The greatest love story ever told!

I’m married to a man named Mr. Tuffy.  

Today is our 20 year wedding anniversary so this posting is about love. It’s also about ovarian cancer and Mexico. I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to wax poetically about matters of the heart. Can an amateur writer with absolutely no experience writing about love properly describe it?  This posting may turn into one gigantic snooze fest, but dear reader, in honor of our 20 year wedding anniversary I want you to meet the love of my life.


Meet Mr. Tuffy!

Mr. Tuffy became Mr. Tuffy on our third or perhaps fourth date. I honestly can’t remember. He’s named after Tuffy Rhodes a former major league baseball player. Mr T took me to a baseball game early on. There stood Tuffy Rhodes at the plate. Sexy third (or fourth) date guy said “that’s a pretty cool nickname.”  Right there and then he became Mr. Tuffy.  Me?  I ‘m Stuffy.  It’s sickening. I get it. But I’m allergic to everything Mother Nature tosses out. This is true. So Tuffy and Stuffy is who we are and for the past 20 years we’ve been pretty damn happy.

Here are some trivial and utterly boring  details you should know about our love story:

  • We met through a personal ad placed by me in the San Francisco Jewish news, now know as J. We lived only two miles apart, (me, Berkeley, him, Oakland) but had it not been for the ad, our paths would have never crossed.
  • We make the bed together most days. We agree making the bed daily is important
  • He asks for seconds (and usually thirds) every single night at dinner. He always compliments me on my cooking except one time when I made steamed Kale.
  • He likes meat, but happily eats vegetarian food or fish since I don’t eat meat. And yes, he likes tofu!
  • He watches old movies with me.
  • He looks great in blue.
  • He handles all of our finances competently and without complaint.
  • He cleans up after himself, and sometimes after me.
  • He helps me stay organized because I am forever losing things.
  • When he makes promises to me, he always keeps them.
  • He likes to watch Family Guy.
  • He takes me to amazing sporting events like minor league hockey road trips through Canada, and to professional soccer matches, and to funky Mexican wrestling matches.
  • He taught me how to love Mexican food.

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Then he became Super Tuffy

Mr. Tuffy became Super Tuffy in May of 2015 when I got diagnosed with advanced stage ovarian cancer. Here’s my favorite Mr. Tuffy cancer story.

When I got diagnosed, the oncology folks told me straight away that I would lose my hair during chemo. They also told me to cut it short before chemo started and to prepare for it to slowly start falling out. So I moseyed down to my hairdresser, and got a short cut. Two weeks after chemo started, I woke up to a guest appearance of wads of hair in my mouth.

Disgusting, right?

Mr. Tuffy volunteered to use his beard/hair trimmer to remove the remaining offending party. He took me into the bathtub and said  “you are the bravest person I know” then he let the shears fly. After I  was sans hair he left me teary eyed in the bathroom and went away. He came back with this present. (far right).


This is quite a “gem”

See what I mean? It’s pretty damn thoughtful to get a super funky blingy hat like this right after you’ve been scalped!


I really love this hat. It’s feminine and highly functional- with or without hair.

He did many other great things for me when I had cancer. Too many to name. I could not have gotten through it without him, period. I could list everything he did, but you’d be reading forever. Yeah, he massaged my feet when I had neuropathy and he came with me to every single chemotherapy session, but better to tell you what he does for me each and every day.

Day in and Day out…

  • At night he tickles my back when I have hot flashes to cool me down!
  • Since we’ve moved to Mexico, he goes to the store at lugs home five gallon jugs of water so we always have fresh water to drink and to cook with.
  • He let’s me drink coffee and doesn’t complain when I spaz out from caffeine overload.
  • He always tells me I look nice when we go out for date night.
  • He cuts fruit and vegetables so we always have healthy food to eat. When he is finished everything is symetrical. I do not like to cut!


    Mr. Tuffy is a good cutter.


  • He listens and listens and listens when I start freaking out about the possibility of my cancer returning. OK, maybe this doesn’t happen every day, but when it does happen, he’s 100 percent non-judgmental and present. It’s got to be depressing and painful  to listen to your wife talk about possibly dying, but he does it and I’m grateful.
  • He usually laughs at all of my jokes and even when they fall dead, he smirks.
  • He never holds a grudge
  • He takes out the trash without me reminding him.
  • He wraps his arms around me before we fall asleep.

When he proposed

When he proposed he did so with a ring out of a gumball machine. It was a cheap, plastic ring with a snake on it and I loved it. I have a great picture of me wearing it the day we got engaged. Unfortunately, the ring disappeared not soon after and I was crushed. I lamented its disappearance several times during those early years and asked him repeatedly where it could have gone.

Then on our 10 year anniversary, Mr. Tuffy surprised me with it!  He kept it hidden from me for 10 whole years!  It brought me to tears.

These days he’s not quite so romantic, but he does have his moments and I’m often quite touched.

How many more years?

I’m not a cancer statistic. So far I am a cancer survivor.  I hope we have many, many more years to share our love. I try not to take this time for granted. I cherish each day we have together.

I wish and hope we will have many more joyous years together, but if we can’t, I’m blessed to have experienced everything he is.  To feel loved and cherished by him every day is the greatest gift a person could have. What a blessing!  And now…

A (not so) personal ending to a great love story

Dear Mr. Tuffy,

Happy anniversary. I thought long and hard about a gift to give you to celebrate these past 20 years, but as you know, you poo-pooped all of my great suggestions (including lovely matching bracelets) and you are incredibly hard to buy anything for. I did like the idea of matching tattoos but maybe for our 25th????   Truthfully, you have given me everything a girl could want and Mexico is way too hot for matching velour robes so telling our story seemed like a good idea at the time.  I know you’ll get it since you are the writer, not me. I’m confident you’ll understand why I felt compelled to share our story with family, friends and yes, even strangers. Sometimes stories just have to be told.  I’m so grateful that every single day I get to feel the love you bestow on me.  You rock my world Mr. Tuffy.  I love you. Thank you for helping me live my dreams each and every day. Happy anniversary.


Mrs. Stuffy



Channeling Bo Derrick

Soon we’re heading to parts unknown, and taking roads less-traveled. Mexico is a huge country with 31 states. There’s so much more to do and see!

Captain Andy and I are celebrating our 20 year wedding anniversary on December 21. What better way to celebrate 20 years of wedded bliss than by taking a trip?


These lovebirds are celebrating 20 years.

Did we want to stay at a fancy resort for one or two nights in Zihuatanejo?

Did we want to visit an all-inclusive resort in Ixtapa?
Hit the high seas for a cruise?  Go to Mexico City?

Or maybe the best option was to do something more low-key and just have a romantic dinner out?

Eventually all of the above got rejected by yours truly because 20 happily married years is special. 20 years deserves a big-ass celebration. Don’t you think?

Travel Plans

First we’ll be leaving Zihuatanejo via a rented car and we’ll head inland to Morelia for one night where I’ll visit my oncologist and get some tests for my three-month check-up. As usual, I’ve got horrible anxiety waiting for my test results but fingers crossed, I’ll still be cancer-free. We’re staying at my favorite hotel, the Hotel Soledad. Check out the link and look at the rooms. This place is really special. It’s 100 percent romantic and the decor is to die for.

Then we’re going to a fancy spa for a night (couples massage package), then we’re off to a small Mexican town called Colima,  I hear it’s got a really lovely main square where our hotel is located. After Colima, we’ll visit Lake Chalapa and the town of  Ajijic which has the largest ex-pat population in all of Mexico. Then we’re headed back towards the coast to Manzanillo for four nights for some all- inclusive resort fun at the Barcelo, Karmina.


I hope to look at good as Bo Derrick in my bathing suit on the beach.

Remember the movie 10 with Bo Derrick and Dudley Moore? It has an iconic classic beach scene where Bo Derrick runs on the beach towards Dudley Moore. That movie was filled at Las Hadas in Manzanillo, Mexico, right next store to where we will be staying.


We looked into staying at Las Hadas in Manzanillo, but the reviews were mixed.

After four nights at the Barcelo, we’ll head down the Pacific Coast to some more tranquil and remote parts of the coast. Andy has planned out all of the details of what to see and has made a list of fish shacks to visit, so I’m sure it’s going to be a great and highly romantic trip.

Packing shall commence now. I’ll write more soon.