Thursday, March 12, 2009

If you like choral music, you have to hear these guys.

A Company of Voices: Conspirare in Concert from KLRU / Conspirare on Vimeo.

I think their music is stunning.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I'm doin' it again...

Blogging, that is.

It's been a long winter, but we had a visit from a flock of red-winged blackbirds yesterday. In March! I don't remember ever seeing them earlier than April before, though the bird book has us just on the border of the year-round range. Also, the goldfinches are starting to turn a pale yellow.

Everything is good. Which is much better than last year at this time, when I was pretty depressed. I'm hoping things will stay good for a while, and I can get out and do some hiking when the weather gets warmer. Can't wait!

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Okay, I kept saying I was gonna do it and I didn't do I'm doing it. Updating my blog, that is.

A couple of weeks ago I had a PET/CT scan. After I had worked myself into a frenzy over it, I found out that my breast cancer is still in remission. I am very thankful.

I finally made the decision to have my concertina repaired. I haven't played in years, ever since the woman who played with my daughter and me decided she no longer wanted to do it. She made me sort of guess at what was going on, and when I finally said, do you not want to play with us any more? she admitted that that was the case. I was shocked, bereaved, and angry. Passive-aggressive stuff always ticks me off.

Anyway, I stopped playing for a long, I didn't realize how long--it's been almost 15 years. So we'll see what it takes to be able to play again, especially with my shaky hands. Doesn't really matter, though; I'll only be doing it for fun. There's a waiting list at the Button Box, the store in Amherst, MA that will be doing the repairs. So it'll be several months before I have the concertina back.

God, these posts are dull, aren't they? Well, there's a small group of dedicated people who actually read them, so I do like to post every now and then. Thanks for checking in!


Saturday, November 1, 2008

John and I took a walk today around the old cranberry bog in Portland. It's now a public wildlife refuge whose name escapes me at the moment.

We decided to walk all the way around the bog, which isn't terribly far, probably less than a mile. When we were about two-thirds of the way around, we had to go off the trail, which was flooded.

They've been fighting--or, I guess, trying to work with---the beavers that dominate the place, but as of today, the beavers were winning. We finally had to cross one of their dams--it was either that or get very wet, and while it was a mild sixty degrees today, neither John nor I felt much like swimming. We managed it with just a couple of wet toes.

My PET/CT scan has been scheduled for the week after next. If there's no progression of my breast cancer, treatment will stay the same. If there's a spot or two that can be irradiated, the oncologist might still continue the same chemo. If more significant progression is found, I'll move on to another chemo.

I love this time of year. Even as all the green dies, the earth seems so much more alive.

Samhain blessings,

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

It's been a while...

I've been having rather a tough time lately, emotionally, that is, so I haven't been blogging much. I can't seem to shake the feeling that since I have a terminal illness, there's very little point--silly, I know; it's like saying that everyone dies someday, so what's the point in living. I know intellectually that it's silly, but depression isn't always amenable to reason.

Anyway, I got kicked off eBay about a month ago because my daughter, who had been kicked off herself, listed with my account (and my permission, of course). This is no biggie, except that I miss the people on my eBay groups. A couple of them have sent me emails saying they're concerned about me, and I can't answer the emails since I can't use the eBay mail system. If any of you happen to check in here, I'm alive and still doing okay, and I appreciate your concern.

John and I took a couple of foliage drives this weekend. I was pretty grateful to John, because I know how much he hates to waste energy, but I was about to implode. It was nice to see the beautiful fall foliage in the Connecticut countryside.

Oh, and one wonderful thing happened...I met two miniature donkeys! We were driving down a country road and saw them, and I made John stop. They came right up to the fence and gummed my fingers, which I was sticking through the chain links trying to pet them. I think it was because I had just eaten an apple and the juice was still on my hands. They are so freakin' adorable. Plus, now I get to cross off another one of the 100 things I wanted to do in 1,000 days (see right hand column for url)--I had put 'make friends with a donkey' on there, thinking there was a very slim chance I'd run across any here in Connecticut. Just goes to show, you never know!

Well, I'm going to work on getting some creativity and humor back into my life, and I'll be sure to pass it along if I succeed. In the meantime, happy autumn!


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Well, I got good news at the dentist's office this morning. Both my regular dentist (I refer to him as "regular", but he's no slouch at oncologic dentistry) and the attending oral surgeon agree that the lesion on my gum is healing well. I'm so pleased!

Friday, September 5, 2008

I keep thinking that sometime between watching the Red Sox and reading the latest issue of Funny Times, I'll find the meaning of life.

Hinduism tells us that beyond pleasure, beyond worldly success, even beyond performing our duties to the world, there is the eternal foundation of being. God.

As fall approaches, I watch frenetic squirrels jump from tree to tree in search of food for the winter. Sometimes they must miss and fall. How are you? people ask me. Even the doctors don't really want to know.

If I could just grasp onto the emptiness, I think I'd be all right. But I guess it's right to keep on searching.

I've been going through yet another mini health crisis over the past couple of weeks. I have these things called tori (plural of torus), which are bony growths in my mouth. They are slow-growing, benign, and common. The problem is that the mucus membrane that covers them is easily abraded with rough foods.

This is only really a problem because I am on the IV bisphosphonate Zometa, which is used to help avoid bone metastases from my cancer. Zometa carries a very small risk of a lovely condition called osteonecrosis of the jaw, in which the jawbone begins to die. The risk is increased when bone is exposed, which is why I had to have a root canal in a wisdom tooth a couple of years ago, instead of just having it pulled.

So: put all these things together and you have a much increased risk for a painful and debilitating secondary condition of my metastatic breast cancer.

My dentist scared the hell out of me last week. He looked in my mouth and said, "Oh, looks like we have some exposed bone here", which made me gurgle "Oh, no!" the way one does with several dental instruments in one's mouth. "Actually, it looks like the bone isn't exposed yet", he said. I still don't know if he was just trying to make me feel better or what. My oncologist admits it's a serious concern.

Anyway, the dentist prescribed this steroid paste which has an adhesive that's supposed to make it stick to the gum. Mostly it sticks to my tongue, but the sore does seem to be healing. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Since I don't have enough fingers to cover everything that goes on, I'd appreciate it if you'd keep yours crossed too. Just drive carefully.

And wish me luck in my search for the meaning of life!


Friday, August 22, 2008



Belly sagging down

Against the warm, shell-pricked sands--
Trembling breath--out, in.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

I'd like to introduce: Miss Lily White

Meet Lily.

It was a cat-filled week. Our friends Cathy and Pat asked us to check in on their cat, Daisey, while they were away on vacation. So we went to see her every day this past week, fed her, and played for a while. To my utter amazement, she was very welcoming and sweet to us each day (she can be a little moody). It was fun.

In the meantime, the little lady whose picture you see here was hanging around our house. She was skinny, so of course we fed her...and she kept hanging around. We checked newspapers and vets, and looked for any notices or posters, but we didn't find anything. So we made an appointment with our vet, and took her in for inoculations and a checkup. The vet told us that there was a mushrooming problem with people dumping their pets if they've been foreclosed on, and that that may be why no one was looking for her. She's extremely friendly--a lap cat--and appeared well cared for, though the vet was pretty sure she had a tapeworm. FeLV and FIV tests were negative. The only problem is that the vet couldn't find a spaying scar, which will be an issue if she got pregnant during her wandering. But we have to go back for more shots in three weeks, so the vet can check again to see if she feels pregnant. I'd hate to pay for surgery, only to find out that she'd already been spayed. If she's not pregnant, there's no reason for surgery. With males you have the spraying issue, but a female in heat is no big deal.

There's been a bit of hissing going on around here, not least from Lily herself. It seems fairly obvious that she's never been around other cats. She's a brave little thing, though. The vet thinks she's about five or six years old, but she only weighs seven pounds, three ounces, making her the smallest of our cats. By the way, she's all white. Anyway, we're kind of excited to have her!