I write this from bed, & I think maybe these last two days are the first two days in about 16 months in which I’ve had nothing too major/pressing in my immediate periphery, over my head, nothing too major that requires immediate action. Not today. At least not that I’m currently aware of. …

My boss texted me this morning to say he liked the “editorial comment” I slipped into this week’s edition of our school newsletter. I had accidentally left a typo dating the newsletter: 111/01/2020.

But like my boss said first, it DOES feel like we’re in month one-hundred and eleven of 2020. Doesn’t it?

HOWEVER, Sarah and I must have been crying “uncle” loud enough for 2020 to hear us because today her job agreed to let her work remotely, for a time, from Tucson which means we can be moved into our new home by December 1st, both gainfully employed…

One of the things I’ll definitely miss about living in Flagstaff is the way you just “run into people you know” all the time. Like I remember a couple years ago being in the grocery store and a student shouting across the dairy aisle “Hey, Gruber! Do we need to just do the reading questions for Monday?”

“Just the reading questions,” I smiled, grabbing some Irish butter. (Seriously, how do the Irish do this? What passes for “Irish butter” in the states isn’t nearly as good as actual fucking Irish butter in Ireland, but I swear the Irish are putting…

I forgot it’s almost Halloween.

My sixth graders didn’t.

A boy in my middle school Intro to CRW asked me this morning what I’d do if he shows up at my house tomorrow asking for a treat (and I’m thinking why the fuck would you do that? — then I remembered, it’s almost Halloween, and even now, when things are so damn hard and sad, it still matters to little kids.)

We don’t have any candy, I told him. But I could give you some dry pasta and tea bags . . .

I love pasta! He said. This is…

Looking like the reaper; mending; worrying

A few thoughts thirteen days before the presidential election
and thirteen days before I find out if the breast cancer has spread to my lungs


The pandemic started with punk rock, and morphed to 90s Manchester and today I moved into Patsy Cline. I started, of course, with Crazy. Her voice is like wine. So sincere. Women singing about pain. The story of time. Women singing about pain, codifying the agony in what little language we ever had to name the pain of our own existence.


Maybe you can be nowhere now, but maybe you never wanted


My friend Lynn introduced me to the phrase “dying time.” We were talking about someone, about how they were dying, and she said “this is a dying time.” She said this very plainly. She said this matter-of-fact. “This is a dying time.” And I did what I always do with words and phrases that resonate with me: I stole it and started using it.

I know it comes from Buddha or Jesus or The Bible or Grimms Fairytales or the back of a CrackerJack box or whatever, but Lynn was the first person to use it in order for me…

My labs came back on Friday. Everything is normal at the moment, which is not to say I am “cured.” I will never be cured of breast cancer until there’s, you know, a cure.

Oh, but reader, to hear the words “normal” from a doctor’s office. To hear a little cheer, a little good will, a little confidence in the voice of the medical professional who called to tell me I was “normal” — “normal” tumor markers, and “normal” thyroid levels (a bit low, but “normal”), and normal hormone levels (low because I take and receive drugs designed to prevent

Yesterday, after my meeting for my recovery from booze-a-hol addiction, I hung out with my friend Sal and wrote/drew in my journal.

“Circles again,” she noted as I filled my page up with line after line of circles — tight circles, big circles, circles everywhere.

She’s noted this before, and refused to tell me what the circles signify. “Don’t mention my circles if you’re not even going to tell me what you’re thinking about them,” I said, continuing to draw circles.

“Has anyone ever suggested you might be Autistic?”

“Is that what my circles mean? ‘Autism’?” I smirked, making more…

That quote is from Ghostbusters (the original recipe film).
I am using the quote to express that the trap of my body, according to the best medical imaging, is absent of any visual cancer. That’s a great feeling. I would like to keep matters this way.

I do have a fucked up thyroid and colon.
Dr. says, “Fucked up thyroid? Fucked up colon?”
Say, “Sounds about right.”
Defer to wife. Wife nods, “Colon and thyroid been fucked up long as I’ve known you.”

Of course we weren’t cursing. Of course it would have been so much more hilarious if we…

This evening I texted a friend that tomorrow is my big “PET scan reveal” event and that it feels perhaps more abhorrent, I imagine, than having to attend a gender reveal “party” . . .

I have strong feelings about “gender reveal” parties. I shalt not enumerate said feelings tonight. Trying to stay calm and sane. Going apeshit over the batshit that is “gender reveal parties” will not help me as I breathe my way into tomorrow.

There are four possible readings. This is not a deck of tarot cards. Either 1) the cancer has progressed 2) the cancer has…

Allison Gruber

Educator, essayist, feminist, human.

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