Friday, May 29, 2009

uh THEE-uh-uh-THEE-uh-uh That's All, Folks!

I've promised a new blog and here it is: Hope Renewing

I've decided to link from this one rather than smoosh them all together. It's still a work in progress as am I.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Ruthie's good luck horseshoe

My friend Ruthie and I took a lovely 5-mile walk through the Altyre Estate about two weeks ago, my concept of time flying just to write that. Where have the weeks gone? Ah. To be written, shared, uploaded and offered as I continue to wrap my little haid around 'em all. 

On our walk, Ruth spied a horseshoe. "Look!" she said. I looked. "And it's facing the right way!" she added. I furrowed my brow. "When it's open in the direction in which you're walking, that's good luck." She picked it up, carried it all the rest of the way and gave it to me at the end. "But it's your horseshoe!" I protested. "It's yours, honey pie. For good luck." 

That was a week prior to The (3rd) Big Trip to Aberdeen to meet with Dr. Culligan, the head heem guy I'd thought I'd have met up with the prior two visits. And ... well? I continue to incubate and will write when I feel I can take a jumble of thoughts 'n feelings and bear reasonable witness to my life. In the meantime, I offer a significant morsel.... Ruthie's good luck horseshoe. 

A new blog is waiting in the wings, waiting for her turn, at the very least, waiting until I feel like signing off here and pointing you in that direction there. I'm tired of the gauntlet mindset. Hell, life's a gauntlet, period.... and a grace.... and a long walk in the woods finding pine cones for the fire and a horseshoe for my window sill.

On a river stone in the centre is a medallion of St. Cecilia, the patron saint of musicians. My former (gakk! I hate writing the word former!) choir director Michael gave it to us all one final Sunday in May before the summer break. When I asked him how this saint works with us, he said, "She helps you to sing better." God bless you, Michael. I've already ruffled the friendly feathers of my new Church choir by being asked to switch gears and act as a new Crucifer during the 10 am service. "Really, I'm not meaning to abandon you!" One smirked in mock offence, "We're not speaking to you...." I does what I can, including making mistakes and living in spite of them.

Luck and Grace..... my lessons of receiving and discernment continue.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

driving for inspiration

I was going to pull a Forrest Gump and write something along the lines of "life is like the weather in Scotland because it changes all the time and you can't predict it." Amazingly, I had thought that a few paragraphs at least would've emerged from that stunning realization, but clearly it's its own succinct dollop of 'duh'. There ya are. Here we is. Sun, cloud, rain, wind, what's next? 

The we in this photo shows a Sunday, May 17th reunion with a dear friend from late 1980's southern California. Rae Gina and I knew one another in a context of group that I cannot elucidate without jarring into my respect for said group's traditions. If ya follow me, ya know. If not, don't worry about it. Twenty years it has been since we followed our respective and interconnected paths of soul solace and wisdom, with life on life's terms slamming into us in various ways over the years. 

She found me several months ago on Facebook, that bastion of one-liner time evaporation with a few twinges of heartfelt ahhhh thrown in. Amidst her excitement about catching up with me I had thrown in my now worn moan of, "I can't really write a lot right now, I've got this health thing going on..." And then it was a moving thing going on. And dammit, the health thing is STILL going on! I waved weakly while catching up with her two decades in occasionally uploaded photo galleries. 

A surprise opening in a very popular golfing workshop run by my friends Joan and JT led me to forward that announcement to Rae Gina without much thought. "I see on FB that she likes to golf. Here, this is a Forward that doesn't involve making a wish and sending it on to 18 other people to hear good news in three days at 11:09 am local time..... there! It's sent." (For those of you sending me well-meaning chain emails, you can stop it right now - thank you!). 

She leapt at the chance to travel to St. Andrews, Scotland, to play at the home of golf. And no matter how tired I felt and still feel, I was not going to miss the opportunity to drive 143 miles each way to rendezvous with her for several hours. I couldn't quite close the gap between Berkeley and Reno, but this.... had to be for me. 

And so it was and so I took away photos, gratitude, remembrances, appreciation - and a sizable armload of her wisdom that is helping me now as I tried to share my own beginner's wisdom 20 years ago. "All we have is today," she said more than once. My pain and my sorrow began to have the merest crack in their hardening armor. "All we have is today," she said. I've heard this before, over and over and over. But I seemed to have needed to have heard it from her. 

When you read this, Rae, you'll see one of the gifts you gave me.

The life/death/uncertainty shit can make me certifiably unserene and insane. I don't have a ready model for coping with this. Trying on my considerable arsenal of coping and healing mechanisms has found me lacking and thirsty. I might die soon and I do NOT (pardon my language) fucking want to. This is one of my ultimate edges in powerlessness and I have not been graceful with it AT ALL. 

All we have is today, she said. And a hurting part of my soul heard her.

The rain is back. It patters on the skylight window here in our living room. Ali is out at her art course in Elgin; Tony is out there amidst the elements gardening. I'm here at my computer, avidly avoiding the growing stack of my medical bills yelping for their copays while I growl inwardly and think, "I'd be a lot happier paying you if I had SOMEthing that resembled a guarantee, you know." Control and the hunt for satisfaction dog me. "It's my RIGHT, dammit!"

All we have is today. All I have is today.

Thank you, Rae Gina. Thank you.

Friday, May 15, 2009

light reflecting

Here's a view of the River Findhorn from a new walk next to one of the fields of sheep .... photos are all I can do right now. The swirling rapids continue while my energies are lower physically. 

The caring support of my friends Tony and Ali - and others in this area and even farther away - are my signs of Grace. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


While my words swirl and aren't yet ready for mounting on this page, I can upload the occasional photo as I breathe in and breathe out. I am being serenaded by a morning chorus of birds, the likes of which I cannot name. We - the we of northern Scotland - should be able to bask in a gloriously sunny week. There is water and wind, trail and rocks. And a lot going on behind the scenes which I will share as it becomes more clear and cohesive. 

Thursday, May 7, 2009

a tear in the fabric and time to regroup

When I was a little kid in the 1960's, my younger brother David and I watched a TV show featuring Engineer Bill. Somewhere seared in my memory is his "red light - green light" game, a cool con to get munchkins to down their glasses of milk. (Remember drinking glasses of milk?).

Red light - green light!

Sometimes that's how I feel with this AML. On, off, up, down, yes, no! - and then the speed picks up between breaths. All I will write for now, as there is much to let settle into my bones (so to speak) is that today's news was not good. It wasn't gut-wrenchingly horrible, but it wasn't good. Thank GOD for the prayers and support of my friends. Thank God I don't have to figure out next steps all by myself. Tony and Ali and I took all day to get to Aberdeen and back by train, wait a really really long time at the hospital, and spent a great deal of time speaking with the doc.

It's not seamless. And I still need your prayers. 

Sunday, May 3, 2009

crossword puzzle winner gets the goods

Yes, Virginia, there really is a Forres Gazette. Aside from Ken Smith, the kindly editor who was pleased to hand me my (sic) £15 Macbeth's Butchers voucher, are two mystery women, both adorable. One was somehow connected to the gent coerced or shall I say asked to take pictures. The other may or may not have had something significant to do with the actual completion of the weekly crossword. You've now been shown - somewhere in this photo opp is a real rocket scientist with eloquence! 

I love living in a wink-wink nudge-nudge kind of community. Nobody's foolin' noone!

In preparation for this coming Thursday's re-visit to the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, which feels so time warpish to even write, I fell asleep on the couch tonight while the telly blared a rather endless drama. So what? you might sigh. I'm not a nap taker and I'm not necessarily sleep-deprived. Short of awfulizing its significance, it is highly possible that I remain psychically worn out from this past week's bone marrow biopsy. It's that or worry about my blood counts, which is just such a no-win. Incubating in this nap confessional is my awareness of desiring a massive paradigm shift (screw the gauntlet consciousness - somewhere the new name will come!) from fear-based to a profound soul deliverance. Somewhere inside of me is a place beyond holding my breath between medical challenges and feeling like I'm running from the Gestapo. This is not easy (to put it mildly) and I can taste its possibility. Its emergence could be my most valid experience of a leap of faith. I yearn for a spiritual transplant not ravaged by worry and constriction. I get it in blips, in little half-hiccups. 

I want to drink deeply of this richness I've only sensed. I don't want mindless denial, wishing away the implications of this shitty disease. Neither do I want to continue holding my breath in remission, hesitantly reading peoples' eyes and wondering if they wish me well or fear my death. I want wholeness, I want peace, I want to be completely CURED. If I tiptoe between medical incidents until and if I hit the 5-year mark, I'll blow myself to smithereens vibrationally. 

Somewhere in this incubation is sensing that until I fully acknowledge my passionate desire to LIVE with as well a complete acceptance of death's not far away potential, I will jitterbug between the two worlds and blur myself into a land of drivel and false hopes. I'm tired of being tired and afraid. I'm tired of pathologizing a nap. I'm sick and tired of staring at my legs, fearing bruises (from low platelets) or those little pin-prick red bits called petechia. I don't know if I'm being ballsy or foolish, but I'm not going to bow my head to every single thing the medical world barks at me nor bow my head in a big fat givin' up. I will listen, I will pray and I will ask to have this inner load lightened while I affirm that I want to LIVE!


..... In happiness, in sterling health, in faith, in service, in giddy abundance and holy grace.... for a very very very long time.