Monday, January 31, 2011


reading the comments
makes me
and deeply value the two-way-street
of writing

at first
it is going out there
a thread a wisp of throught
sent out from one soul
by little tapping noises on keys with symbols
a little dance of fingers
a "happy dance" no matter the actual words
happy even in sadness
because there is a destination
of another soul's heart

a conversation
simply by clicking
publish post

last night I began re-reading
"The Art of Happiness"
by the Dalai Lama

I never had finished it
before it ended up in the black hole
of a closet

it resurfaced
in a timely manner

this morning on our way to school
anticipating a huge winter storm that
is upon us tomorrow
I mentioned to Bryan about starting the book
once again

he was reminded of a quote that came from
a movie we recently caught just the end of
7 years in Tibet
with Missouri's own Brad Pitt

Bryan remembered and now I can't recall
the words clearly enough...
it was about "worrying" and was so perfect...
rather than be my old frustrated self
I am going to smile
and say that this conversation
will continue

I will be picking Bryan up
at 3:00
we will talk more
as we always do...

Bryan, what was that quote?
ah, yes, thank you...

Saturday, January 29, 2011


at times during the day
since beginning to write here
I find myself very aware of what is going on
so that I can hold onto it
ever so carefully
then try to transfer it here
share it
let it fly

sometimes I forget
other times
it is all so "ordinary"
that I can't imagine it worth
writing about

not one for the reality tv stuff
of finding it of interest to observe
a person trudging through the house in a bathrobe
hair sticking out all over
brushing teeth
or throwing things around a kitchen

and heaven forbid the hoarder shows
that make me a little bit worried
about mental health issues
I don't hoard I collect (we all say that I am sure)
I can let things go, I prove that regularly
(ouch, I am worried!)


in this book I have
called "Sweeping Changes"
(which I cannot put my hands on in the moment,
oh no, I'd better find it and read it AGAIN)
the point is made over and over
that it is in the course of daily
simple natural tasks done with the presence of mind
and spirit
that take the mundane to the level
of the sacred

naturally then
the simplest parts of our days are elevated
by a person who is awake enough
to mindfully
put on clothes
(and play with them and in them!)
sweep the floor...

okay, time to get back to setting free
art things that need a new life
in new hands

and for the record
I spent most of the day in a bathrobe
and loved every second of it
crazy hair and all

Thursday, January 27, 2011

do I want to know

yesterday was on the long side
started out by forgetting that I was going
to the hospital so I ended up at the cancer center
which isn't far
but made me realize that I was a bit on
automatic pilot

got my injection for the bone scan
and the technician was very nice
so I could overlook the fact that he blew
a vein, oh well

three hours later I would return

blood work ok'd chemo
and I was in busybee mode
running off nerves
and trying to set myself up for peaceful moments

I had a reflexology treatment set up - and it was
a gift
got permission from my doctor and the head nurse
in the chemo room to have it - my way of getting
this idea into the system shall we say
apparently it has been done in the past
but I want to see it now and for all who
would like the benefits
the nurses as well as patients
I sure appreciated it

listened to a cd on "sound therapy" at the same time
and before treatment
clarified my philosophy about attitude towards
chemo being medicine vs poison
we were on the same page
bit of a semantics issue quickly resolved

took myself back to get the bone scan completed
do I want to know the results
I could have called today but didn't

I will find out next week when I meet my doctor
we will look at the scans together
over the phone is not the best nethod for me right now

I had forgotten how hard I took it to hear that
I had tumors in my skull
we had time to talk about it
it has been quite a while since I consciously
thought about that
then it all comes back in a wave...

this morning before work I read
the comments posted here that are on my email
I cried in gratitude in a solidarity
that surrounded me with protection and joy

thank you

I do not know "blog ettiquette"
if it is a kind of open email sense of
commenting on the comments here on the blog
or is it more usual (sounds strange)
to respond in an actual email format so I might be
a little more personal in the privacy of that
or BOTH ways?? I am learning as I go here

I wonder how to proceed
is this the place where layers get peeled back
do I skim on the surface for some period of time
and then let loose

for over four years I have lived much of that time
in a fog
there have been very dark times
I know that I was not communicating
and that there were people who were hurt and angered
that made me more contracted

it was all I could do to survive and live through
some aspects of this 2nd life one time
to write it over and over
to answer questions that I had to face again and again
I did not have the power in me to do it

and I felt tremendous guilt

there were times when I could not open a card
for months because I was overwhelmed by the idea
of responding to it
I also knew that once I opened it
the love I would feel from it would be healing
so I carried the paper with me
a symbol of connection

maybe someday I can find the mindset to tell
stories without the impact of re-living them
I know that there are things I could share that
could help people understand us/survivors
and that would be a benefit

living forward has been my motto
not an escape from the past
rather a forging ahead
breaking certain shackles
and running free with those who would run with me
sitting quietly too

I love people
I love life and living it
I want to learn things worth learning
and pass on what has been given so generously
to me
by lovely people in my lifetime

yesterday was a day of many hugs I noticed
I have a tendency to walk around and make that happen

oh, Jane who is a volunteer
is a complete chapter in any book I would ever write
she must be in her 70's
God help me if I am wrong
when we first met
she said two words and I knew she was from New York
two more words and I guessed Brooklyn - right of course

we love to laugh together and it gets other people involved
in our nonsense
and she always brings me my ice water
and my favorite style of warm blanket
the natural one

happy dreams

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

what's up

bone scan in the morning
then chemo
CT scan next Wednesday
then chemo
and talk about what the scans tell us
and what course I want to take

I am reading two books
one is about healing and miracles
and the relationship between mind & body
the other book is kind of gritty
by a cancer survivor
I became disconnected when
the author referred to chemo as "poison"

ah yes, the slash-burn-and-poison crowd
someday I am going to map out how words
have affected me over these years, for example
to hear on a news program
how some terrible world situation is like a
cANCER of global proportions...

and if I hear just one more time
from ANYONE:
well, you know Gloria, you have cancer but
I could walk out this door
and get hit by a bus...
or well, we are all going to die
I would really like my response to be


with absolutely no negativity no judgement
no nothin' except the laughter
of the free
based on all I have learned
from people with fiercely brave hearts

I get nervous before tests
so I let off some of the pressure and steam

I felt very sad when Elizabeth Edwards passed away
she and I had/have the same cancer
basically the same prognosis
at the time the news came out about her
I was going to funerals
for some friends
saying goodbye to others who
didn't want sevices
and I look around the chemo room
with reflection

this is not morbid on my part
it is reality it is one of my worlds
I let myself be sad for as short a time
as possible
because I KNOW that they would all want me to
BE ALIVE and love it!
so I honor them with giving
and laughing
and hoping
and going
to the hospital tomorrow
making at least a few people laugh
which automatically (sp?) brightens
me up
to face the next step
for more time.

Elizabeth said she wished for more time
yet with all her millions
she could not buy the one more day
I have right now
and that is enough
it is a gift

I need to ask my doctor why I am lasting longer
I think I know the answer but I want to ask

for me chemo is not poison it is a medicine
surgery was not a slashing / it was painful and disfiguring
but I chose to have that tumor taken out of my body
and radiation did burn
but my meditation / mantra each time of 35 treatments
was that it was a
healing light
that I was directing to destroy what was standing
in my way
of a future

tonight I think loving thoughts
and gather courage
in memories and dreams

in the morning
I will wake up and say
thank you for this new day

PS: the last time I went in for a bone scan
the technician asked me a litany of questions
that should have been on his computer read-out
of me
anyway, when he asked in a monotone drone
"are you allergic to anything?"
I answered, forcing him to look me straight in the eyes:
"yes, boredom."
and he rolled his eyes
and I enjoyed myself immensely (where's that smiley face thingy?)

Monday, January 24, 2011


whenever I use the energy that I find
in a concentrated way, as in grappling
with my studio
in physical and mental ways
there is a kind of exertion that I relish

it is reminiscent
of the crazy old me who used to go
beyond her limits
yet when I stand back and observe
I really did not overdo it
not in comparison to past experiences

but I pay for it
in exhaustion like this afternoon
and evening
my eyelids so heavy I would need stilts
to keep them open
so I let myself collapse and sleep

my guys know that I need to take meds
in the evening so they come and wake me
somethimes twice

I missed my book club meeting this evening
and that makes me sad
but I will connect again

Bryan and I love watching these amazing Science
shows now for us on a big flat screen
yes, we have entered that room in the 21st century
yes, I was resistant since I wondered
if we would become biologically-attached to the screen
hence never looking at each other
never having a conversation
never reading another book
forgetting to eat, etc...

not to worry:

it is quite amazing to learn about the planets
and feel like we are making the trip personally!
(it is weird watching space-out shows
where people's faces seem bigger than life)

tonight as we explored the solar system
with this narrator/scientist/British rock star dude
Brian Cox
my own Bryan noted how Manchester, England Brian
always smiles
he smiles when he talks
he smiles when he is in a helicoptor
he smiles on top of other smiles

I love his enthusiasm and his love
of our Earth
and his lovely use of the word "miracle"
intertwined with his passion for physics

in a restaurant
a large ketchup bottle became
Earth was a salt shaker I believe
I shared with Bryan that I hope
he does things like that with his own children

I know he will remember

it makes me feel so connected
in the spiritual and personal solar systems
we choose to create that go so far beyond time and space

talk about miracles...

Sunday, January 23, 2011


thanks to my brother Dave
we have quite a nice beginning collection
of Classic movies

Brandon and I watched Casablanca
for my FIRST TIME and his
I really enjoyed watching it together

on his way out the driveway
the piles of snow left by the plow
grabbed his tires
I am a New Englander so when it comes
to issues of snow
I believe that I am one of the few
people in this town/state who knows what to do!
not quite...
we all pitched in sort of

he's home now
my feet are warmer
and as I wrote the word Casablanca
Bryan's Spanish vocab words
came to mind:

"white house"

the sound of spinning wheels in icy snow
has never been pleasant
but whenever I hear a reference to Bogart
and Casablanca,
I will have memories and a tune stuck in my head

Saturday, January 22, 2011

pulling apart, pulling together

the time for thinking about it is so long past
I am literally forcing myself to act
after years of being trapped in my
overwhelmed immobile state

when I came home from Oregon
in November of 2006
I did not unpack any of my art supplies/projects
used in the making of the DVD
with Creative Catalyst

I returned from the week of making
the DVD exhilarated and exhausted
all of the stuff from making all the projects
left behind in the studio
and all of the things that were shipped
to and from
were amassed
in hopeful mountains of creative ideas & piles
so that once again my studio
would resemble the space so tidy-looking
on my website that needs to morph into reality

and then I had to look for a job
right away
Gary's job would end in a month
I started looking for a job
on a Monday morning...

one week later
on the next Monday morning,
was my fateful frightful mammogram
and my world spun out of control

I never have unpacked from Oregon
two years of a blur became 2008
and it became impossible to stay where we were
so we moved
and in that packing time
I had an operation

moving was so hard physically
but I was happy to move on
it was a mile and a world away
all of my art things were carefully jammed
into a very small space
and it is that small space that is becoming
finally a new space for me

In the past few days I have decided
to push past the fear and exhaustion I feel
at the very thought of beginning

major steps have been made
I am so tired of my frustration at not being able
to find what I want to use to make something
I am not satisfied buying those lovely publications
showcasing women's creative spaces
reading them in my disorganized
representative chaos

over these years, I have had millions of ideas
collected countless interesting thrift store treasures
which tend to disappear into a black hole
and now I want to rediscover what I refuse to lose

it is a process of pulling apart and pulling together
it is a reflection of the mirror experience in my
inside world too

I am not afraid now
my desire to create is strong and clear
it may not be a "pretty" process
but it is a good one
there is a longing in me for a creative space
a restful one
a place for music and reading and conversation
and the sound of Tibetan singing bowls
and the sounds of silence

Thursday, January 20, 2011

speaking of finding a voice here...

...can you hear me virtually screaming?
might as well laugh about it at 2 in the morning
lost a message because I did some weird thing

I am trying to find what on earth it is that
I am trying to do here with this blog
It is all new to me
the same as when I learned to turn on the computer
send my first email
write my first page in a Word document
join my first Yahoo! group
and I never went beyond newbie status
in all of those formats
so I have a huge learning curve here on a blog
and want to dive in

yes, I will actually learn how to get photos up
by myself, I PROMISE

and I will begin to learn what it is I want to share
within myself
and with whoever might visit

found out today some great news:
on Feb 1st something totally new
for our cancer center is going to begin:
an 8-part weekly series of presentations on:
"Holistic Approaches to a Healing Life"
(I made that up / can't remember the real title,
blame it on chemo-brain coupled with excitement)
I am totally signed up

first topic: BLOGS {!!! yay!!!}
in between things like:
yoga, meditation, healthy food & supplements,
aromatherapy, etc etc
and wrapping it up with: ART THERAPY
and that presentation will be given by my friend
Nancy, a Chemo Nurse & Artist
(who also happened to be one of the earliest members
of our Holy Moly Mackeroly! Yahoo group...
small and very good world in stories like this)

as for this blog, I only know that I had to begin
it could not be one more thing that I thought about
and it stayed in my head
(my friend/therapist was holding me to it - whenever -
and that encouragement helped my hands get to the keys)

I am actually writing on my very own new
Christmas gift laptop
I told my husband that I had to write again

my son Bryan told me a couple of years ago
"It is time, Mom."
"Time for what?"
"Time to write... your third book."
"What would I write about?"
"You already know the answer to that."
"My cancer experience?"
He had a quiet smile...
I closed my eyes and reflected...

now here we are,
this is where I find myself able to write something down at least
after being verbally constipated for years
and I have no idea why I do not write
in sentences and use proper punctuation all the time
with capitalization being an issue for some strange reason
and stuff like that

I have not decided how much I want to go into
what has happened over these past 4+ years
I am looking forward to the presentation on BLOGS,
a chance for listening, discussing, reading other approaches,
and finding my own style and way.

how can I ever thank you for being part of this with me?
from my heart I send you a most personal hug - can you feel it?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

dancing around the fire

tomorrow is chemo day and I do
meet with my doctor
we will talk about kind of
"mapping out" in this new year
some steps ahead, bone scans,
CT scans, possible chemo-vacation
things like that

I see him and his nurse
every other week
I really love them
every person who takes care of me there
they are my family
in this 2nd life I live
this team
this life-saving
cry, laugh, hug, earthly-real,
surround me with protection

at the last Relay for Life
here in town
my cancer center
had a tent
I marched with the other survivors around the track
and when they saw me,
there was cheering
and I ran off the track and got hugs
and then I completed my
walk with more power
in my steps

I had candles lit for my friend in Georgia
and my cousins in Massachusetts
the bags were decorated by children
in schools here in Columbia
we are a bigger family than meets
the eye...

I get ready in different ways
before going in for chemo
part of it is very routine for me
so I try to be conscious of not just
going through the motions

there are so many people there every single time
maybe someone is lost in the maze
of figuring out where to go next
every single person who is there
has a story
and I want to be open to listen to help
to laugh to feel to live right then and there

even when I feel like crap
and then all of a sudden
there is a beautiful soul there for me this time
and renewed
I may get back out there in
the giving dept. of life

or let myself drift
into sleep
knowing that contentment
of not ever being alone
because we truly care
as we dance around our own fires
the collective fire too
gaining strength
to keep fighting

walking out the door,
I always say thank you
be back soon

my declaration of love

yesterday on the way to work
I was transported way beyond the road I was on

it was a spiritual experience
the kind in the context of daily life
open heart open mind
reflecting on what has been described as
I wanted to get things out of my head
so I could just drive and be free
of what has been hurting

I wondered in my thinking
how things could become SIMPLE
and then this phrase came on
clear and strong

I will make:

"My Declaration of Love to My Family"
and this loving wave came over me

each person in my family came to mind
and I declared my love for that person
strong and free

also I told each person what I regretted
between us
there were things that surprised me
because they were not necessarily
ideas in my conscious/forefront mind

it was a relatively short drive
yet the power of the experience
transcended time and place
the love I felt was far beyond
my personal
for these people

I was so happy
as I entered the home
of my little elderly client

it took a little effort
to transfer that experience
to my job-life
and it was wonderful to feel
so in-the-moment with myself
during the day

not continuously
yet the gift that I received in the experience
was something I needed
and hope to learn from and expand upon...

Sunday, January 16, 2011

time sense

the old books & phrases
be here now
don't push the river
live in the moment
the power of now

don't worry be happy
singing in the rain
raindrops keep falling on my head

"tut tut it looks like rain..."
Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin "on Life"
splashing in puddles forever fun
a colorful umbrella
to twirl
and act as silent dance partner a la Gene Kelly

days and weeks and years
slip sliding away
so diving into
the moment
makes for some very sweet memories
to hide and hug into my raincoat

just some rambling thoughts before reading and going
to sleep...
swish me away

no lala-land here

my 2nd life is not a lala-land
of cancer-inspired revelations
with occasional enlightenment
lightbulbs over my head

the road is pitted and brutal
and I have had my share
of hopeless nights of pain
and dark fears running like
vicious wild animals
after a sickly deer

this blog is perhaps at times
a parallel private universe
as my reality,
more real
than its alternate,
a nest in the forest.

I am requiring of myself to learn,
use, and live a totally new vocabulary,
an internal and inter-personal way
of relating with words
and thoughts
and spirit
free from the definitions
and restrictions of past expectations

what that means is that I will not
react to old words and accusations
in ways that people might expect me to
based on who we were to each
other in my 1st life

if I am wrongly accused,
I will listen and decide whether
to respond or not
I will not get into the ring
and fight in ways I might have
in the past

I am so sincere in my desire
I will take responsibility
for who I have been
and I will use my life's energy
to create the best possible person
out of myself for as long as I am blessed
to live.

no matter what I create with my hands
no matter how many words I say or write
no matter how much I read
or feel I have learned from others
it all means nothing if I have not grown
as a human being
giving and loving more
today than yesterday.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

3 bluebirds & two worlds

I have three beautiful glass bluebirds of happiness
they are special to me
two were collected from thrift store
treasure hunting adventures
one was a gift from one of my elderly clients...
(that is a whole story for another moment)

two are on the windowsill in the kitchen
one is on my desk at work
they are reminders for me
they are meant to be gifts to Gary Brandon and Bryan

I dashed to the Salvation Army
on my way to work
HOPING that the two glass globe
paperweights were still there
let them still be there

and so they were carefully wrapped
in cloth dinner napkins - 25 cents each - and I dashed again
this time with a grateful smile
replacing my anxious entry face

one of the globes is clear glass
one is blue
at some quiet moment
I will have Brandon sitting on one side of me
Bryan on the other
and I will place the whole world in
their gentle hands

I can give them the world
each of them

I am going to dash one last time today
to go outside in the garage
and rescue the two earths
from the freezing cold

wash them in the morning
and find a special place to keep them
until placing them in those precious hands
with a whole world ahead of them

Thursday, January 13, 2011


last night I spent a long time
with a new post
to find it had evaporated
some notation about how
there was an error in saving

it was a bit frustrating and then
a funny kind of relief
and now I find it funny
since it was stiff with being
too aware that someone
might actually be reading it!
ah, the censor in my head
the one that wants to make
sure that I write something
historically-worthy enough
worth-reading enough
and all that

the memorial service in Tucson
was a candle in darkness

for this new day I am grateful
I walk into it with
Auld Lang Syne - ah, spell check?
ringing and singing in my head
[I was singing as I drove home from
taking Bryan to school after two snow days]
from the James Taylor Christmas CD
that plays in my Escape
all the year long

"Mom, is that a Christmas CD? It's July... August... etc..."
Yes, indeed it is, want to sing along?

It's a Wonderful Life

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


I am wondering about this "blog thing"
mostly because it has been so long since writing anything
for four years plus
there has been a silence in my living

I do not want to be fake here - that is not a garment
that feels comfortable at all

there are different ways to write in different formats
I considered a book, zine, facebook, private notes,
blog, writing on canvas/art
not writing at all,
so perhaps all of these options will be explored,
but "not writng" doesn't work for me now

so many wonderful people are in my life
as I carry them around with me in memories and stories
and I know that some of them wonder
is she still alive?
does she remember us?
and the answers are yes and yes,
very deeply yes...

so, I want to reach out and walk with quiet words
for this moment
I want to play with art and share what I am creating
in this 2nd life of mine

soon I will be 57 in my 1st life
I am a little over 4 years old in my 2nd life,
since being diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer (with bone mets)

the artist in my soul wants to speak and create, break free
for a long time, there were only blank canvases surrounding me
part of my brain always spins with ideas
yet the follow-through slips through my reality

a little this and a little that... collecting and collecting
"stuff" to become something new in my hands
to find a 2nd life along with me

is there such a thing as the art of staying alive?
the art of drawing hope out of despair?
the art of carving away what is no longer the truest me?
perhaps I have been a working artist these past years,
yet not in the sense
of looking back in time and defining life in past terms...

chipping away at recreating a studio-space
that is taking too long to become more than a wish
there are things to be erased
to be donated
to be loved into newness

today I started painting on a wooden tray
for my 93 year-old friend, a jolly loving braveheart
I went past my fear of my shaking hands
of making a silly drawing
and had fun!

a wooden tray with design inspirations from ceramics
handpainted in Italy and Japan
a bird and flowers
it is freeing to enjoy such a simple expression
it is wonderful to use these simple things in daily life

the potholder made with a vintage child's plastic loom
a wreath made of fabric scraps tied onto a metal ring
a fuzzy purple headband knitted for her daughter...
many things made sitting close together
sharing stories
and close-to-the-heart experiences of how we feel about living...

perhaps this writing is like a journal for me
quite private and open at the very same moment

perhaps my true
"studio" is more mobile now... I like that thought

Monday, January 10, 2011

2nd day

snowy and freezy it bites outside
cozy and snuggly inside
it gives me this peaceful mind as we
          gather together and do anything... simple

it's that contrast at times extreme that is so stimulating to me
in these states of four seasons

seasons go on in my head all the time

last night I started reading a book
about the effects of hope and positive mental states
in relation to healing
much to learn, always, all ways


new day

It has been years since even thinking about a blog.
When I did, it was called Creative Edge and I left that particular cliff behind.

I am not sure where this is going and that is a good thing.
I only know that it is a step to a place in me that I want to explore by sharing
thoughts and stories, reflections and process. It is about living forward:
that is what I can say right now.

It is time to begin.... again. I am living my 2nd life.