Friday, June 22, 2007

Too Long

Tonight, I am making dinner for two friends and it is a bit of a challenge. I made the mistake of claiming that I make the best spaghetti sauce in the world and they had the gall to say, "Prove it." So, now I must.

The sauce is simmering, the wine picked out, the bread ready for baking, the spiced walnuts made. The salad will be put together next, the spinach washed, the pear sliced, the strawberries cut up. Toss it all with a little strawberry vinaigrette and we should be good. They are bringing the dessert.

Other than that, we are settling into summer mode. The kids have been going to track camp for a few hours each morning. K is working as much as she can since we will be gone much of the second half of vacation. J is watching too much TV.

I am worrying about all of the undone things related to our overseas adventure in about three weeks (fuck, where has the time gone?) and planning small get-aways to our heart-home-town up north.

I continue to do chemo and have seen about a week's recovery time for each treatment. Once past that point, I feel pretty good until the next session. One thing that is unsettling are the persistent night sweats of a limited fashion. I soak my pillows. I am sweating from the back of my shorn head and neck. Each morning when at home, I wind up throwing my pillows into the dryer for a bit of a detox and fluff up. This is not a good thing, I think.

Still, I am committed to making the most of each day, each week, each month for whatever time I have.

I spent a glorious 24 hours up north a couple of days ago. The weather was so nice and the company as well. It was filled with beach picnics, walking on the boardwalk, movies, wine, food, conversation and companionship - all of which are important to me as I go forward.

So, we are good (as can be) and enjoying our summer. I am sorry for the infrequency of postings, but usually that means I am having too good a time to sit down at the keyboard.

Friday, June 15, 2007

NHL Anniversary

This is me, thirteen years ago, on father's day 1994. In a couple of days, I would learn that I had an incurable and fatal form of non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Yesterday, I had another round of chemotherapy - a form of treatment that has kept me alive far longer than I thought possible those thirteen years ago.

Every year on this date, I try to remember how scared and numb I was upon receiving the news. How I moved through life as one who is asleep and merely going through the motions to get through the day. How I didn't tell those at work what was going on because I didn't know what to say. How tired I got of people bitching in the lunch room over insignificant elements of their lives when I was looking Death in the face. How I would break into tears driving down the freeway on my way to pick up my two children, ages 1 and 4, from daycare at their aunt's house, thinking that I would be gone from their lives before they would be able to know, and remember me.

I also try to remember all of the hugs that people blessed me with, the frozen lasagnas that appeared on the doorstep, the tears shared and shed. I saw new sides of life and of loving as those around me tried to let me know of their care and concern. I learned to lean on my wife in ways I never expected. She was my rock and my foundation as I learned to live with cancer.

And live I have done. My motto in this is this - I have cancer, but cancer does not have me. Every day, I get to choose which one of us is on top. There are days, when it's not me, but those are few and far between.

A lot has happened in the last thirteen years. The reason this blog exists covers the most significant event. This was never in the plans. It was I who was to go and my wonderful, talented, and loving wife would remain to raise the family and sit on the porch late in life, blessed by her family. Somethings, we don't get to choose.

On this day, I will sit on the porch and think about all of the good things I have - my two children, now 14 and 17, a house in a beautiful setting surrounded by the sounds of birds and frogs, a faithful and smelly old dog who thinks I make all of the good things in her life happen, friends and family, near and far who share with me their love, their joys, and their sadnesses. This is what life is, and that is what I think about and give thanks for on this day.

Monday, June 11, 2007


Ok, I admit it, I'm a slug when it comes to keeping this up to date. My excuse this time is that I've been busy. I was up north, doing a quick up-and-back visit that was all together too short. I walked and sat too long in the sun and now I have a beanie burn where I'm a little red in the face with a white lid where my hat was. Way kewl.

I've also been visiting with an old friend whom I haven't seen in over twenty-five years. That has been fun as well.

All of this fun has a price to pay for it however. No one was on duty to instruct the scullery elves and the food fairies so today has been one of laundry, laundry, laundry interspersed with some water sampling, and because its about the temperature of venus out there with enough humidity to float a boat, I came back from the water sampling all drippy and worn out. So, here I sit, hoping that the food fairies will come back and I can hand them the grocery list and the credit card and just tell them where to put it. My daughter doesn't think much of this plan and has scolded me for not getting her chips - NOW. After all, her summer training season started today and how can you train without vinegar and sea salt chips? Tell the fairies I suggested.

We have a busy week facing us too. Tonight, one or both kids are off to a concert. Tomorrow night is the Girl's Track Banquet followed by an out of town guest visit. Thursday I do another round of chemo, so the last part of the week will be lost ground for me and the thistles are taunting me.

So there you are. Now, where are those fairies?

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Old Friend - HHNT

I bought this new in 1971.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Damn Herbavores

Sometime this morning, between 6AM (when I got the paper) and 7AM (when I gave J a ride to school) something came along and munched six to eight fully blossomed roses off the bush I planted just two weeks ago. They left a little trail of "crumbs" on the lawn. Don't know what it was. Deer maybe, or a rabbit. Whoever was here has nicer smelling breath now.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Suicide by Cookie

Well, the insurance cock-up appears to be settled - for now. What a fiasco. I don't blame them for wishing me off their rolls. I am a high maintenance insuree. They are going to lose money on me after losing a bunch on C. So, I can see where they would want me gone.

Problem is, I paid my money. I did what I was sposed to do. So, they have to suck it up. Sposed to, anyway. We'll see.

In the mean time, my son has decided to do me in with chocolate chip cookies. Not just his, but the tail end of the batch that a kind neighbor dropped off this weekend. So here I sit, fat and choclified at the end of a stressful Monday.

I must say, I am not a big fan of government programs or intrusion into one's personal life, but this health care business is one area that affects us all and should see more involvement from our elected officials. There are a lot of areas that our legislators seem to feel they must get involved, such as bridge building and tax relief for those who contribute heavily to their campaigns, but health care is something that we all need and the insurance part should be available to all, not just those who are working and have employers who will contribute to it.

Right now, I am trapped. Because I had a "preexisting condition" when I was laid off, I can't go out and find health insurance. I was covered under C's policy, but by the time I was laid off, she was already pretty sick herself and not working. We both got by on her long-term disability until she died and then had 12 months of extended health insurance coverage, but that is gone now. I am paying for extended coverage under a state plan that seems to be interpreted differently by everyone I talk to. It will be available for 12 months at the minimum. What happens after that, I don't know.

What I do know is that I wish our government spent as much time and money trying to make adequate health care available to its citizens for an adequate cost. Don't get me going on how I feel about what they do spend their time on.

OK, I'm done complaining now. Have a good night.

Friday, June 01, 2007


This is a repost of an entry I made on our Caring Bridge site a year ago.

At 3:14 AM on June 1, 2006, CMM left this plane to continue her mission of justice and peace somewhere else in the multiverse. Her passing was so bitter sweet. She suffered long and fought hard. In the end, her spirit broke free of a body that had long ago ceased to provide a comfortable and functional home.

She was my true love and I am a much better person for having been in her presence these past twenty or so years. I would like to think that she and I worked each other from the state of rough and ungainly blanks to that of smooth and beautiful gems but I would be disingenuous in doing so. While two people cannot but help change the other over such a long relationship, she had the greater task in that she found her opposite partner far rougher than herself. As in all things, she brought her endless energy, indomitable will, and her keen desire for perfection to bear on the task of molding the imperfect lump of organic matter she found by her side into something more suitable for companionship.

The fact that she failed in her attempt at perfection lies not with her, but with me. Be that as it may, I am closer now and will miss my ongoing lessons.

She left behind an addled husband and two courageous children. K and J were awakened shortly after their mother’s departure and apprised of the situation. They were both calm and measured. They elected to go to school as normal rather than take the day off and have to deal with the shambling mumbler that they sometimes address as Father. As I write this, they are both home – one sleeping and one being a seemingly normal teenager. How do they do it?

I have talked to some of you and left messages for others. It would be impossible to contact everyone who knew C and found a richness there so I will make use of this marvelous new tool of this age and broadcast our celebration of our wife, mother, companion, teacher, guide, friend, and soul-mate.

As per C’s wishes, she will be cremated without ceremony or religious service. There will be a memorial celebration gathering at the T restaurant later this month. More details will follow.

Right now, I am far too wasted on grief, passion, exhaustion, and amazement to continue writing. I will post again soon.

For all of you out there who knew C and wish to share your thoughts or memories, we invite you to leave them here as a comment.

Farewell my love.