Everything should be upbeat. We have the great flat in San Francisco–Pacific Heights for goodness sakes. We have the great physician at UCSF–he told us himself that his team is the best in the world. Everything at home is handled: mail, paper, plants, and upkeep (gardening, cleaning). Mike’s daughter is thrilled we will be in the city for two months. Max is planning to visit. It’s all good. Really.

And then: the reality of driving to yesterday UCSF for Mike’s radiation. The unease of living in a stranger’s home. Knowing that for the first time my damn peonies are producing flowers and I’m missing it. Wishing none of this was happening and knowing how fortunate we are to access these wonders—world class medical treatment, the support of family and friends, and the delights and distractions of my favorite city.

Sometimes I need to hunker down (briefly) in misery, to eat licorice and drink wine, preferably in bed. It’s not a wonderful combination but I will say that Chardonnay holds up best with soft, black licorice. Sometimes I need to read chick lit and not make dinner. Sometimes Mike and I need to wander around Noe Valley without purpose or plan, come back to the demanding little dog, and take naps, all three of us.

Tomorrow I will make Fiona walk a few miles even if it’s rainy or cold. I will cook tasty, nutritious meals. I will wash my hair and I will not make Mike watch The Voice with me.