It went well!

I didn’t post after the signing because I was – well – indisposed.

That’s the official title for imbibing almost a full bottle of champagne, then having a wonderful burger at Costello‘s across the street (seriously, one of the best burgers I’ve had all year! Just the right amount of cheese and a little bit of garlic – yum!) Then stumbling upstairs to sleep it off.

During our dinner the kids played pool, I played pinball (I’m NUTS about a good pinball game!) and Gerry moved back and forth between the two. We’re so danged low-rent.

But most important, the signing at Common Good Books went really well – hooray!

Mary, the kind woman from the bookstore (who, it turns out, had been asked to handle the signing by one of the younger, male bookstore employees because she’s a knitter. He thought “only two chairs” would be required…) said that the turnout was record breaking.

I know that all seats were filled and there were f0lks standing! And not just because they were leaving!

I liked Mary immediately. She’s a former Jr. High principal, and I loved how she interacted with Hannah and Max. She’s a friend and fan of both my kids’ current principals (who I also LOVE) and there’s something about admiring the same folks that helps the bonding.

My friend London shared some of the white hot chocolate she got upstairs at Nina’s (where, ironically, Hannah and I came to knit during our visit to MN in Summer 2006) and it was the MOST amazing hot drink I’d had. It made me think of the hot soy-based cinnamon drinks I would make for Hannah’s dairy-allergic friend, Jaiden, back in NJ.

As yesterday was the first day of snowing here in the Twin Cities this year, it felt festive and just perfect to have something hot and delicious. I wondered how it would taste with a touch of rosewater…

I talked for a good 45 minutes, answered some questions, then at the prompting of a good friend in the crowd told the story of how Gerry and I met. Folks were grinning.

My publicist, who I had never met in person, Jana Robbins was there (Hi Jana!) as was Kari Cornell (author of Knitticisms and a supportive friend!) It was a big deal for me, this book signing, and I felt very loved.

After I talked, I moved down to the shop where I signed books, sitting at GK’s desk [qvell], offering plastic cups of champagne to anyone who desired. The kids helped Mary fold up the chairs, Gerry bought Hannah Persepolis II, and a fine time was had by all!

Speaking of graphic novels, the other day when I was putting away my mom’s china I found my original boxed set of Maus, which I shared with Hannah. She was fascinated that her mom had been ‘cool enough’ to read graphic novels before she was born, and was intruiged with the Jewish-ness of the story. She’s currently struggling with the whole “Why do I have to go to Hebrew School?” thing. Maus may help make it a little more pertinent.

Gerry was amazing – he videotaped the event – and ran around like a proud husband. Seriously, he seemed more like his “old self” than I’ve seen in a long time, recent fall notwithstanding.

We both collapsed when we got home, but I tried to make up for my dissolute ways by getting up early this morning and making waffles for the kids before they headed off to school. A hot, fresh waffle on a cold, bike-riding morning. One of Max’s friends dropped by this morning and had a waffle, too – we’re so friggin’ Ozzie & Harriet these days!

I think I’ll go out for a ride – my breathing is better than it’s been in months (thank you Prednisone) and tomorrow I go see my Pullmonary doctor to try to find a strategy that will allow me to retain this ability to breathe.

I think I’ll ride past the Center For Grief & Loss and see what programs / groups they have (they’re just a few blocks away) where I can interact with other red-faced, snotty-nosed, loving folks. Then I’ll find a quiet place to write some thank-you cards to folks who have been so kind in light of Jan’s recent passing.

Of course today, true to form, Gerry’s body is making him pay for his walk down videographer’s memory lane, and he’s laid up in bed today. I brought him coffee and waffles and tucked him in, told him to take his pain meds and stay in bed as long as he wants. He won’t.

He SO needs something to make him feel that he’s making a difference. Buttering cheese sandwiches, picking up kids at the dentist and making sure that homework is done – although necessary to our well-run family – isn’t entirely cutting it for him.

The kids were – ahem – active during my reading. Max stealing the spotlight whenever he could (neither of my kids are shy) and Hannah chatting with her friend Lydia (it made me feel so glad and loved that so many new friends came to the signing – ) Hannah said I was “good and loud” – which is my own pet peeve when I go to hear anyone read – and announced that she could hear me all the way upstairs. Excellent.

One of the more moving things about writing this book and doing signings are the numerous folks who have had their own brushes with cancer and come to share their experiences with me. In the case of Common Good Books, the actual signing was in a very intimate corner of the shop, so I had the luxury of talking to folks individually, as if we were alone having a nice chat, as I signed their books.

One very lovely woman, who came with her daughter and son-in-law, told me of her husband who had passed from MM 6 years ago. We hugged, cried a little, and she told me that her doctors told them that because her husband was over 72 “we don’t treat folks that age with MM…”

That was sad to hear. It’s kind of understandable because a stem cell transplant can be a VERY exhausting and overwhelming experience. But some 72-year olds I know are more vital and strong than some 56-year olds. I told her I hoped that this cut off date had changed, and we teared up a bit more.

Another woman told me how her daughter had been diagnosed with skin cancer recently and I immediately thought my own kids as babies. When they were little, I intimately knew EVERY inch of their skin, every little freckle and wrinkle
and dimple.

The idea of either of them having something like cancer – that’s what would rip my heart out. But this woman was so brave, so lovely, and said that her daughter agreed with me that the health care in Minnesota is so good and – almost as important – SO empathetic.

I swear, every day we feel so damned lucky that we ended up here. Snow yesterday notwithstanding.

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