March 21st, 2006

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Goode Morning!

My son Chris sends me the news that Geoffrey CHAUCER HAS A BLOG. Who would have thought?

Here is the information.

An especially good snippet:

My dog is a retriever, but he won't chase a ball. Every time I throw a toy across the room, he climbs in my lap and licks my face. I know he needs exercise--what do I do?

Pinned To The Floor

Ma Cher Pinnede to The Floore,

By my feithe, firste y oght to praise yow for yowre carefulle husbandrie and governance of yowre hounde. Ther arn sundrie folke who fede ther houndes with rosted flessh, or milk and wastel-breed and reken litel of the helthe of the dogges in question. Yowre care maken myne eyes to watre with teres, so like it is unto my love for litel Lowys my sone.

I hope you are well welcomed to spring. I hear the sound of rain again today. I am really enjoying living in Ireland, and prancing through the green. We planted flowers yesterday to welcome spring, and stood beneath the Redwoods. Is there anything to equal feeling the support of Redwood roots, and seeing the long draw of water, trunk, and green above?

Robinson Jeffers built a tower of rocks for his wife. He said this. "For Una: I built her a tower when I was young. I built it with my hands. I hung Stones in the sky."

I think of that when I look up at the Redwoods. I am amazed at that expanse reaching up toward the sky.

Today I again see the radiation oncologist. For some odd reason, I feel trepidation. I suppose it is an entering into the unknown again. Miserable as chemo was, I knew what it was, knew what to expect. This brings up some anxiety this morning, as I learn more of the next steps. I realize now that because my last visit to her was filled with so many surprises, my radar is up, and, yet, I feel eternally grateful for life. Can we be eternally grateful? Why, of course? Why ever not? To eternal gratitude! May it wrap us in rites of Spring, like May Poles, ribboning our stay!
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Li-Young Lee on Poetry -

Li-young Lee
Excerpt from The Sun Interview August 2005
Part 3

The “problem of problems,” as Sigmund Freud put it, is the ethical problem:right and wrong, good and bad. If a poet doesn't tackle this problem, doesn't face it down and come to a conclusion, then he or she is just making knickknacks, just decorating. I believe the only possible ethical consciousness is one that accounts for the whole human being, that doesn't leave any of it out-and this is precisely what poetry can achieve.On a social scale, this would be a government that accounts for all of its population---the poor, the rich, women, men, children, old people, black white. Poetry is a way to integrate all of who we are:the saint, the murderer, all of it.

There are plenty of people cutting themselves, killing themselves, drinking themselves to death.I believe the practice of poetry can help us move toward loving all of who we are.It can help us become more comfortable with things in ourselves that we don't like.

Questioner: What about people who only read poetry?

Lee: That would be like only having heard about the burning bush.You've got to write poetry. If you just read it, then you can only hear about the burning bush, but if you write it, then you sit inside the burning bush.I have friends who say, “The only people who read poetry are people who write it.” I think, Well of course.And everybody should be writing it.
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Checking in -

I saw the radiation oncologist today, Dr. Halberg, and she was just wonderful. I realized today that when I saw her last time the staph infection was spreading so quickly that it really was an emergency situation and she rushed into action. She did the right thing. Today was calmer for us both, and I was greeted in the waiting room with a blue vase filled with yellow daffodils. The American Cancer Society provided them for all the patients today with a note of all the services they offer. I have not taken advantage of what they offer, but I see that they are really there to provide help for those who have cancer. I still read the information and don't see how any of the services apply to me. Of course, I no longer have cancer, and Dr. Halberg agreed with me that my dream is accurate, and, so, and still, we want to ensure that, and that is why radiation.

She said there is a 65% chance I don't need "them," the doctors, I presume. Radiation increases my chances by 35-40% and there is a 5% chance I won't make it, with which I don't agree. So, the numbers don't add up, and I wrote them down, but, clearly, increasing one's odds by 35% makes it worthwhile, and I will do the 33 radiation treatments. It will take about an hour out of my day, plus driving time, two hours, plus, resting time, ah, maybe four. : )

Tomorrow the machine and I meet, and I have a long appointment to get set up and trained. Until then, I am to practice breathing in slowly and steadily and holding my breath for 15-20 seconds. We have the top radiation equipment in Marin. They will do a simulation of the whole thing. There is a 1% chance of damage to someone's lung, not mine. I will be sore and tired, and, it is not that bad. This is not chemo. She is very clear about that. She said you are "in chemo." This is different. I go for two set-up treatments, and then, 33 more. A piece of cake, it seems. I'll see just what kind of cake it is, soon enough. I will probably start the treatments next Thursday.

I see the chemo oncologist tomorrow, also, and she will better explain the drug Arimidex to me. Considerately, Dr. Halberg set it up so I have my two visits combined into one day, as she is aware it is hard not to feel a little sick, at this point, when one thinks of driving to 1350 S. Eliseo Drive. The new entry is almost complete though, and the doors swing open automatically. It is quite exciting.

I sat in the meditation garden today, and,then, realized that offices surround it, so it is like sitting in a fish bowl, and therefore, a bit disconcerting. I need a little more privacy to close my eyes, but it is lovely, and I checked out the plants for my yard.
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quote by Abraham Lincoln -

Candice sends this to me today, saying it seems to catch "the poetry of purpose." I like that. Here is to the poetry of purpose, as expressed so well by "Honest Abe."

Abraham Lincoln said, "Die when I may, I want it said of me by those who knew me best, that I always plucked a thistle and planted a flower where I thought a flower would grow."

Pluck thistles and plant flowers, and watch your garden grow.
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Evening -

I am feeling peaceful and purposeful tonight as I feel myself moving into the next stage of this journey. I am quite content with the three women who are guiding me through this,  Dr. Allison Smith,  Dr. Jenn Lucas, and Dr.  Francine Halberg.

I am reading Angeles Arrien tonight. She writes of the Billy Mills and Nicholas Sparks' book Wokini, that speaks of the Lakota tradition of initiation where Iktumi, the trickster or liar figure, tempts us with eight lies "that keep us from accessing our true nature and attaining what is meaningful and spiritually satisfying."

The eight lies are:

    If only I were rich, then I would be happy.

    If only I were famous, then I would be happy.

    If only I could find the right person to marry, then I would be happy.

    If only I had more friends, then I would be happy.
    If only I were more attractive, then I would be happy.

    If only I weren't physically handicapped in any way, then I would be happy.

    If only someone close to me hadn't died, then I would be happy.

    If only the world were a better place, then I would be happy.

Well, I think we have all dealt with one or two of these in our lives.   : - )
Angeles Arrien goes on to say that we need to "reject the eight lies and reconnect our search for happiness with values that support our character and moral fiber."
She is speaking of the second half of life, but it seems to me that all of us can look at the mantras these can become, and perhaps shift them a bit to one side, and contact our own "compassion, insight, and clarity."   We are here, connected and alone.  We each need to connect to what is within, to our own strength, and in that, we can lead the way for ourselves and others.   It seems to me it is time to begin. 

Eduardo Galeano, in his book, Walking Words, gives different views of the body.

    The Church says: The body is a sin.
    Science says: The body is a machine.
    Advertising says: The body is a business.
    The body says: I am a fiesta.

          Live as a fiesta.  What could be better than that?  I see the swirling colors now.