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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Some Thoughts on the Storm and Endings


There have been many who have said that 2012 would be the "End of the World."  Some have refined that, and have said that it is the "End of the World - As We Know it."

For me, that moment came earlier this year.

The world as I knew it came to a screeching halt.

I am thinking about this today as the news of Sandy's devastation arrives.  I am sure that for many the world does feel very different today.  I then was thinking about my situation, and how it might compare.  The thing is, though, it doesn't compare.  And maybe not for any reason you may think.

It doesn't compare because...it doesn't compare.

I think we often try to compare things,  and that is when I think we get into some trouble.  We get into arguments that are less than, worse than, more than, and none of it really helps, as those types of things are quite often - if not always - relative.

Is someone really going to feel better about their world crumbling around them because someone else's is crumbling in a "worse" way?  Before anything, they would have to see the other situation as worse. Without it, it has nothing to stand on.

When I think about what people must be feeling, I seek out where there might be similarities.  I think about the feeling of loss they must have.  The feeling of being disoriented.  The feeling of being focused on the moment, because they need to survive.  The feelings of sadness.   Other feelings that will surface once the immediacy of the danger is over.  The feelings of helplessness, and feelings of being out of control, and in someone else's hands, for better, or worse.

When I think about these things, I wish I could say or do something that would help the emotional tailspin they must be in.  At the same time, thankfully, I have never had a situation like some people have found themselves in.  And because of that I can not truly know what the best way to help in that regard is.

I put the image above because I thought it not only fits this situation, but any that is like it.  I have no idea yet how these past few months and diagnosis will play out in the me that will be moving forward.  At the same time, the me that now stands here is not the same me as I was a few months ago.  In some ways I am shakier, and in others, I am stronger.

My circumstances, my storm, if you will, left its mark on me.  It helped me to loosen up things, and let some things go.  It helped me look at things differently.  The sum total of things has made me strengthen the core of who I am.  It will forever be a part of the me that goes forward, and how I am in relation to the things that happen in my life will also forever altered.

If nothing else, I think situations like this do have a way of showing us what is important, in a way nothing else can.  But you can't really say that to someone who has just felt the first shocks of sudden, unwanted change.  It is only after the fact when the repercussions settle down, and the person moves forward that there may be some helpful perspective.

As I think about this, I also think about the aftereffects.  It is one thing to get through the moment.  It is another to be in the recovery from the moment.  I think about this as I am hopefully about to embark on my recovery stage.  I have been thinking about this a lot, as I am thinking that somehow people will think that once I am through with chemo, all will be right with the world.

Well, it will be looking better, for sure.  But there will be many things I will have to cope with as I rebuild my life.  I say this in part because those who have been adversely affected by Sandy will need help not only today, but likely "tomorrow," too.

It is all too easy to forget about others pain when we get caught up in the day to day grind of our lives.  While there may have been some football players and fans acutely aware of what was happening yesterday, there were also likely others who were so caught up in whether or not there was a winning score that were no where near dealing with it, or even having to.  A fumble may have even felt tragic.

We sometimes choose the things we are affected by, and sometimes we have no choice.  The times that the wind kicks up and blows us around are going to be the times that we find a truer sense of who we are.  We may not like it.  I certainly didn't.  But it seems to be a part of the fabric and framework of being human.  So whether we like it, or not, there are times it seems we have no choice but to discover who we truly are.

Maybe the "end" is really about a beginning.  Maybe when those things we know and come to depend on disappear/"die," there is room for something else/someone else/some other way.  I am in no way wanting to minimize the beautiful things and people we do have, but rather just seeking a place to stand that helps me not only move forward, but move forward in a way that is truly helpful.

But I couldn't have been speaking about things this way back in May.  There is no way. Every part of our experience plays a role.  After a wound comes a scab, and after the scab comes a scar.  It is a process that cannot be skipped, and it happens however it happens for those who have been wounded one way or another.

I would not be where I am now am, if it wasn't for where I once was.

I have no idea exactly where the "other side" starts and ends, but I suspect that in some ways we are often in both places in each moment of life.  What that all means in the end, who the heck knows?  But maybe if we remember that there is an end, we don't need to be focusing on anything but the present.

If you are in my present, and reading this, I thank you.
Thank you for being a part of my world.  
It would not be the same without you.

Sending lots of JoLoPe...JOyLOvePEace.



Sunday, October 28, 2012

Creative Spurts

I am really going crazy with a number of photo editing programs.  I am suddenly feeling very inspired, and want to create, create, create.  The image below is one I took in August, I think.  I wasn't sure I liked it too much.  But with the effects, I feel like it is almost magical.

I hope you are staying safe and that the storm passes by uneventfully for you, if you are
anywhere near its path.  


Have a good night.  
Sweet dreams when you get there.


A Bit Early

I have been exploring editing programs, and today as I was playing, I found myself in Christmas territory.  I know it's not yet Halloween, but when creativity strikes, it strikes.  And it was here.  :)

Perhaps you will like what I came up with.


Joy Love Peace

I made these FB banners today.  I couldn't decide which version I liked best (although I am currently using the middle one), so I made 3.  :P

I am happy to share, so if you like any of them, feel free to use it for yourself.





The Beauty of Self Perception?


Have you ever heard of Photofunia?  They have some awesome, fun effects that you can play with  when it comes to your images.  I rediscovered them today when I was looking at photo apps for my iPad.

The above image is one that I took about 6 or 7 years ago.  I thought it might be a fun one to get the "Warhol" effect.  

In the last few days I have revisited different images of myself.  I have done this in part as a way to try to come to some peace around my self perception.

I had written previously about how I have viewed myself in life, and how there were seeds planted a long time ago that have me uncomfortable viewing myself attractive, even when I think I am.   When I posted the picture of me without a wig, I got several compliments about how "beautiful" I am.  

It brought me nearly to tears.

I also was recently telling someone about how I have been taking a lot of pictures of me and how I kinda felt funny about it.  At the same time, I felt like it was in some way a record of things as well as a way for me to say to the Universe, "I AM HERE.  Look at me.  Look at this.  I AM HERE."

I know that there are things rumbling around in my unconscious that have me at odds with myself. I just don't know exactly what they are.  As I think about the possibilities, I suspect there are elements of other things from my childhood that have gotten into the mix.  

I have been told that extra weight is a form of "protection."  And if I feel unconsciously like extra weight is unattractive, then perhaps there is a part of me that thinks that I am somehow protected from being hurt as no one would be interested in me or pay attention to me.  And yet, here people are telling me that I am not only attractive, but "beautiful."  

*I* can't be beautiful!  That is for other people.  

And yet, it would seem I am.

As I write this, I feel TERRIFIED.

I am also crying.  

I guess I hit onto something.

If I am beautiful, then people will pay attention to me.  There goes me being invisible.

If I am beautiful, and people pay attention to me, and I am no longer invisible, it would seem I would be more vulnerable.  If I am invisible, then I can't get into any trouble or difficulty, can I?  Or so, the seeming logic may dictate.

If that is the dynamic, or even part of it, I could see why I might feel as scared as I am.  

I am definitely going to have to explore this more.  

Such a tightness in my chest as I say that.

Wow.  Such terror.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Odds and Ends Re a Treatment as the Finishing Line Gets Closer


Me.  With no hairstyle.

What little hair I have was wet
and slicked down.  If it wasn't
slicked down, it would stand up
and look very funny.

Maybe one day I will risk a
picture like that.  But until then,
this is what the internet gets.




When I went to my last chemo treatment I found out that
I may have steroids to blame for not one, but two things!
Woo hoo.  Just love the blame game.

Well.  Not really.  But I thought I would pretend.  I
would rather have nothing to blame anything on.  The
two things are the fact that there are times that I can't
sleep, and am up all night and my weight gain.  Apparently
it happens, and once I am done chemo-ing, that should
supposedly change.

I guess that is good to know.  But I really don't have a
clue about what to do with it.

My last chemo session was shorter than it has been.
With the change of drugs, it changed.  But it also seems
that something they were giving me for nausea, they
didn't.  That cut off half an hour.  Then my treatment
for one of the chemos was also shortened.  The nurse
speculated that it was because my white blood count
was low.  (Remember how I inquired about the Neulasta
shot?).

I am not sure a lesser treatment (or one less Neulasta
shot) is anything I would want to complain about.  I
just found it interesting.  The time really flew by.  And
I was so out of it at one point I was jarred, and thought
I was home, in bed, and it was morning.

Just love my visits to the Twilight Zone.
Do. Do. Do. Do.

**

I also just really love a lot of those people who work
where I go.  I met a person on the train who said
something about another place.  She said she heard
they were good, but they sucked when it came to the
patients.

(As a side note she told me about the US Gov and
Disability.  I am not eligible because I can function
too well.  Not really; but by their standards I don't
fit the criteria.  However, if - and I hope this if never
comes to pass - I was to ever be in a situation in
which cancer spread - I would be able to apply and
be considered for Disability payments.)

So many of those I interact with at the facility are really
sweet.  One person today gave me a couple of bracelets
that another makes and brings in.  One day we were
talking about a person that I met who was going to send
me a bracelet.

But I never got his info, and I never got it, so I am not
sure what happened.  I don''t think what she gave me was
his handiwork, but they are beauties, none-the-less.  At
some point, I may have to try to take a picture of them.

Another person was pointing out to me how far I have
come.  He saw me at my worst, in the hospital.  He
reminded me to look at the difference.  And there
definitely is one.  Nice to have someone who has seen
the difference, and can point it out.

The reason, in part, that he did was because I was telling
him I felt like I should be happy/celebrating the pet scan
results more.  The "problem" for me is the "asterisk" part.
If it wasn't for that, I could say I was cancer-free, and
feel like this was all behind me.

But the surreal part is that even if the cancer IS indeed
behind me, I am still getting chemo, and still feeling like
crap.  So many times this week I was "close my eyes in
the middle of a sentence tired."

I guess it could be worse.

But the fact is that I have to believe they are getting better.

I know that many are opposed to chemo.  I was one of
them, and I wanted to be one of them.  The thing is that
the circumstances didn't quite work out that way, so I did
everything I could to work "with" it.  I guess time will tell
what the results of that were.  As with so much of my life,
maybe there is a reason this was the route that needed to
be taken.  I want to sigh, but still think it could be a good
thing over all.

**

I also spoke with another beauty.  I think we may have
spoken before, but I am not sure.  If we did, we connected
in a whole new way.  She says she does Reiki, and offered
to do some for me.  Of course, I said I would gladly receive it.

The more, the merrier.

**

I want to believe there is more I wanted to say about the
day, but it eludes me at the moment.  I really hate when
that happens.  Sometimes it is just gone.  Sometimes it
comes back a few days later, "oh, yeah..."  Sometimes
things surprise me and stick around.

My head is definitely in an odd space these days.  I
really do hope it finds its way to something close to
what it used to be, both inside and on the surface.

**

Thanks, as always, for being a part of this adventure
with me.  Be well.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Contemplative

So...just so you know...I totally cheated
on this image.  I kinda liked the way it
came out in general, but not so much in
terms of my complexion, and the weird
things that happened with the picture.
So I cheated with Photoshop.  Sorry,
couldn't help myself, LOL.

In my life I have often hated having my
picture taken.  I have never rarely liked
the way I have looked.  Now that we are
in the "digital" age, it is so much easier to
control the output, especially when an
image is just me.  I can just take 100s
pictures and delete most of them.  It takes a lot of patience, which
apparently my artistic side has.

I can then take an image I would have not liked because of my
roseacea, and I can clean it up.  In general I don't do anything
with moving my face around, but by the time I am done, I can
have an image that I can appreciate.  I know it may be stretching
things a bit, but pictures and lighting don't always give me what
I see when I look in the mirror.  So maybe it isn't the worst thing.

Why am I telling you this?

Good question.

I suspect part of it is because I think that there may be some who
could look at my images and think, like one person did, that I am
photogenic.  They may wish they could look that good.  Odds are,
given my experience, I bet that the person who might think that
could look awesome, too, if they had all the "friends" and patience
I have.

One might also wonder why all the images.

I have thought about this, and I have come to partially conclude
that it is one of the best ways I can do anything to make myself
feel better.  I really haven't had much of a life the last several
months, and when I look in the mirror without all of my "friends"
it can often get me down, especially if I am tired or have recently
had chemo.

It is also a way for me to exercise my creative self.  It can be
annoying to try to work on things the way I feel, but I sometimes
feel I need to push through.

Guess it is better than spending my days in bed.

Maybe.

Sometimes I think I may push too far.  My body obviously wants
rest, but I am determined not to give in.  But even if I don't give
in, I don't always get to do what I want to do.  I get to do whatever
I can manage to do.

There can be a big difference between the two.

I was thinking before that I wish I knew how to describe the world
that I exist in at the moment.  I feel like many probably don't have
a clue of what it is like for someone in this "state."  I likely can't
speak for every person who has ever had chemo, and I wouldn't
want to even try.  At the same time, if I could figure out how to
describe this world in some way that would make sense, perhaps
it would help someone to interact with a person who might be
going through what I am.  I tend to think many people would
avoid the contact because they don't know how to interact.

I used to be one of them.

I was speaking with a friend the other day who said that she sees
me as bigger than the cancer.  That cancer is a small part of who
I am.  She was clear to point out that she wasn't diminishing my
experience, although I understood what she meant without the
explanation.

As we spoke, she also speculated that those who cannot speak to
me see the CANCER as bigger than me.  The idea of it has
swallowed me up, and in some way, I disappear in the cloud
of the label.

I could see how that could happen.  It is a very scary thing, and
there is a lot that isn't known.  There is a lot that is speculated on,
and possibly misunderstood.  It also, good or bad, turns out that
for many it is a disease that is "chronic."  It is something that
people can live with.  There is even a woman who was diagnosed
with cancer that was supposed to be terminal, and she is still going
strong. (I believe her site is CrazySexyCancer.com).

There are lots of elements to this symphony.

I also think there is something to this about me claiming my space
in the world.  For so long I sought to be invisible.  Now I am
telling the universe "I am here!"

Look at me.  I am here.

So if I am going to be here, I am going to be here in any way that
suits me at the time.  And if at times I look and feel glamorous
and attractive, woo hoo!  LOL.

Speaking of which, I think it is quite paradoxical to look awesome
and have a label that says something about cancer.  I wonder
sometimes if I am trying to say that just because I had an ugly
diagnosis, I don't need to look or feel ugly.

I am sure there are all kinds of ways to analyze this, and analyze
me.  I am sure it happens quite naturally.  I also think there are
times I may seek to figure myself out before you try to figure
me out.  There are times I feel so vulnerable, I think I am, among
other things, defending myself and my actions.

There was a time I would never have laid myself this bare for
critical assessment.  For as much as I would love to say I didn't
care what anyone thinks, I would only be lying if I did.  I do
very much care - much more than I would like to.

At the same time, I am no longer allowing myself to block my
expression because of what you, or someone else, might think
or say.  I don't often think about it, but when I do it can be
quite unsettling.

I have often felt (in the past) that my life has been the way
it has because people did not like or accept me.  I felt like there
must have been something wrong with me.  That I was too ugly
or too fat or wasn't "cool" enough.

Thankfully that isn't so much the case, but I suspect there is
some residue that remains.  It was something so deeply embedded
in me.  My grandmother used to tell me that I was picked on
because people were jealous of me.  How could they be jealous
of ME?  There seemed to be nothing to be jealous of, so what
she said made no sense to me and was of no help.

While any of that could very well have been true, I see now
how there are other things that could have, and still do, come
into play.  I see now that what others think of me isn't any of
my business (I am not sure if there is someone to credit for
that idea; I have heard it more than once, but never credited).
But even if it isn't my business I, like anyone, have things
that unconsciously affect me and take me on incredible
emotional rides from time to time.

What a journey this has been, and continues to be.  Don't you
just LOVE being stretched in ways that don't feel stretchable?

Um.  Yeah.  Me, neither. :P

I have no idea where all these things will wind up, but they
are having quite the time swirling around within my psyche.
As good as Photoshop is, it is too bad it can't help me adjust
and/or get rid of a few things in there with a click or two.

(Hmm...gives me an idea for some possible hypnosis....)

Smiling.

Not feeling like smiling, at all.

Been freakin' tired most of the week.

Maybe I am just tired
of this journey I am on.

Maybe I just want to get
on with it.

There is such a mixture of things
that go through my frustrated mind.

So hard to think.

So hard to do things
when you're tired.

So hard.

It sucks.

And yet,  I was smiling today.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Belated Acknowledgement


This is a wig that was made by the
beautiful Hilda Griffin.  It is the
only natural, real hair wig I own.

(Gorgeous, isn't it?)

Back before I lost my hair I was a
bit freaked.  I was hoping I would
be able to keep my hair, but I went
looking for options before I might
need them.

I thought I had found an option, only
to be told that I had the "wrong" kind
of cancer to be helped.  The person
who was going to help me referred
me to Hilda.


It is apparent that Hilda loves what she does.  She asked me what I wanted,
and then proceeded to work her magic.  The wig is so natural and so beautiful
that the first time I wore it I made mention about "when I had my hair..." the
person I was speaking to looked at me baffled.  She had no idea that what she
was looking at was a wig.

Hilda is in the Philadelphia area, and prefers to deliver her work only to the
individual in person.  When I saw her to get it, I could understand why.  She
wants it to be the best possible fit and look for the person.  It is a shame, though,
for those who aren't in her neck of the woods, but hopefully they can find
someone who can work with them in their area who has the care, concern,
and love that Hilda does for her work, and for those who get to be on the
receiving end of it.

I am so grateful to her for what she created and on such short notice.  As you
know, I did start to lose my hair, and I was quite devastated at first.  But after
receiving this wig I felt much better about my prospects.  I was told the wig
usually lasts about 6 months, but because of some wonderful birthday presents,
I suspect it will be lasting much longer than that.

I hadn't expected to enjoy wearing wigs, but I guess if you are going to have
to wear one, you might as well have some fun with it.  I know some will choose
one as close as possible to what they had before so that others will not know
what is going on.  Since I wasn't able to be as private, I might as well share the
experience of having a few looks to choose from.

I have to say that for as much as we try to say looks "don't matter," they do to
the degree that they do for the individual.  Since beginning chemo I look paler
and more tired than I did before, but because I take extra effort to make myself
up you would never know it.  I look at my pictures sometimes, and am amazed
at what good make-up and a wig and Photoshop can do for you.

Some might say it's cheating.  I think I might be one of them.  But at the same
time, this is one case where I think cheating can be a good thing for all involved.
I tend to think I feel better about myself when I look good, and when I look
good my health isn't what is drawing another's attention.

The cool thing for me, though, is that some of those people who are closest
to me tell me that even without all of the "cheating" I still look good.  I am
not sure I agree, but I am grateful for their belief to the contrary.  Anyone who
is going through a similar situation should have at least one person who can
offer the types of reassurances that I have received.  It is a simple expression
of love that is incredibly powerful.

I would like not to care, but at the same time, doing what I do for my appearance
helps me to feel better.  Whatever that thing is that weaves its magic, I will take it.
It gives me strength in a way that nothing else has.

It makes me feel "normal" again.

I find myself wondering if others have found similar magic.  I also wonder if
there are others dealing with his type of situation who haven't yet discovered
their own magic.  I tend to think this could even apply to someone who hasn't
been diagnosed with cancer, but I think that may be a conversation for another
time perhaps.

So while I may not want to care, the fact is that I obviously do.  And because
of that I am soooo grateful for the things that make a difference, as well as
for those who make it their mission in life to share their talents to create those
things.

(You can find Hilda here, if you think she might be able to work her magic for you.)

What Rules


I often see articles about "rules."  Rules about relationships, about dating,
about what to wear, how to wear it.  Rules are about what some body deems
appropriate.

When I think about rules, I wonder if they are needed.  I would suppose they
might be a good idea in some cases, if we need to be reminded about others,
for instance with a traffic light.  

When I think of what I have learned about marketing, a lot of influence is
to be had when you proclaim yourself an expert.  When you can claim that
status, you are telling others that is likely a good thing for them to listen
to you.  

How is the status claimed?  Through titles, training, and things that sound
impressive enough that you think you may want to pay attention.  It is the
expert status of those who are in the fashion world that has driven fashion
to change from year to year.  Somehow they know what the best thing is
to wear.  How exactly that is possible, I don't know.  But they know, and 
you better follow what they say, or risk being criticized and mocked by
others for not conforming to the "normal."

I wrote a paper in college on the novel 1984.  As you may know, the main
character, Winston, from the reader's point of view is considered the only
sane one of the tale.  What I did in the paper was make a case for Winston's
insanity.  I did this by defining what sanity was, and it has to do with what
those around you think.  Given that the world Winston lived in thought 
differently than he did, he was - in that context - insane.

By the virtue of the rules that those around us write, and to the degree to
which we follow them, we create our own forms of insanity.  As a society
we are often driven to conform to the way those around us look at things.

Those who break the rules stand out, and are often ostracized.  For that 
reason, it often seems to take courage for a person to be the person he or
she was meant to be.  

Interestingly, the origin of "cour-" is "of the heart."  

If you have the courage to be yourself, you will be living a life of your
heart.  If you choose to go a direction that another says you should go,
then you are living a life of someone else's choosing - of someone else's
heart.

This is not to say that the two might not meet up, but rather to question
if it does, rather than just blindly following what someone else says is the
way to be, to dress, to act, to...

It is so much easier in some ways to let someone else dictate a path.  But
it is only easier, at first.  After a while if it is not your path, you will likely
find it difficult to keep up, expending a great deal of effort to keep up 
appearances, based on what someone else has told you is to be expected.  

You may even 
find yourself irritable 
and maybe even itchy 
to just be who 
you truly are.  

When I was in the hospital after my surgery, I had a f*ck you attitude.
I felt like it didn't matter what others thought.  If I was only going to be
here a limited time, I was going to just say what I felt.  

Somewhere in there I knew it might be a good idea to moderate myself
some...not a good idea to alienate those around me.  At the same time,
there is something to be said for being able to say what is on one's mind.

There is something to be said for good, and responsible, communications
with others.  There is something to be said for respect of all parties within
anything that is being communicated.   

Speaking my mind, without concern for another, is not exactly going to 
be helpful.  But speaking my mind with an awareness of another's experience 
of what I am saying can empower both of us.

It seems to me that people respect when someone says what they really
feel and mean, as long as it is communicated in a way that is non-combative
or threatening to them.  Even though that is the case, though, it seems to
be remarkably difficult for us to do that.  Some people, it seems, also take
offense when there is none given.  

Not only do we have to speak in a way that is responsible, but we have 
to also listen that way.  We have to realize that the world is not always as 
we paint it to be.

I recently was reading about the Rashomon plot device.  It is when the 
story being told is retold from several different and distinct perspectives
of the characters involved.  I think we think that just because we are all
human we all should be of a similar mind and experience.  Sometimes
it is more obvious than others that we are not.  Sometimes there is more
conflict as a result of the differences.  

The more that we can navigate our differences with respect, the more 
able we are to be ourselves because, in part, is safe to be who we are.
We become who others expect or want us to be to find the illusion of
safety, to find the illusion of fitting in.  The thing is, though, I suspect
that there are many people just like us who are wearing a mask just
to fit in which means that a lot of what is experienced is an illusion
built on a false foundation, except for those who created it in the first
place.

I have thought about this a lot.

Can you tell?

As I try to figure out what comes next, I am acutely aware of the things
that I feel do us a disservice.  I am acutely aware of the manipulations
and distortions and contortions of the world we live in and, as a result,
the distortions and contortions of who we are as "self."

I have often worked with people in regard to being themselves, and 
the power that it gives them.  I have worked with them, even as I have
worked on it for myself. 

With all that has happened in the last few months, it is clearer to me than
ever that there is no time like the present for me to be who I am.  No time 
like the present to claim my quirkiness.  No time like the present to be the 
person I came to be.  There is no time like the present because, despite
the illusion to the contrary, the present is all I really have.  And since
it is all I really have, isn't it worth following my own heart instead of 
allowing another's rules dictate how I should be?

It occurs to me that perhaps the 
"need" for rules has to do with 
others' experience of us - 
possibly as 
manipulation of others.

Maybe there is no need for
rules for self when 
we live directly from 
the messages of our heart.




Tuesday, October 23, 2012

How do I get help?

Thinking about this tonight.

Wanting to write a letter.

Struggling.

I need help.

I can act like everything is OK,
and it is - but it is not.

If I tell you I am fine, then you
won't see a need to help.

But I want to be fine.
I want to act fine.

There is a disconnect here.

There is a paradox.

There is a balance that is yet to be struck.

I can't help but wonder how many others
might have a similar dilemma.

I Can (?)

Previously I wrote about going to California
for a seminar in 2006.  It had been the first
time I had travelled in quite some time.

I was so not used to it that I left a bag at
security.  To make matters worse, I didn't
even realize I had done that until after I
was sitting at the gate for a bit.

In a panic, I ran back to security, and was
able to get my bag.  What a relief.  At the
same time I was so emotional.  I think I felt like I was on the precipice
of something.  I just didn't know what.

I pulled out my cell phone and was talking to a friend of mine, pacing the
airport, and at one point I looked out the window, and I saw the image that
you see above.

"I can."

It was interesting to see that.

Was it a message?
It sure felt like it could be one.

Eventually I calmed down, and I went on the first of many trips that year.

Little did I know what was going to be happening,
and that I would not only move to California, but
be back on the east coast, interacting with a diagnosis
and repercussions of cancer.

When I look back on things, there is so much that I
have done that has been built on the back of other
things that I have done.  Recently someone said she
read a quote that made her think of me.  It had
something to do with the idea that disparate things
can come together and make some sort of sense.

If I hadn't made strides to make my first AOL Hometown
webpage years ago, I might not have much of what I do
now.  At the time it wasn't like a "professional" site, but
it was something that I could build upon.  It was something
I could learn with and from.

So many times people never start something because it
will be something less than perfect.  I knew - even in its
imperfect form - it was what I had to do.  But it didn't
start that way.

Someone I was familiar with had offered to make me
a website/page.  I had put her off because I was aware
of the fact that it wasn't going to be easy.  I had worked
for a design firm and I knew it would likely be a pain
in the butt.

But one day I decided to take her up on her offer.

The problem was, I think I waited too long and thought
I would get more than I think she was planning to give.
She seemed frustrated by our back and forthing regarding
details.  I also got the impression that it would be a static
page that I wouldn't be able to update.

When I realized it wasn't going to work for either of us,
I decided to work with what AOL offered.  It was a
start.  I began with one really big page of info, and then
branched off to several other pages.

Professional, or not, I was proud of what I had accomplished.
One night I had been working on updates for hours.  I had
worked through the night.  At one point a message popped
up that essentially said "we hope you have saved your work,
because if you didn't, you are about to be screwed, because
we are going to kick you out, as you have been on XX hours."

I don't remember the exact number of hours, but I want to
say it was at least 10.  Thankfully I had been saving most
of my work, but I still wasn't happy they didn't give me an
option to save before kicking me out.  (What kind of
customer service/programming is that?)

So many times I have had to do things on my own.  In the
process, I have often learned a lot more than I might have
wanted to.  At the same time, it would seem that what I have
learned has in some way come into play at some point or
another.

When I think about "I can," I want to believe that I will find
my way through the things that will be occurring next.  I
WANT to believe that.  Somehow I feel like that message is
just as pertinent to me today, and maybe even more important
than it was when I was terrified and pacing the airport.

Even though I am not in an airport now, there are times that
I am equally terrified, and others, maybe even more so.

While I don't have to know how to do something to know that
"I can," the how would be such a big help and relief to know,
you know?  Although the list of things that I now know I
didn't know at one point, so even if I was told it was a how,
it might have been difficult for me to understand or believe
before its time.

Ah.  The freakin' great paradoxes of life.  Or maybe it is more
accurate at times to say Aaarrrrghhhhh!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Sharing a Favorite Recipe: Pumpkin Pie








This is a recipe my grandmother used to make.

I have never tasted any like it.

Easy to think what you grew up
with is the best.  :)

Perhaps you will enjoy it, too?


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Transition Coming?

I wanted to do a more "natural" picture.
But I thought it might be a bit scary
looking, so I did a little Photoshop to
take off some of the edge.  :P

At some point I need to take a picture
with this wig and some make-up.
There is a story, of sorts, that goes
with it and I will share it with you.


**

Today I am feeling restless.  I feel like I should be doing things.  At
the same time, I feel unable to do much at all.  I went through some
pictures earlier today and found some I will scan and share.  It was
amazing to see things I had forgotten about, and it was interesting to
see how young some people (including myself) looked.

And, of course, I was looking at my hair in many of my pictures.

I have kinda gotten used to where things stand now, almost enjoying
the worlds of wig possibilities.  But when I see images of myself
before, it really does feel like a different me.  I can't imagine it is
"just" my hair that makes me feel that way, but it certainly is
something that is an obvious thing to note.

**

I am also feeling mixed about my recent news.  I feel like the end is
in sight.  At the same time, I would have preferred there be no
asterisk.  I also am uncertain about what comes next.  I was telling
someone that I feel like this is the beginning of a whole new episode
of things to deal with.  Just because the chemo is ending, it doesn't
mean that suddenly everything is going to be OK.

I have a hole I need to dig myself out of.

It seems to me that I will need to have a period of "recovery" from
the chemo.  Even though I don't know exactly what that means.

I also have a number of things that will be happening in November.
I will be quite busy for about two weeks.  I am hoping that I will
be up for it after all of this time of not doing much at all.  At the
same time, I think it will be soul food for me, so I am excited about
what I will be doing.

As I am writing, it occurs to me that one might think that I will
stop blogging here at some point.  And I find myself wondering
how I will know what that point is.  This blog is about someone
who has had a relationship with cancer.  It is something that is a
part of my life story.

It is something that is a part of who I am now.  That will never
change.  It is a part of me that has given me pause, and has given
me growth and understanding.  It is something that has spoken
loudly and left its mark on me in more ways than one.

I don't really know when I will stop writing here, but I guess if
there is a time, I will know when it is, and it will just naturally
evolve.  I think it won't be for a while, though, as I suspect the
journey of cancer has a myriad of pieces and parts that get
sprinkled throughout one's life and experiences.

The one thing that I will definitely desire, and strive for, is a blog
without any more entries about chemotherapy after the rounds
I have been scheduled for are complete.  It is something that will
be best left in the dust of the past.  I already feel myself wanting
to move forward, and I have to hope that is a good sign.

I have heard stories of those who have had cancer, had chemo,
and never again had to deal with it.  I would be quite happy to
be one of those.  I would also be quite happy to take what I have
gotten from this journey and have it be helpful in some bigger
world picture way.  No clue how that will be, either, but am
more than willing to let it unfold itself to me, if it's there for me
to do something with.

I really don't feel like this is the end.

It really feels much more like a scary beginning.

(Maybe that is why the scary picture?? LOL)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

"Neoplasm cannot be excluded"

So today I was reading the report of my scan.

They love to use their medical terms.  I don't
quite understand them all.  There was a term
"neoplasm" that kept saying it could not be
excluded as a possibility - in all 3 areas that
the scan picked up.

I looked up the term.

Neoplasm = Tumor

It is interesting to me that the doctor didn't
say it that way.  She just said there were areas
to "watch."  Maybe it would have been better
for me not to know this.  Maybe it is even
better that I DO know.

LOL.  I really don't know.

The one thing that I do know is the fact that
there is anything at all tells me that I must
continue to work on myself in mind, body
and soul.  I must continue to do things to take
care of myself.  I want this promising news
to continue with an upward trend.  I want the
chemo I have now to be the last chemo I ever
have the "pleasure" of working with.

The doctor seemed to think I will be done with
chemo in November.  I have to hope and believe
that there is some reason that she is leaning that
way.  I have to believe that this adventure has
been a wake up call, and one that I can now
move forward from.

I am making plans for the end of November,
and the next scan will likely be the beginning
of December.   Would be really great for there
to be an improvement over what was just
reported.  Continued good thoughts, prayers,
Reiki are all appreciated.

Would love to report Good News in December,
with
no
asterisk.

Have a great weekend.

Good News* (with an Asterisk)

I didn't sleep much, or well, the night before my results.

I was fairly calm, or so I thought.  My first blood pressure
reading of the day was fairly high.

I did my best to just get to my 10:00 appointment in one
cohesive, thoughtful piece.

The doc asked me how I was.  Well...that depended a lot
on what she had to say.  It turned out that there had been
a concern that was present after my surgery that was not
an issue now.

At the same time there were a few things of note. One of
the places was where I had surgery.  According to the
doctor, though, it is not uncommon, as my body is still
healing.

These are things that fall into the category of things to
watch.  But none of these things to watch seem to
indicate that more chemo than was originally prescribed
will be necessary.

Still crossing my fingers.

At the same time, they now want to do another pet scan
when that time comes, probably in the beginning of
December.  As long as that scan is no worse than what
was seen, or is even a better one, then we wait 3 months,
and do yet another scan.  That scan is clean, they will
take out the port.

One step at a time, though.

My sister was there with me.  I really appreciated her
being there.  I even think she was relieved, touched
that the news was what it was.  I think she may have
been holding back tears before she left.

That touched me.

I was going to acupuncture as she was leaving, so we
didn't really have time.  When I was in the room, I
started to get really emotional, and was feeling really
touched by the love of two of my sisters that have
been there with me.  I was also touched that one of
my sister's kids squealed when she heard I might come
for a visit in November, around Thanksgiving.   To
add to it, this was a niece from the sister I hadn't spoken
to in years.

I am amazed.  In a good way.  A really good way.

As I lay there, I felt like what is going on is something
that I can work with.  I felt like this was a new start.
I felt kind of excited.  If I could get through this, there
were things that would come.  I felt really clear.

I probably felt the most optimistic I have in a long time.

I really feel like this is somehow doable, and that things
will come together, but I don't have a freakin' clue how.

Tonight as I spoke with another sister, she said she
I sounded optimistic.  I was glad to hear that it was
shining through.

This evening there was such a beautiful sunset.  I was
thinking about how it could be a metaphor for the sun
setting on my treatment.  Both are beautiful things.




Friday, October 19, 2012

Pet Scan Adventures

**This was written this week, the night that I had my pet scan.**

I was told that 24 hours before my prep I needed to refrain from eating any carbs or sugars.  At 6 hours pre scan, I needed to drink only water, and not eat at all.

My port can be used for many things, but not for a pet scan.  That means someone needed to start an IV.  I was sent to Infusion, which is where the nurses who give me chemo are.   The last time they needed to do an IV, I was poked several times, which made them feel badly for me.   They kept apologizing.  For that reason,  as I returned there tonight, I was feeling badly for them.

Since it has been several weeks since getting the port, the hope was my veins would cooperate.  Well, "the stick" couldn't have been easier.  I was grateful for several reasons, not the least of which is that my veins have recovered or, at the very least, are recovering.

When I arrived tonight, I was hungry.  I am only getting hungrier as I sit here, and "bake."  After checking my blood sugar, which was defined as "perfect," I was injected with the radioactive stuff that came in a scary looking container that apparently is pretty heavy.  (How wonderful to think it is that scary and needs that much protection, and it gets to go inside me.)  It needs to work its way through my body for an hour.   I was told I wouldn't feel any different than I did at the moment of injection after the injection.

I guess that doesn't include feeling kinda light headed from not eating much the last two days, with my last meal at 1:00 today, and it now being 7:30 in the evening.

Once the hour is up, I will have a full body scan.  Even though it really isn't full body.  It will be from my knees up to my nose.  And that will mean laying still for approximately 45 minutes, with my hands over my head.  

As I stew, I am in a nice room with a comfy chair.  When I look up at the ceiling, I see two panels like this:



I could watch TV, if I wanted to.  Instead, I am sitting here, writing.  I figure while I am calm and clear I would chronicle this event.  I don't know how things will be tomorrow.  Fingers crossed it is good news.  

Fingers. Toes. Eyes.



I am really tired.  I haven't been sleeping well this week.  Guessing there has been a thing, or two, on my mind.  I also got up early this morning.  Apparently I can't move with the scan, but I can do anything else that doesn't involve moving.  :p

I am wondering if I go to sleep if I would wind up moving.  I really feel like I could sleep.  I certainly wouldn't mind sleep.

**

When I got into the room, I was told to remove all metal.  I had seen something about that online, so I was mostly prepared.  But I had forgotten about my bra. Had I thought about it, I would have worn a wireless one.

After I removed my glasses, jewelry, and bra, I laid down on a table that didn't look more than a foot wide (the equipment looked something like this).  I was going to listen to some music, as I was originally told it would take 45 minutes, but then the tech said it would only be 20, so I decided to just enjoy laying there without.

The tech told me to put my arms over my head and explained that there would be a couple of quick first scans, and then the table would move every 2-3 minutes.  It was odd, as I mostly had my eyes closed, and there were times I would almost feel like I was moving - when I was not.  Other times I was trying to play a game to see if I could anticipate the move.  (I didn't do too well, lol)

Since the scan was pretty late in the day, they offered me dinner before I left.  That was unexpected, but quite awesome.  I was incredibly hungry at that point.  The facility I go to does such a great job in so many ways of taking care of those in my position, and those who are caretakers.  There are times I am really clear that I made the right choice.

**

The second piece above was written as I was on my way to the facility.  I will get my results today.  In 2 hours, to be exact.  Still have everything crossed, so it was a bit difficult, lol.

**

On the Eve of the Pet Scan: A Video Update

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Holding on or Letting go

Last night I did a new video.  I will post
it at some point.  I took the picture to the
left last night as well.  I was really tired,
can you tell?

**

I just saw a quote that I can not find any
attribution for.  If someone should be
credited that you know of, please let me know.


The quote is:


If you're lucky enough to find someone who makes you feel special, don't ever take them for granted. Stick with them, fight for them, and never let them go.


I can see why someone might say this.  At the same time, I find
myself thinking about how many people have come and gone in
my life.  And I think about about how there are some who will
say that we aren't necessarily meant to stay in relationships for a
lifetime.  

Just because someone makes you feel special, does that mean 
that you should never let them go?  What if there was someone
who made you feel special, but there was some reason you 
needed to part ways?  Holding on for dear life may not be the
thing you need to do.  It actually could be counter to something
that makes you feel good, or is productive, or even "healthy."

I say this as I think about times I did hold on to someone 
possibly a bit longer than I should have, and maybe in some
cases, much too long.  But how does one truly know when 
enough is enough?  I know of cases in which the holding 
on is exactly what was needed.

I would imagine the way to tell is just when you know, you know,
and the key would be to let it go, if that is what feels right, even
as you are wanting the feeling to be wrong.

I suspect it is human nature to want to hold on to people and 
things.  They are familiar, and in their familiarity there is comfort.
Even when the situation creates a discomfort, there is something
comforting about what we know.

I get what the quote says, though, and the most important thing,
I would think, is to acknowledge and cherish what you have
in this moment.  When you cherish what you have in the moment,
you will always have the wonder and "juice" of that moment, even
if things change and that person or thing is no longer available.

When you appreciate what you have, you take care of it.  You
nurture it.  You do all that you can to protect it.  But protecting
something isn't the same thing as holding on to it.  Sometimes 
we have to let someone or something go to make way for 
something or someone else.  

I know it sometimes sucks.

I know it sometimes makes no sense.

I know it sometimes frustrates and infuriates.

Boy do I know.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Frustrated & Scared

I have a sister who is my "ICE" (in case of emergency) person.
She was with me when I was in the hospital, and she was with
me when I got my port.

She has been willing to be with me when I get chemo, but I
have pretty much told her that it is not necessary for her to come.
It isn't easy for her.  She has more than one job, and a family to
deal with.  I also spend my chemo time hypno'd out, so there
really seems no reason for her to be with me when it takes so
much for her to be there.

She gets pissed at me when I tell her that she should do what
she needs to do.  She wants to be with me when I get my pet
scan results.  I appreciate that, but at the same time, when I
found out that there was a good chance that cancer came
knocking, I was by myself, and I dealt with it.  I think I can
deal with whatever they might tell me.

If the news is anything but good when I get the results, I am
not even sure how I will feel about her being there with me.
A part of me I think will be grateful.  Another part, the
private part, not so much, I think.  She asked me if I wanted
her to stay for the chemo, and I told her I didn't know how I
would feel, and therefore I didn't know how I would be about
her staying or going in advance.  I also told her that if she
needed to do something, then she should just do it.  She got
pissed.  She wanted to know what I wanted.

The thing is, I don't have a clue.

I am so used to doing things by myself.

It was comforting having my friend with me there the one
time, as well as when my other sister was there.  It was
surprising to me.  At the same time, I feel kinda bad that I
am zoned out, and they are just sitting there.

I am really stressed this week, and I am not sleeping well,
at all.  I really can't deal with this stuff.

Tonight I told my sister that if I have to continue with chemo,
I need to change my day of the week.  I chose the day that I
go to suit her.  The thing is, though, that she has only been
there a few times, and going forward, if I need to continue
treatment, I am going to need to find a way to do things
differently, and part of that is moving my treatment day.

She got pissed.  She may not be able to be there for me then.
I get that.  I understand that.  I intend to deal with it, if
necessary.  But she doesn't get that or understand that.  But
says she understands, but only sees how she can't be there.

Since she is the person I depend on in case of need, she
seems to want more from me.  I am not sure what the more
is.  If it is a play by play of more of the same, I can't do it.

I have to live this situation.

I don't need to be giving someone the play by play.  I told
her about my chemo reaction.  I told her about the ER.  I
told her about the things that are the exceptions to the
monotony that has become my life.   Unless she hears from
me, it should be clear that I am "business as usual."

Somehow that doesn't seem to be enough.

I told her that if there is some reason she needs to be there
with me, we could see what we could do to make it a day
that she can be there.

I know that I am not being helpful here.  But, quite frankly,
I don't really know how else to be.  I can consider her for
the 5% that she has been around, or I can do what I need to
do for me.

I am sure there is something lacking here between us.  We
have often been at odds in life.  The fact is she has a heart
of gold, and I know she wants to help, and I am not making
it easy.

But this is not f*cking easy for me.

Sorry for the language.  It is times like this that are the
hardest.  It is times like this that my situation hits home
in an all too realistic way.

I am doing the best I can to moderate my emotions and
thoughts and feelings.  And there are times that I do really
well.  Right now is not one of them.

I am scared about the test results and what it could mean
if it is anything other than a "you're good."  I wanted to
just make it through the end of the year financially because
that is when chemo would end.

The bank account has greatly dwindled, and I have lost
my customer base.  Just because I stop chemo doesn't
mean everything is going to be suddenly OK.

There are a lot of things that concern me, and I haven't
a clue how I will deal with them, should they go from
concern to reality.

I always tell others that worrying doesn't help.  I told
anyone who would listen early on that I would prefer if
they would just send me love when they think of me,
instead of spending energy worrying.

I know it doesn't help.  And til I know the result, I really
could be thinking of other things instead of being in this
horrible state that I am in right now.

But it is hard.
Really, really hard.

I guess I am hoping that by sharing this in some way, it
will help exorcise the negativity and the fear.  I think it
might be helping as I am feeling a bit calmer.

The news just HAS to be good.

To any "powers that be" in the unseen universe, I am
asking for an outcome that has me complete my chemo
as originally scheduled.  And to you, the person reading
my words, I ask you to please send me some good thoughts
in whatever way feels right to you.  I will take all that I
can get.

Thank you.

For the record

Just a bit earlier I cut off the last of my long hair.

There was just no point,
and at this point it is more
annoying that anything else.

I do have to say, though, two things:

1.  It is the first time in my life I could cut my
hair, and not worry if I was going to mess it up.

2.  While many will shave and cut their hair
early on in a situation like mine because they
would find it traumatic to have their hair fall
out,  I found that doing it this way gave me
time to adjust to the mess that my hair on my
head has become.  For me, I think a major
cut/shave would have been pretty traumatic.

I suppose it helps that those around me seem
to think it is no big deal, and that I still look
fine, even as what was once one of my greatest
assets is now in a (much) less than great state.

It will be interesting to see what happens next.

Fingers crossed it comes back better than ever.

Asking Questions Yet Again

I was pondering the statement, "Why do bad things happen
to good people."  I was thinking about it in the context of
a larger, on-going conversation about life.

There have been so many times in life that I have focused
on something I wanted, but it never happened.  Then there
have been times I barely did anything with the desire and
thought, and it happened.

I think about this because there are many around me who
will say that you can create any world you want through the
power of your thoughts.  There is even a book that goes
back a few decades that was written by Napoleon Hill
which is called, "Think and Grow Rich."

There is discussion about how we all as humans have this
ability/right to have access to the creation of the life we
want to have.  Even a Rockefeller said so.

What I find myself thinking is that maybe we all have a
unique experience of life.  And in this unique experience,
we will find things that work for us, and things that don't.

The things that work for us we may be tempted to pass on
to others, to "help" them.   Whole industries are built around
this idea.  Books written.  DVDs produced.  Seminars
held.  Gurus created.

What if things aren't as we have painted?  What if there are
people who have what some (even those experiencing it)
might consider sub-par lives?  What if they are "meant" to
have the experiences they have?  What if there is some
rhyme or reason that isn't readily apparent?

I can't say that the people who tell me what they do are
wrong, because quite frankly, I don't know that what I
speculate on is right.  At the same time, neither do they.

The other day someone was talking to me about "staying
positive," and how I should find ways to do that, as every
word and thought counts.  Well.  There is someone else
I know who I have had these types of discussions with,
and he isn't so sure that that is true.

This someone isn't happy in his life, and often he just wishes
his time here could come to an end.  He isn't going to end
things, but he has been quite depressed and has felt quite
lost.  And yet despite his desire for things to end, they keep
going.  And this is in spite of the things he has thought and
said.

I sometimes wonder if we do ourselves a disservice
believing that we have power to affect things.  And the
reason I wonder this is because then, when those things
we want don't happen or the things we don't want to
happen do, we then go to some negative places.

We also find ways to justify the events, "It was for the
best" or "I must have unconsciously wanted something
else" or "I must not have wanted it badly enough" or
"I must have done something wrong" or "I have to work
harder/smarter/differently next time" or...

Maybe, just maybe, if we stopped labelling experiences as
good or bad or better or worse maybe we wouldn't need to
find ways to change or justify anything.  Maybe we wouldn't
compare ourselves to others.  Maybe we wouldn't feel
ourselves lacking, or feel jealous of another's "stuff."

Maybe there is no where to get to.  Maybe all of the things
we say we want we would be fine without.  Maybe we
justify things based on the justifications of others.

Maybe.

I still don't know any more than
I did when I started this entry.

To go back to the beginning, though, I did say I was thinking
about the question "Why do bad things happen to good people?"

As I think about it in the above "maybe" context, I think
about how if nothing is good or bad, then no situation is
bad, and no person is good.  It just is.

And if it just is, then all you can do is to look at the "facts."
There are people who will light up a room with their smile.
There are people who can make a difference in just being
who they are.  If they take their "bad" situation, and choose
to do something that can help others, who better to do it?

If we were going to label a person as "bad," they aren't likely
someone who could make a difference for others - if for no
other reason, who would be interested/want to listen?

I don't know if we can stop labelling people and things.
I think it possible, I am just not sure how probable it is.
However, if we could do that, it makes me wonder what
kind of world we could have.  I suspect it would be very
different than the one we currently exist in.

It also makes me think that people would be a lot less
unhappy about their life and circumstances if they didn't
feel they had to aspire to/live up to some standard that
for many might be impossible (and maybe that is a
"good" thing - for them).

For the record, I understand that for many something to
aspire to helps them develop, change, grow.  I get that.
But I also get that there are different things to aspire to,
that might be overlooked in the process of pursuing
the things of the world instead of the things of the soul.

Can they be the same thing?  I would imagine it is
possible.  And in cases like that, it wouldn't be an
either/or.  I suspect we all have our own paths to forge,
which may or may not include something to aspire to.
And while we may have that in common, each path is
going to be unique, and with its own experiences and
resulting perspectives.

Try as we may to make everything uniform, I am not
really sure that there is uniformity.  I am not sure that
there is a "one-size-fits-all" answer or approach to
anything.

Of course, my "answer" could seem to counteract
what I have said.  It would seem that I would be
saying that my answer is the one.  But I am not.  I
am asking questions.  I am speculating.  I am living
and breathing in the world of my experiences.  And
within the context that I know, these are the things
that occur to me.

Maybe these things will fit others.  Maybe they
won't.  Whether you are an "other" that is like me
is something only you can know.  Maybe I make
no sense at all to some.

I am not even sure at times
if I make sense to me.

But in the midst of what is happening in my life,
these are the things I wonder about.  These are the
things that make up the maze that I am working my
way through.  These are the things that sometimes
give me great heartache, and at other times a sense
of comfort.

I have to wonder how much of who I am is what I
truly am, and how much of me is composed of
things from those who have been in my life directly,
or have affected me indirectly through media and
society.

I often feel at odds with things around me, and
things people say.  But I suspect that could be a
good thing.  It helps me to be more clear about
who I am.

The other day someone on Facebook was asking
people to say who they were.  I responded in a
smart ass kind of way, but then it occurred to me
that we learn a lot about who we are through our
interactions with others.

So maybe our differences just help me be more
certain about who I am, which in the end makes
me a better me.   A better me, of course, doesn't
mean a me that fits what you or the world thinks
I should be - even though that could be possible.

But I think the "trouble" comes when we somehow
think we know what is best for another, or how is
best for another to be.  The world is full of conflict
from the times we try to fix those troublemakers
who don't see things the way we do.

In the end, will any of this really matter?
Maybe not in the end.
But we're not at the end, yet.

For that reason, it might be in our best interests to
appreciate the differences between us as trying to
be the same/conforming might just be enough to 
destroy us both at the micro (self) and macro (world)
levels.

And with that, I think I will conclude.  That almost
sounds like another blog entry for another time.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Coast to Coast and Back Again


In early 2006, I went to a few seminars in California.  For as many times as I wanted to go there over the years, it was the first time I actually made it.  After having been there twice in the space of a couple of months, I one day decided to see how much it would cost to live there.

By July of that year, I had discovered that the cost wouldn't be much more than what I could have expected in New York, and by the fall, I had visited twice with the intention to find a place to live.

By November, I knew I was moving.

And on January 5, I started my trek cross country with a friend of mine.

We were going to do the trip in 4 days. 

Except for a hiccup in Flagstaff, Arizona, where I paid $80 to find out the meaning of a code in my car that had no helpful meaning, the trip was mostly uneventful.  We had a bit of rain, but for the most part, the weather was mild.  It turned out to be one of the mildest winters on record.

When I got to my apartment, it had been newly renovated.  It had new carpeting and new paint.  The walls were very plain, and dull.  I had the option to have them paint a wall for highlight in a room, but the colors were so pastel.  Nothing wrong with pastel.  But why pay for something that I thought would be barely noticeable?

I am not sure if I got the idea from TV, or where I got it from, but I decided to put curtains up on the wall in one of the rooms (you can see it above).  Everyone who saw it complimented the way it looked.  I was quite pleased, myself.

I was also pleased with the way the apartment turned out.  When I moved, I moved with only boxes.  I was essentially starting from scratch.  I had to buy all of my furniture.   The table and chairs I had seen on one of my visits, and was one of my first purchases.   It took a while to have everything come together.  But I had a lot of fun, and was very creative.

In the above image you can see the switch plate and the images on the right wall.  I painted that plate to match the frames of the images that I also painted.  In addition, I created the middle turntable piece on the table below. It was something I had never done before, and I was so proud of how it had come out.  It was the top of a table that was no longer being used that I used grout and tiles with.  I then found a turntable for a few bucks at IKEA for the base.  It was and still is (although still packed) awesome.


I had had a dream of a home with a southwest style and theme.  I had this idea, and I didn't quite know how I was going to make it happen.  But little by little, it came together.   

I had wanted to really make it work.  I had the thought that I would not move until either found someone to be with, or was going to buy a place.  

I always seem to know when I am getting to the end of being somewhere.  Suddenly I know that I am not going to stay.  It makes little sense to do much more than what I have done.  The thing is, though, I never know what is going to happen next.  So it makes little logical sense to me, too.  But I get itchy.  I get really itchy.

In the fall of 2010, I went to visit a friend on the east coast for the month of October.  I could work anywhere, and I could get to enjoy the fall that I missed so much on the west coast.  While I was visiting, I got the idea that maybe I could move in with my friend.  I wasn't sure how he would take to the idea, but I still decided to ask.  

He didn't give me an answer, at first.

But by the time I was set to go home, 
I knew I was going to move.

I walked into the beautiful home I had made, that was no longer comfortable to me, and stood there for a moment before I started to move things around and start to pack.

In January 2011, I was back in my car, 
this time headed east, and by myself.

The plan was to take 4-5 days.

It took over a week.  I also stayed in a Bates-like motel in Texas for several days, waiting for the weather to clear.  It was one of the coldest winters on record.  The whole US was freakin' cold and dealing with weather issues, and I got caught in it.

It was interesting having to hang out in the hotel, trapped - in Texas.  Because of snow!

Eventually I made my way out of there, and the energy stored from not travelling for a few days got me to the east coast in just 2 days.

There are several things that are interesting about this skeletoned story, not the least of which was the urgency I felt to leave California.  I now wonder if I somehow knew what was coming down the road, and somehow knew that I couldn't make it on my own out there with what was about to happen.

It is also intriguing to me that I have lived something of a life of a nomad.  It seems the maximum amount of time I am anywhere (and pretty much the average amount of time, too) is about 4 years. How things knitted together is fascinating to me.  Some things couldn't have worked out more seamlessly.  Others, well...not so much.

I am guessing my intuition has led me to these places, and I am guessing it is a good thing I listened - especially in this case.  I truly have no idea what would have happened if I had been in California when the diagnosis hit.  

I guess it is a good thing I never had to find out.