Saturday, February 28, 2009


I love my blog far more than I love Facebook. After I spend some time on Facebook, I come back here, and issue a little sigh of relief. It's peaceful and quiet here. And mine.

Friday, February 27, 2009


there's always
the leaving and the returning
through doors
without locks
never enough kisses
welcome....farewell...come home....see you soon...goodbye.....

boat. stop. moment.

(photos by Kat Tudor)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

morning haiku

mascara attempt
not one eyelash remaining
close the lid and cry

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


The most common question asked by well-meaning friends is, "How much longer?" or sometimes it's, "When are you going to be done?" They mean treatment, of course, but my brain always turns to the long haul, the forever, because you're never done fighting, once you have cancer.

As for the treatment, I am sick and tired of not knowing the answer to those questions. There are too many uncontrollable variables. This time, it was my liver. Yesterday, it threw me a "delay of game" penalty. I arrived at oncology with my sister-in-law Gwen (all the way from Ithaca, NY), mentally prepared and with a bag full of diversions. I was ready for round number nine, only to be told that my chemotherapy appointment had been canceled, and.... "Didn't anyone call you?"

No! They didn't!

My brother and family are visiting from New York! It's a holiday! Everyone else is skiing! I could have gone too! Why didn't anyone call me Friday to tell me my lab results!? (After I had calmed down a bit, I apologized to all the other chemo patients for my outburst, which I'm sure contained many a swear word.)

So Gwen and I headed up to Monarch on a bluebird day to join my brother, my husband, my niece, and my sons, for a day (half-day by the time we arrived) of skiing and then relaxing at Mt. Princeton Hot Springs. Was it better than sitting in the chemo chair all day? In the words of my 9-going-on-13-year-old son, "Well, duh!"

But would I rather have been in the chair with blood poison number nine?

"Well, duh!"

Saturday, February 14, 2009

i wish i knew more about opera

Just click the little triangle, take a thank-god-it's-nearing-the-end-of-winter-but-isn't-the-white-still-beautiful deep breath, and close your eyes for about as much time as it would take you to empty the dishwasher and wipe down the counters.

Happy Valentine's Day. I love you.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

on the origin of inspiration

I'm not sure if it's because I'm feeling overwhelmed by the passage of time, or if I'm just damn lazy, but I feel like reposting this picture and quotes, from two years ago today. If you know my husband, you will know that he is never at a loss for words when it comes to the topic of Evolution. It is his pet. His purpose. His motivating force. His life's work in his Biology classes at Pine Creek High School. Honestly, I get tired of hearing about it, but I respect him for the passion and the knowledge he brings to his profession. If I had had a science teacher like him when I was in high school, I very well might have enjoyed it. So here's to Charles Darwin, and here's to John Spengler, and here's to a new administration, with all its ugly imperfectness, that at least understands the importance of science.

"Doing what little one can to increase the general stock of knowledge is as respectable an object of life, as one can in any likelihood pursue."


"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science."

Sunday, February 8, 2009

as frank rich says.........

there's a reason Slumdog Millionaire has become America's movie of the year:

Slumdogs Unite!

keebler elves = stoners

Saturday, February 7, 2009

not just another issue

I have been informed and educated by my friend Brandy about the CPSIA, and wanted to pass along some information to you. She makes the most adorable hand-embroidered magical little people, with all natural materials, while sitting at her kitchen table. Seriously, your heart smiles just to hold them in the palm of your hand!

Here's the problem. I think I'll just let her explain it in her own words:

"Due to the terrible importing of lead-laden children's products that was brought to the public's attention in 2007, the CPSIA is trying to mandate testing on all children's products that would be sold here in the United States. This is good, but not good enough, because this law affects ALL children's products, including all handmade items, like the toys I make. Each component will cost $70 to be tested for lead and since my Gnomes have 6 components (wool felt, glue, cotton thread, linen thread, wood base and carded wool…) that comes to $420. Add in the additional $350 per component for phthalates testing and I would have to add $2100. Making my once $18 gnome a whopping $2565.

And really, this affects everyone who knows anyone with children under the age of twelve, and that includes those of you who are aunts, uncles, teachers, friends, grandparents, and God parents alike."

At the very least, read a bit about the Handmade Toy Alliance, pass along the word, and sign the petition.

{And just so you know, I really didn't write this to promote Brandy's little creations, but of course, you're always welcome to let her know you'd like a little gnome in your life! :-)}

"If this law had been applied to the food industry, every farmers market in the country would be forced to close while Kraft and Dole prospered." (from the Handmade Toy Alliance website)

it's about time

It makes me feel a bit more hopeful about our future when I read articles like this one.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


all things considered

They may simply look like bottles and pills to you, but to me, they have become a life-saving ritual.

Every morning and evening, the same. Swallow 21 pills. (For those of you watching the numbers, that's 42 a day, my age... again) Then there's the flaxseed-grinding, the smoothie-blending, the green-drinking, and the tincture-swilling.

The natural-colored herbal gel caps are from my neighborhood witch. The unnatural-colored yellow pills are from my oncologist. I used to house them in different places in my kitchen, until I realized that they all belonged together.
What's inside all those gel caps, you ask? Here's a sampling of some of their exotic and everyday ingredients:

Manchurian spikenard
Luo han gou
Indian Gooseberry
Goat weed
Vitamin B6
Royal jelly
Korean ginseng
Black pepper
Cordyceps mushroom
Eleuthero root and leaf
Japanese Knotweed
Holy Basil

In addition to swallowing all those pills, Heide also has me drinking a green concoction composed of brussel sprouts and kale and cabbage and spinach. It's lemon-lime flavored. Really. The smoothie protein powder she gives me contains (gasp!) colostrum! (It's from cows, not humans, of course, but still... weird.)

The yellow ones you see are prescribed Potassium and Protonix. And then there are the toughest and cruelest of them all, the ones you can't see here, the chemo drugs: Adriamycin, Cytoxin, Taxol.

The way I look at it, I've got to use everything under the sun available to me.

As a teacher, I've drawn from diverse sources: ITIP, Kagan, Love and Logic.

But those are all systems; it's the people, of course, that have had the most influence on who I am as a teacher.

I have had many guiding forces, from my nazi-like advisor when I was a student teacher, to my paternal first grade teacher, and many more in between. Mrs. Phelps (advisor) taught me how to direct instruct and maintain discipline, and kept her kids loving her and learning much with a strange but effective mix of toughness and love. Mostly, she demonstrated the self-sacrifice and hard work it takes to make sure every single kid "gets it". Mr. Witham (first grade teacher) allowed me to call him "daddy" (my parents were recently divorced), told fractured fairy tales from his imagination before they were popular in books, and made everyone feel safe. I can't remember a word of criticism ever leaving his lips. (My mother sent me his obituary when I was 24 and in my first year of teaching. When I read that he had died of AIDS, I cried like a baby).

I believe what makes me such a great teacher (humble, too, aren't I?) is that I draw upon a variety of teaching techniques and influences, as long as they feel mostly true to me. If it works, use it! We get so bogged down in the "right way" of teaching or parenting or medicating that we lose sight of the ultimate goal. And as every parent knows..... every child is different. As every doctor knows.... every patient is different. What works for one might not necessarily works for another.

I guess that's why I instinctively mistrust parenting experts, politicians, priests and educational consultants (yes, especially them..... and their publishing companies). They are only selling one product, it's the answer, and you have to believe in it. Period.

I don't buy it. And so my arsenal of healing includes it all. Chemo, pills, tinctures, MRI's, EKG's, plants from around the world, yoga, flaxseed, and $5,000 shots of Neulasta.

All things considered, the most important factor, I suppose, just like in teaching, is the people. That'd be you. Thanks for being a part of my treatment plan!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

not just another wordle

Wanna see it bigger? HERE!

It's simply a word cloud of the most used words from my blog, I'm guessing from 2009 only. The words that are used most often are larger than the rest, excluding ordinary words like the, A, etc....

You can make one too!

I just gotta stop using the word just so much, though, but I just don't know how. Hmmm... maybe if I just became more aware of it, and every time I wrote just, I could just try and find a better word. I think it just might work!