Sunday, February 27, 2011

additional worthy words

after posting the last message
went to the Sunday paper
and noticed words all over the place
of course
and checked where my eyes were drawn:
50% OFF
DEAL of the WEEK
and found myself laughing
at mySelf

and so happy to see artwork featured by
Lisa Bartlett
of Artlandish Gallery
the trophies she designed for the
True/False Film Fest (documentary independent films)
happening this week

the art of capitalization

my focused-laser interest in the use of capital letters
began when the use of "The Big-C" as a description for
annoyed me a lot

my response?
to never capitalize the word cancer
even at the beginning of a sentence
I do give in a bit when writing the name
of my cancer center:
Missouri (C)ancer Associates
but I still cringe when doing it

maybe that is why I write here the way I do, too
I am a bit tired of correcting things
I just want to get on with the thinking & writing
as fast as my two or three little fingers
will carry me along the keyboard

another use of capital / uppercase letters that
jars my psyche
is when communicating anger
in emails: you see it coming down the page and kinda brace for it:
and when you get the words in BOLD RED LETTERS
you had better stand back from the computer because
the fire of wrath is going to scorch your hands
as well as do permanent damage as in a scar to your
even after the assault has been deleted
but never completely erased

it can go back and forth & on and on forever
unless one person finally says
this is not how I want to live or speak anymore /
not going into that ring again

if there is an art of capitalization
wouldn't it be wonderful to set the
appreciation mode
gratitude keys
respect and honorific settings

the expressions of JOY and LOVE
the CELEBRATION of the uniqueness of each
Human Being
we are honored to meet and share Life with

I experience and express a wide range of
and revel in that aspect of being alive
my choice is to channel as much of my
expressive nature in a growing way

not always successful
yet ever watchful of veering off the road
of peaceful interactions
and getting back on track
many times with the help of my friends...

a shared art
the art of heartistic communication
where the simple rule of
mutual respect
allows us to find new ground

I HOPE we can use capital letters
to emphasize what is most meaningful.
with generosity
apologies and forgiveness when needed
a sense of gathering together in protection of each other
that would be a beautiful approach
amongst loving people

as for the big-c
I put it in its place:
the art of lowercase

Thursday, February 24, 2011

time warps

in the morning
I went to be with
a very special friend

for her biopsy

I had known about it for two weeks.
the second she told me
I offered to go
just to be there

she accepted my offer
so it was on my schedule
to be there for her

on the drive to school
I shared with Bryan
about a duel I was having inside
my own head/heart about whether or
to share with her that it was very painful - for me.
in that sharing, I realized that the story was one
that I rarely if ever said out loud

I do not enunciate every detail of my experiences
one reason: not to have that be the basis
of every conversation
another reason: not to burden or scare anyone
still another:
what is the point (and I really do check my motivations
on matters such as these)
yet another: going through it once took everything
I had - reliving it - too much, just too much at times...

Bryan is a truly profound and wise listener
he brings his heart with a quiet gentleness
and does not direct me away from the pain
of what I am saying by giving me "directions"
as to how I should or should not feel
or what I should or should not do
as soon as my mouth is closed

he may say something like
"I am sorry, Mom, that you went through that..."
"Is there anything I can do to help, Mom?"
or a loving silence
that lets me breathe

immediately after dropping him off at school
(where he sent his "best wishes to your friend...")
I drove to the Harris Center
a drive I had taken 4 years and 3 months ago

it seemed like a very long drive

I was there very early
on purpose
it was a reflecting time for me
knitting helped me with my nervous hands
reading a book wasn't working - all
the words blurred into nothingness
even when a paragraph was reread several times

people in and out
forms filled out technical jargon
about insurance
and too many questions
that seemed too personal
said out loud in a drone-like fashion
questions that were routine
to the askers:
are you married?
"yes" "no" ... but no smart(-ss)
answers like "none of your business"

women filed in
and they filed out
sometimes men waited for them
mostly they were alone
there was a non-emotional-expressionlessness
that almost haunted me

I did not want to invade private spaces
by staring into faces
but the fact that none of us were talking to each other
made me feel a little crazy
the bizarre muzak playing overhead was
so strange disconnected
where was the master switch so that I could
turn it off or change the station?
what kind of music do you play
as some people waltz in for a routine test
while others march in to face their next battle,
slump in to face their greatest fear...

I had been one of the waltzers going in the door
into a mass of tears and pain and fright
coming out the very same door

my friend arrived
she was in a quiet place
we talked with subdued tones
and had some time
I let her guide the discussion
at one point she asked me if it was painful
I expressed that it was for me
and each person and their experience is different
I shared with her that it was perfectly
to ask to hold someone's hand
there would be two people there
I held her hand as an example...

I watched her go in after her name was
routinely called
needle biopsies / two sites...

it was a long wait
many women came out of the door
and I looked at each one
knitting was the only thing I could do,
hour after hour

finally finally I saw her face
looking into the eyes of your friend
there are no words
only a very very gentle hug
that says.......... I am here
that is all

we did "the European girlfriend walk"
which means we walk arm-in-arm
to her car

time became so confusing to me
for the rest of the day
I took a nap and woke up
whacked out by the fact that I was fully dressed
it was 7:00 so I got ready for our morning
well, after shoes and jacket were on,
started putting things together to reveal
that it was actually the evening, OMG
where am i?

strange dreams of being late for class
and trying to find my new sixth grade classroom
kept reading the names of classmates
from olden days of my past...

went to work in a time warp, hoping, hoping so much
that my friend would hear different words
than I did

and oh happy day - she did: benign!

and I hugged her a bit tighter today than last time...
so good to see her SMILE!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

you can't take it with you

what a great old movie
"never a dull moment"

when you find yourself laughing
totally out loud
and when your heart is touched
in that lovely squishy sweet way
it's a wonderful life
over and over

I didn't want the movie to end
all the crazy antics of
the joy of life
sliding down a banister
when you are all grown up
and writing plays because a typewriter
was mistakenly delivered to the house...

Lionel Barrymore's character Grandpa Van de Hoff (is that right?)
was just a perfect person for me to meet
this evening
his harmonica certainly makes a case
for serious "sound therapy"

thanks to my brother Dave
for his gift of introducing me/us
to many movie-treasures otherwise missed

love conquers all and that fabulous dinner scene
at the end of the movie...
I just loved his prayer
and all his prayers before meals

there is an escape into the heart of a movie
that touches real life
if we invite it in

invitation sincerely and heartily sent...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

PS: 2nd life originals

when I thought of doing artwork
possibly for sale again
I wanted a new name for a business
letting ImpressionsArt go...

since I love working with
art supplies and materials
from my treasure hunting at thrift stores, etc
I oftentimes redefine the use and original purpose
and therefore "save the junk"
and give it a second life

in my book Art Stamping Workshop
my editor/friend Tonia
used the term
to describe a project I designed
stamping on a secondhand silk blouse...
so that idea surfaced for me
when she named the project
that went to print that way...
I remember liking it a lot:
thank you, Tonia...

defining "2nd life"

last week I was walking around downtown
with Brandon
we visited Artlandish Gallery, his first visit there

(here's a strange experience for me:
I cannot remember if I wrote about that here or not
I don't want to go sifting through past postings
and I also don't want to feel embarrassed which I do...
that has been such a real challenging issue for me
beyond the jokes about
getting old
and forgetful
about having chemo-brain
which really never is a joke to me
even when I laugh and make what appears to be
a joke.
all right,
if I told the artlandish tale before, so be it.
if not, I touch upon it again because it is worth

as we were walking out of the gallery
Brandon asked me about my use of the term: "2nd Life"
since I had mentioned that I might like to try to
create some art pieces and
see if they would be accepted for sale at the gallery
as 2nd Life Originals
and the use of "my 2nd life" here on the blog...

it seemed to him to imply that my 1st life was
somehow dead
in order for there to be a second one.

ah, that is worth reflecting on for sure

as I rambled around with thoughts as we walked
I played around with different ideas:
was I living a "2nd chapter"
a "2nd story"
more of a continuum rather than break with the past?

did something die for me to resurrect to?
was this a transition versus a new birth?
did I find myself on the highway of life
and on the day before Thanksgiving 2006
when the word "cancer" was emblazoned
on a huge sign in front of my face
did I take a Detour
or an Exit
did I cross over a new State line
did I crash and die to my old life
and wake up to a 2nd life?

I remember early on, when I was starting to go out again
after the surgeries, radiation, etc
and I was walking alone by a small river, on a bridge
I was searching for an analogy
for the "path" I found myself on
probably thinking of what would be a
good title for my story
and came up with
"my river"

not my journey
my path
my destiny
and most certainly not
my dream

it also was not my nightmare

so "my river" worked at that time
I remember picking up four leaves
one for me, Gary, Brandon, Bryan

I tossed the leaves to the breeze of the day
and watched where they fell upon the water
I watched for as long as I could see them

as a cancer survivor I find that words
titles, names, symbols, things of this nature
have an impact on my self-image and self-preservation
for a long time I was all about wearing
my LIVESTRONG wristband and wearing yellow
I identified with being a SURVIVOR and still do
I use a LIVESTRONG mug at work all the time...

but I am more than a survivor, I am a navigator
there is a paradigm shift in that
and maybe I want a very strong shift
more than turning a corner
in this life I live now

there are wonderful things to carry over from my
1st Life
and they are honored by me and I take them in me
and with me
mostly they are people I love

but there are other things
and parts of me
that I break with and leave behind
yes, even burn the bridges behind me
parts of my character have changed - a good thing
when it means growth
and letting old unproductive ways of
relating vaporize
trying to plant and nurture new ways learned

is this truly a "2nd Life"?
yes, for me it is.
did I die to my first life?
in some good ways I say YES!
with a smile of gratitude

all these days and years are woven together
even burned bridges give texture to the tapestry

looking in the mirror
I never am quite sure who I will see
as long as I LAUGH
that is the saving grace

there is a knitting piece that I started recently
with 57 stitches per row.
I respect that number of years... 1st life
overlapped by second
1st & 2nd & 3rd and however many
I am blessed to live
all at the very same moment

Saturday, February 19, 2011

on volunteering

yesterday I found out that in order to volunteer
at the cancer center
a patient needs to be out of treatment
for at least one year;
or if the person is a family member
of the cancer patient
at least one year past treatment
or after the person has died

the minute I heard this,
I understood
the examples also helped
it was disappointing and also a little
will I ever be able to volunteer?
yes, but perhaps not formally

I can volunteer to "be there"
for a person who is lost and needs to get
to "the A" waiting room
or B or C or whatever...
I can offer to get a blanket
or crocheted hat
for someone who is cold
because of the treatment
or perhaps the fear we sometimes
know on a darker, colder day

if a laughfest might help a few of us
I could be found as either the
or an enthusiastic shenanigans supporter...

there have been countless times when others
have been there for me
and so the caring wraps us up together
in a quilt of stories
and tears
and funny comments
silence and soft smiles
and times of aloneness
that we need to be respected

so now I have 3 Wednesdays a month
that are relatively open
(Bryan and I do his school
going & coming home together)
I could work extra hours
or I could do something new

when I went with Brandon to Artlandish Gallery
the other day
I asked Lisa (artist/gallery owner) if I could
apprentice to her
become her student:
the discussion has begun!
is that what I might try to do
on these few new open days?
we will talk soon.

knowing myself, I will continue
to reflect on what volunteers might wear,
like a very cool vest for heaven's sake!
come on, let's get this rolling with
some style

my one Wednesday is enhanced by
Brooklyn-Jane being there...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

jumbled and lost

in the course of writing a long message about the
changes that I am experiencing as I enter this
time of a chemo break
my thoughts were so jumbled
the message just ran away from me
and for the best

the main point is that it is good
my brain is less foggy
and my whole self a bit lighter

I will be seeing my friend/therapist tomorrow
now, a bit of a rest

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

many things

there are a lot of things I want to write about
for example:

- why I love my job so much
- a style of weaving I just learned about called SAORI
- the Holistic classes I am taking, leaving soon for "aromatherapy"
- I would like to write about different people I have met
in chemotherapy...
- and other thoughts

this new therapy is helping protect me while being off of chemo
the side effects are minimal, but then fatigue does get to me
from time to time
that's ok - I can handle it by resting when I need to
I saw a commercial for one of the meds I take and
if I had even half of the side effects of just that one med
I would be a real mess!
add to that all the others... but I am very lucky that it
all comes at me in manageable waves

need a short nap before heading out

the other "thing" I want to share a story about:
- my very own pagoda swing
this morning I shoveled snow off of the deck
and made a pathway from the driveway in front
to the backyard and deck
a pagoda swing? crazy story here in the heart of the Midwest!

Monday, February 14, 2011


such a nice surprise this evening
after a nap that I took

Gary brought me a wonderful specialty
grocery bag from my favorite store in town

and inside a sushi & shrimp delight/treat!

creative valentine - I was very moved
and the wasabi woke me up in a major way

when I met Bryan at school
there were girls with their bf's and flowers...
we talked and laughed about the different
"traditions" and "expectations" of such a holiday
as today...

love expressed in all different little great thoughtful
kind personal unique ways
it all adds to the spice of life
and wasabi is on my menu this year
harigato merci and thanks so much

Saturday, February 12, 2011

thank you and thoughts on testing

whether the cheers came here or in personal emails
I want to say thank you and cheers for us together

this morning Bryan is taking his ACT so we got up
early and drove to school on a crispy sunny day
just the thought of a standardized test
or any test that my sons take at school
makes me tense
with memories
I still have dreams of forgetting where my
high school locker is!
and my high school was small


Bryan's attitude was brighter than the day
so I asked him to share his approach in facing tests

(I started to write "he explained..." and then realized
after those two words that I was not going to be able
to recapture the wisdom / insight shared the way he would)

hmmmmm, what to do....

here's what happened to me in my thinking as I listened to him:

Bryan is using his own experience as power to face the next test
he is actually enjoying the process!
he sees it as a challenge to see what he knows
and also to see how the psychology of the test makers works
especially when answers seem close
to find the way to the truth of the matter

rather than being stressed about it
he is calm
he laughed because I am the one who is worked up
about his test!...
he was able to "chill" as he said
I wanted to meet him in his place

I laughed because he was the one helping me
on the road

so I am wanting to reflect on this morning experience
since there is much to learn
when we go places together in the car
I treasure those times

same with memories of Brandon and I doing the same
and once in a while we still have those times
when he drives me to the mall or whatever or vice versa
something goes back and forth
as we drive straight ahead...

calculus and chemistry and ACT's are not in my personal
realm at 56
there are other "tests" whether medical
or the most challenging of all:
when I get "tested" and stretched to see how far
and deep
and unconditional
and infinitely more adjectives
my heart is towards every single person
in my life
past present and fortunately to come

no grades on the tests in life like that
only the quality of daily life
as lived in daylight
and in
peaceful dreams...

Thursday, February 10, 2011

good news to share

yesterday was a big day that started
days and weeks before
when the big tests are set up - bone scan and then
CT scan - these are done every three months or so
the waiting to know results seems endless........

time stretches and I do mental gymnastics in an attempt
to keep myself from worrying.
I can say that I do get better at this over time
since I have been through this more times than I can count
and I'd rather not go back there

I forgot "not to eat" before my CT scan yesterday morning
ate just a little, but still, I forgot
I should have written one of the signs I write to myself
as a reminder
the CT scan specialist Ernie is my friend and is such a character
we rib each other all the time - he has this dry sense of humor
that I love to banter with!

after I get all hooked up with the portacath for the infusion
that is when my memory kicks in and so I confess to Ernie
about eating and so he casually informs me:
oh well, in that case, you'll just puke all over the place,
no going back now

oh great

well, he did the scans and when all was said and done
and he told me I could sit up I asked:
ok, Ernie, when can I expect to throw up?

oh, if you haven't already, it ain't gonna happen.

thanks, man, I'm outta here.

I was able to spend some time with my friend/therapist
and that was good for my spirit

11:30 came around and I came back for labs and vitals
noon was my scheduled time to see my doctor and it seemed
like the hands of the clock slowed down
finally my name was called
and I was escorted to one of my doctor's rooms...

my blood work looked good
and it was time to look at the scans together
he has me sit right next to him as we examine his computer screen
as we take a trip into my body together

first was the CT scan
and we jumped into my lungs and kept going through all
soft tissue organs
I do not remember breathing with those lungs I just looked at
I was in a kind of suspended animation
it was fascinating and frightening
what were we seeing exactly
was there cancer there?
he kept saying good things and I kept holding my breath

everything was clear
no tumors
I was stunned in a happily quiet way

now to the bone scans
four little skeletons of me
two from last week
two from the previous time about six months ago

cancer lesions (bone tumors) show up as black spots
I know from the past that they are mostly along my spine
some on ribs, sternum, skull, pelvis...
in comparison
my doctor is saying that there in no progression
actually, he says, there is a little less
the situation with the bone mets is stable
that's great news

again, my mouth is open, stunned, happy but it is still
pretty disconcerting to see where your cancer is on/in
your very own body.........

I breathe again
and we talk

we reach a decision:
it is time for a chemo vacation
hopefully up to six months
I am taking a drug that is an estrogen blocker
since estrogen feeds cancer cells and being
off chemo
this offers me a buffer kind of protection

I will also go in once a month for labs and injection
of a bone strengthener
and to keep connected to my doctor as we observe my process
without chemo

my doctor gave me a big hug
and it took me until waking up this morning to realize that I am
HAPPY about this news!

I became so guarded and self-protective in case of bad news
that I needed time to unwind
to open my eyes and mind to relief

there will be some side effects from the new med
and I can deal with that
since the blizzard meant that I missed one chemo treatment
last week, I can honestly say that even in that short time
I can feel the difference in my head first of all

it is hard to describe.
it makes me realize how intense being on chemo is.
there will be a time when I can verbalize that, not right now

I want to make the most of this freedom-time
I will find my way managing the new med, not a problem
there are things I want to do and accomplish externally
mostly my focus is going to be on "wellness" activities

the Holistic Healing seminars are going to fortify me
the books I read
music I listen to
the Tibetan singing bowls I will ring and make sing
the thoughts I engage with
the words I use when I speak and write
and most importantly the people I surround myself with
in the 2nd life I have been blessed to live
I want us to wrap each other with support and kindness
love that is expressed in surprising and warm ways
let us laugh together
and cry because of gratitude and beauty-filled moments
that we create for and with each other

let us find a new vocabulary of heart
and make it up if we want!

I want to live forward with energy, imagination & enthusiasm

If old ways of communicating need to be resurrected to a higher level
let us be brave enough to let go of old habits
and try on the new and be purely liberated

I refuse to be stuck in hopeless endless pits of negative bouts of hurting words
I am not entering that kind of ring again
I see these things happen in lives that are so precious
yet wasting precious time...
the fighting spirit inside of me has a positive focus directed
at the fight of a lifetime, for life itself,
not against people,
against a disease - that is where I enter the ring, every day of my life.

celebratory spirits in the face of great adversity inspire and empower me
I know these people and I want to enter their spheres
being away from chemo is a good thing and yet I already
feel an emotional vacuum if I am not going to be in
weekly treatment
I miss my family/world there

oh, wow, I just had an IDEA!
perhaps on the Wednesdays that I have off from work due
to having treatment days, I could volunteer
at Missouri Cancer Associates!
I'm excited about that - ok, ok, we shall set that
in motion

so many words, many more inside.....
happy dreams

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

this evening

what a great evening
"Holistic Healing"
our first meeting
of over twenty people
mostly cancer patients
gathering to learn together

their will be seven meetings
each Tuesday
one was canceled last week due to the blizzard

tonight the way we began was by introducing
ourselves briefly
that was powerful to me
we defined ourselves mostly by the
type of cancer we are dealing with
and for how long
just that information is so much to take in

there are "veteran survivors"
women newly diagnosed - a wide range
and also many different types of cancer
some I have never even heard of...
it was so valuable and moving, from the very beginning

even healthy food treats - impressive!

the topic this evening was
our speaker is very knowledgeable
and does an excellent job with a large group
good info, Q & A, and the best part was
a five-minute meditation we experienced all
it was wonderful!
I felt honored, focused and extremely grateful
to our teacher, those who made it possible
and every single warrior-woman in that room
I felt an immediate love and respect
this deep unspoken connection with everyone

my heart wanted to listen and listen and listen some more
to every story any person wanted to share

it was the first time since being diagnosed that
I felt comfortable in a support-group-type-of-setting
(Look Good Feel Good group was fun, now that I think about it!)

anyway, looking forward to using what I have learned
and anxious for the next time we meet:
"aromatherapy" is our upcoming topic

we are fortunate to be part of this beginning
I have hoped and dreamed of such a day
Denise made it happen
what a gift she is
what a gift she gave us all
the ripple effects...
far and wide and deep

the beauty of enthusiasm

I remember my Mom saying that one of the great things
about having children is that she could learn from them

ditto from me

after the kitchen philosophy experience
Bryan did some reading on a mathematical sequence
if I could name it and explain it
that would border on the miraculous

I can't so I won't

the point is that I was so moved by his excitement
at his learning a whole new way of observing
the world around and the universe
his enthusiasm was contagious!

going to school in the morning was an experience
listening to him, trying to keep up with what he was sharing...
when we met in the afternoon I wondered what his day was like
did his math teacher burst at the seams with
his enthusiasm?

as it turned out she did not
his friends thought he was a bit on the strange side
and he questioned what school was all about
if you couldn't
be all inspired and have that be the environment?
he had a better way of expressing that
I am only doing my best

when Bryan said that what he had learned was simply
my heart broke open
and I wanted to transport us to a
land in my own imagination
take both of my sons
to ancient Greece to meet Socrates or something!

anyway, we had a good conversation and later
I saw he was reading something online that was connected
to that theory

a rebuttal of sorts - it burst his bubble

I felt sad in a way
that sense of losing a passionate feeling
because of "logic"?

and so we had another good talk on the way to school
this morning
about that very thing

I shared with Bryan about the origin of the word
ENTHUSIASM: Greek: en theos / "in God"
he brought up the topic of how great thinkers and
new ideas
were often laughed at and rejected
for even hundreds of years before being proven

I love being with my boys

even when we just sit together
in silence

Saturday, February 5, 2011


I didn't realize how attached I have become
to my laptop
at this moment I am using Gary's computer
because I loaned mine to Brandon
his went kablooey
and is not worth fixing so that means a new one

timing is never great for that kind of news
especially with tests coming up this week
happy to help him out
and it was interesting for me to learn
that I have become more and more used to
having my own... and do miss it!

when Gary was taking it out to bring to Brandon's
I gave it a "hug" and said goodbye to my "friend"

it has become my journal more than anything else /
for my son I can do this for a few days
without being cranky, I guess (!)

today I made a donation of "stuff"
and that felt good
chipping away is my way of operating
for now

yesterday at work I shared with two of my friends
what it was like for me to experience the
blizzard the other day.
it surprised me how much more intense it was
than I wanted to confide here in writing

I sounded a bit like a wild woman to myself
and probably to them as I spoke freely
I missed being with them even those
few days
and as we spoke of the challenges of the storm
I let the storm in me come out
safe with them

why did I hesitate here?
because I didn't want to write down
"on paper"
anything that would make it sound like
I was fighting with my husband

when I said it in spoken words
sure enough I was fighting with my husband
and it didn't sound all that awful

here's more of what that blizzard was like
stormier than my last visit with that story:

I wanted to go out and shovel in the storm
and Gary strongly opposed the idea
with thoughts like
you will slip and fall
get hurt
break bones
then you will be hurt and unable
to work and on and on
and I just yelled: SHUT UP SHUT UP!
if I want to go out then that is what I am going to do

and that little dance that goes back and forth
into nowhere

so I shut up my own mouth
got dressed for the blizzard outdoors
communicated with Bryan indoors
and walked out into the whiteout
hot enough under the collar to do away with
the need for a scarf, temporarily

yes yes yes I know that he was showing a kind
of concern, etc
I get that

here is what happens to me:

I want to shovel snow because I like to
I want to be happy and peaceful and focused
a kind of meditation even
a sense of being really in the crazy frozen edgy moment

these thoughts do no not appear in my mind as it is happening
all the time
all I know in the moment is that I will not miss
this opportunity
I will not send my son out there without me
and I want to laugh my --- off right at the wind
pounding my face raw
I want to laugh with my son OUT LOUD
and have him see me value the experience
not sit inside afraid of breaking another bone
or afraid of becoming so tired that I am knocked out
for the next three days

I want to show him how to "think about snow"
and where to put it when there are mountains
piling up
how to deal with drifts and how to make a plan
that makes sense out of a crazy scene

I want to NOT MISS a blizzard the likes of which
has not happened here in over 25 years
and if it is another 25 years before the next one
I might not be around or at age 81 might not be up for
the next one!

with this 2nd life of mine, I am constantly
dealing with facing very serious things all the time
my family has to look at me and that must be so hard on them
I know that

so once in a while
I am going to do things that may not be
the wisest
most cautious
self-protecting actions in the moment

I don't want to be reckless and bring more havoc
pain and general chaos into play

but I'll tell you what:

if I need to go out into a blizzard and
look it straight in the eye
and laugh as I try to tame it
then I will

no broken bones
no slipping on ice
no wiped-out-for-the-next-three-days
flat on my back reports

rosy cheeks
stronger arms and legs
lovely sweet attitude
in full force and swing...

I felt so ALIVE out there in the Blizzard of 2011!
I LOVED being out there with my son!
It grabbed me and we wrestled, that storm and me...
it was nature in a dramatic state
and I refused to miss the encounter

That's a bit more of that story "filled in"
shall I say

it sure makes me very aware of how
much space is between the lines when writing
anything at all

Friday, February 4, 2011

kitchen philosophy

it was so good to venture out into
the wild world of snow today
yes, there are actually two lane roads in this city
once you get past our street

it was weird maneuvering to get out of the driveway
right onto the Arctic circle

I missed going to work the last few days
my kids did not miss going to school
and my client was happy to see me as I was to see her

she is 93 years old with a bright clear
positive outlook on life
I wish I could give more details about her
but privacy issues and all that
when I see her daughter again,
I am going to ask her a few questions along those lines:
without mentioning her name, address, etc...
would it be ok with her if I shared stories
of our visits...

the family of my very first client asked me to
please share about their Dad
Bill Hume
artist and human being extraordinnaire
so I will share Mr. Hume stories from time to time

this afternoon after work
I stopped at the Salvation Army
they were open and will be in the morning so
I will take over some donations

of course I spent some time looking around
and found 6 fab brand new placemats
for 25-cents each
a book with the title of the first chapter "santa fe"
a vintage embroidery set/project (50-cents where's the
cents-symbol on this keyboard???)
and I spent time reading from a complete set of
the Great Books set of the Britannica series, I believe

there I am in Salvation Army reading Plato
and wanting to buy the entire 57 volume set
well, I am cleaning out so the vacuuum of space
is drawing my attention

the intro to the set contained the names of
the original founders of St. John's College
and I just smiled a while
and drove home happy to have
shovelled lots of snow recently
happy for the sun shining today

an especially great sight when I rounded the curve on our street
Brandon's car was tucked in
so all my guys were home! yay!

I yell up the stairs
they say Hi and BTW, Mom, we ARE watching a serious movie
oops, but I hug them both anyway
making sure they can see the screen and I can
feel close at the same time - we know how to do that

the movie was 1/2 over & over my head
it really was for the brothers to share
so I try to find my way to be around but not in the way
of their togetherness

it was a lifetime highlight for me, this evening
my boys were sharing philosophical ideas with each other
Brandon was guiding the discussion based on things he
is learning in classes at the university
and Bryan was right there with him
I asked if I could put in a little something here
or there and they were great about it
but mostly I listened; quiet on the couch
they were in the kitchen

it was so wonderful
these are my children / these two men
here they are talking on a deep and personal level
about things that really matter
the purpose of their lives
different perspectives approached with respect
and personal insights

Brandon apparently was "talking philosophy"
with a friend earlier today
then called his brother
brought the movie
and they took off together
a trip to Walden Pond with Thoreau,
thoughts of Emerson, on Idealism,
Buddhism, comparative religions
transcendental experiences shared
on and on
as I learned so much about who they are becoming
as individuals and together as brothers and friends...

there is a point when it wraps up
we talked about saying "I love you"
and we all ended up thanking each other
in very specific ways...

Socrates would have smiled
I cried
then laughed
as Brandon got on Facebook
Bryan and I watched a show on the
Biography of Pixar

Brandon left to meet friends at his place

what a gift of an evening
a lot of warmth in the midst of snow mountains

Thursday, February 3, 2011

digging out

there is one lane "traffic" on our street
if I meet another car tomorrow on my way to work
one of us will hopefully be in a position
to pull into a driveway
when I was outside today
having knitted enough
and generally bored myself
it felt good to feel cold
and dig out a path for the post man

no mail in the box
a strange sense of time standing still

I did go through many studio boxes today
and have things set aside to give away
finding things I have totally forgotten about
is fun and it costs nothing to find
"new" toys for art and decorating

this digging out is much more challenging
than heavy shovels full of snow
lift the snow
heave it
leave it
and the mountains will eventually melt
away on their own

I like doing a very neat job with the snow
it looks like progress has been made
a task accomplished
and when we do it as a team
I really enjoy that best
the other day during the blizzard
it was fun to laugh with Bryan
might as well
we knew we were gloing to be able to get
and to always remember the storm

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


this blizzard we are experiencing
is pretty rare in these here parts
something like over 25 years since
a storm like this has hit

the Connecticut Yankee
French Canadienne in me likes
to go out and wrestle with the storm
shovel that snow
and laugh at the wind biting my face!

for whatever reason I do not get
all frostbitten
I get dressed properly enough
no fancy ski pants, etc
for two dollars last year
I found an olive green jacket/coat
with a fur-edged hood
the Eskimos know what they are doing
for forever

and Eskimo is no longer the pc name
but they feel my respect and gratitude
my kids tease me for having a dead animal
around my face
and the last time I remember wearing fur
was my soft as a bunny white rabbit
hand muffler or mit or whatever they were called
I felt like the Princess of Connecticut
when I used it
and if memory serves me (laugh)
I had a white fur collar to match
what a cute little girl
all fuzzy and warm...

at this moment my face is bright red
and warm
and I feel refreshed
Bryan and I worked with one snow shovel
and one garden shovel
this town was crazy yesterday preparing for this
there was not a snow shovel to be found
at 2:00 in the afternoon
so the garden shovel was a last minute
purchase by three of us women in Ace Hardware

funny to hear people talking with each other
helping each other out
of course I was instigating things too
Ace was calling Home Depot and
Lowe's (sp) was checking Wal-Mart
and we were all bracing before getting hit

I wish we all communicated like this
on a regular old nice day...

I think we could use some hot chocolate
the governor declared a state of emergency
I declare it's hunker-down time
and good books are calling to me