last thanksgiving, i worked all day, and left around 3 pm to go home and rest. i was exhausted after two very long weeks of very long workdays, getting ready for beaujolais nouveau and thanksgiving. i think i was also fending off the flu.

when i was satisfied that everything would be alright at the restaurant, the cooks plated me up some turkey and everything else, and i got in my car to come home. i don't answer my cell phone at work, and half of the time i forget it at home (anyone who knows me knows that the thing looks like it's straight out of 1992), but i typically check it for missed calls and messages when i get into the car. i'd parked in someone else's spot, since she wasn't working on thanksgiving, and the sun was over the bay, shining into my eyes.

i had several missed calls, which was strange, and two from one of my brothers, which was even stranger, since my brothers rarely call me, and we'd just spoken a few days before on their birthday. there was a message from my dad, too. so i called back my brother, who was at work, and he told me that our uncle had a brain tumor--a glioblastoma multiforme, a tumor he was born with, the size of a golf ball or bigger. stage iv cancer. very aggressive. prognosis: one year, maybe 18 months.

(it is the terrible truth that cancer is so much more than something to worry about or be afraid of--it is something that will inevitably touch everyone's life. but it will never be easy for anyone to watch someone she loves be eaten away to nothing. i don't want to lessen anyone else's pain by talking about mine--simply put, this is something i need to do. i have a large family, entangled like the neverending branches of a banyan tree, and looking back upon our history from where i stand, it seems that pain and hardship are what have created the strongest bonds between us. i could be wrong, or just caught in a moment of negativity, but even in the limited experiences of my lifetime, difficult experiences are what have brought me closest to others.)

this year has, in many ways, been the first year i've had to be an adult. in many ways, it's been my worst year, and i can only hope that things improve for me and the people in my life.

i have always appreciated small things, and savoring mundane beauty has certainly become an important part of my vita quotidiana. this journal is above all a place for me to catalogue these bits of magic, and for that i am grateful.

thank you, universe, for my family and friends (my second family), for good health and delicious food, for doors that magically open whenever i know where i want to go (and for giving me the people who open them for me), and for beautiful art, books and music. thank you for my healing hand, with no permanent damage, and for tilden park, where i find myself almost every single day now. thank you for pizza. and ice cream. and thank you for every day you give my uncle, in the midst of his umpteenth round of chemotherapy, not too much better, but not too much worse, either.