The first was on Wednesday when my cousin Denise and I had a delicious salad for lunch at Community Cafe in Sonoma. I've been in contact with Denise over the last month or so to see her. You see, she was recently diagnosed with a recurrence of hEr breast cancer from 10 years ago. She has been a real inspiration to me throughout the years, for many reasons, and especially when she was diagnosed with breast cancer back when the treatment and surgery options were different than what I experienced. But now, now that this is happening again to such a sweet gentle person, and to a family member, my heart goes out to her more than ever, and it all hits home, and scares the shit out of me. But much as I must have seemed last year during treatment, atlest outwardly, she is positive, strong, and seems to be dealing with this with all the grace and dignity possible. I'm sure she has her moments, as I did, but she seems to be dealing with the chemo part of her treatment as well as can be expected.
A little back story here, Denise is married to my husband's cousin. I've known her forever as we grew up in the same small town, went to the same catholic school, St. Francis Solano, and both of us are from large Italian Catholic families. Her sister and I were in the same class.
My husband and I live on a beautiful piece of paradise where his Grandparents settled the land many moons ago and then the property was eventually split between their three children, with a small home set aside for his Grandmother's sister. So here we all were, us living in my Mother-in-laws home, just a stones throw away from where Denise, her husband, and two daughters lived in the Grandparents house (well a bit further actually as we couldn't see their house from ours). And during their youth, my husband considered his cousin (Denise's husband) more like a brother, than a cousin. This was because Mark grew up without a father figure in his life. So his uncle was like a father to him.
So you're probably thinking we were close as sisters. Not really. You see, we each had many siblings of our own, and our own lives moving along at that fast pace when you are raising young daughters. We were friends for sure, attending occasional gatherings and celebrations and such. But it wasn't like we hung out together much. I do look back and wish I'd been more outgoing and just dropped in from time to time. But no.... I was the shy girl who was most uncomfortable dropping in on someone, and I still am that way.
Fast forward, and Mark and I are the only Emery's on the original property. Denise still lives here in Glen Ellen with her family. Each of our daughters are grown, married, with children of their own. So I guess what I am getting at is that we are family, are close, but weren't like "best of buds", considering our living situation in those early years.
Anyway, here we are, cancer buddies now. Who'd a thought? Who would have wanted to go there, actually? Not me! Not her, for sure!! NOT AGAIN!!! But here we are.
So we had a lovely lunch talking about cancer, kids, grand kids, husbands, just life in general. We will do it again all very soon, and I am anxiously awaiting the opportunity.
The second lunch was yesterday with my friend, Eileen. Eileen and I are in a group of 6 or so elementary and high school girlfriends who still keep in touch today, having lunch or weekends away once or twice a year. She is not working right now, so we both have the luxury to steal away some week day time and play. And that we did. She has a new iPad and is somewhat new to Facebook. So we met up at her lovely home in Napa and shared iPad knowledge, played around there for a bit, visited with hr hubby, and then headed to Fillipis Pizza Grotto For a yummy salad and meatball sandwich, and then wandered over to the Ox Bow Market to check it out. And we vowed to do this again real soon.
Between the two lunches out, and two days babysitting my grandsons, it was a wonderful week. And I can't thank my dear husband, Mark, enough for giving me the space to do these things.
And did I mention I've cast on for a chenille cardigan for myself. Wish me luck as creating a knit fitted clothing item for myself scares the daylights out of me.