Hugs, flowers, and headgear.

Gam came to every single one of my ballet recitals.

(And piano concerts and choir fiascos and baseball games…)

Insisting that I was the best one out there, even though I wasn’t…

Telling me I looked beautiful, even though I looked like Princess Tweelex …

(Can somebody please tell me what in the world is on my head?)


Ninja Trait #9: KOTTOBAC

Ninja Trait #9: Knowledge of the Teachings of Bhuddha & Confucius

I don’t know how much Gam knows about Bhuddism, though I’m sure she’d surprise me.

But there are a few people she follows religiously:

1. Jesus.

(Heck, he curls her hair.)

2. Michael Savage

Every. Single. Night.

Evenings after nine, she drifts off to pre-recorded cassettes (thanks to my sweet Uncle) and wakes up with political views she needs three mirrors to see.

3. Mark Harmon

AKA “Gibbs,” her favorite NCIS heartthrob. She may just be swooning over blue eyes and a full head of hair but by this time I’m convinced she could diffuse a nuclear time bomb with a cat toy and a ball of tin foil (or at the very least figure out which one of the Riddle employees has been stealing from her liquor cabinet.)

I’d say the three of them are pretty #9 worthy.

Optimism, Take 2

I wake up to a buzzing phone. It’s Gam. And it’s 6:30 a.m.


“Jenny? It’s Gammy! And I’m just calling you to tell you that today is going to be a GOOD day, with the help of the Lord.”

“Oh yeah?” I roll over and squint at the clock. Yep. It’s 6:30.

“Chess! Because you’re going to pray it so, aren’t you?”

“Of course.”

“Ok. And we’re OFF! Talk to you tomorrow!”


The cancer (never referred to as such . . . Gam always says “this thing” or “this disease,” or, my favorite, “this silly thing that they say I’ve got” . . . ) is a little unpredictable. It gives her good days where she feels like dancing and going on dates; and bad days where she can’t stay awake for more than a few moments at a time and wonders if “this is it.”  I hate those days.

But the Optimism keeps her going. Maybe it keeps me going, too. It’s her extra Ninja Trait, and by far my favorite.

If were a silly thing like cancer, I wouldn’t want to mess with Gam today. It’s going to be a good one.