Anything Lime

Cancer free

Yet another family member of mine was diagnosed with cancer recently. And while his cancer is not skin cancer, I took it as the last straw to go and get a cancer screening. I spend a lot of time in the sun, I live in Florida and even though I always wear sunscreen, my pale white sunscreened skin is hardly a match for the sun. My mother and her mother both had skin cancer. So after hearing my uncle’s diagnosis weeks after having the cancer bug planted in my head by none other than Grey’s Anatomy, I decided to make an appointment with Patrick’s dermatologist, Dr. McCharming.

After hours of waiting in the modernly-appointed office, I was finally escorted to my exam room where I was questioned and handed one of those bibs you get fastened around your neck at the dentist’s office. Only the nurse called it a gown. I waited another 30 minutes in my “gown” before the doctor came in, pointed to my powder blue frock and said, “That’s a great color on you.” I forgave him for the gown.

My main concern was a large mole on my back. A mole that one of my friends once told me was growing a tail. A mole my grandmother called hideous during my wedding dress try on and told me I most certainly had to HAVE IT REMOVED before my wedding. A mole that for some unknown reason reminds me of my mother. A mole that for the last two decades has grown on me in more ways than one. A mole that hid under my bra strap during my cancer screening which made Dr. McCharming say in the most charming of ways, “There it is, right under your bra strap.” A mole that I really, really didn’t want removed.

There’s something so beautiful about moles to me. And to the entire fashion industry, apparently, as evidenced by the success of Cindy Crawford and Nikki Taylor – whose mole doesn’t make her worthy of being listed next to Cindy Crawford.

The night before my appointment I was quite sad. I was struggling with the thought of getting it violently scooped out. How does a girl say goodbye to a piece of her body in an instant? How does a girl wave away one of the only distinguishing marks on her body?


My cancer screening gave me peace of mind. I don’t have cancer, all of my bumps and freckles and spots and boils look normal. Thank goodness – the Mole is here to stay. Nuts to you, Grandma, ‘Ol Moley will be at my wedding. And yes, I know he’s big enough to require his own seat.


Not exactly over the river and through the woods, but we eventually made it to Grandma’s house

For Mother’s Day this year, I wanted to do something special for my Grandma. A snowbird living in Florida for the winter, she would have spent her special day alone and it broke my heart. I packed up the dog and a weekend’s worth of clothing and set out on my way. The (should be) two-hour drive took almost four hours, as I had to run two errands and get lost 18 times. And a quick visit to Google Maps would have saved me the trouble of having to rely on my grandmother’s directions, which sent me more than 20 miles out of my way.

Arriving at her house set me at ease despite the overwhelming anxiety I felt when I was driving around aimlessly in the pitch dark wondering whether Kya and I would be attacked on those barren roads and wind up missing for the next 40 years until some ambitious detective reopens the case, solves the mystery and by then our abductor would have been dead 15 years.

I didn’t feel like doing much, so we relaxed in her living room in our pajamas after eating a belly’s full of homemade chicken and rice soup (her specialty!). We watched an episode of “House,” you know, the one where the patient comes in with what seems like an obvious diagnosis, and after running a few tests it turns out she’s a freak of nature, and the hospital staff scrambles to save her life in the nick of time. An overconfident House offers several diagnoses one at a time throughout the duration of the episode, and they keep running into road blocks. Then, just as House is chomping into a sandwich, he realizes the REAL truth and calls the team just as they’re about perform a biopsy on the patient’s liver (which would have killed her, by the way). After the patient’s close brush with death, House sprinkles in some sarcasm as he barks more instructions to the team. He saves the woman’s life and saves the day despite his cynicism and absolute hatred for the patient and all of mankind. Yeah, that episode.

The next day we ventured out to Tarpon Springs, which is a predominantly Greek town that is perfect for shopping, eating and general tourism of sorts. I got some homemade soap from this place that is perfect if you’re only in there for five minutes. Any longer and your head starts to implode from the overwhelming smell of 2000 different scents combining and piercing your brain stem like the spear of a loin-clothed warrior.

I also got an adorable new toe ring, which I have needed since last month when I took off my old one. I have been wearing a toe ring every single day for seven years, which has caused my toe to change shape in order to accommodate the tight shoes I wear. I don’t care that my toe looks like one of ET’s fingers. No, I don’t care about that. Not when I look down and realize that I have become one with the toe ring, and my toe has grown into a masterpiece of deformation, because there are few things that fill my heart with such joy.

The new one has a beautiful yellow and green pattern, which from afar could be mistaken as a mysterious toe fungus. But I think I decided a long time ago that I don’t give a damn about what people think, which is why I sometimes go to work with drool marks on my face and yesterday’s mascara smudged beneath my eyes.

My grandma bought me a few cute things, one of them being a hook to hang my purse when I go out to eat and the other being a little shoe decoration to hang in my apartment. It was a nice day. We finished the trip by heading to Hellas Bakery (which Grandma pronounces “Hell-en-uh’s) to get a few Greek Pastries. Yum yum.

We enjoyed many meals out together, and sometimes her friends joined us. This is particularly amusing because I can become a spectator to what I call “old people talk.” It’s when conversations sound like this:

“Ya know, Otto can’t even work on his kitchen.”

“Gasp! You’re kidding me! What happened?”

“He has to get an MRI done on his shoulder. The doctor thinks it’s his roater cup.”

“Oh wow. That’s just terrible.”

And while I giggled and maintained my status as a mere bystander during most of their talks about hip replacement surgeries, diabetes and other such elderly topics, I felt wonderful every time my grandma said to her friends, “Look at that engagement ring! Isn’t that the prettiest ring you’ve ever seen? It’s so different and beautiful.” I just held my hand out while all of the oldies oooh-ed and ahhhh-ed in amazement. I don’t anticipate ever tiring of that.

We spent most of Sunday afternoon sneaking into movies. Those old ladies, they’re the ones you have to watch out for! If I got caught and said, “She made me do it!” It’s not like anyone would believe me! In fact, I’d probably have to take a walk of shame to the exit as the usher accompanying me periodically spoke on his walkie-talkie to his coworkers, “Caught another hopper. This one has no shame — she tried to blame it on an old lady.”

We saw “Baby Mama” and “Iron Man,” and I’d recommend both. In fact, both of them were much more serious than I would have predicted, but I appreciated it in both cases.

All in all, it was a fun weekend. I returned to Orlando feeling as I do on most Sunday nights, that even though I love my job, my weekend was much too short. Then I start calculating the number of work weeks I have left until retirement, but before I come up with a number, I remember how much I hate math and just go back to staring blankly at my engagement ring.