Saturday, November 29, 2008

best. concert. ever.

Michael Franti and Spearhead played a matinee at The Fillmore for families today.

Cherine Anderson borrowed my sons' friend's hat for a song. She fucking rocked.

Word was that if you had the craziest hat, you might be chosen to go backstage. Or something. Anyway, here's Elise and me. I decided to go bald with a pink tiara. (thanks, Olwyn!)

After the show, Michael Franti kissed me. Then he asked me for my name, and the names of my children. He bent down and pulled two yellow picks out of his pocket and placed them into Grant and Bennett's hands. He chatted with them for awhile about music. Then he hugged and kissed me again, looked me in the eye, and said, "Shine on." A secular blessing that felt rather holy.

There's more I could write, but what else is there to say, really, after "Michael Franti kissed me"? Nothing. Nothing at all.

Here's what I wrote about them back in September, if you want more.......

Friday, November 21, 2008

gratis grains

there's art now!
and chemical symbols!
and multiplication facts!
and italian!

but my favorite is still vocabulary.

go and play

let me know how many grains of rice you donated today

Thursday, November 20, 2008

nice shoes

Goddammit. God fucking dammit.
RIP Bill.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


He loved her
for almost
she was

& she decided
that was enough
to let him stay
for a very long time

Today, we have been married for 13 years. My parents' marriage broke up in its 12th year. My father's second marriage broke up in its 12th year. My brother's marriage broke up in its 12th year. I'm not saying we're special somehow, or better in any way. I'm just saying that 13 is now a very special and significant number to me.

I have never really been afraid of the number 13, but today I am truly in love with it.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

breast cancer can be funny

12-Year-Old Boy Scouts Volunteer To Give Women Breast Exams

the truth about chemo

It's Friday night, and I am clawing my way up out of Hades. Having descended into hell, I am now ascending into, if not heaven, at least something remarkably better than hell. We hear much about "The Resurrection", as if it were a static event, as if one went from being dead to being alive in an instantaneous flash of golden light. Not so.

Chemotherapy is like dying and being reborn every two weeks. Monday is my Chemo Day. Wednesday is my Good Friday. Friday is my Easter. The requisite three days spent entombed. You slowly fall into a catatonic state of being able to do absolutely nothing. It's like the first trimester of pregnancy, with a good dose of flu, hangover, and depression heaped on top for good measure. "Don't touch me." "Don't talk so loud." "Slow down." When you move at the speed of the elder and the toddler, you realize that the world moves much too quickly. The grocery store is a maze of people moving too fast, talking too loud, buying too much stuff....... so you just don't go. The sight of children running on the front lawn of their elementary school is a scene from another lifetime, and you can't quite comprehend it. Everything is seen through a haze. The body becomes so heavy that to lift it out of the chair is a monumental task. You see the dirty dishes, but are absolutely powerless to lift one pinky to even open the dishwasher.

It's only for three days. But still.

And now, on Saturday morning, the sun is shining and I feel like going for a walk and I'll probably (gasp!) go contradancing tonight. I can read. I want to make soup and plan my son's birthday party and do the laundry and pay the bills(overdue for the first time in years). The living room is filled with golden orange light. I am resurrected. The memory of the past three days slowly slips away. I am nearly giddy with gratitude for the ability to see clearly.

I think I may possibly have a better understanding of what bipolar disorder must feel like.

The first two rounds were bad, but at least then it was novel, something new. I thought I'd try different things to see what works, what doesn't. I thought of it as a great experiment, with myself as the subject. Now, after number three, I see clearly the work that is before me. The fun is over. The hair is gone. I have to do this nine more times. We are entering the dark days of winter, and never before have I felt such a need to withdraw, to curl up, to truly experience the dark night of the soul. I go willingly, because there is much work to be done there, and many things to be learned. There is no way around, under, or over. No shortcuts. No portals to other dimensions. There is only me, and a long dark tunnel that must be traversed.

Monday, November 10, 2008

from 52 to 48 / from 48 to 52..... with love

Here's a little taste. Go see the rest. Send it on to your Democrat and Republican friends.

I'll share mine after it gets posted..... I have some ideas.

(Via Newspeak. Thanks, Aaron.)

i wish i had written these words

NO MATTER WHO’S ELECTED president, daffodils will bloom in the spring. Men and women will fall in love and, sadly, out of love. Inconsolable grief will still be inconsolable. A broken heart will nonetheless keep beating one hundred thousand times a day. No matter who’s elected president, writers will write. Painters will paint. Three in the morning will still be three in the morning. The door in our psyche we don’t want to walk through will still be just down the hall. No matter who’s elected president, life will hand us the invisible thread that connects us all; love will hand us the needle.

-Sy Safransky, Editor of The Sun. Click on the word "Sunbeams" in the title bar to get to their website. If I could, I'd buy you all a subscription for xmas.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

192 hours later......

after Samhain, that is.

I've been thinking about posting Halloween pics for a week, because it was probably the best ever, but the election kind of took over for awhile. Thank god we only do that once every four years! I'm thinking six would be even better. Maybe we should change the constitution to let whoever's in there just stay put for half a dozen trips around the sun. But I digress......

Kristen, who cut and colored my lovely sky-blue locks, gave me a card that read, "If I could, I'd find you a fairy godmother with a magic wand and combat boots, so that she could make all your dreams come true and kick the crap out of anything that got in the way of your happiness."

That's it! I had already bought a fairy costume, but wasn't quite sure what I was going to do with it. Kristen had given me my answer.

And then my hair started to fall out, just in time to shave it into a mohawk! I've wanted one since I was 14, but my mother wouldn't let me do it then. Now I'm 41 (reversed numbers, interesting.....thanks Lynn), and my mother is dead. Being a cancer and chemotherapy survivor herself, I KNOW she would approve heartily!

Halloween afternoon, I was just coming out of my "chemo coma", the friendly term I've given to the three days of hell endured once every two weeks. It's like the first trimester of pregnancy, with the flu and a hangover thrown in for good measure. It sucks. Totally fucking sucks. But I digress........

Halloween afternoon was lovely, and the evening promised to be as well, for the first time I can ever remember since I moved to Colorado 13 years ago. I placed a chair out on the sunny porch, found an extension cord, and plugged in the razor. John made himself a margarita. He took great pride in getting the part just right.

I remained incredibly calm, considering that my husband had an electric razor on my scalp and my children had knives in their hands!

A few accessories and a whole lotta hair gel later, I AM your punk rock fairy godmother in combat boots! Let me know if anything's making you unhappy, k?

I cut out the words from the card and taped it on in between my wings. Can you see it?



I know holidays are for kids, but this one was so much fun for the grownups, for some reason.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

48 hours later.......

I'm still, like many of us, reflecting on the Obama victory. It's one of THOSE nights, one of the "Where were you when........?" moments for which you will never, ever forget the answer.

I was snuggled into a comfy couch in a crowded little living room with a dozen or more adults - some were close friends and others I had just met. Chicken and dumplings simmered on the stove, dark green split peas and potato chips graced the kitchen table. Strider had promised to streak if Obama won, and I had promised to take off my head scarf. The children, four girls and five boys all between the ages of seven and eleven, vacillated between running around, playing in the garage, watching the states turn red and blue, and making up an Obama song to be performed for us later from the stage set up in the garage.

When the MSNBC livestreaming became too ADD, we switched to the BBC. When the BBC became to droll, we switched to MSNBC. When the pundits kept talking over the Star-Spangled Banner, we changed to something else.

The moment the polls closed on the West Coast, and California, Washington, and Oregon began blinking blue, you could feel the air become lighter, the haze lift, and that indescribable hope/doubt questioning moment: Is this really going to happen? You mean the Republicans aren't going to steal it? Do we dare believe?

Yes, it was. Not, they weren't. Yes, we can.

There was much hugging and high-fiving and tears flowing. A flood of relief and joy. The children exited out the front door into the streets and we followed, hooting and hollering. A neighbor brought out sparklers for the kids. Luckily, they were so preoccupied with the fireworks that they missed the naked man in his boots running up and down the darkened street. And yes, I took off my headscarf, and shared my beautifully-shaped, clean-shaven head with the crowd. It was good to be with people on this night.

McCain's speech was genuine and gracious.

Obama's speech....... well, yeah, you saw it. Damn!

And yet..........

Things will never change. I cannot change them. Revolutions and their leaders come and go. Only hearts can be changed.

But I guess that's what I see happening. It's not so much a political victory as it is a spiritual one.

I don't have faith in Obama to fix any kind of a broken system..... he can't and he won't. But I do have faith in him to inspire people to be maybe just a tad bit better and more involved in the process than they were before. Before you can make your voice heard, you have to believe that it will be heard. We, the people, must hold his (and the rest of the Dems) feet to the fire. The difference is that now, many more people believe that that is possible. Will it happen? I don't know. But I have to believe that it will. If it does, then we truly will have a "chance for us to make that change". But if we drift off into complacency, the fault for what comes will be ours as well as his.

Perfection in our leaders doesn't exist. Never has, never will. Those who hold out for it will always be disappointed. The populace needs something to believe in, something that inspires them to believe in themselves. We cannot treat this man, Barack Obama, as an idol or the new messiah, lest we neglect our own duties, our own responsibilities.

Something tells me I don't think he will forget to remind us of them.

Before closing the boys' door, at nearly 11 PM (They had NEVER stayed up that late on a school night before!), I looked at them all drowsy and worn-out and snuggled in, and I said softly, "You will remember this night for the rest of your lives."
I wonder what their version of it will sound like, 10 or 20 years down the road.

Where were YOU on the night of November 4th, 2008?

Sunday, November 2, 2008


thank you for....... (take two)

Take one, in case you missed it.

Anytime goodness comes my way, I want to record it. I have been thinking and worrying about this ever since I laid out my first list. I want to record EVERYTHING. I want to say thank you personally to each and every one of you!

But I've lost so many, I'm afraid. Just like all the first words and funny phrases of children. We say, "Oh, of course I'll remember that one!" But time slips away, and we forget. Just when I want to take some time to reflect, something new is on it's way, something to do, somewhere to be, someone to see.

And so, now, finally, I sit to record.

Thank you for...........

a gallon of apple cider and mulling spices, a shoe box filled with chocolate, magazine articles torn out and mailed, chocolate with hazelnuts, a hand-knit shawl that is unexpectedly warm, waltzing, picking me up and taking me contradancing in Denver, "you're going to be fine", a hat in a box on my porch, nausea bracelets with flowers on them, nausea medication, garlic cloves, emails out of the blue, understanding when I don't answer them, scarf shopping, July 5, socks, "I saw this and I thought of you", Whole Foods pizza, bath salts, offering, seed stock from your garden, cards in the mail (this has been the biggest shock to me-people still send cards!), advice from a river, a circle of golden autumn leaves, puns, rubbing my feet during chemo, stopping by for a chat, homemade pizza, Wise and Otherwise, making the boys' lunches, Come Alive! The Spirited Art of Sister Corita, a journal that I made for a friend 10 years ago that has come full circle, surviving, meatloaf, earrings, to-die-for-all-organic-yummy-quiche, listening to me whimper on the phone, believing that I can, even when I say I can't, giving me blue hair and a fairy godmother with combat boots card, bringing me chili and Izzy soda out on your sunny porch, a mysterious enormous pumpkin, telling me I look like Sinead O'Connor, stories of Buddhist nuns, prayers from Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Teresa, a bouquet of yellow flowers, asking questions, lightening my way, bringing the boys home from school, then making a snack for them and emptying the dishwasher, red beans and rice, chili, apple cobbler, sacred sandstone iron concretions, letting me cry, rice with a spice just mild enough to be tasty and not strong enough to upset my tummy, playing Jumping Pixies and Carcassone on the floor during chemo number two

It's just this unending thoughtfulness that continually comes my way. Please know that this thoughtfulness is returned, even though I may not get around to a personal thank you. Blessings to all.