January 3rd, 2006

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Morning -

I am up, though with a horrible cold and cough. I just can't shake this cold, so I will see what is determined when I go today. I'm hoping I am well enough to do this. I really want to be half-way.

Jeff, Jan, and Chris all spent the night, and I woke up this morning feeling so delightfully caved with my tribe. It is lovely to know there are warm bodies, softly sleeping, close by. I feel warm and safe that way. Steve is in London, so my sweet friends are here.

May today be a wonderfully warm, cozy and stretching sort of day for all!
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Anchor in the Breath!

This morning did not begin as one of my best.  I am worried the cough and cold will keep me from chemo, and delay this process I am decidedly sick of.  My eyes are red, so I am wearing my glasses, which keep fogging up as I rush around, and right, as I’m ready to call Jane, Mandu throws up under and behind my desk, past the vent, in a place that will be challenging to reach.  Grrrrr, I rumble to Jane.  I am not going to write “How do I love thee?  Let me count the ways.”   I am going to write, “How lousy can one person feel?  Let me count the ways.” 

Well, as soon as I began, I think of what would be really lousy, concentration camps, and prisoner of war camps, and how those people who did get through it, did, and I am certainly not comparing this to that, but I realized we always have the breath.  The breath is always there for us, as anchor, and mooring.   That reminded me of a poem I wrote five and a half years ago, when I sat by my mother’s bedside in intensive care.  I felt she was dying.  I place the poem here.

Reading that poem, took me to a time when I was thirteen, or fourteen, and my family, my mother, father, brother and I were boating and camping at the Salton Sea.  A storm came up, and we were blessed to survive, and I believe we knew it.  I felt no fear.  My dad and I loved the wind.  My mother and brother huddled underneath in the cabin of the boat.  I exulted in that day-night, as we rode the wind and the waves.  Perhaps, I see it differently now, and perhaps, not.  The anchor is always the breath, the wind, the spirit, breathing in and out.  The answer, the support is there.   I will “ride this out,” and I am well.  Now, if only, it weren’t so difficult to breathe.  I am definitely shoveling a load of snow, rocks, and dirt with each breath.  

(Emma, I have full contribution for your project now.  Let me know when you want a delivery.)


                             A Miniature Masterpiece



Today to eat a spinach leaf would be like eating an acreage –

                A lettuce leaf – a seven course meal –


                   Why ?


   Because I feel myself counting my mother’s breaths –

            Counting her last as she did my first,



                                                word –

       The preciousness of each one, flowing in and out –

                    The miracle I never really saw –


       I exult now in each and every one of her breaths,

                            as she did my first,

             And I do it over and over again,  caught

                             in the exquisite beauty of each One –


                    Crystalline flakes of snow

                              paint our lungs –

                              melt there –

                                       in a pool

                             of steps – forward and back – in and out –


                 We are caught on the breath of parents,  and children -

                                                          all children - 

                                        forward and back - in and out -


                                                                   Breath -


                                                           Handle,  with care -





Anchor in the Breath

So, just that, enough,
feeling the breath
in the tears.
Find the mooring ,
the anchor.
Years ago, we were in a storm in the
Salton Sea.
Even my father was worried.
We lifted the anchor and rode it out.
I think now of those words - cliché, really,
          “rode it out,”
like a stallion, dancing in the wind,
   until it was time to come in.
         The waves paused,
                 dropping us
                    like ducklings
                             on the shore
                                     to feed






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Narcissus - from Jane -

Every year, I plant pots and bowls of Narcissus, and enjoy  them blooming here from Thanksiving into the New Year. I love the delicate white flowers, and the scent, but, this year, I thought it would be too much, so no flowers, until Jane reads me her morning poem, and now, my life is filled with the bloom of Narcissus delicacy and scent.

  It was the year narcissus bloomed in all her windowsills.
In summer she¹d bought bowls from the flea market.
They were mismatched, odd and chipped.
Some were the solid colors of paper poppies.
Others were painted with hearts, flourishes of an untrained hand.
She¹d put them everywhere the low light of winter shone.
Outside the rain streaked sideways, gusts would rattle glass.
Inside, narcissus everywhere.
I never saw this.
I only remember it.

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Checking in -

A soft rain continues, and my fourth chemo treatment is now complete. Yay!!

I start a new drug next time, Taxol, which comes from the Yew tree, and so feels friendler to me. The good news is that there is no nausea with Taxol. The bad news is that there is tingling in the feet and hands. They give you Benadryl when you go in for Taxol, so it will be a sleepy time, and it is longer, five hours, so I will be dropped off and go to sleep. That works for me.

Today seemed to go easily. My nurse drew the chemo nurse card to get back from her Christmas vacation, so she got bumped to first class and was quite relaxed.

I spoke with the nurse practitioner about how rough these two weeks were. She said almost everyone has this cold and cough right now, and it is even tougher for me to get rid of it. Also, this is when the adrenalin wears off that has been carrying me through up to now, and so physiologically I am depleted, which affects my mood. Also, all the excitement and energy of the holidays contribute to the extreme fatigue I am feeling. I felt so good in talking to her, in really being able to say how hard this is, and to know she understands. It is hard to explain to you, and it felt so good to talk to someone who works with this everyday, and knew exactly how down I felt. She assured me it is normal to feel this way. I'm normal. Yay!!

Chris and I went out for a lovely lunch afterward, and celebrated. I feel now I can make it through, and I'm hoping Taxol goes easily. There is no way to know how it will affect each person. They absolutely can't say, and I understand that. This with my feet is an unusual side-effect, and she said it will be worst this time since I had it last time, so I am now prepared. Again, it will probably be no shoes or walking for at least a week, but, now, I am prepared. It won't scare me this time. I understand, and so it looks like this will be a quiet two weeks for me, as I move these drugs through, and wait for the next round. It is an odd way to begin the new year, and yet, I feel rejuvenated and young.

I am happy, today, in evolving my cave! Great love and joy and peace and ease to YOU!!
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Spring -

One thing I notice with chemo is the sensitivity of my nose. I notice smells, and that is why some foods are appalling, and others appeal. This afternoon when I walked outside, I could not believe the sweetness of the air. There was the green, the freshness there, and then, this extra sweetness, which is the lovely little plant right next to the front door. Pink flowers appear. Spring is beginning, and I feel young! Young light, fresh air, a crescent moon. Yes!!! I am fresh scent today!! I wiggle, and prance, with play.
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The New Year!

And now let us welcome the New Year
Full of things that have never been

-Rainer Maria Rilke

Imagine what we can now make so!!  Begin!!

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The rain continues to fall -

Today, when I sat with Nancy, the nurse practitioner, and my eyes teared up in the privacy of our meeting space, I knew she understood. She said we are both introverts, aren’t we, and I said yes. She said it is hard for me everyday to work with people, listen to people, and I understood, and I understand why she does it, and I understand why I am doing what I am doing. I love you all so very much, and I knew and she knew that she and I are doing something that is somewhat out of character for us, and we have no choice, because we love you all so much. I’m not fighting with the medical community anymore. I see they love me very much. Great love, tonight to all of you, and the rain continues to fall. What a cleansing we in the Bay area are experiencing. What wondrous scents, and how beautiful will be our spring. The wildflowers are forming under the ground. Who wants to meet me at Chimney Rock in Point Reyes in March, April, and May?
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something personal -

I am feeling particularly tender tonight, so perhaps would like to reveal something that has been going on in my family for a long time.  I sit with it tonight, as there was a shift last night, and I feel a need to speak.  Know that this is all my interpretation, my need to share something that stirs with passionate love in my heart. 

Many of you know that Jeff and Jan met as freshman at University High School in, I believe, it was 1987.  I first met Jan when she was chasing Jeff around the table where I was selling books for the school.  She was cute, and she was chasing him.  Her mother sat next to me, and laughed too.  It was so cute, and, so sweet, and  they were so young, and yet, her parents would not allow them to date because he was not Asian, and yet, she gave him rose bushes which I still have, and I gather roses from them every year - Sterling Silver and Granada, and these two people love each other in a way that would make your heart curl,  like whipped cream.  They went to the same college, and, had to hide their love.   They made an attempt at seeing other people.  This was their first love, and perhaps, needed testing.  Jan studied medicine in Philadelphia.  Jeff flew back and forth.  She is doing her residency in Santa Rosa.  He keeps his place in Mountain View, and has driven up and down that horrendous drive every week for over two years, almost three now.  He gave her a beautiful engagement ring, and still, she could not tell her parents, because she was afraid they would disown her, as they said they would.   When I was up at her hospital after the operation,  she introduced me as her mother-in-law.  She has sent me a Mother’s Day card for years.  This has been breaking my heart.  I struggled to honor her fears around her parent’s response, her loyalty to her lineage, and my own seeing of a beautiful and precious love.  I could not believe her parents would not understand, and I am not Asian.

Last night, after agonizing on how to do it for years,  Jan called her parents to tell them.  Her father hung up on her.  Her mother seems receptive.  She is grateful that Jeff is intelligent, and he is.  Who could not adore Jeff?   I want to meet her mother again.  She wants grandchildren, as do I.   My niece is a mix of east and west, and I believe that two people who love like Jan and Jeff will produce only love, and I pray, and I ask you to pray, as fervently as you did for my red and white blood cells, and, by the way,  they are doing super-great, that Jan’s parents see that times have changed.  We are out of the caves, and we are mixing blood all over the place, and it is good.  Let these two children, now beautiful adults, have peace in their life, and the fulfillment of grace. 

Jeff and Jan spent last night here.  They needed to be here.  I am grateful for that, and I want these two people to have the peace and honoring they deserve.  I want them to marry with the love and support of four parents.  I want to unite two families.  I pray that her parents, especially her father, come to see that we no longer live in a world where we have to marry within a race.  We marry for love, and that is what I see here.  I pray for peace.   Thank you for letting me share this extremely private piece of my heart.  



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Synchronicity -

I go to me email and this is there:

"Those who love deeply never grow old; they may die of old age, but they die young. "

-Sir Arthur Wing Pinero

And so it is.  Here is to deep love!!

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Poem on Change!



Light rain falling like gasps
wanting to grasp
a chance to separate
cloud from land
and the solidity of home,
from the airy weight of gas -    

In Stratford-upon-Avon,
Shakespeare’s home,
church bells
ring, cling, sing,
even today.
Somehow he took the peal,
and looked within his characters,
created on a wheel,
from the gods -

The portal opened
when my mother died.
All looked flat here, matte,
a matte painting,  
nothing mattered -
There was no r - no are -
Dimension returns now.
The brain folds like the legs of a camel,
                     and, humps -