Wednesday, September 28, 2011

today is ... today

I was going to title this post
as being the second day of chemo
when I realized that I do not like
chronicling life
all ways
in reference that way
surrounded by
so much related to


so today is simply


and it started out by Bryan
driving us to school for the first time
and he did a great job of it
it caught me by surprise that he asked
since we needed to leave early
for him to make up a test he missed
and I didn't exactly get dressed
for the occasion
you see, you have to get into the driveway
at school, pull over, we both get out
of the car
he waves goodbye
I get into the driver's seat
and there is a brief moment
when parents and teachers and students
all "see each other" so to speak
and knowing this
I would usually have at least brushed my hair
how nice to have it still
put on earrings as if that really matters to anyone
and not worn the wrinkly linen pants
that I fell asleep in

well, I looked lovely for Bryan's debut drive
and so today is today
and now is now
looking at the beautiful autumn flowers
that Gary bought for me
from "All of Us" "We Love You - Gary, Brandon and Bryan"
"(Check the Fridge!)"
last Thursday
when it was the first day...
no, on second thought
when that day was another


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

making calls

I have two literal minutes before needing to go to work.
(Janet, I want to see you as soon as possible.)
time slips away for me
I lose track and then
I may lose more than that...
trying to reach out
sometimes it is from far away...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


just lost a long message
too many words dancing around what needs to
be said and faced

it has been hard to write
this will be sketchy and a bit all over the place...

the other night I got lost going to a friend's
home for a book club meeting
there was construction that threw me off
I got so flustered and unnerved
I got home
that was important

today I found out that my tumor marker numbers
have escalated
and tomorrow I will begin a new chemo treatment
it is new on the market
and so it had to be ordered today
so I can begin in the morning

once a week / two weeks on / one week off
will lose my hair again
I was starting to get used to having it
I am very fortunate to have another weapon/tool
for the arsenal/toolbox

as for other side effects
we'll see as we go along
I tend to not get all involved in the brochures & pamphlets
and read all the warnings that sound like
those horrific drug ads on TV
I read just enough to know what I need to be aware of
in terms of when to contact my doctor for help...

tomorrow Denise is bringing (my) meditation robe
so I can put it on before treatment
it has given others
strength by wearing it
so with their spirits woven into the fabric
I am honored to wear it once again

I made that robe originally for an art show
in Lincoln, Kansas
thanks to my friend Pam who lives there
we had such a great time there
seven of us, right?
in the sunflower fields
so many moments that are as crystal clear
as the crystals that dance in my morning window

Bryan hugged me when we walked in the door
after I picked him up from school
he told me that I was the strongest person he knew
I said that I really didn't feel that way myself
as I was crying at the time

"Mom, you are strong enough to cry in front of others..."
now that is a side effect that I treasure right on the spot

the other day I was reading a lovely book
written in a poem form of sorts
more like a blog actually
written by one of our Home Instead clients
an elderly gentleman who was a doctor here in town

he called his book "The Story of a Marriage: a love poem"
and I was enjoying his words, his stories, the longevity
of two individuals
the longevity of a marriage
and then I got "blindsided"
on page 47
he started to talk about friends of theirs
who started falling like dominoes
from different cancers
and then he referred to a woman friend {paraphrasing}
who we watched collectively holding our breath
when she was diagnosed with breast cancer
for seven years
until bone by bone the cancer took her
and in the end she died writhing in pain...

I thought I was going to throw up
it made me that sick to read those words
a few lines tucked into a lovely tale
that slapped me across the room
with a panic
I forced myself to finish reading the book
I pushed myself down the stairs to be with the guys
it didn't matter what they were doing
just as long as I was not alone
being so scared...

today I talked with Dr. Tungesvik and Denise
about it so I could get it out of my system
he assured me that he would not allow me to do any writhing
and that we had years ahead of us
and he spoke of spiritual things that I needed to hear...
Denise shared with me how important it is to
do the things and be with the people that/who bring me JOY...

I look forward to wearing my warrior woman robe tomorrow
then when the chemo drips in
I will close my eyes
and remember what my wonderful surgeon said to me almost 5 years ago:
"My job is to take good care of you in the operating room.
Your job is to have a good dream."

Thursday, September 15, 2011

poinsettias & strawberries

Gary shares the spotlight
on the topic of lovely flowers
for many many years
the Christmas season at whatever address
officially starts for me when
Gary walks through the door with massive
red poinsettias in hand

he usually gets two, sometimes three
and I am thrilled every time
as if it was the first
I know that Brandon and Bryan
have learned by seeing
how happy it made me
to receive those flowers
as symbols
and I always want them to know the delight
is the loving heart
not the thing given

we have joked over the years that I am
easy to please
not requiring the Lexus with a Bow
or the everykissbeginswithK diamonds
to make a point or be a proof
of lasting heart
hey, sometimes it is good to go all out
no kidding
and I have loved my power tools
and other special requests!

Mother's Day is my other special day
birthday, too, but there is something much deeper for me
as we celebrate becoming parents
the boys' birthday, May 16th, four years apart,
means that Mother's Day hovers around that time
so it is jampacked with remembering and the wonder
of them growing UP

back to Gary's special treatment:
favorites include
the bags of groceries
the kinds of food I love but do not "do" very often
and when there were painfully lean years financially
I remember crying
to see two boxes of huge strawberries...

then the bouquet of flowers
that I rearranged in ever smaller vases
trying to make them last forever
and this year I swear one of the poinsettias
made it to join Mother's Day colors

it's all about the stories
that weave the fabric of life
as simple
as meaning-filled
as delicious
cold water in a desert
hot chocolate during a snowstorm...

raising a glass and a mug to toast
to the memories
to come

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

sweet ladies & gentle men

Brandon's girlfriend's name is Mahdi
Bryan's girlfriend's name is Olivia

my sons are growing their loving hearts
and they are the most romantic guys ever!

when Brandon was preparing to meet Mahdi at the airport
in Kansas City
he ordered an arrangement of red roses
for her
five roses because five is her favorite number
he figured out a way to transport the flowers
in his car so they would make the trip
it had been a couple of months since he came back
from Sarajevo
and he was so happy when she returned
I was so happy that he wanted to have a meal
here with her - she wanted to be with us
we had a wonderful time together
I was just so moved about the roses...

on Sunday Bryan said that he and Olivia wanted
to go on a picnic
and he wondered if he could use one of my vintage
picnic baskets
I couldn't get my knitting things out of there
fast enough!
we shopped for the food he wanted
and he was really hoping that I had
a traditional red and white checkered tablecloth
like in the movies / old TV shows
and I knew I didn't so

we dashed over to the fabric store
no luck
just a plastic by-the-yard
but it was not authentic enough
we dashed back home so he could have his second driving lesson.
immediately after he left with his instructor
I jumped in the car and went straight back to JoAnn's
grabbed a person there and said:
"look, I need help
my son is a romantic and he wants a red checkered cloth
I have very little time
so please pretty please help me out..."

she took me to a section and there was something I thought
could work
on short notice
so I bought a yard-and-a-quarter
to make a square
a Mexican blanket
a vintage picnic basket
a red and white tablecloth of sorts
and all sorts of good food
and they even had a full moon style sunset

the whole thing was so moving to me
including the fact that Bryan wanted to
"get" a certain tree to sit under
a big ol' oak tree
one that I had taken him to many times when he was young
and he remembered
they had to wait a bit for the exact tree
when people finally moved away from it
they went and claimed it

flowers and picnics
my romantic boys
with their sweet hearts
their sweethearts
living their dreams
some of it like true life musicals

oh yes
and when Mahdi was here for dinner
Brandon told Bryan that he and Mahdi
wanted to go on a double-date with Bryan and Olivia...
I heard Brandon tell him that he would pick them up
so they could all go together
for me, that was a perfect moment
absolutely beautifully totally completely

they have all been crazy-busy with school (and work, too, for Brandon)
and when the time works soon
they will go out all together
pretty & lovely ladies
best friend brothers, my gentle men...

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

"applied epiphanies"

"applied epiphanies"
I wish I had come up with that phrase!
in a conversation (yesterday) that spanned time and space
and stretched the time continuum beyond mathematical constraints
(my kids say crazier things than this all the time with each other)
the topic came up:

when we have epiphanous experiences
(I tried the get the adjective form of the word, thought I had it right
then spellcheck puts that red squiggly line under what looks like a perfectly
good word, hmmph.)
epiphanassic, ....astic, ...agical, like magical

when you have an experience that takes you right out of
mundane reality
knocks you around spiritually
shakes up the atoms of resistance to change
blows your mind out of complacency
and this can happen anywhere anytime
not just on January 6th for the Magi

we all have had epiphanies
a significant insight straight past boredom
straight through stupid
way beyond who we knew we were before
we became cosmic insighters

you know something so profound your whole life has
spun on its axis
maybe it was about time, you think,
and there I was at this wedding
it was October
tucked into a cozy backyard
and I cried because Love seemed so beautiful
so simple
so clear
so hopefilled
there was nothing else more real...

perhaps an illness
was part of the awakening
you look death straight in the face
and it is so peaceful and sublime
and then you feel terror
but the epiphany says to you:
"look, sweetheart, you've got a bit more time."
and even if it is only 15 minutes
you make this commitment
this Promise
I am going to change my life completely
the universe doesn't need one more jerk
it needs me to jerk away from my past
and breakthrough to new territory of the soul

I have had epiphanies when I was pregnant
I knew that I was not in charge of the miracle of life
five pregnancies
two children
profoundest sadness
intensest joy
to feel the little heel of my baby stretching us.
to hold a tiny hand that holds on
latching eyes and weaving spirits
laughing and in time
knowing together that we know almost nothing
so it is wide open trek land
adventures for us

I have had epiphanies with people and alone
sometimes just seeing a stranger smile at me
it bleeds my heart
blurs my vision
and there is suddenly no distance between us
a flower
a wave on a beach
a kiss
a glance
words in a book beautifully purely written
simple words spoken in a whisper of wisdom
the sound of a singing bowl
a stained glass window
breaking up the light of day
a crystal in my kitchen window
dancing spectrums of sunrays
from millions of miles away
that made it all the way to my window & eyes
past the trees in the neighbors' yard
for me
my pleasure
in the morning moment
if I am awake

yes, I can feel "enlightened" countless times
and here is the big deal question, I ask myself:
HOW LONG does it last?
I remember being at a friend's funeral service
and internally making notes about how wonderful
she was
and how I wanted to be a better person because of
having known her and having been inspired by her
strength and humor in the face of great pain
I think I lasted about two days

but I thought it would be forever

the intensity does subside
hopefully the essence is retained
I cannot "be her" yet I can apply the epiphany
in my unique style
I cannot be forever young
cannot live in this form forever
yet I can say that I want to forever be willing
and dedicated to changing and to growing

applying epiphanies makes them stick in consciousness
I want to be the one to smile first at a stranger
to actively seek a more loving Way
to recognize those who will teach me
and actively learn

and I will not stand idly by and watch an intrusion into
our peace
of mind and heart

I watched a mother robin spread her wings
during an intense rain storm
using her body to be the shelter for her chicks
with that natural of an instinct
how lovely life would be
if we grew up with
and lived surrounded by
that kind of support and protection

as powerful and almighty as an Epiphany may seem
it is also that vaporous and ethereal
yet the more we act on our visions
not simply theorize and verbalize
the more ingrained and intuitive our responses are

we are not in control of what other people
may decide to sling in our direction
through words or actions
we are not in control of all that factors into
it is the tiniest enlightenmoment
when acted upon
that defines

"When you want to cheer yourself up, go out and try to cheer someone else up."
~Mark Twain

Ripple Effects 101

Friday, September 2, 2011


for the past couple of weeks I have dealt with
a strange face event - strange phrase for it
not sure if it was/is shingles or hives or what
but these lines
have been obvious and itchy and sore and annoying...
on Wednesday my day off
went to the doctor and have
a new horse pill as Bryan calls it
and cream
and weathered
Back to School Night
with a kind son
much better today
it affected me
mentally as well as physically
need some time away from it to look at it

Bryan and I danced to Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York"
the other night
what a fun treat
surround sound hooked up
and memories of Yew Nork being Bryan's take on where he
and Brandon came from...