Trail of Crumbs

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I got an email the other day from someone who was about to have brain surgery. This, in and of itself, isn’t anything new – since writing about my own surgery, I get a couple of emails a week from people who are in similar (or, as is often the case, far scarier) situations. But this last email I received was a little different – the author asked me just one simple question.

Did I have any practical advice for things she should do before her surgery?

I realized that while I had written rather extensively about the emotions that surround brain surgery, and I’d discussed a few of the things I learned from it, I hadn’t really discussed what I did beforehand to prepare for the experience.

And so, since I haven’t been traveling all that much of late, and there is little to report on that front, I thought I’d dedicate a blog post to her question. I want to make it clear – this is just stuff that I felt the need to do. When I’m stressed, when I feel like my life is a little out of control, I get very organized.

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This is my thousandth post.

My thousandth.

I can’t really get my head around that number. There are few things, short of bodily functions and actions taken to sustain my existence, that I have done a thousand times.

Oh, and I’ve apparently taken 34,000 photos, too.

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I mean, doing a thousand of anything is a lot. I’ve struggled over writing a thousand words, before. Ask me to do a thousand sit-ups and will laugh, heartily, for so long that it will grow really, really awkward. So you can imagine that a thousand posts (from someone who can’t spend five minutes on the internet without wandering off to Zappos to look at shoes, or checking Facebook to see which of my friends have dressed up their pets in hats) is kind of a miracle.

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Today, a friend of mine is having surgery to remove a brain tumor. We talked about it a little bit last year, not long after my surgery. His doctors were able to confirm right away that his tumor wasn’t cancerous (which is all kinds of YES), but in the last few months, it started growing at a rather unpleasant rate, so they elected to pull that sucker out. 

I meant to write this post a while ago for him, about what he could expect after his surgery. But instead I’m writing it right now, which means that he’s going to read it after his surgery, and really, what good is that going to do him?

“Here’s what you can expect … from the experience that you are going through right now!”

Oh, well. Better late than never. And who knows … maybe some other fool with a hole in their head can benefit from my “wisdom.”

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Paris, like most European cities, is a barren wasteland on a Sunday. The shops are all closed, the pastisseries boarded up, the streets empty. You can walk for hours and not find anything open – not even a grocery store at which you could possibly buy a roll of crackers to soothe your growling stomach.

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Tip: #56: If you can’t find a chair, improvise.

I really wish someone would have joined me.

(In case you want to see travel tips 1-55).

I know I owe you a few stories out of Sydney, but I absolutely have to tell you about something that happened to me – TWICE – in Paris. We’ll get back to Sydney later this week. I promise.

The first time this scam was attempted, I wasn’t far from here.

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Remember the movie The Matrix?

Please, please say that you do, and that you weren’t, like, in the womb when the movie premiered, okay? Because I recently had an exchange with the lovely girlfriend of a friend (both of whom are slightly younger than us) and even though I consider us contemporaries, I realized that I saw Jurassic Park in the movie theater as a teenager when she was 2 years old.

I dealt with this revelation in the mature manner, adding a couple of tablespoons of metamucil to my vodka soda and whispering something about how the music was too loud.

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“Um … you have something on your face.”

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I have some shocking news for you.

SHOCKING.

Are you sitting down? Have you cleared all breakable objects from your immediate proximity? (Because you are going to wail and fling about when you hear what I have to say. Seriously). Also, if you have a beverage, I sincerely suggest that you swallow your current sip before reading my news, unless you wish to do a spit-take all over your monitor.

Okay, all good? Here goes:

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Sometimes, I take for granted how much my husband puts up with.

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Indeed, that might be the understatement of the year. If my beloved is reading this, he’s probably done a spit take all over his computer while sputtering, “YOU THINK?”

My poor, maligned love. He puts up with a lot. From me. And during the holidays, from his in-laws, too. Which I argue is his fault.

I mean, I was born into them. I had no choice. He walked right into this situation, mostly sober. THE FOOL.

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