Friday, November 26, 2010

Friday Flashback - August, 1966 - 'Clarksville'

Take the Last Train to Clarksville
The Monkees !

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Milestones

This past Friday was the one-year anniversary of my last chemo treatment. I remember walking out of the chemo center with mixed feelings. So very glad to be finished, but a little regret that I wouldn't be seeing the people who took such good care of me, the people on the same treatment cycle as I was.

It's been a tiring, but good week. Still quite sore from last surgery, but is beginning to subside. I can sleep on my side again .. very carefully. The incisions under my arms have been more painful than those on my chest during both phases of the reconstruction. The implants are starting to 'drop' very slowly .. expecting it to take 2 - 3 months before they look 'right'.

I've finally started my chemo hat project .. crocheting caps to take to the chemo center to give to those taking treatments. Extra soft yarn to keep tender chemo-heads warm. I've made about 30 so far. My first few were with regular yarn, but they're way too coarse; will probably drop these off at a shelter. They're fine for folks with hair, but too rough for sensitive heads.
Father S has kindly agreed to bless them with a prayer for the people who will receive them.

Wow .. a whole year .. doesn't seem possible. I am blessed. I am thankful.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday Flashback - 1969 - Aquarius

Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In
The Fifth Dimension

Monday, November 8, 2010

"I want you to know ...

...that my friend and coworker, Jillian, did her second 3-day, 60-mile walk for Susan G. Komen this past weekend. Jillian wears ribbons for those who have succumbed to ("in memory of...") and those who are beating ("in honor of...") breast cancer. She carried you with her this year.
I love you."

That was the email I received from my closest friend yesterday.

How do I say a meaningful 'thank you' to such people? To my dearest friend who loves me, 'warts and all', who has squealed with me in my happiest moments and held me in my lowest. To a strong, warrior-woman who, although I've never met her, carried my name along with others to heighten awareness of the ravages of breast cancer. To the Susan G Komen Foundation that raises funds to find a cure, that provides accurate information when we are newly diagnosed and searching for answers, that holds up before us brave women (and men) who have fought and won, who have fought and lost. To the surgeons and oncologists who have guided me. To the compassionate nurses who changed my bandages and administered chemo drugs. To my family and friends who have held my hand. To my Blessed Mother who cradled me in her arms and spoke softly to me of the love of a God I had long doubted.

Thank you. You have touched my heart. You have touched my life.



Friday, November 5, 2010

Friday Flashback - 1963 - 'It's My Party'

'It's My Party'
Lesley Gore

Video title says '1965', but was actually released in 1963. There have been lots of remakes, but this remains the standard.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Ooops

Ooops .. I missed Friday Flashback! I have a reason (excuse). I've been doing all the last minute preparations for my next surgery, 'nesting' of sorts. House is clean, grocery shopping done, errands run, all the things I won't be able to do for a few days, well ok, for more than a few days.

I'll be having what I hope will be my last surgery tomorrow morning. The second step of the reconstruction process .. taking out the expanders & placing the permanent implants. I'll have some minor procedures later, but this should be the last of the surgeries.

I'm excited ! Not only because I'll have boobies again, but because this marks the end of the breast cancer detour. Maybe 'detour' isn't the right word. 'Detour' indicates you divert off your regular path and at some point resume it again. I won't be resuming my regular path. I've been able to make some positive changes .. changes in attitude, changes in lifestyle, changes in faith. I'm looking forward to the new paths that lie ahead!

Holy Father, thank you for your care.
Blessed Mother, thank you for your peace.
Help me be sensitive to the needs of others
As they have so kindly been with me.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Friday Flashback - 1968 - 'Young Girl'

Young Girl
Gary Puckett & the Union Gap

Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday, October 8, 2010

Friday Flashback - 1966 - 'Walk Away Rene'

'Walk Away Rene'
The Left Banke



And when I see the sign that
points one way
The lot we used to pass by
every day

Just walk away Renee,
You won't see me follow you back home
The empty sidewalks on my
block are not the same
You're not to blame

From deep inside the tears that
I'm forced to cry
From deep inside the pain I
I chose to hide

Just walk away Renee,
You won't see me follow you back home
Now as the rain beats down
upon my weary eyes
For me it cries

Your name and mine inside
a heart upon a wall
Still finds a way to haunt me,
though they're so small

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Almost There!

Another 100cc in expanders today. Perhaps only one more time and I'll be ready for my next surgery to have the expanders removed & permanent implants put in. New boobies for Christmas .. yayyyyy! For now, I just look like I have a swollen chest, no form, just growing skin to accommodate the implants. Even with a large implant, I'll be much smaller than I was before since it has to fill in the concave area (like going from a negative B to a positive C). Even with just the expanders, my clothes look much better. I'm looking forward to finishing up!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sweet Mother of Earth

Sweet Mother of Earth spread wide your arms to enfold us.
Rain upon our grasses, your fragrant breath rise up to greet us.

Sweet Mother of Earth spread wide your arms to enfold us.
Display your beauty in vibrant autumn colors that speak of renewal not of death.

Sweet Mother of Earth spread wide your arms to enfold us.
Past is the summer sun, refresh our hearts as you refresh the earth.

Sweet Mother of Earth spread wide your arms to enfold us.
Slow our steps, quiet our hearts, so we may bask in your embrace.

Sweet Mother of Earth.


Friday, October 1, 2010

Exhausting Day!

Took vacation day today to get some things done .. maybe I should have worked, I'm exhausted!
Started out with oil change/alignment (for da car), then a bone density test (for me), a quick stop in KMart (for socks), and then shoe shopping! I've been on a quest to find comfy dress shoes. Scored today! The bone density test is to be sure the Femara isn't causing osteoporosis. Ready for an early bedtime!


Friday Flashback - 1968 - Janis Joplin!

Piece of My Heart
Janis Joplin

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Still Clear!!

Labwork with the Oncologist today .. still clear !! Yayyyyyyy !!!!!
Trying to find some ways to counteract the Femara side-effects.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Things that make you say ... 'hhmmmm'

"As one of the saints of old has said, "Truth is never truth if it is on the side of oppression." To that I would add, Christianity is not of Christ if it is abusive to those whose lifestyles and views may differ from their own."

—The Rev. Dr. Douglass M. Bailey

Saturday, September 25, 2010

On This Day ...

On this day last year, I was spiraling down from chemo #4. I was half-way thru treatment, the last of the Adriamycin (the red devil). Four more Taxol treatments were to follow. I rejoiced in the good days, stopped fighting the bad days. Months before I had strapped on the harness and took a deep breath for the roller-coaster ride.

This morning I realized I actually have enough hair to dry with a blow-dryer. How cool is that??? Now that I've figured that out, I'm ready to go back to the gel (g).

Friday, September 24, 2010

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Today is Thursday ??

Well, I just realized today is Thursday, not Friday, and I posted my 'Friday Flashback' before leaving for work this morning. (scratching head) Does that mean I need to post again tomorrow?

And is it evvvvvver going to be less than 90 degrees??????? I so long for cool, crisp, fall mornings, for chilly nights with a blankie, for steamed-up windows and a pot of soup on the stove, for icy Massachusetts streets, for saying 'can we please turn the heat on just a tiny little bit?'.

Mother, may we please have winter soon????


Friday Flashback - 1977 - 'Deacon Blues'

Deacon Blues
Steely Dan

Especially for you Deacon.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Wandering

Over the last year I have shared finding a new path, a result of having much time to listen to my own thoughts. That's a treasure, you know, being able to take time to hear your own heart.

I recognized what a blessing that was, and felt much regret that I had 'wasted' so much time wandering with no clear direction. My closest friend once described it as being 'adrift'. That was exactly the way I felt .. adrift .. no course .. alone .. no guide.

In recent counseling, I mentioned just that. Expecting a sympathetic response of, 'yes it's a shame you wasted so much time', instead I heard .. 'perhaps it was necessary to clear your soul to bring you where you are now'. What? All those feelings of loss of faith, of loss of confidence in others, of pulling away from the beliefs I had known all my life .. necessary?

If I had not been adrift, would I have ever questioned the blatant lack of compassion of those called by God's name? If I had not been adrift, would I have ever opened my heart to something different? If I had not been adrift, would I have ever recognized a sacred feminine presence?

If I had a definite direction, a plotted course, would it have allowed me to learn more? Had I been content with the faith of my youth, would I have ever cried for a better way?

I have resolved to no longer refer to my 'wandering' as wasted time. It brought me to where I am now .. happier, more content, a stronger foundation of faith. No, it wasn't wasted. It taught me that my Holy Father cares for me even when I'm distant. It brought me to the recognition of our Divine Mother.

I have a sense of direction now, but it's not a map with no room for change in course. It has room for questions, room for change, room for growth. Someone else said it better ...

"I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
..."
John Masefield - Sea Fever


Walk with Me

Holy Father, I asked you to walk with me,
And you beckoned me come walk beside you.

Blessed Mother, I asked you to surround me with peace,
And you drew me near to your bosom.

Holy Father, help me realize I must seek out your path.
Blessed Mother, help me understand your arms are my solace.


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Looking Back - Moving Forward

Yesterday evening I was reviewing some of my older posts; back to the beginning when I started this blog. I had sent a link to a co-worker who has also been diagnosed with breast cancer (oddly enough she does the same job I do in a different location). Wow. That seems a lifetime ago.

I'm in the slow process of reconstruction. It's going well, and I'm hoping to have my last surgery near the end of this year. I have small 'boobie-bumps' where I was once concave. There will be some 'finishing touches' to do after the first of next year. I have regained much of my energy since finishing my chemo last fall. Scars have healed well. Still have some random pain where the lymph nodes were removed. Still have a lot of numbness under left arm (that will not go away). The Femara that helps keep the cancer from returning is taking its toll. I had 'trigger' thumbs on both hands which had to be corrected by surgery back in June .. one of the top-ten side-effects of the Femara. Have had gradually increasing joint pain .. fingers, elbows, hips, knees. For now I'm trying to counteract that with Aleve; will discuss with oncologist when I see him later this month.

I've been able to move past much of the breast cancer roller coaster ride, with the exception of the above reminders. They will be with me for a while yet. And that's ok .. I'll work through it.

Today I have a clean house, clean sheets, laundry in progress, the faint scent of lavender, a kitty to cuddle, and a movie to watch later. It's a wonderful day!!

Friday Flashback - 1968 - 'Crimson & Clover' (A day late .. again)

Crimson and Clover
Tommy James & The Shondells


Friday, September 10, 2010

Monday, September 6, 2010

Rain On Me

Blessed Mother, rain on me.
Warm, gentle rains of peace that soothe my soul.
Purging, cleansing rains that rid my heart of pain.
Clear, crystal rains of hope that inspire me to move forward.
Long, soaking rains of love that bind me to others so I am not alone.
Frigid, jagged rains of awareness that sting my complacency into action.
Nourishing, sustaining rains of life that make me rejoice in each day.
Blessed Mother, rain on me.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Prayer for Today

Holy Father, thank you for leading me through the forest of my own confusion.
Blessed Mother, thank you for surrounding me with the peacefulness of your comfort.

Help me to reach to others in compassion instead of contempt.
Help me to temper my words and actions with kindness.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday, August 13, 2010

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Thanks to those of you who keep reading even when I'm not writing & only posting 'Friday Flashbacks'. I dooooo enjoy the flashbacks (g).

Update on reconstruction. Have healed well from the surgery to place the expanders, but haven't been able to get my first injections yet. One side is persistently pink & the Dr is being cautious. It's frustrating to be two months out from surgery and still not be getting started yet. I go back this Tuesday; trying to not lift, stretch, pull, etc in the hopes it will clear up. Say a prayer? Light a candle?

This weekend is the 50th anniversary celebration at church. Tonight is hor d'oevres and a Christian comedian/impersonator. Tomorrow the same guest speaker will deliver the sermon and afternoon skit with a brunch in between. Will be a very busy but great weekend! It's good to be getting out and participating in life again.

Confirmation classes are coming along well. I'll finish up the end of this month, and be confirmed into the Episcopal Church when the Bishop visits on Labor Day weekend. It's a wonderful step forward for me.

Hopefully I'll start writing more again!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Friday Flashback - Jim Croce - (1971 & 1972)

1971 - 'Lover's Cross'



1972 - 'You Don't Mess Around With Jim'

Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday Flashback - 1965

'Mr Tambourine Man'
The Byrds

Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday Flashback - 1970

'Mama Told Me Not To Come'
Three Dog Night

Friday, July 16, 2010

Friday Flashback - 1973

"Goodbye Yellow Brick Road"
Elton John

Friday, July 9, 2010

Friday Flashback - 1969

Ahhhh .. the memories! Thanks, Greg.

"Baby, I Love You"
Andy Kim

Friday, July 2, 2010

Friday Flashback - 1972

Go ahead & light the incense and turn it ALL the way up!

'Smoke on the Water'

Deep Purple

Thursday, July 1, 2010

I'm Sorry

Amazing story ... may the winds of change carry it to the ends of the earth.

http://www.timschraeder.com/2010/06/30/a-different-kind-of-demonstration-at-gay-pride/

Friday, June 25, 2010

A Year Ago Today and Once Again Down the Surgery Road

One year ago today I had a bilateral mastectomy and 11 lymph nodes removed. It was the beginning of a long road of recovery from the surgery and chemo. I've come a long way!

This time the surgery was for a good thing! I decided to go ahead & give breast reconstruction a try. Not so much because I missed my breasts (no bra is very nice!), but more because of difficulty of finding clothes other than tees that fit/looked right, and because I've been using double-stick tape to tape my shirts so you couldn't see my scars when I bent over. I didn't want to spend the rest of my life investing in double-stick tape & worrying about people seeing what 'wasn't' under my shirt.

So on Monday the 14th I had the first surgery to insert expanders. They are like a thick balloon with a port where fluid will be injected every couple of weeks until the skin is stretched enough to accommodate the size implant I want. In a few months (hopefully by the end of the year), I'll have another surgery to have the expanders taken out & permanent implants put in. No more DD - I'm aiming for a C+.

Since I would already be off work a couple of weeks, I decided to have another surgery the following Monday (the 21st), in order to avoid having to be off work again in a few weeks. This was to repair both trigger thumbs which would require being off about a week. So now I'm done with both & will be going back to work on Monday the 28th. The trigger thumbs were a direct result of the Femara I take to keep the breast cancer from returning. Annoying side-effects.

I feel like I've been perforated all over!

Here's to surgeries that make life better!

Friday Flashback - 1968

Mrs Robinson
Simon & Garfunkel



From 'The Graduate' .....

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Friday Flashback a Day Late - 1962

Especially for my sissie ...

'Soldier Boy'
The Shirelles

Friday, June 11, 2010

For My Son

On a Sunday morning you started fighting your way into this world.
On a Wednesday afternoon you finally emerged with strong kicks and a lusty cry.
The birthing process wasn't easy for either of us.
As thrilled as I was to be able to cuddle you in my arms, I missed holding you in my tummy.

On a Tuesday morning you walked away from me into your first day of pre-school.
On a Friday evening you donned cap and gown and lifted high your diploma.
The birthing process wasn't easy for either of us.
As thrilled as I was to see you grow and learn, I missed cuddling you in my arms.

On a Saturday morning you packed up clothes and 18 years of treasures.
On a Sunday evening you spent your first night in your own apartment.
The birthing process wasn't easy for either of us.
As thrilled as I was to see you asserting your independence, I missed watching you grow and learn.

On a Monday morning you loaded a truck and moved 800 miles away.
On a Thursday afternoon you put me teary-eyed on a plane back to my empty nest.
The birthing process wasn't easy for either of us.
As thrilled as I was to see you bravely facing new challenges, I missed watching you discover your independence.

There is not a day you are not foremost in my thoughts.
There is not a day you do not consume my heart.
The birthing process hasn't been easy for either of us.
As thrilled as I am to see the man you've become, I will forever miss my little boy.


Friday Flashback - August 1969

Green River - CCR!
(John Fogerty)



Well, take me back down where cool water flows, yeah.
Let me remember things I love,
Stoppin' at the log where catfish bite,
Walkin' along the river road at night,
Barefoot girls dancin' in the moonlight.

I can hear the bullfrog callin' me.
Wonder if my rope's still hangin' to the tree.
Love to kick my feet 'way down the shallow water.
Shoefly, dragonfly, get back t'your mother.
Pick up a flat rock, skip it across Green River.
Welllllll!

Up at Cody's camp I spent my days, oh,
With flat car riders and cross-tie walkers
. Old Cody, Junior took me over,
Said, "You're gonna find the world is smould'rin'.
And if you get lost come on home to Green River."

Welllllll!
Come on home.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Finding My Place

For most of my life I simply accepted what I was told to believe; I rarely questioned because that was frowned upon. I was fine with that for many years .. I did what I was told, I strived to be what those around me expected me to be . After some challenging personal experiences I began to lose faith in God. I felt abandoned, like he had let me down when I needed him the most. Once I was on 'the other side', I learned those who called themselves 'Christians' had very little compassion for those of us who were struggling spiritually. Over a period of time I came to cringe when someone told me they were Christian. I associated that with narrow-minded hatred for anyone different, hypocrisy, and self-righteousness. I distinctly remember commenting at work one day .. 'forget the lions, God save us from the Christians'. I wanted nothing to do with those who proclaimed themselves to be so good, yet treated others with disdain and criticism. What I saw in churches was very little of 'God's love'; more a society proclaiming 'look how good we are & how bad you are'. Those little 'what would Jesus do' bracelets adorned the wrists of those who spread vicious gossip, whose mouths were full of venom. At the same time, I longed for that relationship with God that I had once known. I missed it. I didn't know how to get back. I certainly didn't want to go back to where I had come from.

During my breast surgery and the subsequent chemo, I had an unexplainable peace. I wondered how I could be so calm, but I had no doubt I would be just fine. I had no inclination to ask God for help. He hadn't been there for me before, why would he be now? I didn't ask for prayers. I knew I was on my own. But somewhere during those long days I recognized a distinctly feminine presence. The Goddess? The Virgin Mary? My grandmother's kind, soothing spirit? I may never know the answer to that question, but I have chosen to believe the spirit of the Blessed Virgin Mary enfolded me in her loving arms. Could it be the Goddess who was obliterated was actually incarnate in the Virgin Mary? Perhaps I'll never have an understanding. And that's alright. I no longer feel like a heretic for asking the question.

After chemo treatment, I knew I needed to regain a sense of community, of interacting with others instead of withdrawing from society. I suppose I could have joined a bridge club, but I decided to try to find a church where I felt like I fit in.

This was my criteria:

A church that treated all people with dignity and respect.
A church where I didn't have to check my brain at the door.
A place that encouraged my questions. After all, can truth not withstand questions?
A group of people who didn't think of themselves as 'better', that didn't harshly judge others.
A place that allowed for a degree of individual interpretation rather than a rigid dictate of faith.

I really didn't think that place existed. I prayed that if there was indeed a place for me, that I would be able to find it. I took away denominational parameters and opened my mind to something different. In January I started visiting a different church each Sunday. In years past I had visited the Unitarian .. wonderful people with kind, open hearts, but not quite right for me. I had also attended Christmas Eve Mass at the Catholic Church for many years. I was drawn to the beautiful liturgical worship, but again, not exactly right. I visited a couple of Lutheran churches, a couple of Methodist, a Presbyterian. Two seemed like possibilities. One very openly expressed that same 'we're righteous and everyone else is going to hell' attitude. No thanks.

Then on a cold, snowy morning in February, I walked into an Episcopal Church just minutes from my house. I had only a few fuzzy sprigs of hair on my head and still had much of the ‘chemo look’. I was greeted by a kind lady who welcomed me and inquired if I had ever attended an Episcopal service before. No, never. She introduced me to a charter member who sat with me & guided me through the service. I experienced an overwhelming peaceful, loving atmosphere and a beautiful service that was very different for me. The sermon was extolling the magnificence of God, true worship rather than entertainment or a cheerleading section for the home team. The next Sunday I continued my quest and went to another area church. I remember thinking ‘Oh .. I wish I had gone to St. Timothy’s!’. The next Sunday I did just that. When I walked through the door, I felt my body and my spirit relax .. it felt like ‘coming home’.

St Timothy’s is a small parish, but one of the warmest, most loving congregations I have ever met. Every person attending service that morning greeted me. No one asked, 'who are you? Where do you work? Why are you here?' They simply said, 'we're really glad you're here'. Do you know how unusual that is? I have been embraced by people who truly display the love of Christ. The parish Priest has been very generous with his time for counseling, guiding me in restoring my relationship with God, and setting aside time every week to answer my questions and teach me of the Episcopal faith.

I have felt accepted and loved from the moment I walked through those red doors with my bald head. For the first time in my life I actually feel like I ‘fit in’. For the first time in my life I'm exploring my own faith instead of blindly accepting someone else's. I have found my place. That is an amazing blessing!

Holy Father, thank you for leading me on a different path.
Let me see beyond the
fa├žade of those called by your name who
have none of your grace.

Divine Mother, thank you for opening my mind and restoring my faith.
Please help me begin to give back the love and acceptance I have so
generously been given.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Friday Flashback - 1961

Ok, so really I posted this right before I left for work on Friday morning .. so why is the date showing up for Thursday???

The Tokens - 'The Lion Sleeps Tonight'


Friday, May 28, 2010

The incredible advantage of rebuilding your life one piece at a time ...

The first words out of my mouth when I listened to the report that said 'probable malignancy' were .. 'I don't have time for this!'. The weeks that followed were a process of dismantling my life, letting go of everything that wasn't absolutely necessary. Thinking I couldn't possibly be away from work for more than a couple of weeks, I ended up being off for six months for surgery and chemo. I entered a comforting cocoon of focusing only on healing and very little else. Those closest to me seemed amazed that I was able to have such a positive outlook. It's easy to be positive when you're living in a protective bubble. No work stress, no worrying about housecleaning, no set schedule other than doctor's appointments and treatments. My every need anticipated and and met by my son, sister, and close friends. The whole world stood still while I took the breast cancer ride. Many days were my '2x2' routine .. up two hours, a two hour nap. If I felt well, maybe a walk, or sitting on the deck in the sunshine listening to the birds. If I didn't, I could dive into my bed anytime I wanted. One focus .. give my body and spirit all it needed to overcome cancer. It worked. The cancer is gone, I'm back to work, and rebuilding my life.

I learned a lot of things (maybe I should make a top-20 list of those things). At the top of the list was learning what was truly important in my life, and what could be eliminated. When you remove everything (and I mean literally *everything*) except nurturing your soul, you have the incredible advantage of rebuilding your life one piece at a time. I had long hours to sort through my own beliefs, my own faith; what I wanted for the rest of my life. It was time to come through on the other side with a new sense of the essence of my own soul, a new confidence in my strength, a new appreciation for the woman I am.

Off and on for the last few years I've battled depression, looking for a way out, feeling like I was all alone, abandoned by friends, sometimes family, and even God. I had gradually withdrawn from any emotional attachment. My life was primarily work, coming home to watch the old 60's soap opera, 'Dark Shadows', and cuddling with my beloved kitty, Badajan. I didn't realize how much I had isolated myself. Cancer taught me that I not only want to live, but I want to revel in life.

In January I went back to work. I danced down the hallway singing .. 'I'm back, I'm back!'. It was so good to know I still had a job, I still had my office; I could resume my life. Only now I had a choice to add back only those things I truly wanted. I gave much thought to my faith and started searching for a place I could express and nurture that faith in an atmosphere of loving, caring, unpretentious people .. a place where I actually fit in. I wasn't so sure that place existed (and that's a whole 'nother post .. 'Finding My Place').

Now I take workplace politics less seriously, I've recognized I'm not a heretic because I embrace a Sacred Feminine presence, I made peace with God after many years of feeling like He let me down. I take time to watch & listen to the birds. When friends invite me to join them for dinner, I say 'yes!'. If I want to spend all evening relaxing and watching a movie, I do it and don't feel guilty because my furniture's dusty. Now I make time for 'girlie weekends' with my sister and niece. I've worked diligently on making my home my sanctuary. I'm burning the pretty candles. I'm opening a bottle of wine just for me.

I feel like I'm in a shop choosing what I want in my life, in my future. I'll take one of those, no, I don't want that, oh yes .. I definitely want one of those,

Thank you Cancer for ripping all the 'stuff' out of my life. I'm rebuilding it my own way .. one piece at a time.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Friday Flashback - Jim Reeves (August 20, 1923–July 31, 1964)


He'll Have to Go - 1960




Welcome to My World - 1964



Distant Drums - 1966 (Posthumous)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Thanks Ms Linda!

A quick note to say thank you to http://heartsongshymnal.blogspot.com/ for sharing the technicalities of embedding video clips in my blog. It was her 'Sunday Sounds' that led me to posting 'Friday Flashbacks'. Hoping to be back to writing very soon!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Friday Flashback - 1963

Finally got to order glasses this week .. hoping they are in by the end of next week. Thennnn I'll be able to see and can catch up on blogging!!

In the meantime .....

Peter Yarrow, Paul Stookey, and Mary Travers.



Blowin' in the Wind

(Thank you Bob Dylan)

How many roads must a man walk down,
before you call him a man?
How many seas must a white dove fly,
before she sleeps in the sand?
And how many times must a cannon ball fly,
before they're forever banned?

The answer my friend is blowing in the wind,
the answer is blowing in the wind.

How many years can a mountain exist,
before it is washed to the sea?
How many years can some people exist,
before they're allowed to be free?
And how many times can a man turn his head,
and pretend that he just doesn't see?

The answer my friend is blowing in the wind,
the answer is blowing in the wind.

How many times must a man look up,
before he sees the sky?
And how many ears must one man have,
before he can hear people cry ?
And how many deaths will it take till we know,
that too many people have died?

The answer my friend is blowing in the wind,
the answer is blowing in the wind.

The answer my friend is blowing in the wind,
the answer is blowing in the wind.

And while we're in 1963 ...



Listen to the rhythm of the falling rain
Telling me just what a fool I've been
I wish that it would go and let me cry in vain
And let me be alone again

The only girl I care about has gone away
Looking for a brand new start
But little does she know
That when she left that day
Along with her she took my heart

Rain please tell me now does that seem fair
For her to steal my heart away when she don't care
I can't love another when my hearts somewhere far away

The only girl I care about has gone away
Looking for a brand new start
But little does she know that when she left that day
Along with her she took my heart

[Instrumental Interlude]

Rain won't you tell her that I love her so
Please ask the sun to set her heart aglow
Rain in her heart and let the love we knew start to grow

Listen to the rhythm of the falling rain
Telling me just what a fool I've been
I wish that it would go and let me cry in vain
And let me be alone again

Oh, listen to the falling rain
Pitter patter, pitter patter
Oh, oh, oh, listen to the falling rain
Pitter patter, pitter patter

Friday, May 14, 2010

Friday Flashback - 1965

My Girl - The Temptations

Friday, May 7, 2010

Friday Flashback - 1968

Go ahead .. turn it all the way up and dance!

Chain of Fools
The Queen - Aretha Franklin

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Flashback - 1967

One of my favorites. Isn't it amazing how songs unlock vivid memories for us? Even over 40 years later.

A Whiter Shade Of Pale
Procol Harum



We skipped a light fandango,
Turned cartwheels 'cross the floor.
I was feeling kind of seasick,
But the crowd called out for more.
The room was humming harder,
As the ceiling flew away.
When we called out for another drink,
The waiter brought a tray.

And so it was that later,
As the miller told his tale,
That her face at first just ghostly,
Turned a whiter shade of pale.

She said there is no reason,
And the truth is plain to see
That I wandered through my playing cards,
And would not let her be
One of sixteen vestal virgins
Who were leaving for the coast.
And although my eyes were open,
They might just as well have been closed.

And so it was later,
As the miller told his tale,
That her face at first just ghostly,
Turned a whiter shade of pale.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Flashback - 1968

The Queen - Aretha Franklin

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Coming Soon

In two more weeks I'll be able to order new glasses & I'll be able to see my 'puter again, which means I'll be able to finally blog about some recent thoughts.

Coming Soon ... 'The incredible advantage of rebuilding your life one piece at a time', and 'Finding my place'.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Remembering Satchmo!

Especially for Deacon ...

Friday, April 9, 2010

Wonderful News!

Earlier this week I got lab results that said the cancer cells are gone .. yayyyyy! Today I had my port removed. It seems like the end of a long journey, but in reality it's only the beginning. It's the end of surgery (unless I decide to have reconstruction), the end of chemo, the end of the bulging port on my chest, the end of the cancer ride. But it's only the beginning of a much happier life. How can that be? I want to go out on my deck and yell to all my neighbors .. 'I'm clear ! I'm happy!'. I'm truly alive for the first time in a very long time.

Holy Father, thank you for restoring my health.
You have ordered my steps when I thought I was lost.
Divine Mother, thank you for restoring my soul.
You have whispered peace to my heart in the midst of turmoil.

Blessed Father, I searched for you in lofty places,
And found you within my own heart.
Queen of Heaven, I wondered if you existed,
And found you in the air I breathe.











Thursday, March 25, 2010

Sunshine & Rain .. Peace & Nightmares

Last weekend I had the most wonderful time with friends in a cabin in North Carolina. Days with shopping the cozy shops in Boone & Blowing Rock, and viewing one of the awesome fresco paintings at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Glendale Springs. Nights were listening to the rain & sitting by the fire, cuddling, sharing philosophical thoughts, breathing in the quiet peacefulness.

During that wonderful weekend however, an old demon returned to haunt me .. a recurring nightmare that propels me into a screaming fit in my sleep. I woke up everyone in the cabin before I could get myself awake. Usually that happens when I'm either over-heated or over-stressed, and this time I was neither. I was comfy, felt safe and secure, and was very relaxed. The only explanation I can come up with is an explosive release of residual stress. I suspect I darn near caused a coronary.

If I promise to behave next time, can we go again ?

Please please please.

Holy Father, thank you for the love of friends.
Help me return the love I have so generously been given.

Divine Mother, thank you for the beauty of the mountains.
Help me see your face in both the sunshine and the rain.




Saturday, March 13, 2010

Girlie Weekend

I had the wonderful delight of spending time with my sister & niece last weekend. We ran away to a cabin in the mountains of northern Georgia for a 'girlie' weekend. Giggles & shopping, wine & a fire (in the fireplace not the kitchen), cookies & quiet heart-to-heart talks, dancing in pj's & peaceful rest.

During chemo, we had talked about how much we wanted to go to Helen, Ga, but I wasn't sure I would ever have enough energy to do that again, at least not for a very long time. It was amazing.

I still don't have my full strength back, but I seem to be able to tell a difference every week. I have fuzzy hair and eyelashes, I'm making it through the work-day much better, and I've even been able to do a few things after work several days.

I'm rediscovering my faith and seem to be finding a new niche. As bizarre as it sounds, I am a much happier little girl since surgery/chemo.

Life is good. I'm excited about it for the first time in a very long time.

Holy Father, thank you for the refreshing of my spirit.
Blessed Mother, thank you for the calming of my soul.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Spring!

I am excited for spring for a variety of reasons. I usually like the cold winter weather, but I am looking forward to spring's warmth, to be able to sit on my deck and watch the delightful birdies who visit my feeders. I feel like I've come through a cold season in my life, not because of breast cancer, but because of a closing of my heart for very many years. The breast cancer was my awakening of how valuable life truly is, a realigning of priorities, and a realization that I do need others. I seem to be in a season of transition, of wanting to move forward, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. As our Divine Mother clothes the earth in the beauty of springtime, I sense a renewal of my own spirit. And I'm excited!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Another one of my favorite things ...

Go ahead and stand up .. you know you're gonna have to dance!



Baby take off your coat
Real slow
Take off your shoes
I'll take off your shoes
Baby take off your dress
Yes, yes, yes

You can leave your hat on
You can leave your hat on
You can leave your hat on

Go over there, turn on the light
Hey, all the lights
Come over here, stand on that chair
Yeah, that's right
Raise your arms up in the air
Now shake 'em
You give me reason to live
You give me reason to live
You give me reason to live
You give me reason to live

Sweet darling, (you can leave your hat on)
You can leave your hat on
Baby, (you can leave your hat on)
You can leave your hat on
(You can leave your hat on)

(You can leave your hat on)

Suspicious minds are talkin'
They're tryin' to tear us apart
They don't believe in this love of mine
They don't know what love is

They don't know what love is
They don't know what love is
They don't know what love is
Yeah, I know what love is

There ain't no way
(You can leave your hat on)
You can leave your hat on
(You can leave your hat on)
Give me the reason to live
(You can leave your hat on)
You can leave your hat on

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Prayer for the First Sunday of Lent

Holy Father, help me renew my faith in you.
Help me cease my judgment of others,
Turning instead to inspect my own life, my own faults.
Holy Father, help me grow in your Spirit.

Divine Mother, help me share your kindness.
Help me replace the emotion of hate
With the virtue of forgiveness.
Divine Mother, help me be an oasis to others, as you are to me.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

And that's ok ...

I didn't realize it was Valentine's Day until this afternoon. It's been a little over ten years since I heard the words 'I love you' (other than family & very close friends). And that's ok.

I've loved in my lifetime, perhaps one time too many. I recognize that I'm not likely to love again .. closed hearts rarely re-open. And that's ok.

I once described my heart as residing in an inner chamber in a stone fortress. Very few are invited in. It's cool, it's protected. And that's ok.

On this Valentine's Day, I celebrate the love I see in others. I don't look for a 'great love'; I hold in my heart the joy of loves-past. And that's ok.

Holy Father, strengthen my fortress that I may remain content and happy with my life.
Divine Mother, help me to reflect the love of others and display your gentleness and kindness.




Thursday, February 4, 2010

My Cup-Holder's Broken

Today when I switched cd's in my computer from Johnny Lang to Ladysmith Black Mambazo, I remembered something a former co-worker had done many years ago. You have to understand that when I first started working we stamped bills paid with a rubber stamp and had paper cards for every customer that were kept in bins that circled around like a Ferris wheel. We eventually got 'terminals' that were connected to the company network & we could access the customer accounting system (two of us shared one terminal). Thennnnn we got pc's. Wow.

The lady that entered our payroll had never used a pc before, and she found it was apparently shoddy-built because her cup holder didn't last anytime at all. I remember the look on the IT tech's face when she called him & he came careening around the corner to see what the heck she was talking about. Yep .. she had been putting her Pal's tea (for those of you not from the south, that's a 32 oz styrofoam cup full of the best iced tea you've ever had) in the cd drive tray. It cracked. When it cracked, it poked her cup and her precious tea was leaking. Confounded pc.

'You've got to be kidding me', he asked with wide eyes. She replied, 'Absolutely not; I've used this thing less than a month & it's already broken!' With tight lips he unhooked her computer and carried it off to replace the cd drive. I heard him mutter as he huffed around the corner ... 'some people just don't need a computer!'.

Every now and then, when I see him in the hallway I can't resist saying, 'Hey Bill, I think my cup-holder's broken!'.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Odd Dreams

The last couple of nights I tried a different sleep med. It was a very restless sleep, waking up, rolling over & going back to sleep every hour. But evidently I *did* sleep some, because I had odd dreams both nights. One last night is worth sharing - and if anyone can analyze it - go for it!

I pulled out of the garage on the motorcycle my former husband & I had. This was the one that was way too tall for me, but in the dream it was no longer a Kawasaki, but a Harley FatBoy, sans helmet. I rode along a winding road to an old cafe. I took my tray thru a cafeteria line and got a grilled cheese sandwich & ordered fried okra, (which the lady brought out to me because it wasn't done yet). The bowl of okra was huge!

As I was finishing up, a very young, very handsome man came over & sat across from me explaining (with an accent) he had ordered a piece of chocolate pie and couldn't possibly eat it all; would I share? Well of course I would share .. it was after all Chocolate! He carefully cut the piece of pie & plopped my half on the greasy plate where my grilled cheese had been. As we were finishing and I was thanking him, he looked at me sheepishly and said he was so sorry but he didn't have any money to pay for his meal or the pie.

Not feeling the least bit of compassion, and highly annoyed that he had planned it from the beginning (overweight, middle-aged women are good targets, considering we're all supposed to be terribly lonely and vulnerable), I fished out $10 and paid for my sandwich & okra and with the change gave him $3 for my half of the pie. Turned around and walked out.

Back on the bike, this time *with* a helmet, I made a half circle to pull out of the parking lot and back onto the highway. As I turned, I caught a glimpse of two teen-aged girls giggling and pointing my way. End of dream.

Ok, I get the loss of youth and returning to my past. I get the humiliation factor. I get that the accent came from a recent Subway experience my son had. But what the heck was the grilled cheese & okra????

Tonight will be back to the old sleep med. It's $90 instead of $12 for the others ... but really - motorcycles & okra????

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Snowy-Day Thoughts

Divine Mother,

You have blanketed our land with cold, crisp snow
that stills the rush and silences the sounds.

Let us quiet our hearts and slow our minds to ponder
your peacefulness and renew our spirits.

You have blessed us with beauty and reach to calm us;
We thank you, our Mother, and accept your peace.




Thursday, January 28, 2010

It Is Well ...

This has been a much better week for me. Tensions at work have calmed. I had my job performance review today, and it was one of the best I've ever had. Much is forgiven. Now .. if I could just find a way to remember that when it really counts, people come through for me.

Several years ago I sang in a church choir, one of whose favorite songs was "It Is Well With My Soul"
(Horatio Spafford & Phillip Bliss).

I have a good life. I forget sometimes to be thankful for all that is good, focusing rather on the small things that seem wrong. I am reminded it is indeed well with my soul.



When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Refrain:
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Do You Know How Beautiful You Are ? (For Heartsong)

My wonderful friend Heartsong usually posts 'Sunday Sounds' at http://heartsongshymnal.blogspot.com/. No post for today.
So until you share your beautiful music with us, I am posting this
one in your honor.




Do you know how beautiful,
Do you know how beautiful,
Children do you know
How beautiful you really are?

Do you know how beautiful,
Do you know how beautiful,
If you only knew how beautiful
You really are
You really are beautiful.

Have you heard the legend of
The queen in sorrow's robes?
She found she was a statue
In an ancient sacred grove

And she could not find a meaning
Of the fires at her feet!
All the precious sacrifices
Burning sad and sweet
So she cried, and she cried,
And she cried.
She cried,

"Children…

Do you know how beautiful
Do you know how beautiful
Children do you know how beautiful you really are?

Do you know how beautiful
Do you know how beautiful
If you only knew how beautiful you really are

Cities rose around her,
Rose to fall again.
But mostly she´s invisible,
Though every now and then,
You can hear her cry, hear her cry,
Hear her cry,
Cry...

"Children...

Do you know how beautiful
Do you know how beautiful
Children, do you know how beautiful you really are

Do you know how beautiful
Do you know how beautiful
Children do you know how beautiful you really are
If you only knew how beautiful you really are
You really are
Beautiful

Shield Me

It's a cool, rainy, Sunday afternoon. Wonderful time for a nap, although I'm resisting! Yesterday I felt like I had been run over by a truck; today is some better. Skipped most of the housecleaning routine this weekend in the hope of regaining some energy before Monday morning.

I suspect much of my fatigue stemmed from the physical exertion of my first full week back at work, along with the mental confusion at unexpected caustic remarks. While I had thought I was doing great by speeding up my treatments by taking higher doses, apparently some of my co-workers actually thought I was prolonging my absence. I am unsure if the resentment I felt was real or mistakenly perceived, but there was no question about the comments. I was stunned.

I had gone back to work excited, with a determination to better handle stress and politics. By the time I left Friday afternoon, I was discouraged and physically and emotionally drained. Positive thoughts were replaced with dark, negative energy.

If I want to continue to heal, to regain strength, I must find a way to dispel the dark and once again embrace the light. I'm not sure how to accomplish that. Perhaps I am overly-sensitive. Perhaps next week will be better.

Holy Father,
Shield me with your strength.
Divine Mother,
Surround me with your peace.
Help me have a forgiving heart.
Help me remain steady in the brightness of your light
And not succumb to the swirling darkness.



Monday, January 18, 2010

Quickie

Today was first full day back at work. Went pretty well. Very tired this evening, but otherwise ok. Some things just don't change, but hopefully I'll be able to better manage how I react to them. I don't feel as positive as I did when I was living in my own little bubble, everyday stresses have a way of pressing you down, but I still have a better attitude than I did a year ago.

I'm exploring some opportunities to be more involved in my community instead of being so isolated. Small steps.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Not Bad ...

Not a bad 'first day back at work'. My office had been pretty much put back together, computer and phone returned, etc. Files still need to be moved back. Can't log in to anything, but should be re-approved by the end of the week. Spent most of my half-day getting things set back up the way I had them, visiting, etc. Glad this day is behind me.

Monday, January 11, 2010

'Twas the night before ...

Got the 'night before first day back at work' jitters! This week is only half-days, so I can gently get back into a work routine. Hoping I have a computer & an office!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sunday Afternoon Project

Today's project was to label all the electronic connections on tv, cable box, etc., in the hopes I'll be able to get everything set back up correctly when I change out tv later. Labels are my only hope ! My sister & my son seem to easily understand what needs to go where, but I have no logical pattern in my head of which little thingie goes in which little hole. Maybe once I go through the process of reconnecting everything (properly labeled of course), it will make more sense.

About a month ago I did manage to change out the hard drive in my computer and get everything reinstalled and restored ... only because Deacon talked me through it.

Does that mean I'm a 'geek-in-training' ?

Friday, January 8, 2010

Catching Up

Wow .. a full month since my last post. Thought I was going to do better than that; but it's been a busy month ! Spent the last three weeks in Massachusetts with son. We had a wonnnnderful visit ! I got to be there for my birthday, Christmas, and New Years' ! Had good flights going up & coming home; dodged the snow & ice chasing me down the runways. Got back home late Wednesday evening .. now I'm playing catch-up with laundry, mail, etc.

Continuing to regain strength from last chemo back in November. I still tire quickly, but otherwise am doing great ! Will be returning to work for half-days next week, and then regular time the following week. I'm looking forward to getting back into a somewhat 'normal' routine, but at the same time am apprehensive about being back at work. Dreading hearing the alarm at 5:30 am !

Do they put massages on sale in January ??? I'm craving o
ne.