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I know, I know, it’s overplayed. Surely (“Don’t call me, Shirley” — couldn’t help myself there), there are  a hundred more important stories for the media — and the public — to focus on today. And maybe it shouldn’t matter so much. But you know it does.

So today, I am Cleveland. And I hope, as it says in this excellent article (except for the “beleaguered” part), that you will be Cleveland today too. There are many many reasons we all choose to live in this city and not one of them is because of LeBron James. We can be great without him. In fact, we are great without him.

But we still really really want to win tonight.

Mark is going with my dad and brothers and I will choose to watch basketball over Grey’s Anatomy for the first time ever.  And no matter the outcome, I will be Cleveland again tomorrow and the day after that.

Who’s with me?

I have never been to a Cavs game. Ever. And boy, am I regretting that now.

So, yeah, I’m disappointed. Just like very other sports fan in Cleveland. And almost every other living, breathing human being in Cleveland. This definitely sets us back about a decade in our never-ending, never-satisfying quest for a championship.

But — and no, I’m not going to say, “But there are two wars going on and there’s an oil spill and children have cancer,” (even though there are and there is and they do) — but simply that it’s his life and his choice. So maybe he’s chasing money and glory and a high-rolling life? That’s his right. Many of us have left our hometowns for higher salaries, more glamorous zip codes, more exciting lifestyles.  That doesn’t make us traitors.

Now I agree that this sucks, that Cleveland deserves a break and definitely definitely deserves a championship. And I also agree that he owed this city the courtesy to not make that announcement in such a grandiose fashion. He had to know that people would take it personally and he should have shown more respect and foresight than that. But ultimately, it’s his life. And he gets to do with it whatever he wants.

And I thought Mark and I were making The Decision of 2010. Geez.

Le Braedan, 2004

Going . . .

Gone

apples, strawberries, canned tomatoes? Air we breathe, water we drink, dirt our kids play in?

I’m pissed. The President’s Cancer Panel released its report last week, after several years of delay, and there is incontrovertible proof that chemicals in our environment are causing the increase in human cancers. Not shocking, right? I mean, of course, what else is to explain the rapid rise in childhood cancers and the fact that people in the developed world account for the vast majority of global cancer cases? But still, this report, coming from the medical mainstream, takes things to a new level, basically says it’s way worse than we may have previously thought.

Here is the full report, a long and technical read that’s more depressing and maddening than a Cavs playoff game (which I really shouldn’t to dwell on because I have nothing new to add to that conversation except to say that there is a special kind of pain reserved for Cleveland sports fans, one that you simply cannot fathom until you have had your hopes crushed as many times as we have. It is so much more than a game to this city, so much more.). Anyway! Here’s Nicolas Kristof’s take on it (the cancer research not the NBA playoffs) in last week’s New York Times, which does a great job of breaking down the report into its key components for a much quicker (but equally depressing and maddening) read. Politics aside, this is a pretty big deal.

As always, it’s the most vulnerable who are . . . well, most vulnerable. The poor, living in urban areas with higher concentrations of chemicals in the air, the working poor employed in jobs with heavier exposure to industrial and manufacturing chemicals, pregnant women and, of course, children.  As a pregnant woman, you’re bombarded with messages about not smoking and not drinking, but few mention not eating conventionally grown blueberries. I know women who microwaved their deli meat for fear of listeriosis but still drank water from BPA-laced plastic bottles. And what do they get? Five-year-olds with ovarian cancer? That’s just plain wrong.

It’s ironic that it’s often things we might consider healthy — fruits and vegetables, bottled water — that cause some of the greatest damage. Things we consume in even bigger quantities when we’re pregnant or that we foist on our children when they’re still growing.

I’m mad at myself too, because I still prefer an unnaturally shiny and blemish-free apple to its dull, slightly mushy organic counterpart. But we make small changes — driving the extra miles to Whole Foods, spending the extra dollars, switching to Shaklee cleaning products (again spending the extra dollars). Of course, in my case, the damage is done. All-natural sanitizing wipes are not going to undo the cellular freak show that exists in my boy’s body. It’s too late for us.

But maybe it’s not too late for you.

I completely acknowledge the fact that my weeds in the garden analogy fails to even attempt to answer Austin’s primary question: Why do children get cancer? I have no answer for that one, other than the unsatisfying response I give Braedan every time he asks it: Bad luck.

“Bad luck” is simply the best I can do, because children with cancer sure doesn’t make any sense to me.

But, sensible or not, we live with it so . . . we’ve had a fine week. Austin went to school for another three days, including a field trip to the Nature Center “to look for bugs.”

His labs on Monday were fine so he didn’t need any blood products until today when we had one of our full day transfusions. He’ll be back in the morning for platelets, which we expect each day next week as well. His other blood counts are too low to allow him at school anyway so I guess we might as well spend our days in the hospital.

He is getting excited for the CureSearch walk and loves to hear the names of his friends and classmates who will be joining us. If you haven’t signed up yet, you can do so here. The organizers do want children to be registered, even though they don’t have to pay anything, just for planning’s sake.  They’ll have balloon clowns and face painters so it is definitely a family-friendly event. Strollers are welcome although only the very young should need them because it’s quite short — I think just around the interior circle of Wade Oval. I know that they want active cancer patients to be able to participate so I’m pretty sure everyone else will be able to handle it too.

And if you can, please wear something red, Austin’s favorite color.  This will allow us to easily find each other and will signify our strength as a team. Also, I don’t expect people to do any separate fundraising — your presence is enough — but if you have a network of people you’re comfortable hitting up, go for it.  In fact, the walker who raises the most money between now and the event will win two tickets to a 2010 Cavs playoff game. That’s almost as much motivation as finding a cure for childhood cancer!

Mark and I’ve gone back and forth, back and forth on this house decision.  We lay awake at night talking about it, listing all the pros (great house, great neighborhood, great value) and cons (the general hassle of selling our house and moving). We visited and revisited the house, and every time we liked it more and more. We started to feel as if it could truly be our home as we mentally arranged our furniture and hung our pictures on the walls. We spent time with the neighbors and were wowed by the freedom the children experience on that block, running from house to house and yard to yard, with no boundaries slowing them down or hemming them in. We finally decided that yes, we could see ourselves living there happily so . . . we made an offer.

This was on Friday morning when we learned that the relocation company closed at noon for the long weekend. By Monday night, we got word that a couple from California who had visited the house many times and absolutely loved it and intended to buy it once their employment was secured, had put in an offer. So bright and early Tuesday morning, Mark drove over to the real estate office with a modified offer, this time at asking price. And . . .

we lost it.

We’re assuming the other couple’s offer simply said, “Ten thousand more than the next best offer,” or something along those lines. A bidding war in Cleveland, Ohio — imagine that! I mean, if this was the deal of the century to we Clevelanders, I can only imagine what a deal it is to Californians.

It’s okay though, we ‘re fine with this. We’re certainly disappointed and we know that if we’d acted just a little bit sooner, it would be ours (probably for $40K less too!), but we needed to be sure and so we have no regrets.

A few different people, after being told we’d made an offer, said they would pray that we got the house. This was thoughtful of them, of course, but, my feelings about prayer aside,  it’s just not that important. Save prayer for the big stuff.  Save prayer for Austin’s June scan. We live in a beautiful house with our two healthy children.  We can find another house with a master suite some other time (current neighbors, consider yourselves warned).

Today, we are happy, right where we are. We have everything we need and almost everything we want.  And that’s good enough.

A winning team sure would be nice though, for once. FOR ONCE!

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