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Leah Ferguson

Update from the Brain Cancer Chronicles: Mom’s Almost There, but Not Quite There, and I’m Not Ready for There Anyway

Let me tell you what’s weird in Brain Cancer World. Two weeks ago, when mom’s hospice nurse came to visit, she declared my mom’s condition “status quo, with deterioration.” I think that means, “Still living, but a little less than she was before.” Last Thursday, a day after we visited with Mary and Tim and one of their brothers and sister-in-law, I got a phone call. Everything the day before had been status quo: Mom slept most of the visit, but when she was awake, she was listening and responding. That day, the day after the visit with the family, something changed, and I raced down to her house. The nurse had stopped by earlier, and noticed that Mom’s color had changed. Her lung capacity was diminished, which we knew, but she had what the nurse called “the Look.” It was this Look she didn’t know how to describe but knew well from her work with dying patients. It’s not a good Look, basically. It’s not a Look we’re going for these days. So, based on…

Leah Reads: Such a Fun Age, by Kiley Reid

Such a Fun Age centers its story on a late evening in Philadelphia, when a young Black woman’s boss calls her in a last-minute emergency to babysit her young daughter. Emira, the babysitter, is asked to take the toddler to the neighborhood’s upscale grocery market, where she is accused of kidnapping the white child. The story spirals from there: Emira’s acceptance of, then resistance against, the societal expectations that had immediately deemed her guilty, her boss’s over-the-top obsession with proving herself a nonracist, all set against the backdrop of Instagram culture and coming-of-age adulthood. This novel is different than anything I’ve read–that’s a good thing–in that it’s very rare one reads a book where she’s not quite sure how to feel about the villain character: Do I like her? the reader thinks. Is it okay if I like her? Such a Fun Age is Kiley Reid’s debut novel, and she writes her characters with such a gentle pen that it’s not until I was halfway through the book that I figured…

Leah Cooks (or Drinks, in this Case): Mojitos

Last week David and I were sitting on the deck after dinner on a beautiful evening, chatting. Our kids were playing down the hill in the yard of the neighbors who live behind us, and when I saw one of them sitting on her back patio, I zipped her a text: “Hey! If you want company, come on up! I’ve got wine.” A while later, my neighbor walked up the incline to our house, a cold drink already in her hand–I hadn’t realized that she’d texted me back, saying that her husband was mixing up mojitos if we wanted to come down instead (considering that all six of our children were in her backyard, that would’ve made much more sense? But you all know I’m not gifted with linear thinking). I also didn’t know that I’d totally interrupted their wedding anniversary. (My neighbor is a very tolerant person. I need to be more like my neighbor.) But this post isn’t about my good neighbor and her mojito-mixing husband. This post, my friends, is about the mojito that good husband…