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!


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Okay, another meme thing. I couldn't resist this one because I'm so interested in words. Click at the bottom to give yourself the quiz.

(It was right on for me--non-Boston-area northeast.)

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Northeast

Judging by how you talk you are probably from north Jersey, New York City, Connecticut or Rhode Island. Chances are, if you are from New York City (and not those other places) people would probably be able to tell if they actually heard you speak.


The Inland North

The Midland

The South


The West

North Central

What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


An artist named Anne, at her beautiful 'Bulles Dorees' blog, is having a giveaway to celebrate her six-month blog anniversary. You can check it out here, and also see her gorgeous artwork. Happy anniversary, Anne!

Monday, August 11, 2008

I've decided to put my poems from my other blog (a non-starter) on this blog, so they'll all be in the same place. Here they are.


dear catbird.

kind –
night –

May Terry


How can the spindly sycamore
photosynthesize enough
for that 14 foot trunk
and the tower of branch
and smaller branch,
and smaller still, new and
struggling to reach out,
with that sparse lace of leafy

I guess we have to count on
Nature to mother it,
as she does the lilies of the field,
and the small determined sparrow.

I, too, count on her,
but I know that she, also,
must count on me.
Take care.

May Terry

It's always interesting to reread my poems after not seeing them for a while. I'd rate the first one okay, I guess, but I think the second one sucks, with the possible exception of the second stanza.

I reread this one recently, and I've decided it's almost sort of good. So there you have it.

Saturday, August 9, 2008


It's been a long time since I've written a "real" post to this blog. Call it writer's block, or laziness, or whatever you want--the fact is I've been feeling rather flat lately, emotionally speaking. I've been filling in my time with reading, watching baseball on TV, anything to avoid admitting to myself that I'm mildly depressed, and to keep from obsessing about death.

Today I turned off the small TV we keep in the computer room. John had been watching the Olympics while working on his computer. I rarely watch that set, so I noticed that it turns off in a different way from the living room TV--it fades very quickly to a spot, making a buzzing sound as it does so, then goes dark.

While riding to get the takeout, I found myself remembering a poem I first read in high school, by Emily Dickenson:

I heard a Fly buzz -- when I died --
The Stillness in the Room
Was like the Stillness in the Air --
Between the Heaves of Storm --

The Eyes around -- had wrung them dry --
And Breaths were gathering firm
For that last Onset -- when the King
Be witnessed -- in the Room --

I willed my Keepsakes -- Signed away
What portion of me be
Assignable -- and then it was
There interposed a Fly --

With Blue -- uncertain stumbling Buzz --
Between the light -- and me --
And then the Windows failed -- and then
I could not see to see --
I'm not a big Dickenson fan, but this poem surely captures the most we can guess about the moment of death, and evokes the visceral fear that I believe most people feel about dying, whether they admit it or not.

Mostly I fear that I won't be able to breathe to breathe, if you know what I'm trying to say. My obsessing over death the past few months has made it difficult for me to enjoy the summer. I do a lot of lying around, and am ashamed to have become such a couch potato. I keep expecting for something--liver or kidney failure, brain metastases--to come and announce to me that this is it, you only have a few months, or weeks.

What a waste. Why can't I stop?

Friday, August 8, 2008

A thought...

"We can reject everything else: religion, ideology, all received wisdom. But we cannot escape the necessity of love and compassion.... This, then, is my true religion, my simple faith. In this sense, there is no need for temple or church, for mosque or synagogue, no need for complicated philosophy, doctrine or dogma. Our own heart, our own mind, is the temple. The doctrine is compassion. Love for others and respect for their rights and dignity, no matter who or what they are: ultimately these are all we need. So long as we practice these in our daily lives, then no matter if we are learned or unlearned, whether we believe in Buddha or God, or follow some other religion or none at all, as long as we have compassion for others and conduct ourselves with restraint out of a sense of responsibility, there is no doubt we will be happy."

~ Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama ~

(Remembering the people of Tibet
and the victims of Tiananmen Square
on the opening of the Beijing Olympics )

Sunday, August 3, 2008

What kind of thinker am I?

Okay, I'm back to blogging, after a period of nail-biting and existential angst. You're right, you don't want to hear about it.

What got me back here is another one of those silly quizzes. This one is called, "What kind of a thinker are you?" I cannot resist those things. So flattering, that they want to know, don't you think?

Anyway, here's the quiz:

Below are my results. They got me to a 'T', linking me in a very agreeable way with the likes of William Shakespeare and Mother Teresa (one of my heroes). Irritatingly enough, I can't post anything after the box below, so you'll have to tune in to subsequent posts to read any more from me. I'll bet you can't wait.

You are an Interpersonal Thinker.
Interpersonal thinkers:
  • Like to think about other people, and try to understand them
  • Recognise differences between individuals and appreciate that different people have different perspectives
  • Make an effort to cultivate effective relationships with family, friends and colleagues
Like interpersonal thinkers, Leonardo had lots of friends and contacts, and was a popular figure at the Italian court.
Other Interpersonal thinkers include
Winston Churchill, Mother Teresa, William Shakespeare

Careers which suit Interpersonal thinkers include
Politician, Psychologist, Nurse, Counselor, Teacher

Thursday, July 17, 2008


I did these for a Yahoo group swap. They're one inch by one inch. It was fun!


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Decisions, decisions

Here's an article for you, from Wendy Harpham, a physician who has long been dealing with lymphoma. (Click here for the article.)

I've decided when I face sweet Dr. Schauer, my oncologist, and he has to utter the (for him, as well as me) painful words telling me I've run out of options, I will simply ask him if I can be a high as possible from then on. It's reasonable, don't you think?

(Is she serious? Whaddaya think? Maybe it's just a toxic muse. Had chemo today, after all.)

Having serious stomach pain, which the onc thinks is gastritis due to the chemo. He suggests the possibility, if my scans are still negative next time, of going off chemo. This is scary as hell for me. The first genuine weighing of quality of life against length of life. Dr. Schauer has prescribed another stomach med for me, in hopes the bunch of them together will give me some relief. He has also faxed a referral to the Brownstone Gastroenterology Clinic, which accepts Medicare and Medicaid so that I can see someone before I blow a hole in my stomach.

John is surprised that I do not complain, as he does. It just doesn't give me any satisfaction.

The pain in my stomach has given me the first inkling that I might actually choose QOL in the end.

With metta,

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I'm having one of those nights. As usual, I've taken enough sedatives to put a Clydesdale to sleep, and I'm wide awake.

These are invariably transformative nights that come after a period of mood swings and general craziness. If you've read my last couple of posts, you know what I mean.

The thing that really confuses me is that my sense of humor seems to be taking a long nap, and is possibly at this point comatose. I've always called on humor for perspective in my life, and now I don't seem to be able to do that. My blogs are boring and my social life is humdrum. I feel like putting on a clown face and seeing if I can make others' reactions make me laugh.

Letting go. I used to feel something like contempt for the AA saying, "Let go, let God". Now, I'm not so sure about the God part, but I sure do know that I've got to let go. It's the only way I'm going to stay sane, and that, to me, means not being overcome by the old beast of depression, or worse, addiction.

I don't expect to drink--not that most people do. But I really don't think that's the danger. I think the danger is becoming addicted, again, to the emotional patterns that make me miserable. They still afford some degree of familiarity, and therefore a weird sort of comfort. That means I can choose: misery or facing the demons. I don't feel very courageous at the moment, or very clear on how to do the latter.

I'm planning on going back to a regular spiritual practice. While spiritual seeking is a worthwhile activity, it's not one that brings me back into harmony with the truths I've found over the years. Only a ritual practice of some sort will do that.

I splurged and ordered a Persephone statue for myself. I am setting up my altar upstairs so that I will be reminded daily to face my inevitable end. This is not morbid. This is where I am in life.

I might even get a bumper sticker that reminds me to let go. If I let go, Mother Earth will take care of me. If I empty myself, I will be filled.

With metta,

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Well, Ann, whom I spoke about in my last blog post, died yesterday, in peace at home.

The funny thing is that I feel better today. I feel sad for Ann's family and friends, but I think I've let go again. I just said to myself: it's okay if I don't live another five years, or a year, or five months. I'll just live while I'm alive.

Why can't I let go like that at will?

Friday, June 13, 2008

I hate hope.

A woman I met at the Breast Cancer List's get-together in Boston a couple of years ago has just entered Hospice. She had recurred with liver metastases shortly before I did, and had a long remission, just as I did. She responded to Herceptin, being positive for the Her2neu oncogene, just as I am.

It can happen so fast.

The problem with hope is that I'm not paying attention to living. And when I get news like this, I get depressed.

It's hard to plant a perennial garden when you know you may not see it bloom next year.

Yes, I'm angry. And sad for Ann, and for myself. And scared.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

My other blog

I have a new blog. This one is a poetry blog called Earth Poetry.

Even if you're not into poetry, I'd love it if you'd visit today. I put a new poem of my own on it, and I'd love it if people left comments. Click here to see my poem, called 'Psychopomp'.

I am still having a rather hard time living with the uncertainty of metastatic breast cancer. Yesterday, however, I got to spend some time with my old friend Pat J. (No, she's not old--she's younger than I am :-) ) I hope she had as good a time as I did, at Harkness Beach in Waterford (Connecticut). I must say she was much more enthusiastic than John about my penchant for collecting nearly invisible shells!

It's fascinating to talk over such crusty old times--I mean, we're talking almost 55 years ago here! It has the feeling of working muscles you haven't used in a long time, which to me feels really good. Pat and I share a history that I don't really share with anyone else except maybe my cousin Rachel, but that's a whole different ball of wax, having to do with the Jehovah's Witnesses (dysfunction, anyone?) and the sort of strange relationship our mothers had as sisters. Anyway, after visiting the beach Pat and I went up to tour the gardens around the old estate. I don't think I'd seen them in the spring, just in their full bloom in summer. Much of the garden area has plantings from many decades ago, so it's a different fashion than modern gardens. So that was fun.

Anyway, I lived in the moment yesterday, and it was a good day!

With metta,

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The one that got away

Missed a great photo op yesterday :-(

John and I went to Paul's and Sandy's, a local greenhouse, to pick up (we hoped) an apple tree for his birthday. Of course, we had to wander and look at all the plants. (We ended up coming home with about half a dozen things, including 3-packs of garden veggies to plant, but no tree.)

When we got to the herb section, we found a large black cat sitting across a couple of plants. We had already spent a few minutes fussing over his tortie pal, so we had to spend a little time with him.

After we finished petting and cooing at him for a while, I wondered out loud to John what plant he was squishing. You've probably guessed it--it was catnip. If I'd brought my camera, I would have had the perfect shot of him surrounded by plants with large "CATNIP" signs.

That's why photographers should always carry their cameras!


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Garden Song

The mayflies are swarming, we've had both sun and rain today, and I want to give you one of my favorite songs. It's blurry, but it's really David Mallett.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

You CAN teach an old b........

Something very exciting happened to me this weekend.

I learned how to use the TV remote.

No, I'm not a Luddite. I just don't care much for TV. I went well over a decade watching virtually no television at all (unless I was stuck at one of those places where you can't avoid it). It just got stupider and stupider until it seemed like a terrible bludgeoning of valuable time ("As if you could kill time without wasting eternity", as Henry David Thoreau put it) and I simply stopped watching it.

Mostly, I think it's even worse now. Those things they call "reality shows", for instance, as if most people actually act like that. And we should not be embarrassed for them.

With my current fatigue, however, I'm finally giving myself permission to do some stupid things to get through the hours when I'm too tired and spacy to even read. One is to watch some TV. At first I developed a fondness for the basketball games of my alma mater, the University of Connecticut. Then I started watching Animal Planet because I was so disgusted with Homo sapiens (that guy who established Chimp Eden is a mensch!). Now--and I would have bet my life twenty years ago that this would never happen--I've become a Red Sox fan (go, Manny! All right, big Papi!), even though baseball games are about as speedy as labor. I do enjoy watching the spitting habits of these stars (click here to read a post from my old blog on that subject) but I've also actually become interested in the game itself. I'll even concede that it's not just the sport of rednecks with beer guts--it actually seems to take some athletic ability.

Next thing you know I'll be watching the New England Patriots.

But about the remote thing: as I said, I'm not a Luddite. I'm at least as good at computer stuff as the average person, and I do own a cell phone. I just stubbornly refused to learn how to use the TV remote, for fear it would turn me into a couch potato. I did do an awful lot of sitting today (all those nature shows, after all), but I'm not an addict yet.


Sunday, May 11, 2008

Tanka for Mother's Day

A moment of grace
5:00 a.m. on Mother's Day.
It's May; flowers will bloom.
A blessing to all mothers
And all long-suffering children.

It's 5 a.m. on Mother's Day, and I can't sleep. Mother's Day has long been one of my least favorite days of the year, a day when I am tortured by all kinds of feelings, not logical, but a mix of guilt and blame and fear.

I truly don't know how I thought I could be a good mother, given my background. I tried, to the point of almost not surviving, yet didn't do nearly enough to protect and nurture my children. I did not feel whole, and passed that sense of deficiency, the sense of not being good enough, along to my children.

I can still love them and try to help, but I can't (won't, I guess) put my life on the line. With the cancer, I am so tired and stressed, I can hardly get through a "normal" week.

Yet each day is beautiful. The flowers do bloom, as we know they will, while waiting impatiently (and with an odd uncertainty) each winter. In our distant past, that uncertainty was so deep that we felt we had to placate the gods to ensure each season and our concomitant survival. We are starting to realize again that we must do that, for help in healing our sad and suffering Mother Earth.

Let Lady Gaia, Mother Earth, and Wakantonka, Father Sky, be with us as we take this new journey. Let us regain a sense of our wholeness with the Earth and her Universe. Let all who come with light and with love work together to preserve the beauty and wholeness of the earth. By all that is above, by all that that is below, by all that is within, so may it be.


Thursday, May 8, 2008

Sand and water...

Spring is here, and that can mean only one thing: most of the searches that lead people to my blog are on the phrase "ripeness is all"--students, no doubt, trying to finish up that final paper or take-home exam.

There was a time when I felt I was on the path to that ripeness--that living fully in my own skin that defines me as the best I can be. Then suddenly this winter, almost three full years past my (eventually) terminal Stage IV breast cancer diagnosis, I became depressed and lost my sense that there's any meaning to this life, this world.

I'm still struggling.

I awaited the return of life in spring to get back some of the serenity I'd had for so long, the peace that came from the certainty that life is a circle, and I will go on in some way as an eternal part of that circle. While I'm not as depressed as I was this past winter, my equanimity has not returned.

I think part of the reason is that I've lost faith that the planet will survive what homo sapiens has done to it. While this planet started out as sand and water, we have turned it into a mass grave for thousands of species, all because of our lust for power, ease, and consumable goods. The superior species, huh?

Well, this is hardly an uplifting post, but it is an honest one. If you have any words of wisdom for me, please feel free to comment.


Sunday, April 27, 2008

Ooze blues

I was just blog-surfing, and found one whose writer calls herself "wifey to my hot husband", and adds that she wishes she "could spend all her time scrappin [sic]", instead of working at her part-time job as an accountant's assistant. I'm afraid my life is quite dull by comparison, which is why you haven't heard from me lately.

I should stop being nasty. We're all buddhas, supposedly, but sometimes I just can't resist.

I've been very tired lately, having difficulty with even the short walks John and I usually take. Yesterday we took a walk at a state park in Cromwell that has a number of blazed trails. We took the main trail, which has a brief hike up to a bluff that overlooks the Connecticut River. It was beautiful, but I was wiped out almost before I started. I haven't worked for a couple of weeks, either.

I'm pretty sure that I'm hypothyroid, which is what my thyroid tests indicated, but the endocrinologist wants to wait and retest before treating me. That will basically mean I won't get any relief from the fatigue until at least July. It's gorgeous here, and I want to get to the woods and beach, not sit here and uncharitably make fun of other people's blogs, even if they are goofy.

Anyway, hope y'all are well out there.


Saturday, April 19, 2008

I am sitting in front of my computer in early evening, listening to John Rutter anthems. I have goose bumps on my arms.

It isn't chilly. It's the Rutter. There are few things in life that still give me goose bumps, but choral music hasn't lost its magic.

There's a Yahoo group for people to post their own poetry. It might be fun. Once I run out of my repertoire, it might give me the creative boost I need. I feel like such a lump lately. No art, no poetry, no music.

But there is the I suppose all is not lost. I am thankful to the still unknown creator for this beautiful spring.


Friday, April 18, 2008

Beginning the labyrinth

Well, considering how big my three-course labyrinth is, I'm amazed I ever thought I could fit a seven-course in the yard. The paths would have to have been awfully small.

I realize this picture is hard to focus on...what you're seeing is part of the line that will ultimately be covered by arkose rocks (red sandstone that I painstakingly collected from Manchester, Connecticut), which will form the borders of the paths. A few stones are holding down the clothesline I'm using.

Geez, the labyrinth is a confusing geometric figure. The first time I did it all wrong, since I followed my drawing incorrectly. (You can click here to see how a seven-course is drawn; the three-course only has the cross and the four dots.) I was out there for several hours just doing this. When I finish, the paths will be two feet wide, minus the amount taken up by the stones. My plan is to fill in the walking spaces with a dark color mulch, but I'm not sure yet. Anyway, I'll post another pic when I get more done!

With metta,

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The word is out (or in)

Just an hour and a half after John and I got back from Hartford Hospital, my oncologist called to tell me that my PET/CT still shows no evidence of tumors--I'm still in remission! It's just starting to really sink in today. I'm sitting at my computer looking at the same beautiful spring scene as I wrote about on Tuesday, though it's going to be warmer today and I'm going to start building my little labyrinth.

I am very grateful.


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

In my mind...or not

A decades-old James Taylor song below. Ya gotta love him, at least I think so. Found it on the CaaT artists' site on, and just had to spread the good feeling.

Even though it's in the fifties today, I'm not going anywhere (warmer) in my mind. My PET/CT is tomorrow. It'll show whether or not there's any progression in my breast cancer. I'm hoping, of course, that there isn't; I can do practically everything I want now (well, maybe that's a slight exaggeration) on Navelbine, my current chemo, and I hope I don't have to change just yet. Of course, I'm a little unsettled, even though I know that whatever is, is, and no amount of worrying on my part will change it. I'm human, though, so of course I have to do a little work to stay in the present and not get anxious. Fortunately, despite the rather cool temperatures, it's a beautiful day here, and I can see, among other things, forsythia in bloom and bright blue skies . Life is good.

With metta,

Thursday, April 3, 2008

I've had metastatic breast cancer for three years now.

Today, I asked my oncologist if my upcoming PET/CT on April 17th would cover me for colon cancer. Since my mother died of it, I started having colonoscopies every three years about ten years ago, and I'm due.

He said yes, it'd detect cancer, but not the polyps that precede the cancer, so I should go ahead and schedule another colonoscopy. I said, well...but how much longer can I realistically expect to live (i.e., is it worth the pain in the ass). He lifted his eyebrows, smiled, and said, basically, that I appear to be a chemo responder, and that that fact, in addition to the many new treatments in development, made it look as if I might live a while.

So I guess I'm not going to give up the ghost yet. :-)

With love and squalor (remember J. D. Salinger?),

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Hi folks,

A group of eBayers who've now moved to etsy to sell some of their art have formed a blog, called CaaT ~ Complementary Art and Things. Or, more accurately, I should say that their fearless leader, Katey (aka blueyeduck) established the blog, and gradually each member will have one post dedicated to introducing him or her.

My intro is up! Also, there are two wonderful artists who are on there in the first two posts. So stop by and take a look.

On another matter...I have to have an ultrasound of my thyroid tomorrow. There is a nodule on it. Chance of thyroid cancer is only around 5%, and, to be honest, that diagnosis would feel rather anticlimactic at this point. I haven't been thinking about it much.

I did some actual yard work today, getting a pretty large part of the back yard raked. The area where we'll have our veggie garden and where I'll build my three course labyrinth is now clear.

In case you don't know what a labyrinth is, here's a picture of a seven-course one, the famous Cretan labyrinth.

I had wanted to build a seven-course, but I couldn't convince myself that there was enough room to make the paths large enough without going to the edge of the yard, beyond which is a 60-or-so-foot fall to the brook in the gorge. So I'll have to be contented with a three-course, the smallest. You can see another famous one by searching on the Chartes Cathedral labyrinth, which is in Chartes Cathedral below the main floor.

The purpose of a labyrinth is a sort of walking meditation. One must be mindful of the path itself, of the journey. As you can see, this type of labyrinth is not a maze; there are no 'wrong' paths to take. The walker simply follows the path as it winds around, until the center is reached. The walker may choose to stay in the center for a while and do whatever he or she desires. Then s/he turns and walks back out again, re-emerging into the world. I plan to take a small stone in with me each time I walk it, to replace the cairn I built when we lived in Hebron.

More than one person can walk a labyrinth at the same time. It is simply necessary to be mindful and considerate of others when doing so.

Besides the mindfulness that labyrinth-walking produces, it also tends to provoke a feeling of going deeper and deeper inside. Some have said that they can solve a problem by using a labyrinth. In any case, I do think that going deeper, reaching the depths, and returning to the outside world is a subtle psychological journey that can be used as an effective spiritual practice.

In my research, I found an interesting rectangular shaped labyrinth that I would like to adapt to build next to the three-course one. It has two centers, and it immediately occurred to me that the two sides with their two centers were the life walk and the death walk. I hope to finish these while I'm still well, so I can walk them throughout the summer months and into the fall.

I will post pictures as I work. I haven't decided for sure what building materials I'll use. I have a lot of red arkose stones from Manchester, Connecticut, that I'd like to use as the walls, and I'm thinking of dark brown mulch for the paths. But I may change my mind before I start to build.

Well, I've rattled on long enough.

With metta,

Thursday, March 20, 2008




Tuesday, March 18, 2008

What the Stones Remember

"It takes time to know what beauty is. It is not given us and must be worked for...To find beauty I must first find it in myself." ---Patrick Lane, What the Stones Remember

What the Stones Remember is a memoir I am currently reading. I was attracted to it because I read that the author was a man in the process of getting sober. We alcoholics find booze, and our addiction to it, "cunning, baffling and powerful" (from AA's Big Book), and endlessly fascinating. I can't get enough of books by alkies.

I have found reading this book to be frustrating. First of all, the writer is (understandably) doing everything he can to avoid dealing with the real issues. He pens paragraph after paragraph of purple prose, most of it descriptions of his garden, which, as it turns out, is on a piddling half acre of land surrounded by neighbors. He makes it sound like a huge, or at least solitary, place. Perhaps, in his defense, it is in some way.

I have seen many alkies, including myself, of course, struggling to get sober. One of the things we all do in that process is to tell bald-faced lies, most of which we earnestly believe. Patrick Lane is no exception, but I find his substituting his pretty poetic prose as a way to get enough words on the page particularly and irritatingly dishonest.

Even the places where he seems to be trying to tell his real story often don't ring true. A quote like the above has several sentiments that are appealing on the surface. But are they true?

I'm not sure that it takes any time at all to know what beauty is. If that is so, then why would a young child go out of her way to ride along very early with her mother as her father drives her to work? Only because she knew that in the summer, nine times out of ten, we would gain Town Hill to look down and see New London covered with a sea-borne fog, creeping slowly from the harbor to cover the old and dirty buildings. Why, beyond the need for solitude and escape from the tensions of her home, would she spend so many of her waking hours in the woods behind her house? She would stare at trees, tasting their bark and trying to fathom the differences between the myriad plants. The memory of coming upon a Lady's Slipper was a miracle, to be treasured alone, at night, as she lay sleepless in her bed, wondering: how and why had this miracle come to be?

Beauty is a gift from that God that doesn't exist. I have never worked for it, except to pay attention, and to open my mind.

The fact that it existed outside of me gave me hope that someday, somehow, I would also find it within.


Sunday, March 16, 2008

Check out my Slide Show!

Thought I'd show you the new widget gadget that I found to put on my site. It's also added permanently below, so it'll be there after this post is history. I can also add to it when I want.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Not an outrage

Grey day. Gray day. I think they're different. Today was grey.

I received a gift today from my friend of fifty-odd years, Pat (Beal) Jacques. It's a beautiful hand-made fluffy boa-type scarf in a gorgeous aqua color with beads at the ends. I'm going to send her something as soon as I get around to it. (Have you seen those in the kitsch catalogues, the potholders with the words "Round Tuit" on them? Great gift for procrastinators...I...know a few :-) )

A new person has joined the main breast cancer list I belong to, I call it the main list because it's for anyone who has or has had breast cancer, at any stage, and their families and friends. The new list member is an M.D. named Wendy Harpham, who is the author of several books about cancer. She's a 17.5 year survivor of lymphoma, and has a sister who is a breast cancer survivor (survivor is her word of choice).

I find that I get very sensitive when I hear anything that faintly rings of "positive attitude" stuff. By implication, those who don't survive must have a pretty lousy attitude. The preponderance of scientific evidence is that, while it might make it easier to live on a day-to-day basis, a positive attitude does not affect the outcome of cancer. Nor, despite what you may have heard, does prayer.

Anyway, I've been hard-pressed to express what's been eating at me this winter (besides winter itself!), and I let myself tactfully respond to Wendy's initial postings. Now, before I go any further, let me say it turns out that Wendy's a pretty good egg (where the hell did that phrase come from? Some rabbit, I guess). And a pretty wise person as well. She does use the word survivor, which I don't like. I guess I'd have to call myself a soon-to-be-ex-survivor. And, despite coming back from the grim edge more than once, when Wendy's in remission, she says she "had" cancer. My response follows.

Wendy: "As soon as I am in remission, I prefer using past tense. Until my scans say I have cancer, as far as I'm concerned, I don't have cancer. That's what works for me."

May: "I think you're right that it's best that we use terms that work for us as individuals.

"However, the differences among different types of cancer (and the limitations of testing) also affect how we refer to where we're at, I think.

"For example, as a bc [breast cancer] mets [metastatic] patient, given what I know about my cancer, I now call myself NED [no evidence of disease]. What that means is that a PET/CT and a brain MRI given recently identify what, in the radiologist's and oncologist's best judgment, appear to be healing tissue or complete absence/disappearance of tumors. No cancer was seen.

"That happened once before, when both doctors felt that the tumor in my sternum had been eradicated and only recalcifying bone remained (which lights up on a PET/CT, in case I've thoroughly confused anyone). Later it became clear that the remaining cancer cells were growing again, and I had IMRT [Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy], which the rad onc thought was at least 80% likely to destroy the tumor. When I was tested, it was uncertain whether the tumor was completely destroyed or not. However, there was a liver tumor, so Navelbine was added to my Herceptin and Zometa, and about four months later, PET/CT showed that that was gone, and the docs were now virtually sure the tumor in my sternum was gone.

"Do I say I 'had' cancer? Never. I believe I have circulating cancer cells, and probably tiny colonies have gained a footing at various places in my body. I'm three years past the mets diagnosis, and would be happy to know I had another three years.

"But that's reality with bc. These diseases are all different critters.

"By the way, unlike some people, I don't 'hate' my cancer, or cancer itself. I accept the reality that for various reasons, including aging, cells tend to do things that aren't necessarily in the best interest of the whole organism. That's just life."

My friend Marcy wrote to me: "
I think people are lost in knowing what to say, so they whistle in the dark. They imagine they'll cheer others (and themselves) up if they point out this stuff with great sunniness. Instead, it feels alienating to have others trivialize the real odds."

I think what she said is exactly right.

And so, those were my two cents. For some reason I have to keep repeating this stuff, not just to others, but to myself. The danger of too much hope is a devastating bitterness, a bitterness that will suck all the tenderness and healing out of the last weeks and days of my life. And, as Ram Dass has said, "Death is not an outrage". As we live this beautiful life, we are all one day closer to its end, every day. I hope to enter into eternity with as much grace as I can, "to grow from the grass I love. If you want me again, look for me under your bootsoles".

With metta,

Sunday, March 9, 2008

One more piece...

House of God
Hi folks. Just had to show you this pic of Zen. He's a real looker, ain't he?

Free Image Hosting at

I don't know if any of you noticed the little symbol on the upper right of this page (it may be gone by the time you read this). I was nominated for Best Digital Art and Best Digital Image Manipulation for the 2007 EBay Artists' Choice Awards--and I placed in both! It's not official yet--when it is I'll put the award logos up--but I received an Honorable Mention in Best Digital Art and Third Place in Image Manipulation! That's what all those pictures in February were about. You got to post a page for artists to see your images (in addition to a photo album on the site). I'm pleased, although sales on eBay suck. At least I know someone likes my digital work!

Here's a digital piece I just finished. It's from a picture I took last summer at a vegetable stand.

Free Image Hosting at

I love the way this type of photo looks after playing with it in Photoshop for a while. It has a sort of painterly effect. A few clouds would have improved it, but I don't seem to be able to control the weather :-)

Connecticut is soaked. Fortunately (I guess), most of it's been rain rather than snow, but the ground is saturated, so there's been a fair amount of flooding. Our little brook in the ravine is a raging torrent.

I still feel the glumness of February hanging on, though I know it's just 11 days until Spring officially comes. I'm due for a PET/CT scan next month to check for progression of my metastatic breast cancer. I started Navelbine last April, and my oncologist says it usually works for about a year. So we'll just have to see. Chances are my next treatment would be Xeloda, which is in pill form. I'd still have to go in to the Cancer Center every three weeks for my Herceptin, though.

Sometime soon I hope my brain fog will disappear, and I'll stop writing these colorless blogs. Spring can't come too soon for me!


Monday, March 3, 2008

The Hebron house, where we lived for three years before we moved to Portland, was not the right place for us. We were on a corner with three stop signs, and the car noise was incessant in the warmer seasons. But there are a few things I miss about it.

One is a small bleeding heart that grew on the bank behind the house. For some reason, I can't remember whether we planted it there, or it was there when we moved in, but its old-fashioned pendant flowers were a delight to watch in the spring.

Another thing I miss is my little herb garden. I think I'll try to plant a similar garden here. We brought some of the plants when we moved, but unfortunately they were over the septic tank, which had to be dug up for repairs last autumn. The company that did the work tried to move and save them, so we'll see what comes up.

I also miss my cairn. I built it right after I went on Social Security Disability. Though I was fatigued from my cancer and chemo and ready to rest when I retired, I guess I had to prove to myself that I was still alive. I wanted to create something that would be there when I was gone.

Now it's in others' hands. Perhaps I'll build another here.

One thing that I'll miss a great deal is something I can't show you a picture of. But you can try to picture it yourself: the full moon rising over my bedroom window, John trying to shut out the light because it disturbed his sleep, but I, delighting in it, taking off my nightgown and letting it fall on my poor, diseased breast and bones.

I have said thank you to the moon, and tonight I'd like to say it again. Moon, you who bring the tides in the seas and the bodies of women, thank you, again and again.

In love,

Friday, February 22, 2008

Since it's not a great time of year for photos (except for snow), I've been playing with old ones. This one's called 'Dream Machine'.

Please tell me spring will come. Please.
Don't buy or sell anything on eBay until the 26th! Click here for details.


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Even mowing is better than February

So, it seems that my new medication is making me depressed.

February's not helping. But I dug out this image from last summer, called "Time to Mow", and it's got me thinking about the green that should start to show up here in New England in about, oh, five or six weeks.

That makes me feel a little better.


Sunday, February 17, 2008

A few more pictures




THE TWO OF SWORDS (tarot card)

See previous blog for explanation.

May ;-)

Some of my pictures

I've been nominated by the eBay Artists Choice Awards group in the categories of Favorite Overall - Digital Image Manipulation (e.g., an altered photo, a manipulated fractal) and Digital Best (can be any type of digital art).

We can only post two small photos in the eBay group, and link to one non-retail site (so that lets out that I've ever sold anything there). So I'm putting up a few pieces here to refer people to. Also, please click HERE for MORE PICS!






Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Well, before I forget...

...I should make a note that my kidney function tests were perfectly normal this time--low normal, in fact, which is good. I hope they stay there.

Well, predictably I looked at the 101 list today and felt totally overwhelmed, not to mention guilty that I haven't completed them all yet. Geez. I've got nearly three years, and I bet most people would be happy to complete half of them.

Unlike some people, I didn't fill the list up with all the things I'm going to buy. For one thing, I have no money. For another, that sort of didn't seem to be the point to me. The only item I put on the list that involves expending money is replacing my pillow. I read a little blurb on dust mites recently, and it kind of freaked me out.

Snowy and icy here. February's a bitch. Hurry up, spring!

Monday, February 11, 2008

May's 101 in 1001

Every now and then I like to click on "next blog" at the top of my blog page and surf for a while.

Today I was doing this, and came across this post.

So I decided to do the same thing that all those people were doing! I figure it'll keep me focused. Here I go...

From the website:

Those in progress will be green. Those completed will be blue.

1. Eat lobster (okay, so I started with the easiest).
2. List something on Etsy and one other non-eBay auction site.
3. Learn to use my new Canon Digital Rebel XTi!
4. Donate to a nature/ecology/environmental organization (donated to The Nature Conservancy 2.12.08).
5. Write to my oldest brother.
6. Make an altered book.
7. Write down what I'd like to happen at my memorial service.
8. Write my obit. (Wow! I did it. That was weird.2.13.08)
9. Donate to a social service organization (donated a mixed media piece today to Alliance for Living, an AIDS service agency 2.11.08; also, at the beginning of May, gave money to my friend Maura for doing the NAMI walk).
10. Get my concertina repaired.
11. Actually play it again!
12. Write a short story, just to see if I can do it.
13. Make a Thai meal for John and me.
14. Make a recording or write a letter for Bizzy, for after I'm gone.
15. Write a similar letter for Adam.
16. Make at least five more pieces of jewelry, for myself or someone else.
17. Go somewhere where I can see a live bobcat.
18. Create a book or chapbook of my poetry.
19. Take a picture a day for a month.
20. Get halfway decent on the pennywhistle again.
21. Attend a meeting of a sangha (Buddhist community).
22. Invite someone to have dinner with us (we are such hermits!). (We had Bea, a friend from France, stay over for a couple of days, and fed her not one, but two dinners! It was nice.)
23. Give away at least 25 of the things I own (1. Gave my daughter my grandmother's jewelry box).
24. Go to a theater to watch a play (it's been ages).
25. Make at least one needle-felted ACEO (baseball-card-size artwork).
26. Walk all the way to the Portland reservoir and back.
27. Have at least one more pagan ritual that I invite a lot of people to.
28. Start a healing art journal. (Purchased it 2.15.08, and actually did a couple of pages. So I guess I'm on my way!)
30. Complete an advance directive.
31. Go to a live classical concert (it's been ages for that one too).
32. Get a massage.
33. Send someone a surprise gift.
34. Back up all my photos to a flash drive.
35. Buy a package of sunflower seeds and go around planting them randomly on roadsides.
36. Set an Irish or Scottish song to four-part harmony.
37. Take an in-person or online calligraphy course.
38. Do one pastel ACEO and list it on eBay or Etsy.
39. Do one colored pencil ACEO and list it on eBay or Etsy.
40. Teach someone the basics of beading.
41. Meet at least one new person from one of my breast cancer lists.
42. Show John Block Island.
43. Make him show me Nantucket.
44. Write a tanka. (Well, it's Mother's Day, May 11, and I've finally written my tanka. If you'd like to read it, click here.)
45. Be a truly informed voter by the '08 presidential election.
46. Meditate a half hour a day for a week.
47. Try five foods I've never tried before.
48. Wash a couple of my many canvas bags and put them in the car, then use them for groceries (well, they're in the wash, so I'm on my way!). (Ended up buying a Stop & Shop reusable insulated bag. They're big, and really great for bringing frozen foods home in hot weather. 3.18.08)
49. Make up a few herb tea samplers from the thousand bags we have in our cabinets, and give to friends. (Ta da! 2.14.08)
50. Buy John a surprise subscription to a magazine or a book (he never buys himself anything).(Bought Noam Chomsky's 'Hegemony or Survival'. John was surprised and pleased. 3.22.08)
51. Make a new gratitude list (it's been a while). (Did this and put it in my healing journal 2.25.08)
52. Build a backyard labyrinth. (I started this in mid-April, and yesterday, on a walk down the road, I finally asked a neighbor if I could have the slice of a tree I've seen sitting in her yard for many months. It was on it's side, so it's in good condition, and I'm going to use it for the center of my labyrinth. 4.28.08)
53. Give someone (not the same person) a compliment every day for a week.
54. Use my antique shuttle in an assemblage piece.
55. Go seven days without spending any money. (Well, surprisingly enough, I've done this several times without even trying. I'm not as much of a spendthrift as I'd thought!)
56. Draw something at least once a week for 3 months.
57. Learn ten new songs all the way through (a challenge, given my chemo-brain).
58. Research body donation, make a decision about it, and document it. (Well, this turned out to be easier than I thought it would be. I had read the book "Stiff" by Mary Roach, which describes what's involved in donating one's body to "Science", and had thought at the time that it would be a viable option for me. However, as it turns out, there are two problems. The first is that what's left of one's body ends up being cremated, which is polluting--the only thing about cremation that bothers me. Secondly, I am attached emotionally in a way that surprises me to the idea of having bits of my ashes spread in places that are sacred, holy, or just important to me. So for now, I feel the case is closed, and I am destined to return to the earth. I'll let you know if for some reason I change my mind. 3.16.08)
59. Unpack at least ten of the still-packed boxes from our move!
60. Say no to one important thing that you're really too fatigued from chemo to do (I'm not going to testify at the budget hearings, though I feel guilty. They're held late at night, and I run out of steam before they're usually halfway through. Said no to Maura [sorry, honey] - regarding testifying this Friday 2.13.08)
61. Leave a free piece of art in a public place.
62. Get my 12-year AA medallion. (Well, got my 12 years on 2.19.08...guess I'll just pick up a medallion at some point).
63. Get my 13-year AA medallion.
64. Replace my pillow and allergen barrier cover. (Done, last weekend in February)
65. Visit one of the local Unitarian Universalist churches.
66. Make some calendula lip balm to give away.
67. Take an in-person or online class in Buddhism.
68. Reread one of my basic paganism books.
69. Plant a tree that'll still be knee-high to a grasshopper when breast cancer takes me. (Well, I took a look around this spring and realized that baby trees is not something we're short of. However, John asked for an apple tree for his birthday, so there you go!)
70. Visit the Museum of American Art in New Britain.
71. Spend a day in silence.
72. Read a book on something with which I'm completely unfamiliar.
73. Juice fast for a day (carefully monitoring blood sugar).
74. Learn to play my lyre.
75. Visit the Roger Williams Zoo.
76. Resubscribe to Utne Reader or another magazine that will keep me focused on the important issues of the day. (Did it, this June. I forgot how much I enjoyed Utne, though it's not as good as it used to be. I also resubscribed to Funny Times, which is an absolute blast.)
77. See Cirque du Soleil in person.
78. Make friends with a donkey. (Was driving down a country road in my home state, Connecticut, when what should I see...golly, they are cute, not to mention friendly. I can honestly say this is one I didn't expect to accomplish! 10.11.09)
79. Write a genuine song, as opposed to a poem.
80. Stop biting my cuticles! (The nails are no big deal.) (I can honestly say that I've pretty well succeeded with this, though it's mostly because I've become a much bigger germ-phobe than I used to be. Whatever it takes! 8.3.08)
81. Create an indoor herb garden and figure out how to keep the cats from eating it all up.
82. Do a grave rubbing at the Enfield St. cemetery, which is full of dead Terrys.
83. Straighten out the art studio. (7.14.08)
84. Detach.
85. Go gluten-free for six weeks to see how you feel.
86. Create a small butterfly and hummingbird garden. (Started on April 12 with a purplish blue ornamental salvia and a pale blue and cream columbine. Adam and his girlfriend Stacy had come up on the ninth to do some work, and they tilled both the vegetable garden and the flower garden. ...As of the beginning of May, I've added several more flowers to the garden, including catmint, an unusual salmon-colored heather, bee balm, and a lupine. ...And as of today, 8.3.08, I can say it's completed!)
87. Attend the Durham Fair.
88. Read Alice in Wonderland. That's right--I've never read it. (What fun! 3.22.08)
89. If the funding comes through, go to New Orleans and present on the prison project I was involved in when I was chair of the advisory council to Protection & Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness. (Couldn't actually do this one--way too exhausted to even think about it. Oh, well.)
90. Attend Mystic Seaport's Sea Music Festival just one more time.
91. Make sure the kids understand how much I love them.
92. Spoil the cats, because it's relatively harmless.
93. Read a book on comparative religion.
94. Have a long conversation with whatever birds happen to be hanging around when I decide to do this. Other animals are allowed to comment as well. (Actually, I didn't "decide" to do this at all. One day in the first week of May, I happened to be sitting on our porch when a bunch of small birds arrived. They seemed quite communicative, so I communicated back. It was fun. It wasn't until a few days later that I remembered this was on my list!)
95. Drive around and get lost.
96. Play in puddles.
97. Decorate the walls with art, art, art.
98. Read at least 20 of the Museum, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA)-recommended books. Here they are:

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The Bible
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by JRR Tolkien
1984 by George Orwell
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
All Quiet on the Western Front by E M Remarque
His Dark Materials Trilogy by Phillip Pullman
Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
Tess of the D'urbevilles by Thomas Hardy
Winnie the Pooh by AA Milne
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
The Prophet by Khalil Gibran
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Middlemarch by George Eliot (7.5.08)
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzenhitsyn

I wouldn't normally set myself up for this, but as you can see, I'm pretty well ahead already.

99. Be kind and loving to a fat child. I was one once myself, and I know what misery it is.
100. Learn to practice Tonglen and become as adept as possible at the end of the 1001 days.
101. If I survive my breast cancer this 1001 days, I will write another list.

and when we speak we are afraid
our words will not be heard
nor welcomed
but when we are silent
we are still afraid.

So it is better to speak
we were never meant to survive

---Audre Lorde