10,000 Kisses

Today is July 24th, 2015. That means it’s the 10 year anniversary of my first kiss with Zsolt. It’s also the 10 year anniversary of when I thought to myself, “I could marry this guy.” AND it’s my 10 year anniversary since having that absolutely perfect moment I’d always wanted with another person—it wasn’t just the perfect setting or situation as we lay on the beach side by side, sharing earbuds and listening to Iron & Wine’s Such Great Heights; it was perfect for reasons that can’t be put into worlds. It was my first totally perfect moment. I remember realizing this as I lay there beside him, and then feeling amazed.

The blog has been largely quiet this summer. The reason for this is because I’m here with him, and we’re by the Balaton shore, and everything feels so much in the present moment. Being with my husband, especially in a place like this where we are relaxed, and easy, and free, is simply put, curative for the soul.

I know what it is to feel fully alive and totally happy. I know what it is to be totally well and healed in the most essential of ways. It is because of this tall, hansome Hungarian I kissed ten years ago today. It is because I am totally with him and am totally for him, as he is with and for me.

So today I am healthy, and happy, and free. It’s all longed for, and I am grateful.

Happy anniversary, Zsolt.

Love always


Beach at Nice 2015

P.S. 10,000 kisses? Well, at three kisses a day for 10 years, we’re about there. But in fact, we suspect it’s really about 20,000. 😉

An absentminded mess

We are on the train now, headed toward Pecs and leaving Balaton. For the past four days Zsolt and I have been enjoying a little lakeside R&R. Before that it was sweating in Budapest and late-night dance parties. I’ll tell you what. If you want to take a break from the cancer world because sometimes it becomes too overwhelming, there’s little better than going out to dance. One – you are in a state to not feel embarrassed since you know life is precious, and Two- it’s just a freaking fabulous workout.

So that was Budapest. Hot-hot days and comfortable nights in outdoor clubs. And work, of course, which happily follows me wherever there’s an internet connection.

But following this time away in Budapest, I have three little confessions to make . . . actually four – the last being less of a confession and more of a statement.

Number one: I burned the crap out of Zsolt’s mother’s pot here in Balaton. For the past couple weeks I have been in the mood to make tomatoe sauce with meatballs, particularly following this TED talk I watched about foods that kill cancer and – once again – was reminded that tomatoes warmed up are really great for an anti-cancer diet. Therefore I bought some liquid tomato and a can of chopped tomato while in Budapest and brought them down to Balaton. (No one in Budapest seemed to really want my tomato sauce and meatballs.  That’s because it’s just not part of a traditional Hungarian diet. However, Zsolt and I had some ‘alone time’ scheduled for the Balaton part of our travelling, so I deferred the cooking of the sauce until we arrived in Fonyod Ligit, which is a little village along the Balaton coast. And thank goodness I did.) Anyhow, I had the sauce cooking for a nice long time, made the meatballs in the frying pan then later transferred those into the sauce, and cooked everything together with delicious results.

So we’re eating this amazing sauce & meatball meal – and we’re (Zsolt and I) are like, “This is awesome. What’s that flavour? I don’t know what that flavour is? What did you put in it? I only put onions and basil and the meatballs. Maybe it’s from the meatballs? I did sear them pretty good, maybe it’s from the meatballs?

Wrong. That awesome flavour was from the blackened bottom of that sauce pot. It took me two days to discover the burn and by then it was so set into the freaking pot that I’ve been trying to scrub it clean for the past day and a night. Sugar scrubbed into the dark ring has helped (using a newspaper) but not totally cleared away the mess. We had to catch this train, so I’ve stashed the pot in a far corner beneath the sink hoping that when his mother does discover the burnt patch remaining – because she 100% will discover it, and then she will ask: ‘Why did Catherine burn the pot?’ as though I had plotted to do this (and with the real answer being that I burn essentially every pot that I encounter while cooking)  . . . hopefully, by this time this happens, I’ll be well out of the country.

Not that she would get angry, but being asked ‘why’ I did something that I really couldn’t help is a pet-peeve of mine, and tends to send me into a sarcastic fit of annoyance  – replying with things like, “I burnt the pot because it was looking at me funny.” Or “I burnt the pot to add to the flavour” (apparently true in this case ) Or “I burnt the damn pot because I purposely wanted to damage it.”

Truth is, I’m just absent minded. Which brings me to the second confession.

Number Two – I lost my glasses! Bah. Gone! Poof. Where are they? If I knew that, they wouldn’t be lost. But one thing is for sure, they aren’t in my luggage and that’s all I’m taking away from Balaton right now as we head toward Pecs. Glasses equal gone. We’re about to visit all these awesome places, and I’m stuck with my prescription shades. But at least I have those – even if it means walking around the house, mall, and movie theatre like a hung-over starlet with these dramatic black sunglasses.

Number Three – I broke my father-in-law’s air mattress! Again, by the time he discovers this I am hoping to be out of the country.

Some people report chemo brain after having gone through chemotherapy – it’s a very real problem that seems to creep up and then simply not go away; your ability to remember things is greatly affected. If you want to learn more about chemo brain you should check out AnneMarie’s blog – aptly titled, “chemobrain” and just google search the term in general. I think this is one of the side effects they don’t necessarily warn you about (in addition to the one about chemo possibly killing your sex life) before you sign that waver and agree to the treatment course.

However, in my case, I can only blame it on genetics. Absentmindedness has been my middle name (a really long middle name) since I can remember.

So if you ever want to ask me why I dropped that tissue and didn’t pick it up, or why I left the light on, or why the front door is open a tiny bit . . . don’t bother, because I won’t tell you the real answer. Instead I’ll say aliens forced me to discard the tissue as an experiment in entropy, or the light turned itself on and we may have a poltergeist problem, or the wind knocked at the door but no one answered and so it let itself in.

Number Four – I really did have a lovely time in Balaton. The allergies weren’t horrible. The water was warm. I napped with my husband. We watched the Olympics. I did a little work. And the sunsets were beautiful. These little worries and expense-causing mistakes seem to follow me around everywhere . . . but nevertheless, I was quite absentmindedly happy to be on a mini-vacation, and forget, just for a little while, about the bigger worries of life.

P.S. I’m sipping on a pear-flavoured beer while riding this Hungarian train. Take that Canada! I’m drinking in public! Wooohooo! Life is just so crazy sometimes.  🙂

Zsolt as Piros and Vörös

You may have noticed (or may not) the several-day gap between this and the last post. Well, honestly, the weather is warm and we’re by the lake, and it’s so lovely in the water . . . all my ‘things’ have been neglected (blogs, twitter, writing, narrative nippling).

My daily ritual of wake, eat, write, surf (the internet), workout, eat, surf/blog/tweet/get to business has been substituted with wake, eat, swim, eat, swim, eat, swim. And in between there’s an awful lot of laying on the grassy beach and playing UNO.

But today I’m popping by to say hello and teach you two interesting differences with the Hungarian concept of RED.

Hungarians have two words for red. Piros and Vörös. I’d like to use Zsolt, my handsome husband, to illustrate the difference.

On Saturday, a day that struck 35 degrees in the sun, Zsolt and I went for a swim in the water immediately after lunch. To be fair he was protesting this activity, saying “you shouldn’t swim for thirty minutes after eating.” and I was calling him a giant-baby, asserting that it “isn’t swimming when the water is only two feet deep.” Plus I was desperate to escape the suntrap porch of his Balaton cottage and get our asses to the water for a cool-down post goulash lunch.

Anyhow, we went into the water for a very ‘quick dip’ since it was midday, we had no sunscreen, and we’d just eaten. This was mission to cool down.

Except that it’s really fun in the water. And two minutes turned to five, which turned to ten, which turned to about 20 minutes in the water.

So while I was safe with my t-shirt (Zsolt’s giant nightshirt, actually, which I wore to protect the area of my body exposed to the earlier radiotherapy of February), he had just a little too much sun.

Saturday afternoon, post mid-day swim, Zsolt had a slight burn across his chest. This general colour of red is called piros. Piros can apply to apples, bicycles, swimming trunks, red vending machines, etc. It is your average red.

The next day was also hot. And so, again, we went for another – but this time, really seriously no joking – ‘quick dip’ in Balaton. Again I wore a t-shirt and Zsolt went bare skinned (by the by, all this time I’m there saying, “Babe, wear a t-shirt” but he’s like, “no way, not cool.” Which is true, I do look like a dork in this giant-sized white t-shirt, but at this point in my life I can hardly give a shit.)

Quick dip. With sunblock applied.

Half an hour later, we’re back on the beach to dry off. Zsolt looks down and asks if I think he looks more red. No, I tell him, you’re fine.

But did you know that sometimes skin burns slowly? Like, the extent of the damage isn’t immediately visible?

Anyhow – Vörös is Hungarian for a really rich, deep kind of red, and generally reserved for special entities. Blood is vörös. Wine is vörös. Zsolt is now vörös.

And today we’re sitting in the shade midday; he’s wearing the t-shirt, and every time I go to touch him (lovingly) on the shoulder, all I get in return is “Ow!” The man has turned into a human lobster. A vörös lobster.

So there’s a quick lesson in Hungarian language. Piros vs Vörös. And a good reason to wear your t-shirt in the water. Cuddling is cool, even if t-shirt’s aren’t, which makes looking like a dork worth the fashion faux-pas.