T H E I N V I T A T I O N

•February 5, 2010 • 3 Comments

January was a very strange month for me. It started out very well. I was on a high note, both mentally and physically. Then the rain came. I love the rain, but it must have been a metaphor. Visions of things to come. Rachel and I decided to rearrange my life. To make sense of it and organize it for a new dawn, a new day coming with the word “cure,” attached to it. And of course right there by my side is Jacqui, who’s constant infusion of positive energy is always amazing and keeps us all on track. Yes, we all get in our moods, but there is something special that lives in my home. It’s hope, and it’s that wonderful dog that we decided to get, Chance. It was a chance meeting, it was a chance we both took, and the minute Chance came into our home it became more of a home, light, loved, and he gives me a reason to walk everyday. Follow my doctors orders, because he depends on me. The cats have settled down and they all have their routines and special times with me. Minky gets the evening, and One Eye sleeps with me in bed. He likes to keep his one big beautiful blue eye on me to make sure I’m ok.

The month passed on, I had that bad fall, and then we started the chemo once again. It’s been a long haul on my body, and it’s taking its toll. Anyone can see it. I can feel it. I can no longer get from a sitting position on the floor up to a standing position, which is unheard of. I’m as strong as an ox. How can this be? And more distributing than that is how fast it happened. But I will take this much welcome break and hopefully get back on my feet once again to finish this fight.

Sometimes a call comes in that takes hold of the heart and it’s importance is immediately known. This past week I received an email out of the blue. Just meant as friendly invitations to a little sit down hello with Sudha  Ma’s at the Universal Spirit Temple, Ananda Ashrama. She had broken her leg last year. And I had for lack of a better way to phrase it broken my body. I was so excited to hear from her. From the moment I met her I felt a connection, one that I hoped I could pursue and learn from.

She offered an invitation to see her today, and I was bound and determined that I was going to make it up there. I felt there was something she had to tell me, something I had to know. And just as a side note my doctor had called to rearrange my appointment so it seemed as if something was working behind the scenes.

I arrived at 9:30 and in pretty poor shape. My senses are wearing down so outside it’s not so easy to see, or hear. At least find where sights and sounds are coming from. So it took me a minute to read signs and call out. Happy to see two lovely women come to get me from the stairs which I with all my grace and embarrassment slipped down a few, retrieved me into the main house. Of course they carried everything I brought. My purse, my Holga, a little photograph as a gift and something to drink.

Once settled Sudha  Ma’s and I sat and talked in a room full of statues and paintings of all the great spiritual leaders from around the world, of all time. A very humbling sight. From the time I arrived my eyes just filled up with tears, but then that was the theme for today, it seems a river of tears never left my eyes. It happens according to the doctor. It’s normal. I think so too. Sometimes it’s just too much emotion to hold inside. Sudha  Ma’s understood and just talked though it.

She asked me about who I’ve connected with spiritually, and I actually had a story for her. It was a little odd story because I came from a traditional background. A confused or not Christian/Jew who has just wanted to know where I belong. I may never know, but I did learn so much today.

First, I told her that for as long as I can remember I have looked for the perfect Buddha. And it just so happened I had found him last week. A little thing, just for my incense. Really perfect and beautiful. Her eyes lit up and said that was my spiritual guide. Wow, what a revelation. I asked her what I needed to know because I know nothing about it. Her reply was basically just follow my heart and talk to him. And there it was, we walk, we talk and we pray to all those masters who are up there helping us to sort things out and keep our hearts safe. We are all as one. She helped me to understand this world and the next. And she helped me to understand why I’m here, like a pebble in a pound rippling out to touch others.

We talked for a long while and then she went to get me a gift. The most wonderful gift. A little Buddha Statue. Funny thing was that while she was gone to gather this precious gift, I was taking pictures of her Buddha on display. So the photos are very special to both of us.

I had to get to the doctors. I had just enough time to make it and I did. By the time I was done I returned home at 2;00. So exhausted and tired.

I would do it all over again. Any day I can have a day that is like most any day you may have…. that is a good day. A blessed day. Tomorrow I will rest, I hope. I will also get some more things done, I hope.

And you know tomorrow it’s supposed to rain. I love the rain. Even if it’s falling from my eyes.

I want to thank Sudha  Ma’s for her kindness and generosity for putting me on her prayer lists both here and in Boston. For her guidance and love. I am eternally grateful.

N O T J U S T A N O T H E R S U N R I S E

•February 1, 2010 • 3 Comments

Every day is different, a particle of light, sky, ground, space and all things in between. And time as I have mentioned from all kinds of various angles and perspectives has forever changed for me. Nights can go on forever. Or a night is partitioned into many increments of time. A little sleep, a little writing, a little thinking about life and maybe even doing the dishes in the middle of the night. Yah, I never thought I would live to see the day, or night, but if they’re just sitting there waiting for the sunlight to hit the glass, well, why put it off?

Restlessness is a constant companion. I’m not sure why but it does keep me going. And the project of a life re-start so to speak has been an interesting experience. It’s given me a chance to really look at my life and look back at what is important and what has just been a waste of time. I will add to that with a hope of some valuable lessons learned.

The clouds of unsettled dust swirling up around my home and we are working hard to let it settle, but it’s not an easy task. Piles of clothes here, old stuff that will be useful to someone else over there. And then suddenly it occurred to me I heard this very loud noise that sounded like brakes on a train coming to a car crossing.

Since I was a child, I always kept cards, and letters, especially love letters. And little mementos in between. There are more than a hundred if there’s one. Each one as precious as the other. Or is it? And just when was the last time I read any of those letters and cards? Maybe once or twice. When they were delivered, and again maybe on a rainy day. Maybe. Maybe never.

So today as I watched the sunrise for an hour. Wondering which path it would be lighting up for a clue of what to do with all this paper and forgotten memories, I’ve decided to keep only the letters, of lovers who made the most impact on my life. And keep them because I know they meant something to the person who wrote them. I think that’s the last test. Did they mean something to the person who wrote them? And somehow, somewhere in time, do they still hold a little place in the heart of that special person at the time.


It’s a lovely and wonderful thing to have these mementos. To know how loved I have been from time to time. I was even asked to be a bride more than a few times. Wow!  I guess I did something right, for a minute.

So many women and men are asked to just throw away their old memories, out of spite or jealousy, or some other insecure agenda that to me makes no sense. It’s all in the past. And we can’t bring back the past. We can only glimpse at it or occasionally admire it. Once thing is for certain, you wouldn’t want to live in it. I think we should all purge when we are ready, in the quite of the new sunrise. Listening to the singing birds, and turning a new page on life, clean, and crisp, ready to take on the world and make it a better place.  A better place because of all the things I’ve learned in my life. And I’ll make mistakes too. Big tears will fall from sorrow and joy.  All I can do is hope I’ve learned the things I’m supposed to know.

It’s another project within a project, but I have some time to spend and read…. shred….. with no regrets. Letters with just a hint of love.


S L E E P I N G P I L L S

•January 30, 2010 • 2 Comments

Here I am, at 11:17. I was so tired tonight that I went to bed at an unbelievable 9:00. I have to confess that I also did something I never do, well anymore because it doesn’t work for me. Well now we know it doesn’t work for me. I took a sleeping pill just to be sure I might have chance of making it through just one night. NO, two hours later, frantically opening a bag of Animal Crackers and wolfing them down to fill up my tummy here I am, somehow not wide awake, but certainly not a sleep. Yet, I am relaxed and rather and pain free for the moment which makes it ok. I can call it pleasant. And once I’m through writing, well, maybe I will fall a sleep for a long while.

This week was a long stressful week. A very painful week. A week that I am very happy to say is over. One big fall that through me backward into an old injury, very scary. A long talk with my doctor about the seriousness of the upcoming months, unsettling. But necessary. His dedication to me, and mine to him to see this through and to make it through is a kind of love that is rare and precious and that’s those blessings keep me going. The blessings and love of my friends and family is remarkable. And please remember that I only know what I’m going through. I have know idea and can only imagine what anyone feels. Sometimes, no many times it’s hard because I care and I want to know, but I will never know. I can just tell you that I know it’s not all about me.

Maybe it’s the “Wolf Moon,” that keeps me awake tonight. Hunting me down, it may have a message to give me, or a story to tell me, or a dream to deliver when it’s ready.

Today was a really good day. Although I was worn out half way through, something felt so positive. I found myself in that happy place that I love so much. That peaceful place where one thought at a time comes and I can handle the tasks at hand.

It’s difficult not to be working. I love my job and I miss taking images, experiencing the community I work in. But life has stepped in and here I am. Life goes on, and once again my boss had to come and gather up my image making goods so that they could be put to work once again by capable hands. We’ve been here before last summer, and it hurt. To be honest it hurt again today. But somehow, he makes it as pleasant and as comfortable as he can. And after all, he needs it, it needs to be used. It’s a silly attachment that I have to these strange objects.

Roger arrived and Chance greeted him at the door without a bark. They hit it off right away. We talked about the little things at work, the big things at work and of course me… it had to be a shock for him to see me in this condition of 50 extra pounds. And my face so swollen. His kindness and delicacy was appriciated very much. We’re also a couple of techies. But he’s much better than I am. So we love our computers and phones etc… I got to make him jealous of my new little computer today. That was fun. And we had one big surprise that neither one of us would have expected. I was the keeper of an old carrying case of our old studio equipment. I just happened to have it. He just happened to mention that he fixed it. And now we have a nice place to put it. Well, it may not be much to anyone else out there, but it’s a big deal for us in our department. Especially on a tight budget.

After about an hour and a half of conversations, catching up etc. it was time to go. That I always understand. The life of a photojournalist. Always on the run, the run I miss. We had such a good visit. And that’s what life is about. That’s what co-workers and bosses could be about. Yes, there is always the business, the hard edges and responsibility. But there is much more than that when you spend half your life with people you work with. It’s true we all have our private lives, separate lives, it’s the way it should be. But we should be able to blend some of this together and make life so much better.

I have a theory and often or enough is because of the job situation. Layoffs, no jobs, too busy maybe, so many things. It’s difficult to want to get any kind of closeness to someone or something that may not be there the next day. No one talks about it, but that is the wall. Of course there are those who you would not want to know. But it’s my hope that that’s not a general rule.

Chance and I rested after Roger left for a little while and then as I promised him, I got his lease, got my holga and out the door we went. Walking was difficult. But as we kept going it got a little better. And I did have a really good holga day. So tomorrow I will scan and post a few of the images. It took us an hour to get around the block but we made it. And then we were back home. Wow. I felt really good though that we accomplished our goals.

No sooner did I sit down to catch my breath then my daughter showed up. I’m always happy to see her at the door. She came to say hi, check me out and have a little bit to eat. Then she was gone. But tomorrow we have work to do so hopefully I’ll be productive.

I tried to watch a little T.V. but no go. The only thing that caught my eye was the fact it’s suppose rain most of next week. YIKES! I love the rain, but how about a day here and there, you know.

And then Jacqui, I’m so happy that things are falling back into order for her. Everyone’s back in school and she will have that time she needs work on her projects and talents of many. But no matter what, the love that she gives me, shows me by standing along side of me through this nightmare I’m living is nothing short of amazing. Never a complaint, never. Always willing to help in any way.

So now it’s 12 more days of chemo, kinda funny you know I should make a song about it. I’ll get though it once more. The first three or four days are always the hardest. Burns in my mouth, thirsty, more pain than normal. But hey, I we only have one or two treatments left… hopefully.

H A P P Y H A P P Y … T O M E !

•January 29, 2010 • 1 Comment

It’s a thing of beauty! Wow.. what a machine! I always feel guilty when I buy something new, but this time I really needed it. You guessed it… I bought a little Mac Book Pro 13 inch. I used my holiday money my mom just asked me about.. so yes mom.. I bought something nice.

I wanted to continue to use my G4 that’s about 6 years old, but there was a problem with up grades to make it work with all the modern tech. It’s still in perfect condition.

So this little beast sits so nicely in my lap, simple neat. I can write my stories and do anything I need to do on the go. It’s light enough to carry to doctors and hospitals. Especially since I’ll be locked away for some weeks not too long in the distant future. I love technology!

Today Jacqui took me to the ortho doctor. But instead of getting the shots for my knee pain, I got x-rays… water on the knee and bad arthritis. It’s from the fall. So we’ll do the injections in a few weeks. Next, we had a disccussion about all the other problems of late, why the vertigo, sensitivity of light, headaches, etc. Well, it seems that fall with Chance just re-injured the first fall that took me down and out of work. So it will be a few weeks before I am really up and about again. It’s funny how I can forget just how sick I was. But at least I know this will get better.

We just made it to Chemo in time, and you guessed it…. sleep. Now I do think JB needed to sleep more than me, but as a peace offering Jessica brought her the latest magazines.

Then before you know it… I was awake and ready to go.  And number four chemo is underway just like that. Another 13 days. The rest I will take at home.

Jacqui and I always have the best time going to tackle these appointments. And what I mean by that is that she takes the fear and gloominess away like no other person I know. Just when I think I’m done.. can’t take another step she says something or does something and I laugh into my future.

And I am so blessed. Now my  body and face are at an all time high now and that’s a little hard to deal with. But if you can get past that then everything is fine.

Like I said the worst is the vertigo and light sensitivity, etc. from the fall. Imagine that… what are the odds, what is the luck?

We are still making progress on the house, very slowly as I’ve been slowed down. But now that I know what’s going on I’ll be able to cope better and get things done faster. It’s going to be very exciting. Every time I rip up another piece of paper or something I feel better. Something else off my plate.

I have new holga’s and new stories that I will continue to get back up to speed. Now that I know more about what’s going on it’s a little better for me to work. One step at a time.

G I V I N G is the best feeling of all…

•January 26, 2010 • 4 Comments

Days have changed rapidly for this month. It seems that the changes that I have asked for, worked for and made are circling and making paths that I can only begin to follow and understand. I am trying though. I’m trying to understand.

Decisions are getting harder, life is lighter, yet more serious, because you see everything is coming closer and closer in focus. Speculation and talk is in the hallway, and the principles are flowing into the chamber doors, lecture halls and other places where whisper tones are hard just before something life changing or mind changing will begin.  THERE IS NO EXIT. Just the hope and faith that the right roads have been walked on and well cared for.

Everything changed so many times this week I don’t know if I’m coming or I’m going… but I’m hanging in there. Chemo will start on Thursday again, then it’s back on that horse once again. Changes from the medication alone are enough to blow anyone’s mind. It seems if you let a course go too long, the cancer can sneak right back in there and grow like a FARMERVILL demon. Maybe that’s why I like that game so much… Have to keep my garden growing with good plants… I know there’s something to that…

Last summer my friend Annie came to visit me during one of my dark days, at home. I was sitting in my sun room, 104 pounds in a big yellow chase lounge so small and fragile. In so much pain, I probably didn’t even know what I was saying. But most of all I really just wanted to know what she was saying. Anything to get me out of my head, personal hell of pain. To hear about the new and wonderful beginnings of her life at school, and wonderful and what I feel to be a perfect path for such a beautiful person. She is also a survivor of Breast Cancer and is producing a documentary on it that can be located within her website “http://www.anniewellsphotography.com/,”  so any advice, spiritual or otherwise is welcomed with open arms.

It’s not easy to see friends because everyone has their own schedules, lives, etc. and I understand, I was one of those people not so long ago.

We talked and had our visit, and as our time came to a close she realized that the day was going to go by and into the night before she got home. She would be ending up at the beach, and sometimes the beach is cold. So I insisted in finding her a coat she could take with her, just in case.

Of course there was the no, yes, of course you can, no I can’t, quibbling that girls do at the front door. And the jacket was old, but like new. It was a bright blue lined London Fog I had bought twenty years ago. A car coat. I never wore it, well maybe once, or twice.

After putting it in her hand we hugged, she turned and thanked and went  on to the next appointment of the day.

Months pass, and I’m in the hospital, but I don’t recall. Annie remembers she still has the jacket. It doesn’t really matter though expect for this. I know she mentioned the jacket, and I know I told her to keep it. To use it in good health. And once again, the time disappeared, the day disappeared and Annie faded back out of the hospital room. I was so ill I can hardly remember. I can only see a glimpse of her big beautiful smile.

The holidays have come, and Annie is done for the semester. I’m anxiously awaiting her visit it’s been so long. I want to hear about everything she’s learned at seminary school. What she likes, what’s been challenging, the kind of things that turn good conversations into great ones. We have had a few. And I have learned so much from her. I was doing pretty well that day as things in my little cancer ridden world go. Better than I think she’s seen me in maybe more than a year. It’s just that I could be upbeat and happy, even though I was in pain, it was ok.. everything was going to be ok. So we sat for a few hours and passed the time with good stories and wishes for the future.

“Are you sure you don’t want your coat back?” Annie said.

NO!

Sometimes giving is hard to do. Well, you think it ends here… I can see Annie’s bright blue eyes, bundled up in the bright blue jacket… looking warm and spiffy.

As goodwill and life would have it, a one of the biggest hearts I know walking around Annie was supposed to be involved in a coat drive for the church to help out in keeping as many bodies warm as possible in this weather. And we all know how school can fly in the face of all good deeds from time to time. And this time as it happened she lost track.

But the good deed did not lose track of her. As I read, there were a few girls who were going door to door collecting subscriptions to help them through college. Annie could see they were cold and wet, and well… after much back and forth just as we have all though out the year… the Blue London Fog found its way to a needy, cold body, ready to once again do it’s duty to warm it up and get the young women through the day, the season I hope.

You see you never know where things end up. One kind act just keeps flowing like a river, like time. And as time goes by all we can do is hope that the things we do make enough of a difference to help in some small way.

Thank you Annie for your gentle kind spirit, and knowing when to give. You are a gift in all our lives.

T I L T

•January 23, 2010 • 8 Comments

I am sorry I have been absent for a few days. Life has not gone to my plans and decided to take me on a detour. It’s just one of those things, but I know you understand.

It all started out this week with my doctor’s appointment. It went well, but I misunderstood how to taper down on the steroids. It’s easy to do when there is so much information coming at you at the same time. Even when it’s written down. And we are waiting for a few more weeks before the next chemo so I get the much-needed rest for my poor body. It’s been through the ringer now.

Steroids are interesting drugs. They are life saving drugs. They help to hold back and heal the cancer. They also help with the pain. I got a first hand look at just how bad the pain could be yesterday morning. Four hours of tears and moaning, praying that from where the pain in my legs, arms and torso would subside and go back to where it was hiding. The very last thing I tried was the first thing I was tapering off, you guessed it.. the steroids. Fifteen to twenty minutes later it was much improved. So much so I could walk again. And I could feel my body relax a little again. And from there, I stayed in bed. Only to leave to do small tasks for the pets.

I talked on the phone to a few people, looking out the window. Wishing I was out there taking pictures, of something beautiful. Something cool. But that wish would pass as I drifted back to sleep on and off. And my eyes have been so swollen that to see out of them has been a chore.

The day passed. I still felt blessed that the pain was diminishing and I headed in the right direction.

It was early evening and Rachel came home to visit and for dinner. She could see I wasn’t well and took some care to make sure I had dinner tonight.

Then it happened. She ran out for an errand. I got up to make sure Chance had done his nightly duty and I was going to go to bed early in hopes that I could get back on a normal schedule tomorrow, (today).

I put the leash on Chance. Chance saw something in the backyard. From ZERO to 60 SECONDS he pulled me so fast and hard that I flew through the air at least twenty feet landing on my left right side head and knees. On the cement. Not knowing if I broke something, anything. I was laying in the rain, wet… imagine.

My wonderful neighbors David and Steven heard my screams and came running over to help. I asked them not to call an ambulance. Not unless it was necessary. Lucky, it was not.

They got the dog, they picked me up. They called my daughter. They checked to see that I was not broken boned or something like my stupid head. Or leg. And after much crying I’m just battered and bruised.

I have never had a dog pull me like that. And I was lucky. He could have pulled me trough the glass door. So today, I will learn how to take care of this task in a much safer way.

Sometimes when it rains, it pours. This week it has done both in my life. It happens to everyone. I don’t feel picked on. I just want it to stop now. I think I’ve had my share. And I have other stories to tell you that are so much better than this.

But keeping you up to date is what I said I would do. And I did get some emails out there from some of you who have been worried about what was going on because of the sudden stop on my blog. Thank you for caring so much. It means a lot to me. And I will try to take better care of myself. Remember though, accidents do happen. Even when I’m trying hard to be careful.

My vision now is very bad. My face is so swollen there is only a hint of where my eyes are. Some of that is from tears. I’m sure later today it will be better.

Sometimes it just hurts so much inside. It’s so frustrating. I just want to be like everyone else. Have a day, get things done. Share a few smiles and maybe lift some ones day. I don’t know. The body is such an amazing place full of wonder and majesty.

The body can also be such a dark place full of dark corners and pit falls and climbing, clawing, grasping for some  way to return to where you were only the day before.

But it’s worth it. I have to keep on trying. I have to win this battle. I will win this battle. Even if I have to fly to do it.

M Y H E A R T, M Y T R E E

•January 19, 2010 • 7 Comments

There is nothing like waking up to the rain. Mother nature cleaning the sky and the earth with a polish only the gods can handle from time to time. During the changing of the seasons. When colors are more vibrant and everywhere something new is being born or renewed.

The rain makes music. All the music, all the melodies that will ever be known or heard are in each drop of rain that falls. Small things, great things, they always go together.

The day started out as Mondays always do for me, at least this year. I do some cleaning, make some notes and see what I have scheduled for myself for the day. Almost always too much. Better too much than not enough… not the best rule to live by. Delia, a who I consider a member of my family and who has been here to help me on Monday mornings as a rule was just finishing up. It was noon and I had to get to the doctor.

We opened up the door… and at the garage was part of my fallen evergreen tree. Yes, it has been expected to fall, but one really never knows the timing of these things. So, with a sigh, a yell, a oh… have to walk Chance if only just for a moment in the rain thought, I went to thinking what to do.

I opened the garage. The car is blocked of course…. what to do? It’s forty-five minutes to Beverly Hills and I’m going to be late. And my doctors appointments are not to be missed. Blood counts are everything, and measuring the hopefully disappearing, remission cancer is imperative. Notes have to been gone over, tests have to be looked at, just so I am maintainedanother words, kept out of the hospital. That’s the goal right now. HOME! Hospital maybe in April or May. That can’t be helped. Ok, so back to what to do?

After bringing Chance back, both of us soaked, I got a little pruning saw, and went to work in the rain. Then Delia came out and started to help me. We made just enough leeway that I could just get my car around the limb.

Then she did the most remarkable thing. She called her husband to come and finish the job after he finished his job all day working. She called, he came, he cut the branches and made it so that I would not have to worry about it all day and night in the rain. BLESSINGS. Good people, caring. Is there any other way to put it?  So when I returned back home this is what I found.

It’s a little out of focus, but I know you can see. The tears were falling so hard even though the rain had ceased. Drops like lemons from my lemon tree over in the corner of the yard, that’s what fell from my eyes, when I looked to see this one little mark that Delia’s husband left carved on the side of the old fern tree. It’s not a perfect heart, but I can see it. I am so grateful to have people in my life who care enough to take just a little bit of time to remind me of our collective hearts and minds.

It may not seem like such a big deal, but it really was. These obstacles that come up sometimes now and again, and sometimes a lot can really make things rough. So when acts of angels come along, take a long moment to linger in thought and all I can do is hope one day I can pass on something this precious.

Now I know there are much bigger things going on, because of the rain, I’ve seen it, I’ve covered it before I got sick and I know those living in the fire burn areas are having a horrible time. I can only hope that kindness and miracles come your way, because it takes many hands to make such big things right. I pray for your safety and your homes and safe passages too.

I just wanted to share my small little wonderful miracle with you.