To bring up a child in the way he should go, travel that way yourself once in a while. ~Josh Billings
Happy Father's Day, Dad.
Thank you for being creative, for being an artist, for being a writer. Thank you for showing me that self-made is something that is possible and worthwhile. Thank you for showing me that creativity in any form is a worthy endeavor.
I saw. I paid attention. They were good lessons.
I love the picture above. My brother looks just like like my fabulous little nephew (his son) Adin, and oh my, something was making me giggle, wasn't it?
I don't know who the littlest boy is, in this picture, but I love that my brother and I have matching windbreakers on. And that my father is quite intent on making that cow be his friend. But what I like the very most about this picture (it makes me cry a little) is that beautiful smile on my mother's face.
My Dad, early 70s, standng next to our prized "Art Car" - a 1957 Chevy station wagon, that my parents collaged top to bottom.
Here I am atop my father's shoulders. We were at some kind of street festival. There are so many things I love about this picture. Where to start? My faux fur jacket? My fathers shirt (!), or the fact that when he put me up on his shoulders, he took off that silly bowler hat, and put it on my head. And I'll just bet I was proud to be wearing it.
This afternoon, my incredible God Daughter Alyssa participated in Oakland's Open Studios. She's a photographer, and my GOD she is talented. She is just incredibly talented. She creates these extraordinarily sensuous photos, that somehow remain innocent, becaus she knows just where to place an errant puzzle piece or penny. I"m so proud of her.
Afterwards we had dinner at her mom's house, my best friend Jenna. Jenna is recovering from a lumpectomy and is getting ready to begin radiation treatments. It's invasive Breast Cancer but it doesn't look like any of those nasty cells got into her lymph nodes, so we are all holding our breath and breathing at the same time. Isn't it funny how life is like that?
I doodled away while I hung out at her house. Here's my silly little girls:
I think I was preoccupied with women and strength. What do you think? :D
Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense. - Buddha
I have always loved that quote by Buddha. The story goes that he was meditating under a tree when a group of people who had been seeking him, found him and begged him to answer their complex questions about theology. Buddha answered in that cryptic parable way that all great mystics seem to have in common.
And then, just as the group of people felt they had begun to understand a bit of what he was saying, Buddha looks up and says something along the lines of: "But don't believe a word I say. Go out, and find the answers for yourselves."
In any case, I digress...
My wonderful beautiful fabulous nephew Adin is turning three years old this weekend!
Tomorrow we will have a party and eat ice cream cake, and play silly three year old games.
My nephew is at a stage where, when he sees me come into the house, he runs full speed directly at me yelling "Auntie Sheees!" (SO CUTE) and in that moment all is right with the world.
At his mother's suggestion, we bought Adin books for his birthday. We picked out a space themed counting book and an airplace themed alphabet book, and then a cute little book about being a big brother (because my sister-in-law is due to pop out baby #2 in about six weeks!).
And here, I make the connection to Buddha. Our gifts to him are meant to help him continue to reach and grow, and learn. But more than anything - we hope they will inspire that spark of curiosity that jumps from the page. That spark that you follow out into the real world, beyond the printed words, that spark, which encourages you to go and find out for yourself.
Here is to hoping that you all have sparks to follow, and that where they lead, is good, safe, strong, and beautiful.
My husband and I have been fighting. (Money. Sex. Rock and Roll. nbsp; You know. Marriage things.) My son came in yesterday, crying, asking us to stop fighting. My husband tried to tell him we weren't fighting - just talking loud (which was bullsh*t and made me mad, because I felt he wasn't respecting my son's feelings or intelligence.)
It doesn't matter does it? It doesn't matter if you have cancer or heart disease or diabetes, or mental illness.
It doesn't matter, your entire family and many of your friends get caught in the middle and its as if all the fears and frustrations of your illness are like shards of glass, being shot from the bow of some anti-cupid who lives inside of you. Shards of glass, headed right for the hearts of those you love so much.
It's so scary. I'm so scared to lose anyone. I am so scared to keep hurting people. I wept at the doctor's office yesterday. He said this was good news.
Sometimes I hate my psychiatrist.
He said I was feeling this grief, because I was coming back to myself.
He didn't have a magic pill.
Sometimes I have dreams that I can skate so far and so fast, it is as if I am flying.
Sometimes, I wish I had a river I could skate away on.
A boy is a magical creature - you can lock him out of your workshop, but you can't lock him out of your heart.
I just can't believe it! My beautiful boy, RJ, is 12 years old today! Who new such a tiny creature would wrap his heart and very soul around my own? And now he flirts with being a teenager, and soon enough, a young man.
Still, I searched his face this morning, and it was like a wave of relief. He is handsome and sturdy, but I can still see that baby face in there. I suppose I always will.
Happy Birthday my most favorite boy in all the world! Momma loves you.
“Home, the spot of earth supremely blest, A dearer, sweeter spot than all the rest."
I've not much time to write, but wanted to let you know that on day 21, I received my walking papers, and I am home-sweet-home.
Actually, I am staying at my best friend Jenna's house for a while, but for all intents and purposes she is family and so I am blessed with more than one home, hers and my own, and for now, I am staying at her version of my home.
We have big plans this evening, I'll see my children, have dinner with my brother and his wife and my wonderful nephew Adin.
My sister-in-law, infact, is pregnant again - so the miracle of life is the focus of the day.
And, in between getting caught up with ZNE and ConvenZioNE details, I am creating art and writing. Can you/ would you/ could you believe that I had forgotten how much joythe act of getting down on my hands and knees over a large blank canvas or piece of paper can bring?
It is as if I am genuflecting over my creations, pouring out my heart and soul, and healing all the while.
Thank you to Roni who brought me a lovely bevy of art supplies at the hospital and my favorite ever retro oilcloth purse bag, as a gift. And also for her of a lovely scrapbook photo album.
Roni, the patients and staff on my ward filled up every page of that book with notes of will wishes and silliness and love, all for me. Last night I lay in bed, a real bed in a real home, and read through the scrap book, and wept, with joy.
Barbe, thank you for your kind and thoughtful phone call. The person we assumed we may have known in common was indeed that same person. If my marriage ever fails and his relationship goes awry, please let me know so that I can attempt to convince him to break every protocol of conflict-of-interest that exists. On a more serious note- know that your friend is extraordinary at what he does. He has a gift for treating people like human beings above and beyond illnessses and diagnoses and even while working in a hospital, he was one of the sharpest dressed people there. And you can tell him I said so, anytime. : D
And-to-my-dear-wonderful-we-will-be-friends for life Jon, and Taylor. You will hear from me soon, perhaps before you even read these words. Keep yourselfs safe and hold out for healthy. Happiness is never that far behind. And Jon - beware of wheat in hidden places! : D I was going through the cubboards last night and realized the only thing safe for you to eat would be a can of lima beans we've had since 1994. Bet you can't wait to come for dinner!
And to Marc, for whom I have literally no words, because I love you just absolutely does not cut it when it comes to the depth of gratitute and affection that I have for you.
Again, to every single one of you, those who have visited, called, written, or just read these words every now and again - thank you! You are the angels who sit bedside and outside my windows, keeping my soul safe and sound.
And for today we will leave it at that. I am safe and sound, resting up, getting caught up, and all will hear more from me, very soon.
May you all have a dear, sweet and blessed weekend.
At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us. -Albert Schweitzer
Looks like I will head home on Friday of this week. Will probably not be getting all caught up on emails and such (ever!??) until early next week, but the dates and deals are finally within range.
Will let all know next week when a biopsy is scheduled and the date, just don't know yet.
Many more thanks to all of you who are leaving wonderful supportive messages and emails.
And again: Thank you to my entire family here in the Bay Area, including but not limited to: Jenna, Marc, Roni (who has visited twice!), Shoshannah Jennings, whose beautiful greeting card was placed on my pillow last night before I went in to bed and was a special joy to receive. To mossy whose phone call to me got cut short, but JoAnnA Pierotti - you know I love you to the moon and back. To Lyn Wright who battled the ridiculous phone system to call and say she cared. And still and again to Gina Gabriel who went far and above the call of duty to help me out on one particular time of need.
I have so much cause to think, with deep gratitude of all of you and your beautiful sparks of light.
My flame burns brightly, and soon, I will be home.
Ever close your eyes ever stop and listen ever feel alive and you've nothing missing you don't need a reason let the day go on and on
Let the rain fall down everywhere around you give into it now let the day surround you you don't need a reason let the rain go on and on
What a day what a day to take to what a way what a way to make it through what a day what a day to take to a wild child
Every summer sun every winter evening every spring to come every autumn leaving you don't need a reason let it all go on and on
DAY 16 AT Hotel Hospitality
A little two tired for words, but my energy is defiinitely returning, and I am working with the website hosting company on figururing out how to do the last few things remotely so that F I N A L L Y class registration will open.
A few quick important notes:
Part II of the vendor fair invoices for those who chose installments will go out at the end of this month or early next month. Don't worry, we won't close out anyone's spot for lack of payment this month.
We do still have room for several vendors, I will be following up with those on our waiting list when I get out of the hospital. Patience is appreciated.
And just so much exciting news and stuff going on, that will start happening soon. As I mentioned in my last post, we are working on delegation and getting deadline stuff dealt with right now.
Pease let me provide my utmost assurance that ZNE the group, and convenzione, the art retreat (along with Art Paperie and Pleasantries) are intact, in good shape, and moving forward witht the help of our (literally) hundreds of caring and supportive members.
Ok, now, on the medical stuff:
Yesterday I had my second round of Ultrasounds.
One of the lumps in my breast, we agreed we will biopsy now.
Now, the doctor, radiologist, and insurance company will have duke it out for a week or two they come to a conclusion about needle surgical biopsy.
Both precedures are likely to be same day in or out (barring some kind of immediate terrible news) and to tell the truth I'd rather have the lumpectomy than the needle biopsy beause they give you pain kills for the former, bot not the latter.
Next, while I was with the doctor - we did agree to a minor surgical procedurce, right then and there related to something that was causing me a great deal of pain. It's sort ot a ... private part deal, so I don't want to go into too many details (because who knows amog you, who has had lunch or what.
ANYWAY - I feel better than I have in 2 months, and have begun whistleing zippity-doo-da under my breath. It is looking very much like, minus any infections of weird complications from my breeats, I'll likely head home between Wednesday and Friday of nest week
P H E W
Ok, answering contact emails have been difficult (This is very ironic I have had a total on 1 zne friend visit and 1 ZNE friend take my call since i have been here) - and yet it seems 70 people have asked for my contact info - so here goes:
Alta Bates Herrick Hospital
4th Floor: ATTN: CHLELISE STROUD (no hery)
2001 Dwight Way, Berkeley, CA 94704
It takes a while for mail to get to patients, so unless you express something, I may not get it before discharged (shooting for Weds - Friday). We'll see.
In the meantime, special from the bottom of my broken bruised up but very full heart - I say thanks to:
Richard, Abigail, RJ, Abigail, Jesse, Katrina, Adin, Jenna Fischer, Marc Cebrian and JoAnnA Pierotti, Gina Gabriell and Roni Seabury.
Friends who have helped to tie the strings around my heart just a bit tighter these past dates, and with whom, I know, mircles can and do happen every day.
Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.
Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. - Norman Vincent Peale
This year, I thought Christmas would be difficult. I wrote about my grief over the new stage my children are going through, moving swiftly from childhood to pre-adolescence and beyond. I have been missing my mother, and dealing with emotions having to do with my parents in general that range from desolation to rage.
My husband is near petrified about the state of the economy (who isn't) and I've been dealing with Good-Lord-I'm-Almost-40-Years-Old-Must-Everything-Physically-Fall- Apart-At-Once health woes.
To sum, holiday spirit was hard to find.
But holiday spirit found me where I least expected it. While at work at the vet one day, my children decorated our Christmas tree, all on their own. I returned from work to find their glorious and proud faces and a lopsided silly tree that could not have been more lovely.
My husband and I pooled small cash gifts that came in from unexpected places, an Aunt here, my job there - and worked to cross everything off the letters to Santa that my Children had written. A Santa they no longer believe in, but still long for. The longing, I know and recognize, is for a world where giving is done freely, and where dreams sneak in overnight, and by morning, miraculously - come true.
On Christmas eve, just like a fairy tale, like stories told over and over again - my children were tucked into bed, and I stayed up - waiting until I could hear tell tale snores - and then tiptoed to the living room and assembled their Christmas morning miracle. I love this picture, as it appears that Pepper, the cat, is the true secret Santa, pausing here to reflect upon his work.
When Christmas morning came, my miracle was added to the rest. Two happy children, in jammies still, taking the time to explore the contents of the handmade stocking we sewed together last year.
All in all, everyone was happy. I had favorite gifts, not ones addressed to me, but one each received by my children. RJ's Johnny Cash t-shirt is too cool for words.
And Abigail received a poster that I am still walking by her room and staring at in every free moment. Who wouldn't?
My children were more appreciative and joy filled than I had expected. It wasn't the material things or the pretty packages that gave me pause, or lifted my spirit on Christmas day. It was something far more soft and beautiful. The joy of giving, and the incredible reciprocal joy of knowing that it is received with wonder and grace.