Sunday, October 07, 2007

ONE LAST POST!!!!!!!!!

Well, it let me sign in one last time, without getting the 'you have entered an email that does not exist' message. So I am referring you to:


This blog will remain (I hope) as the archive of my older posts. Hope you'll visit me on my new one!


Saturday, October 06, 2007

I forgot to say...

...that if I can, I'll come here one more time and tell you the address of the new blog. I'll also add it to my signature line in my emails, and post it on my various sites and lists, including my MyArtProfile page (bookmark it, the pages are fun to browse). Hope I'll see you again!

. . .


. . .
Well...first Yahoo killed my mayterry @ address. I had to still sign in to the Google account that managed this blog with that address, however.

No problemo, right? (Somehow I have this feeling that that's not correct in Spanish. You get the idea, though...)

Yes. Problem. For a couple of weeks I use my old email address to sign in. Then this evening I try to sign in so I can post to this account, and I get this error message: "You have entered an email that does not exist". So I fooled around for about an hour and a half, and finally--somehow, I'm not sure how--got to my Blogger dashboard, whence one posts and makes other additions, deletions, and changes. I have the feeling that it's very iffy that I'll be able to access this blog for long.

I sent an email to Blogger support, and it was supposed to be copied to my new, functioning gmail address, which is, and so far it hasn't shown up. So this blog may remain an archive for my past posts.

You'd think this would be a known bug, wouldn't you? But I couldn't find mention of it anywhere on Blogger's or Google's help pages, and I'm not going to waste another evening. So if by tomorrow I don't have a satisfactory answer to my question, I'll be working on a shiny new blog!

. . .

Thursday, October 04, 2007

It's not a question, but a lesson learned in time...

Blowup with my daughter at the psych hospital tonight. This may be the last time I ever see her.

Today was her 30th birthday.
. . .

Saturday, September 29, 2007

And on and on...

White Baneberry

Well, I've visited my daughter at the psychiatric hospital every evening, and it's hard to tell how she's doing. I know she's suffering, but she's not the only one who is bewildered at what is going on right now.

She's on Cymbalta, which is a serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor similar to Effexor. She finds it activating, which makes sense. The patients are awakened at 6:00 a.m., so I guess her nocturnal schedule got turned around real fast. She has been talking about signing herself out of the hospital. I hope she doesn't.

Meanwhile, I take pictures, and notice the pain in my midsection. I need to let go.

. . .

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I think I can talk about this tonight...

. . .
Several days ago (I've really lost track of time), my daughter, who had recently sent me a very negative, shall we say, email about our relationship, suddenly gave me a call. She was very upset, and was asking all kinds of questions about my health, and had I been feeling ill or in pain, and made me promise not to drive that night. (It was late, so that was easy.)

This continued for a day or two, and I also spoke with her father, who had had similar calls from her. She was disoriented and her speech wasn't making much sense.

Then she disappeared. She didn't call me when she said she would, and the next day her father went to meet her, as they had planned, and she wasn't there. Just before the 24 hours were up that are required to file a missing persons report, her father found her at the local hospital's emergency room. She had been treated roughly by the police (jerks, I hate them), then taken by ambulance to the hospital. Monday evening, she was finally admitted to a psychiatric hospital.

I couldn't visit that night, but I went last night and tonight. The psychiatrist has suggested an antipsychotic, but she doesn't want one. She may be willing to take an antidepressant, which she definitely needs.

And so it goes, as someone once said. Despite pain and fear and loss, the asters continue to bloom. I, for one, accept it and am grateful.


. . .


. . .


I had to put it up sometime or other. it dada or nada?

. . .

Thursday, September 20, 2007

More memories...

. . .
Once, when my mother was watching a Jacques Cousteau special on TV, she turned to me and said, "It's kind of a shame that people like that have to die, isn't it? I mean, he has such an interesting life". I remember being rather speechless.

The truth is, I think, that my mother didn't think that people like her were entitled to expect much of anything from life. She didn't resent it; she simply accepted it, and if something she considered fortunate came her way, she looked at it as a gift. I think that's how she felt about her last job, at the concession aboard the Orient Point ferry. I think the ocean represented freedom to her, or maybe I'm just projecting my own feelings on her.

A few more ramdom memories:

When my son Adam was about seven, he walked in on a conversation between his sister and her father and me. Bizzy had read the phrase [to give someone] 'the third degree'. She wanted to know what 'the third degree' was. Adam stopped, looked at her in surprise, and said, "The Ph.D." How could you not know that?

I remember once when Bizzy was about three, she was riding next to me in her carseat (legal in those days), very quiet, which was somewhat unusual for her. She suddenly asked me in an agitated manner, "Mommy, how can there be a biggest number, 'cuz, there's always one more?" Her concept of numbers had obviously grown, since not too long before saying that, she had been riding in the back seat, and had told her father and me, "You and Daddy must be really old". "You think so?" " must be--NINE!!"

I remember old post office boxes, skating behind the mill, wearing snow pants under my dress to school, walking down to Harriet's Open Kitchen to buy paregoric (opium!) for my mother, scratching the trees to find the black birch so I could cut off a tiny branch to chew on, and dutifully taking my 25 cents to school each week to learn to save, only to have the account emptied periodically by my parents to pay some overdue bill. To give my mother credit, she did ask, but... I'm still no good at saving money.

Finally here's the piece I entered in the Hygienic Art Gallery's breast cancer show. I put a fairly high price on it, so I can convince myself that that's why it didn't sell.

It's called--can you guess? "Stage IV". It actually looked pretty respectable there among the other pieces.

Back soon,
. . .

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Memories...light the corners of my mind...

. . .
Unfortunately, there's a big black hole in the middle.

If I had a memory, I'd write my memoirs, but I think this blog will have to do.

I remember getting a perm every Christmas and Easter, unless I made a big stink. My hair was always as straight as a stick, dark brown with red highlights and fairly attractive. Back then, though, in the 50s when I was a little girl, curly was de rigueur. Never mind that I always had a mass of frizz on my head for a couple months until it wore off.

I remember the smell of my mother's oily red lipstick. I remember real oilcloth, which she used to buy at Kresge's to use as our kitchen table cover. It had a slight petroleum smell at first, but a drape you can't match anywhere else. And, like plastic, it could be wiped off with a cloth.

I remember my swing in the sugar maple off a front corner of the house. The tree broke in half in Hurricane Donna in 1960, so it had to be cut down. I missed the tree at least as much as the swing.

I remember being called fatty at school. One day, when another girl with buck teeth became the butt of jokes, I thought I'd join in the fun of teasing her, to see how it felt to be on that end. It didn't feel good, and I didn't do it again.

I remember riding into New London as my father drove my mother in to work for her 7:00 a.m. shift. Often, in the warm months, that would be when the fog would drift in off Long Island Sound to cover the city. I developed a love of fog that stays with me to this day.

I remember, when I was older, visiting my mother at the Hygienic Restaurant, where she worked as a waitress. It's now the Hygienic Art Gallery, thanks to a group that wanted to save some of the old buildings in New London. This week I'll be taking a new piece down to enter in their "In the Pink" (ugh) breast cancer show. You can see in the picture below how they painted over all the letters but "art" in the word restaurant in the neon sign. I'll post a pic of my entry soon.

I'm enjoying a beautiful rainy day. Hope yours is as wonderful as mine.


. . .

Friday, September 07, 2007

. . .
. . . .
Ode to a Slate Headstone

What was your life like,
you, bones, in the ground below
the broken gray headstone before me?

Were you kind or cruel?
Did you know yourself?
Did you run from demons
or surrender to the fear, the fight, the flame?

How much beauty
did your heart take in?
Was your life so hard
that the shapes of stars
and the turning hues of leaves
escaped you, running for their lives?

Did you love, and were you loved,
or were you eaten alive
by hate, regret, resentment
of your world?
Did you give or take,
just take, receiving nothing?

Had you power, or
were you powerless,
and which was worse?

And are you part, now, of a
universal breath,
or did you merely disappear
into the terrible, ice-borne wind
of soulless, never-ending death?
. . . . . . . . . . . .--May Terry, 2007
. . .

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Haven't hit you with a meme for a long time, but...

...this one was interesting. I scored the same on the top two, so they made me choose which was the "most true" for me: "I am a very creative person" or "I love animals". I chose the first, which I think is the reason I came out an artist rather than a shaman (ooooo!).

"You are an Artist Empath, one who creates their own reality and infuses the realities of others with your energy & emotions. You are poetic and sensitive. You turn your feelings into creations and share them with the world. Everything you touch turns to song and is freed by the color of your eyes. Your spirit dances with the winds and paints delight in the evening sky. (from the "Book of Storms" by Jad Alexander at"













Fallen Angel




What Kind of Empath Are You?
created with

P.S. Looking at this the day after posting it, I realize how silly the written part seems, but the characterization percentages still hit me as right on.


Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Black and white blackback

I was fooling around with my photo of the Greater Blackback Gull, tonight, and tried it in black and white:

You can see it in color by clicking here. I think I like the black and white better.

John is buying me an early birthday present of an umpteen bazillion dollar camera, a really good lens, and a book on how to use the camera. We talk openly about how he will 'inherit' it when I die, so it's really for both of us, but really what it's all about is that he's just the sweetest man in the world. I can't wait to try it. It's the Canon Rebel XTI, which is what my brother Jim, who is a professional photographer, uses. The lens will give me image stabilization, because I shake so without it my pictures would all be blurry. I can still hardly believe it's happening.

Next time you read my blog--thanks, honey...


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Okay. I lied.

. . .
I'm not really going to show you more of the images I took at the shore the other day. I'm going to show you some flowers. Well, one is a flower--some would say merely a weed--and one is a bunch of berries.

Queen Anne's Lace

Staghorn Sumac

I think it just goes to show you that you can find beauty anywhere, if you're willing to look--and give up your preconceptions. Both of these plants, in addition to being beautiful, have medicinal properties; some herbalists and naturopaths recommend the seed of Queen Anne's lace, also known as wild carrot, for women who do not wish to get pregnant. It's also used as a diuretic, for digestive difficulties, and for urinary tract stones or "gravel".

QAL is a relative of the cultivated carrot, and if you pull up the root and scratch it with your fingernail, you'll smell the strong carrot smell. Some say it's poisonous, but I used to nibble on the root when I was a kid, and I'm still here. A word of caution: if you find a plant that looks like QAL, but doesn't have the carrot smell, GET RID OF IT FAST. You may have either hemlock (the kind that killed Socrates), or water hemlock, which is equally poisonous.

Staghorn sumac reportedly makes a delicious lemonade-like drink, but I think I'll stick to regular sumac, though it's much harder to find here in Connecticut. The reason is that staghorn sumac's berries tend to stick to each other, and that makes an excellent place for insects to nest. If you don't mind a little bug juice in your lemonade, go for it. The plant was also used for its astringent properties, i.e., to lessen excessive bleeding or help diarrhea.

So just remember to stop and take a look at the wild plants around you as autumn approaches. And stop blaming goldenrod for your hay fever--goldenrod is insect pollinated! If you're having hay fever symptoms this September, it's most likely due to ragweed. Get one of those modern versions of neti pots at Brooks/Rite Aid; they help a lot.

And enjoy the beauty all around you!!

. . .

Sunday, September 02, 2007

A minor adventure is better than none

. . .

I thought I'd tell you more about John's and my little trip to New London last week to take some pictures of the lighthouse on Pequot Avenue. We pulled up and parked across the street, and we could see that there was a house right next to the lighthouse, with a 'No Trespassing' sign in the driveway. So we walked up the street a few yards, and found a couple of little stone stairs leading to an overgrown path. There was no sign there, so we figured we were all right. John stopped to take a leak, then we proceeded blithely to approach the lighthouse from more or less the western side.

The house appeared to be closed up, so we took a few pictures. There were large rocks over a small but exquisite stretch of beachfront on the harbor. I only wish I could have gotten some decent shots of that area, but we weren't in a good position to do that.

I decided to approach the lighthouse door, which appeared to be made of a dark metal, perhaps iron. When I was very close to it, musing about how I could get some decent pictures from so close, I noticed that the door opposite, to the house's porch, was open, and inside a dark, attractive woman with curly hair was sitting at a table reading a book. "Excuse me", I said, and the woman turned around. "Yes?" "Is this private property?" "Oh, yes, it is", she said, with a Jamaican accent. "Well, can we take some pictures of the lighthouse?" "Well, no, I don't think so", she replied. Simultaneously she turned back to her book and I turned back to the lighthouse, taking a few more shots while babbling about how I grew up the next town over, and didn't realize the lighthouse was now on private property. "Well, I don't really know anything about it", she murmured. I thanked her and waved John over. "Well, at least we got a few shots", I said as we walked out the way we came, "and you got to pee". The woman probably couldn't have cared less if we'd stayed there all afternoon, but if I'd been arrested I might have missed my chemo, so we decided to drive down to city pier and see what we could see there. I've already posted the Coast Guard Eagle and the blackback gull, and I'll pass some more of the pictures I got on when I post next. (The two lighthouse photos are on eBay right now; click here to see all my auctions.)

For now, goodnight!

. . .

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Eagle & Gull

. . .
John and I took a ride around New London yesterday. Here are a couple of the pictures I took on (and from) City Pier.

The top is of course the Coast Guard Barque Eagle, and on the bottom, what some would call a lesser bird, the "Greater Blackback Gull". I happen to love gulls, so I was thrilled this guy let me get close enough to take this picture.

It was a happy day.

. . .

Friday, August 24, 2007

New Poem

. . .
. . .
Sycamores impart
small, sparse shadows
to grass and fields.
Leaves claim a space
that is not simply
a change in hue
or the absence of something.
. . .
All things bloom, bear fruit, and die:
millenial yews, Methuselah,
the self-important
and the poor in spirit.
Death of the giant yew is slow;
there is no single moment when one says,
'tis finished.
A tall and ancient beech wrinkles
like a woman who has seen much,
who holds her gains and losses
in her lines and folds of skin.
I call it wisdom.
. . .
Sometimes you hear the gray birch
hiss and moan against the hurricane,
bows bent to earth;
sometimes you see the willow tree
fall quickly, at the first hint
of the passing eye.
. . .
For me, I hold no wisdom,
except a few good changes
in a weary world.
And I'd rather hear a dozen fighting trees
Than the clang of money changing hands,
--any day.
. . .

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Oh, Ned, dahling...

. . .
From my PET/CTscan report:
"No foci of abnormal FDG [the radioactive tracer] activity to indicate active malignancy".

My oldest brother, who is 17 years older than I am, left home shortly after I was born. One of the things I remember well about his visits home is that we would always do ouija. We never owned a board; we would arrange scrabble letters in a circle and each of us would put one or two fingers on an upside-down water glass, and wait, sometimes for quite a while, for it to move and spell something out.

One thing the board told me once was that I would marry someone named Ned. Nope...wait a minute...what do my breast cancer list friends call total remission? NED: No Evidence of Disease.

I married Ned!

. . .

Sunday, August 12, 2007

. . .
A Moment at Sunset

. . .

Monday, August 06, 2007

The road goes ever on and on...

. . .

John and I took our cameras down along the Connecticut River last night, under the Arrigoni Bridge that joins Portland and Middletown. The two pictures above are probably the best of the lot I took of the bridge. I also have a couple of the river that I'll put up eventually.

So, you might gather from my casual beginning that the news concerning my scans was good. It was indeed, though I spoke to someone in Dr. Schauer's office and only got a message from him, and they didn't completely jibe; however, there's no doubt that I am responding to the Navelbine, which is great. It's very easy to tolerate; Ritalin takes care of most of my fatigue, and the only other problem is a bit of lower GI trouble that is pretty easy to manage. Anyway, I'm happy!

John bought a bathing suit today, which means the next time we're not otherwise engaged and the weather's good we can go to the beach. I can't wait!

. . .

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

. . .
April may be the cruelest month, but this July has definitely been the oddest.

Besides AT&T's line being busy and Brooks Pharmacy losing their decapitator (see Friday the 13th's post), I had some interesting experiences with the big cancer tests early this week.

Monday, I went to have a MUGA scan (fancy echocardiogram) and a brain MRI. With the MUGA, they just ask you to remove your bra and put your shirt back on. When I went to have the brain scan, the tech opened a little room for me, told me to take off everything and put on the cute little top and the cute little bottoms. I reminded him that I was having a brain scan. "New rule", he said.

Tuesday I had my PET/CT. I was practically insane by the time I got there, having endeavored for weeks to get someone to help me to get my blood sugar low enough that I could have the test (long technical explanation eliminated here). I succeeded, no thanks to the medical establishment. A nice lady greeted me at 8:45 a.m. at the hospital and brought me into a familiar room. She then asked me my date of birth, which is one of the things they often do to make sure they don't mix up patients. But when I said "11/14/51", she said, "Oh...and when was your last period?" By now I was sure either I or she was indeed insane. I burst out laughing and said, "Years". She looked at me and said, "There's a new rule".

This sounded familiar, but I still wasn't sure what was coming. Did they want me to take all my clothes off? No, the rule was that if you're a female, 55 and under, and it's been more than a month since you've had a period, they have to do a pregnancy test on you.

It was negative. Let's just hope the other tests are too. I hope to find out tomorrow.

. . .

Friday, July 27, 2007

What's that mean, anyway?

. . .

If you've been to my blog before, you may have noticed a little icon called 'Sitemeter' on the left side. Sitemeter allows me to learn a few things about my blogging, such as where the reader may have found my blog, and sometimes what area of the country they're from, etc.

A surprising number of hits are from people who are searching on the phrase "ripeness is all". I wrote a little about my choice of this name for my blog in my very first post, to explain where the phrase comes from (Shakespeare's King Lear), and why I chose it for the title of my blog. I thought I'd write a little more tonight.

Uttered by Edgar in the play, the phrase follows the words "Men must endure their going forth, even as their coming hither". In other words, since death is inevitable, it is best to be prepared. (I'm not going to bring up the proverbial bus; I just ate.)

In the spring of 1988, my son, then seven, entered a psychiatric facility; my ex-husband and I had just separated; my daughter wouldn't speak to me unless forced to, as she blamed me for the divorce and was very angry with me about other things as well; I was living alone, though we had joint custody, since my son was institutionalized and my daughter refused to stay at my apartment; I was having severe anxiety and panic attacks; I had no job and no money. I had gone through numerous depressions with no support and little treatment. I had a lot of time on my hands, and I spent a lot of it bitterly lamenting the misery much of my life had been so far.

For whatever reason, a sort of theory of happiness formed itself in my head. The first thing I realized I'd lost was a basic level of contentment. Contentment, I felt, came from knowing what your 'job' in life was, and being able and allowed to do it. For most people, that job has little to do with their career, although it can. The true job of someone who becomes an M.D., for example, might be as a healer.

My job, at that point in my life, was to be a mother. My children were only 7 and 10. It seemed the harder I tried, however, the worse things got, and my own mental and physical health were rapidly deteriorating. In part, my job was taken from me, and in part, I chose to back away from it simply to survive.

The second level is what we normally mean when we use the term happiness--the feeling itself. Many in our culture assume that happiness comes from having and doing the things we want--owning things, taking trips, taking part in activities not all can afford, such as golf or skiing. In reality, as I learned during this time of great unhappiness, true happiness comes from seizing the moment--one bright red falling leaf through your tears; a child's sudden discovery of a new ability or a part of nature. The key here is that one can focus on the good in the moment, or the bad in the moment. It isn't always easy to focus on the good when the bad seems so overwhelming. But it's a habit of mind that can be practiced and developed.

The third aspect of happiness that I recognized at the time was joy. Joy comes from connection. I had put all my eggs in one basket--my nuclear family (my best friend, my mother, had died several years before)--and had no one else to connect with. I rediscovered connection, and joy, when I joined my first ACOA (Adult Children of Alcoholics) support group.

As things improved in my life, I stopped obsessing about what I had lost, and began to rebuild my life. Then alcohol took over, and I lost it all again.

When I finally got sober, and the spiritual foundation of my life began to improve, I realized there was another level to aspire to. This level I called ripeness. As an apple becomes juicy, red, and sweet as it matures, so we can become more fully human, or 'self-actualized', as Abraham Maslow put it--as we age, if we put the time and effort into it.

I suppose some people might aspire to 'ripening' themselves to get to heaven. That's not my reason, and I don't even think I can tell you what my reason is. I do feel, though, that my responsibility as a human being is twofold: first, to become the best person I can be, and second, to help others in the process. As I said in my first post, way back in December 2005, it's a bittersweet truth that we can be at our most ripe, our most fully human, as we approach death; likewise, the meditation upon death, and the joyful embracing of it, enriches our lives as nothing else can. This is what I am engaged in now.

. . .

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


. . .
Here's a picture of my daughter Elizabeth. She got her nickname, Bizzy, because she was always busy, even before she could grasp with her hands--always intently watching everything around her. So we started calling her 'busy Beth', and the 'Bizzy' stuck, rather than the 'Beth'. She really likes it now. I think she looks beautiful in this picture.

She's holding Loki, who's the kitten she gave us. Loki is the trickster, the god of mischief in the Norse pantheon. He certainly did turn out to be mischievous. If we hear a crash at night, it's usually him.

I finished a digital piece last night, the first in a while. When the weather's this nice, I just want to take pictures! And I'm addicted to graveyards, as you may have noticed. New England just has so many cool ones.

Here's the piece, titled 'Spirit':

I'm not sure how well the colors show at this resolution; they're white, shades of black, and red. It's a manipulated fractal with a face drawn freehand in Photoshop.

Well, I hope you all had a good day. Namaste--

. . .

Monday, July 16, 2007

Cemetery and Japanese Garden pictures

. . .
A couple more from the Episcopal Church cemetery. I call this one 'Decay'.

This one is called 'Children's Stone'. I know it's hard to see, but the children whose memorial this is died at the ages of 13 months, 22 days; and nine months. I don't recall Edwin's dates. It's worth remembering that many families lost several children to what were most likely bacterial infections when there were no antibiotics available to treat them. They must have suffered a great deal. This sculptor's style is unusual; s/he added the two garlands of flowers to the stone, which I find very poignant.

This one is called 'The Relict'. Okay, so what's a relict? A widow, obviously, but where did the word come from? According to Wikipedia:

"A relict was also an ancient term for a widow, but has come to be a generic or collective term for widows and widowers." Really? I've never heard the word outside of an old graveyard. Nice carving, anyway, don't you think?

And now, for a complete change of pace: my friend Maura picked me up yesterday and we went to a local plant nursery. I'd been there before, but not in the last two or three years. Apparently the owner had been busy building a small Japanese garden. Here's one picture I took:

It's a lovely little place.

Well, enough photos for today, I guess. Have a good Monday.

. . .

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Back to taking pictures...

. . .
How do you like the pictures of my son in the last post? In those two pics, he's digging a new garden for me.

I processed those today, having uploaded a bunch of photos to John's computer. As soon as my computer is also online, I'll post a couple of pictures I took of my daughter recently.

We drove to an Episcopal church with a graveyard behind today, and I got some neat photos. That's about as much exercise as I can get right now--I really did myself in moving. Here are a couple of pictures I took today; I'll post some more tomorrow.

I'm rather pathetic, I think. I love lens flare. Rather like a crow who'll pick up any bright and shiny thing.

I'm tired. Not nearly as tired (or sick) as I was during my primary chemo, though, and for that I'm grateful.

Hope you're enjoying your weekend!

. . .

Adam, working

Friday, July 13, 2007

Well. I'm back.

. . .
On the internet, that is.

AT&T screwed up, of course. They neglected to submit the order for the internet. The phone was hooked up here on the evening of July 3rd. We just got our DSL today.

You wouldn't believe the creative--and disparate--excuses we heard from different people. The "line was busy" is perhaps my favorite.

Anyway, I'm just a tad behind on everything, including my email and my eBay orders to be sent out. And I'm freakin' exhausted. Today was definitely a typical Friday the 13th. First I decided to put together one of those over-the-toilet shelf units, and even though I was carefully removing the pieces one by one, I managed to break one of the glass doors. So I guess I'll be getting creative with this piece of furniture...I'm thinking wire shapes with a few large-hole beads, that sort of thing, to fill the area where the door glass should be. Should be fun.

Feeling a little down, I decided to go out and do a few errands. I stopped to get my Jenuvia prescription at Brooks in Portland. I'm not registered there yet, since we used a private pharmacy back in Hebron, so I handed the pharmacy tech my Medicaid card and he handed me a form to fill out. At one point, the form asks you to specify whether you want child-proof caps or not. Since my youngest child is 27, I figured I wouldn't need them. Unfortunately, their 'decapitator' had disappeared. A decapitator is apparently a small device that somehow un-childproofs the kind of manufacturer's bottle that they just put the label on and give you as is. They never did locate it, so they insisted on putting the pills in one of their own vials--you know, the amber plastic things that most pharmacies use. If I had known, I would never have checked 'non-childproof'. And here I was thinking that some simple snafu would happen, such as my Medicaid card being rejected.

Supper was good. I made it myself.

John broke my special coffee mug today. He says he'll buy me whatever I want, even if it costs $100. So I'm thinking I'll go to eBay and search on 'mug', then have them sorted by 'highest priced first'. Doesn't that sound like fun?

July 6th was the 31st anniversary of the birth of my first baby, who only lived one day. I get crazy this time of year. But I'm back in Adam's good graces (my beautiful boy), and I got to sing happy birthday to him on July 9th.

Life is wonderful.

. . .

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Just a quick stop-in to say...

...when it rains it pours.

As some of you know, we bought a house about six weeks ago. Tomorrow is the move.

The guys who helped with one load blew us off this time. So it'll be just my son Adam and a friend of his. John's wiped and I'm worse.

All during May and into June, I kept wondering why I was so sleepy; it didn't seem to be related to the new chemo. Well, turns out my blood glucose had decided to take a trip out of our solar system. Then, just as I start to feel a little better (but by no means able to do a normal amount of packing), Flash, my oldest cat, went into kidney failure. Our dog Obie was also doing worse and worse. To make a long story short, we had Obie put down last week, and Flash got worse so quickly we actually used one of the emergency vets on Wednesday (can't wait to see the bill for that one). (I'm popping in here on Friday the 13th to say that Angel's comment made me realize I hadn't made myself clear on this post, that we had to have Flash put down as well. I've been internet-less for eight days now!!!) This morning was chemo, and all day yesterday's revenge. Fortunately the house isn't being shown right away.

Send me good vibes, or, better yet, lots of money. Talk to you when we get our DSL back.



. . .
I am the wheel.

Something about me
takes the backside dancing
over bumps, and ruts, and even angry glass
from young and hopeless men.

I roll and watch the world go round,
as my own life spirals
right before my eyes.

Trailer trucks have nothing on me.

They see the gray of roads that kill
the once lush landscape of our fields and hills.
When they pass the ocean, barrels of oil
are all that fill their eyes.

I have something better.
I see the fetus, swirling in its mother’s womb;
I see the whorl of blooms that draw the drunken bees
and fill the earth with flowers and sugar.

I see the roots below the ground
where worms and beetles swarm to make us grass.
I see the whole.

I am the wheel.

. . .

Thursday, June 28, 2007

The God Rock

. . .
Just one person's opinion, I suppose.

I like it.

. . .

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road

. . .
Zen stands on my chest. His long ginger-colored fur would wake me gently, if it were not for all the sensitive spots he manages to step on (partly on purpose, I suspect). Scar tissue in the right breast, fibrosis underneath, puzzling tenderness in the left breast, and residual soreness from the cancer and irradiation of my sternum. I reach up to pet him, to try to get him to lie down, but he wants both hands. I am too groggy to give them both for long, so he gives me a warning bite on the idle arm. It doesn't hurt at all. Fortunately, Mr. Cardinal begins his morning song right outside the window above my pillow, and Zen abandons me for the window sill. His energetic takeoff makes me wince, but at least now I can turn on my side and go back to sleep.

This is a time of great stress for John and me. I am on chemo again, and my diabetes is out of control, so the last thing I feel like doing is packing for our move. John is on a 24-hour heart monitor, so that his new electrophysiologist (a cardiologist who specializes in arrhythmias) can try to determine a way to treat his atrial fibrillation. And then there's a big megillah I won't talk about here, having to do with his family, something that has made me entirely lose faith in the press, and brought back all my seething hatred for the Department of Corrections, or, as my son always calls it, the Department of Corruption.

Despite my crankiness, I am looking forward to tomorrow's Midsummer ritual. It looks like we'll have 10 to 15 people, or maybe even more! I really need this, so I'm very pleased that it looks like even the weather will cooperate.

I also managed to get another photo done, and I think it came out really well.

It actually has four watchers on eBay, so I'm hoping it will sell.

May your day bring you everything you need.

. . .

Friday, June 15, 2007

Four New Photos

. . .
The Tired Goatherd

Lucky Number

Keep Out

Cross with Lichens

Enjoy the miracle,
. . .

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

American Values

I'm wondering what happened to freedom of speech, when those of us who don't approve of the war in Iraq have to keep our mouths shut to avoid being called traitors.

I'm wondering what happened to the concept that you are
innocent until proven guilty, when Adam Gault and Ann Murphy have been thoroughly crucified in the press and by numerous ordinary citizens within a week of the breaking of the sensationalist story of the police finding a missing girl at their house.

I'm wondering what happened to the 8th Amendment to the Constitution, when prisoners like my son are underfed, beaten up, had medication and medical treatment withheld, and it's not considered cruel and unusual punishment.

I'm wondering what happened to freedom of religion, e.g., the blatant refusal for so long of the U.S. Government to provide a headstone with the pagan symbol, the pentacle (which stands for earth, air, fire, water, and spirit), for a soldier who died defending his country in Iraq, while allowing the symbols for Eckankar, founded in 1965; Bahai, which is based on the the belief that "the world’s religions represent stages in the revelation of God’s will and purpose for humanity" (ha! bet most Christians'd get their backs up at that!), Tenrikyo and several other panentheistic Shinto-related religions; the United Church for Religious Science; the Church of World Messianity, whose "key concept is Johrei, claimed to be a method of channeling divine light into the body of another for the purposes of healing"; Mormonism, which just leaves me downright speechless (though I'd love to get a hold of some of that underwear); and even atheism, whose symbol is an atom. (At least that problem has been solved, after a huge flap.)

And I'm wondering how anyone can still call the United States the "greatest country in the world" when our refusal to sign on to the Kyoto protocol may spell doom for our beautiful blue planet.

I'm finding it really, really hard to be "proud to be an American" at this particular time.

. . .

Saturday, June 09, 2007

. . .
Well! The good news is that my oncologist thinks there may be some very good reasons why my liver enzymes continue to go up. The bad news is, one of the reasons he thinks it may be happening is that my blood sugar is hovering around 300. My response when the rather startled nurse showed me the labs was, "Holy shit". Not very original, perhaps, but certainly sincere.

I continue to live as if I'm going to continue to live for a year or two more. We just bought the cutest little hutch, which will fit against the thick wall between the kitchen and living room in the new house. The door opening is pretty wide, so I don't think it will make it inconvenient to get from one room to the other. The hutch we have now is too big, and I also hate it. So I'm pleased with this particular outcome.

I don't have much profound to say right now (like you care, right?). I'm having a lot of fun preparing for the Midsummer ritual on the 21st. I may have to add a lot of coffee to my Ritalin to get through it, but it really should be a blast. I'm hoping John will feel like videotaping it, as long as the faeries don't mind.

It's a beautiful, cool, rainy weekend, and I hope you're enjoying it as much as I am.

. . .

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Aha! Well, Alycia, serves you right for checking in with that last comment. You've been tagged! I need seven unusual or little-known random facts about you, then you're supposed to tag seven other bloggers.

Today is the second meeting of my guru Pat's Crones group on the subject of Death & Dying. I am the resident dying person. I really need this--need to talk about it, need to hear others' thoughts about it. Besides, we do potluck, so I get to eat stuff that pains John when I eat it in front of him.

Ain't life grand. I'm looking forward to reading Alycia's seven facts. They should be awesome.


Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Well, I've been tagged!

I don't know why, but I love these things. I love reading unusual tidbits about people--we are all so different and complex! So thank you Katey, and thank you for your very kind compliment on my art piece in the previous blogpost.

Okay, this time I'm to list seven random facts about myself, then tag others so they can do the same thing. I'm not sure I know seven bloggers, but I'll do the best I can.

1. I was born on a full moon.
2. I have two Irish style polkas published in a book called "The Complete Book of Clawhammer Banjo".
3. I was elected to Phi Beta Kappa--twice, under two different names!! (I must be really smart, dontcha think?)
4. I have read the Bible, Don Quixote, and War & Peace all the way through.
5. I was pronounced clinically dead at the age of six months due to anaphylactic shock from a hornet sting. An epinephrine injection in my heart, in the ambulance, brought me back.
6. I have had one out-of-body experience.
7. I once bought the same book three times. And yes, it was that good. And no, I'm not lying about the Phi whatsis whatsis...never mind.

Are you disappointed? Were you hoping for "true confessions"? Sorry, I'm somewhat boring in that regard.

Okay, Katey, now I have to find seven others--I might have a prayer of finding a few eBay art group members who haven't already been tagged. Thanks a lot! Just kidding ;>) The one I'm starting with is a friend named Carrie, then I'll start looking around.


Saturday, June 02, 2007

Love Leaving

. . .
Here are an old poem and a new digital collage on similar themes.


Love, when it leaves
is like a bird flown south
for the winter.

You know it is somewhere--
trembling with life
clinging to some luscious vine or sapling
while you are left with
vacant branches
in the songless skies.

Love, when it leaves
is like the fleeing monarch.
love congregates somewhere--
myriad beating wings in dense moist green
so distant
from your own arid heart.

. . .

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


. . .
In April, a woman I had met at the Boston breast cancer email list (bclist) get-together, Marje Scott, wrote to the list that she was having some issues with recently diagnosed brain metastases, and would be entering a hospice in Worksop, UK, for some specialized care. She said she'd keep the list up-to-date (from the hospice), and she implied that she expected to go home.

A couple of weeks ago, I emailed her and heard nothing back, so I wrote to the bcmets list asking if anyone had responded. No one replied. So I wrote to the bclist and asked if anyone there had heard from her. Over the past couple days, one of our UK members took the trouble to call around, and finally was able to call the hospice. Marje passed away on May 2nd.

She called herself "Scott the Scot", and her signature lines were:

Lang May Ye're Lum Reek.
May your roof never fa' in, and the people inside never fa' oot!

She did a video of John's and my handfasting at the Boston gathering, and kindly gave it to us. Unfortunately, the only picture I can find of her is from the back, but I will say that she looked much younger than she was, and had beautiful red hair.

I'll close with this poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins.

Spring and Fall, to a Young Child
Margaret, are you grieving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leaves, like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! as the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you will weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sorrow's springs are the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It is the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.
For you, Marje,
. . .

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Dead Terrys and an experimental poem

. . .
John and I went up to the Enfield Street Cemetery today. I had heard that the Terry family was big in Enfield, but the last I knew, my ancestor was an orphan who was adopted by one of the Terrys, with the assumption that they were uncle and nephew, but no documented proof. Apparently that was either wrong or has changed. My father, Arthur Booth Terry, according to, is a direct descendant of Stephen Terry, who came from Wiltshire, England, and worked with the Peases, Abbeys, and Olmsteds to found Enfield. (That may be only vaguely correct, but whaddaya want, it's 1:00 a.m.)

Today Enfield vies for the title of armpit of New England, and is best (or worst) remembered as the site where Jonathan Edwards preached his famous sermon, 'Sinner in the Hands of an Angry God'. That notwithstanding, it contains many dead Terrys, many of them Revolutionary War soldiers,
with very cool gravestones. (The Penelope Terry Abbey chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution maintains the cemetery.) I have yet to fix most of them (the photos, not the gravestones or, Goddess forbid, the Terrys) in Photoshop, but since I know you're holding your breath, here is the stone of one Benjamin Terry, who died in 1773.

More, of course, to come.

I was reading on my main breast cancer list today, where one member talked about a workshop she had recently attended. One of the exercises was to write the words 'MY INNER HEALER' vertically down a page, and write a poem with the words' initial letters as the start of each line. I decided to try it, and this is what I came up with:

May is glorious month, May is
Year that breaks to tiny, glistening moments, shining now as then.
. . .
I walk by water side
Near where the cormorants fish, and diving terns collide.
Now and again I feel you there,
Earth's liquid womb and grave,
Returning, yes, returning, deep and wide.
. . .
How do I find You, Mother? Where, and when?
Earth gives the answer: die.
All must, in body
Lie in dust. Yet every living cell becomes
Earth's body, giving life in fruit and flower--
Reward enough for me, sweet by and by.

I thought this all sort of came together today, Memorial Day, although I can't swear that it isn't just chemo brain hitting me for all it's worth. Anyway, goodnight, everyone. I love you all.

. . .

Friday, May 25, 2007

. . .
I found out yesterday, at my treatment, that two of my liver enzymes are elevated. One is the SGPT (also known as ALT or ALAT); according to my internet research, that can actually be caused by the chemo I'm on.

The other one, LDH, is caused by cell destruction. Maybe that's tumor cells (among other liver cells?) dying too? Either that, or I've had a myocardial infarction. Heh.

I have to go visit my guru soon, so this post will be short. I'll put up the latest digital collage I did, and one poem.

This is a 4x4 inch piece called 'Sydney'. The portrait is a vintage photo, and the rest is done with my photos.

The poem is one I wrote maybe seven or eight years ago.


Pale Ken
of the hollow eyes
has no life left
in his liver.

He is poised
back against the wall
of his world
without windows
waiting for the phone
to ring.

It will be
the Angel of Death
calling collect--

one last coy slap
to the hopeless face--

from the quiver.
. . .

Not the best poem I ever wrote, but could probably be reworked.

Well, folks, moving's exhausting, especially when you're on chemo. Wish me luck.


. . .

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Hey, youtube video three is out. Agate will be thrilled to know she's now a star. Here it is:

Fun stuff. :=p

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

. . .
I need something to read. There are no unread memoirs in the house.

suppose I could read a novel, but I've lost faith in made-up stories.

I never thought I'd say such a thing. After all, I was an English major. And not one of those, 'ho, hum, I don't have a clue what to major in, I guess English is as good as anything else, and after all, it's
easy' types of English major, either. Oh, no--I was obsessed, in love with literature, and I took every English course I could fit into my schedule. And I suppose it might have been easy to average a C+ or even a B-, but I really worked, and beat myself up every time I got less than an A.

There are good novels, of course, but I find that they're too infrequent to make me want to waste precious time searching for them. If there was someone who knew the kind of thing I was looking for, who would tell me what to read, I'd do it.

Besides, I have to buy the damn books. I compulsively procrastinate when it comes to returning library books, so libraries aren't an option for me.

John and I have been packing, mostly books, since they can go to the new house right away. Cathy and Pat are fine with us moving boxes into what I call the mud rooms, two glass-walled rooms in the back on the lower level (the house is built into a hillside, so the door is at grade level). In fact, if the two high school kids that Rhea, one of the oncology nurses at the Gray Cancer Center, referred us to actually show up, we'll be moving a 17-foot-truck's worth of stuff this Saturday. John and I are in such good shape right now, too. I went to my regular doctor's office today with a cough, fever and horrendous sore throat, and found out I have bronchitis. John had a very long atrial fibrillation attack today that really knocked him for a loop. But we are, as I always say, hanging in.

This past weekend John and I went to Caprilands, an old herb farm run for a long time by an old witch, the late, great Adelma Simmons. A nattily dressed fellow with a button that said 'Coventry Jaguar Club', probably her son, came out to ask if we needed any help, after we had browsed around in the 'gift shop' (nobody in there) and on the grounds for about an hour. When he came out, we were busy adoring the little lady below. He informed us her name was 'Agate', and the colors you see below, although the picture is obviously altered in Photoshop, are her actual colors--shades of bluish-purple and slightly reddish-tan--ergo, 'Agate'. I've never seen colors quite like these on a kitty.

Another bonus to the cleaning and clearing out when you're moving is all the stuff you find, some of which you didn't remember you had. I actually found more poems, mostly rather odd The one below was actually published in a 2002 date book called 'The Goddess in Each of Us'. It's called (surprise) Goddess' Song.

In and around the onyx cowrie
you will find Me.
Follow the silver spiral
of the chambered nautilus;

Rest, yielding,
in the soft belly
of the sunset clam.

Gain land
with the low-flown cormorant,
drying its wings
on tidal rock;

Fly high
with the terns and petrels.
On their wings
you are sure
to find Me.

It was a beautiful day here on Mother Earth. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

. . .

Friday, May 11, 2007

I've been better...

Last night, after tossing and turning until after 3:00 a.m., I decided to take some pain medication.

I've done this several times over the past few weeks. I'll need to talk to my oncologist to try to figure out where the pain is coming from. My midsection hurts all the way around; my spine hurts, especially the lower thoracic spine; and my entire body aches in a way I can't really describe; it's not any one thing--I have joint pain, and muscle pain, and something that feels like nerve pain. In any case, I have a fairly high pain tolerance, but have felt it necessary several times to take narcotic painkillers left over from past visits to the dentist.

I do try to avoid taking the pills. Usually I get up and sit at the computer for a while, hoping that will distract me. Last night I surprised poor John on the potty, by walking in the bathroom and turning on the lights at about 2:45, camera in hand. But finally I did take the pills and went back to bed.

I fell asleep for a while, but then awoke with an awareness that there was some very acidic stuff sitting along the entire length of my esophagus. Unfortunately, I inhaled. My bronchi did not like what I inhaled, and I started to cough, which of course brought on more inhaling followed by more coughing, etc. I got up and tried to put out the fire with cool water, and finally took some baking soda in water. It was horrible.

I spent today feeling sick. I went to see my primary care physician, who suggested increasing my Nexium, and purchasing a bed wedge to reduce the GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disorder) symptoms. So I went to get a wedge, and picked up a cervical pillow while I was at it. I think they'll improve my sleep a lot.

Navelbine, the chemo I'm on now, can cause nausea and diarrhea or constipation, but is not particularly known for causing or worsening other gastric symptoms, such as reflux. Rapidly worsening liver metastases certainly could cause those symptoms. On the other hand, taking the narcotic with water, then lying down, may not have been the smartest thing to do. I guess I'll just have to wait until I see Dr. Schauer on Thursday to try to sort some of this out.

Wasn't that a cheery post?