Tuesday, September 22, 2015


 Today, he would have been 28.

While doing some cleaning and reorganizing
I found a couple of his long-sleeved t-shirts
and held them to my face,
searching for his scent.
It was not there.
And I came across a pair of plaid shorts,
plaid like a country kitchen table cloth.
I smiled and took them from the drawer
to hang in my closet,
a tangible reminder of my grief
and life too soon gone.

Today, I'd get myself to the store
and I'd buy the cheesecake and the Pepsi
(as I did on that day).

Today, I wear my invisible badge
of grief,
invisible in that
it's not a badge everyone can see-
it is a badge that some do not want to see.
But for all who do see,
for those who speak words of kindness over me,
and sit with me,
even after all this time,
I am ever grateful.

For you who do not have to wear
this badge,
who have not been thrown unwillingly and with no gentleness
into this rough club,
whose sons and daughters still walk this earth,
I exhort you to
savor their days.
Do not take lightly the privilege of witnessing the unfolding
 of their lives,
 for there are no guarantees,
even to the young.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Dear September

Okay, September, you know what you gotta do. Bring on the wow. Just don't let it be the kind of wow that has to say, "Wow, can you believe she fell flat on her face like that and skint the hide plumb off her nose, and then it got infected and now it looks like she's wearing a clown nose!" Not that kind of wow.

I bought a pair of (blah) Docker's khaki pants at the Goodwill store and this was printed on the waistband of the pants. Every time I went to potty I giggled at the message on the waistband of my pants! I'm not great at hand lettering but there is something very meditative about doing it and I wanted to remember this admonishment, so I played.

The pants were in great shape, and only cost fifty cents so that was a bit of "wow" right there. I always feel so smug when I can get a great bargain.

I'll be going back to see the liver specialist this month to check on my fatty liver situation (fatty liver is real, and can be serious, but I feel so guilty calling my liver fatty!). One "wow" I'd like to hear is my doctor saying, "Wow, your liver looks great, go on home and keep doing what you're doing!"

I have some more pictures I hope to post sometime soon.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

RIP, Charlie

I went yesterday to Houston to have my port flushed. I was a little annoyed that they were not able to set it up so I could have this done at home. It is, as you probably know, about a five minute procedure. But I determined to make the best of it and to treat it as an adventure. We had a good trip. Afterwards we met my aunt for lunch at Pappasito's. On the way home, we stopped at the new Buccee's in Baytown, where I had my picture taken with Buccee. Go me! Adults in costumes make me a tiny bit nervous. The thought occurs to me now how it makes some people more comfortable to be in costume, and suddenly I am thinking of all the masks we humans tend to wear. In looking at it that way, costumes don't make me as nervous. I am familiar with, and somewhat accustomed to, masks. Though I am working hard to strip most of mine away. But that is not at all what I came here to write about.

I had a friend years ago. We worked and lived together for two summers, part of a young staff at a church camp. We kept in touch a few years after the summers ended. I spent some weekends at her house in-between working at the camp but we eventually lost touch and didn't even send Christmas cards. This was before widespread internet. When we got a computer and internet, and I learned you could find people on the internet, I searched for her. But I couldn't remember her married name. Finally I found that out and looked again. After a few tries over a few years, what I found was her obituary. And I was saddened by the fact that I'd kind of just missed being in contact with her again. She was a good friend with a dry, sassy wit, a delight to know. Why do we allow ourselves to lose touch with people we love?

When I found her obituary, I was more savvy on the internet and I located her older brother. We'd met a few times when I was staying at her house and we'd talk a bit about poetry writing, as each of us was dabbling in that at the time. For a short while, we'd connected on that level and we shared our poetry with each other. I'd written my friend a letter after she died and I sent it on to him. He seemed to have enjoyed that and shared it with his family. We might have emailed a couple of times more after that. He was an intelligent guy with a lot of different interests and after the poetry discussions, I'd always wished I could have connected with him on a more consistent level but he was way older and I never had much opportunity for interaction with him.

So, yesterday, my husband showed me the picture of the sister I'd been looking for. She is a friend of a friend on Facebook and I was glad to find her. She was only a couple of years younger than my friend and I. Her brother must have been about fifteen years older than we were. Anyway, as I was looking on the sister's Facebook page, I saw that her brother had died last December. I hadn't actually seen him in years so it was a shock to me to realize he was 73 years old. In my mind, I saw him as young as he was when we first met. I was saddened again. 

My friend, her brother, her younger sister--these were people who occupied very short spaces in the time frame of my life, but they left warm memories and indelible marks on my heart. 

RIP, Charlie. Tell Ruth hello for me. . .

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


Yellow was another of the prompts from August Break 2015.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Last Year

The picture here is part of a reflection photo that I took with my phone. It was actually taken about a year ago. I may have already posted the photo without the words, which I only added today.

I've been participating in August Break 2015 (Susannah Conway, http://www.susannahconway.com/2015/07/the-august-break-is-back-2/). I've only missed two days so far, which is kind of amazing for me. I haven't been posting all my prompts here, but many of my posts lately have been partially inspired by the work I've been doing on these prompts (and perhaps the result of some of the things that have been going on in my life in the last year or so).

Something has caused me to wax poetical! I kind of like it.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Something Different

Perhaps I should have used the word "boundaries" instead of "barriers"? I don't know. I was just playing around and worked rather quickly.

This is a collage of three different photos. Mostly I was experimenting and seeing what would happen if I...

This is what happened!

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Enjoy the Ice Cream, or Life, Whatever The Case Might Be

Going in to the labyrinth, when I was in San Antonio with my friends, was also an enlightening experience.

In the week after I was told I had no evidence of cancer, a classmate of my sister's died. I assume from cancer. My cousin died after a routine gall bladder surgery. Both were far too young. I was left wondering how things worked the way they did--why am I still here and others are not? What does this mean?

One of my wise friends mentioned to me that she had decided I'd been forced to join a club to which most folks don't want to belong. I'd always been aware of being in that "club" of parents who had lost a child, another club to which no one wants to belong, but I hadn't thought of having "the cancer" as being forced to join that club no one really wants to join.

And because she is a statistical type of thinker, she also mentioned that not only was I in the "cancer club," I was also in the subset of "survivors," where of course, we all want to be. But that brings it's own set of stresses and not everyone gets that privilege.

These things were on my mind as I was walking into the labyrinth, that I didn't know why I was blessed to have made it into the survivors club, that I was extremely grateful for the privilege, even while I was filled with sorrow for those I knew whose lives had ended way too soon. Life just isn't fair and I can't explain or understand why these things worked out the way they did.

I decided that day that "why" is a useless question, at least where things like life and death and the number of days we are allotted is concerned. I wanted to go back and ask my friends what they thought about the value of why as a question, but we got off on other things and I forgot all about it.

Fast forward to today, while I was reading backwards in a "daily book" that I read, looking for quotes to put in my calendar, in an attempt to add color and depth to the pages.

On July 15th, I was told there was no evidence of cancer. I was also told they would see me again in October. So, occasionally, when I pass on the news that "I am all clear," I whisper silently to myself words like, "at this moment," or "as far as I know now." The prospects of having to go back in October, and again, every three months for three years, and then every six months for two more years before I could be really declared "cured" weighed heavily on me. I joked that I was now that I was declared "clean," that I could now go out and start living again. In three month increments. Of such things are the stresses of the survivors (but I'll take that stress, I'm not complaining, just trying to figure things out in my head).

Anyway, somehow, during that walk into the center of the labyrinth, the weight of those three month increments was lifted and I came to realize how I just need to take my life one day at a time, and not waste a minute of it worrying about what might be. We all get what we get in terms of days to live.

Okay, I'm rambling here! Today, on the July 15th page of this "daily book," there was this quote. I don't know how it didn't scream "I'm significant!" on July 15th when I first read it. Maybe I hadn't heard the good news yet, I don't know.

But it seems to be a good philosophy for me to employ any time I let the "three month increment" blues take over.

"My advice to you is not to inquire why or whither, but just enjoy the ice cream while it's on your plate--that's my philosophy." Thornton Wilder