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The things they carried


  • Jeans (low-rise, boot-cut; Long and Lean)
  • Pants (drawstring, loose, voluminous enough to smuggle a ham within their many folds)
  • T-shirts (many black, one gray, one white, two pink)
  • Underpants (cotton, modest, capacious, black and dark heather gray)
  • Bras (heavily engineered, elaborately cantilevered, and cunningly flying-buttressed, in black and beige)
  • Nightgowns (two, cotton knit, floral, for lounging — I shall not sleep in them because the hot flashes would only cause me to tear them from my body in a 3 a.m. panic)

Funny shoes:

  • Polka-dotted satin flip-flops
  • Red Chinese brocade sneakers
  • Windex-blue brocade mules featuring many a wee pagoda
  • Battered Tevas, lest I be otherwise mistaken for a chic and cosmopolitan New Yorker

Comfort items:

  • Pillow (goosedown and feathers, semi-firm, sheathed in ivory pillowcase, 400-count Egyptian cotton)
  • Framed photo of Paul and the kitten
  • Polarfleece socks
  • Crack pipe and rocks appertaining thereto


  • Almost-empty bottle of off-brand prenatal vitamins
  • A dozen homemade rolls baked today by Paul
  • A dozen homemade brownies baked today by me
  • Thin Mints, courtesy of Mom
  • Single airline-sized bottle of vodka, for emergencies...well, for one emergency. And only a tiny one.


  • Laptop, laptop power supply
  • Cell phone, charger, cradle for synching with laptop
  • Digital camera, card reader for transferring photos
  • MP3 player, charger, headphones
  • Rechargeable batteries, charger for, uh, recharging
  • Toaster to knock nonchalantly into the bathtub when I need a bit of homestyle electroshock therapy


  • Half a dozen books
  • Two-inch-thick file of medical records and instructional materials
  • Tylenol, with and without codeine
  • Medication, syringes, half-full sharps container
  • Too many anxieties to fit into the overhead compartment or beneath the seat in front of me