Thursday, October 05, 2006


Charges Dismissed Against Phils Pitcher Myers

An abuse charge against Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Brett Myers was dismissed Thursday after his wife said she did not want her husband prosecuted for hitting her in the face during an argument near Fenway Park. More...

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

South Philly Paint Crew. Yo!

Last Saturday was painting D-Day on Lambert Street. I spent the previous week patching and priming the walls, covering the furniture and removing cat paraphernalia. By late Friday night I was ready--all the walls were washed and white. (Or as I like to call it, The Night a Liberal Slept in the White House.)

My crew--Erika, Amy, myself, Tai, Nick, Jessie and Ray--arrived in drips and drabs after 9:00 am. I stuffed them with doughnuts and put them to work. Because I'm anal retentive, I organized people into teams with a leader and mascot. Jessie, Erika and I comprised Team Tug, whose assigment was to paint the downstairs yellow. Tai and Amy led Team Mookie, responsible for painting the bedroom blue. And Nick and Ray harnessed their powers on Team Nanuq, which worked on the pale purple guest room. (I will now reveal just how anal retentive I am. The mascots were assigned to rooms based on their coloring.)

My friends are very industrious. By 1:00 p.m, every room but one had its first coat of paint. There were very few mishaps. In one incident, I put the wrong ceiling color--a light green--in the bedroom. Fortunately, Amy picked up the problem before she and Tai got too far. Blue dots also inexplicably appeared on the walls in the guest room. We guessed that a sprinkle from one of the cupcakes somehow got into the paint. I think it may have been some of the magic marker the children of the previous owners used on the walls.

At lunchtime we enjoyed pizza from the local joint, followed by enough candy, cupcakes and cookies to kill a horse. Then it was back to work. By the time 7:00 p.m. rolled around, every room but the office, where I put the cats, had two beautiful, clean coats of paint. All I have left is the trim, which I'm painstakingly painting on the weekends.

To thank my wonderful friends, each got a green-ringed T-shirt that read "South Philly Paint Crew. Yo!" Anthony, my neighbor who paints for a living, found the Ts very amusing.

I am very, very lucky to have such great friends. They not only painted my house, but they did so with enthusiasm, energy and pluck. I couldn't believe how much sweat and labor they put into making my house a home. It's days like Saturday when I know how fortunate I am. It's days like Saturday when I know I have a great life.

See more photos of the painting party here!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Why I Hate October

A couple of hours ago I got a call from a man in his early 40's. I could hear a television and children in the background. He called to ask if there were other men in the world like him--men whose wives had died of breast cancer.

His wife had been diagnosed about two years ago. She was in her early 30s. She died less than a year later, leaving him to raise three children, all under the age of 10. "The doctors told us she had breast cancer, and within 10 minutes they had us down talking to a surgeon," he said. "We didn't even have time to absorb what they said."

This man, who lives in a rural Southern community, said he's sick of hearing about survivors and hope. "There's so much support out there for women and families dealing with breast cancer," he said. "What about us? It's like they only want to talk about living. It's like they just ignore that anyone dies of breast cancer."

As his children played, the man told me he'd left his job so he could care for them. A former church-goer, he'd had a crisis of faith. It was hard to hear the minister talk about God's love. He was searching for answers. How could this happen to someone so young, someone so healthy, someone who ate and exercised and flossed her teeth every night?

I told him Living Beyond Breast Cancer would find him another man like him, or we'd search through the Young Survival Coalition or Men Against Breast Cancer. I told him he was not alone--even if the heavy curtain of pink during Breast Cancer Awareness Month conspires to cover him and make him seem invisible.

"I hate October," he said. "I hate this month."