one. How would he find a way to tell me over the phone? My poor doctor.

The call was from Whole Foods Market. Confirming that I wanted to pick up my brined turkey on Tuesday.

I’m an idiot.

birthday buddies

I woke up at 3:30 this morning and couldn’t fall back asleep. This isn’t terribly unusual, thanks to two little people who love nothing more than middle-of-the-night check-ins. But what was unusual was that today is my birthday. And so, like all self-respecting birthday girls, I did the only thing you should do when you find yourself awake at 3:30am on your birthday…I opened Google to see what celebrities shared my birthday.

Kendall Jenner. Colin Kaepernick. Anna Wintour.

I looked at this list, and I thought, “huh.” That’s an interesting list. There was no denying that everyone on the list had pretty strong personalities. Pretty sure of themselves. Okay with being known for fighting for causes that mean something to them. Perhaps not always universally loved? Huh.

I mulled this over for a good long time. Who are we, these people of November 3rd? Does having a strong personality make us bad people? Or do we just get things done? Make the tough decisions? The truth is, for much of my life, I’ve worried about my strong personality. I used to do this weird thing when I was younger (definitely not now!) where I would imagine people I knew describing me: “Nicole is so sweet.” I always wanted to be considered sweet. But people don’t call me sweet. They do call me when they need someone to get something done. So that’s good, right? Maybe.

Rosanne Barr was on our list too. I wanted to leave that off. I really did. But she’s there, no denying it. That’s why I worry sometimes. Because we November 3rd-ers get things done, but we ruffle feathers too. And some of us are just…well, Rosanne.

So I guess the point is that, this year, a couple of years into my thirties, it might just be time to stop expecting someone to use the line “Nicole is sweet”. To be okay with it and embrace the fact that strong is just as good as sweet. To know you can have opinions and still show grace, be a go-getter and still find balance, and that you can be a born on 11/3 and still not be Rosanne. Hope is a beautiful thing.

chow chow

A couple of months ago, my parents brought me back a jar of Chow Chow from Lancaster. In case you don’t know, this is an Amish specialty, a kind of pickled/preserved vegetable side dish. And I love it. And I can’t eat it. See, I am super duper afraid of botulism. More specifically, I am afraid of eating badly canned food and dying a sudden, violent, embarrassing death. I mean, what kind of a garbage deal is it for my husband to have to tell people for the rest of his life, “Oh, my first wife? She died young. She ate bad Chow Chow.” He would be forced to make up some alternate explanation for my demise, which feels unfair.

So the Chow Chow is still sitting on the fridge shelf. I don’t know. Maybe, one of these days, I’ll just go for it and…chow down. Surely, by now, if this particular batch of the stuff was bad, I would have heard on the news about some other unfortunate consumer who ate it and promptly bit the dust. Surely, by now, someone out there has unknowingly acted as my personal cup bearer by tasting it first. Right? Of course right. Maybe I’ll have some tomorrow.

Probably not.

cancer

Tonight, while showering, I started to think about how lousy my shampoo and conditioner are. I mean, I can never just wear my hair down because it is always so dry. I used to always wear it down. But at some point, I started buying everything -even my shampoo, my nail polish, my soap- at Whole Foods Market.

I did this almost entirely because I am afraid of getting cancer. I thought of how, after losing two aunts to that awful disease to end all diseases, I went into panic protocol and ditched anything that had a whiff of cancer to it…I’m looking at you, Harmon’s.

Then, I thought about my mom. How healthy she is. How I could never imagine…

This was the point at which I found myself weeping in the shower. Because this is one of my greatest worries. Call it worry, call it fear, call it whatever. Cancer.

But I wouldn’t have it. I took a deep breath. I wiped my eyes. I turned the water hotter. And I reached for my all-natural, very safe, keep-away-cancer lousy shampoo.