Friday, November 26, 2010

If You're Ever Going To Love Me, Love me now, while I'm living; do not wait 'til I am gone


Japanese Garden
 If You're Ever Going To Love Me

If you're ever going to love me, love me now, while I can know,
All the sweet and tender feelings which from real affection flow.
Love me now, while I'm living; do not wait 'til I am gone
And chisel it in marble - warm love words on ice-cold stone.


sunny day, picnic lunch at the " Parthenon on the Sacjaquada " aka  Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society.


 If you've dear sweet thoughts about me, why not whisper them to me? 
Don't you know twould make me happy and as glad as glad could be?
If you wait 'til I'm sleeping, never to waken here again,
There'll be walls of earth between us and I couldn't hear you then.

Kara during picnic lunch @ Mirror Lake
If you knew someone was thirsting for a drop of water sweet
Would you be so slow to bring it? Would you step with laggard feet?
There are tender hearts all around us who are thirsting for our love;
Why withhold from them what nature makes them crave all else above?

Japanese Garden @ Mirror Lake
I won't need your kind caresses when the grass grows over my face;
I won't crave your love or kisses in my last low resting place.
So, then, if you love me, if it's just a little bit,
Let me know now while living; I can own and treasure it.

---- Unknown

After I delivered a new selection of rice rafferty Statement Necklaces and Devore silk velvet Scarves to the Burchfield Penny Art Museum Shop, I called Kara to meet me for a picnic lunch.  Making hay while the sunshines on a fifty degree Autumn day before Thanksgiving, was a perfect to enjoy an impromptu sushi, soup & sauteed veggies picnic lunch in the Japanese Garden/ Mirror Lake. 
                                              http://www.burchfieldpenney.org/

For all the people who are more interested in prejudging; putting people and places in a box without ever tasting to see how good the unknown can be please keep reading. Shortly after I moved from Pittsburgh to Western New York I spent the day driving one house guest all around sharing some a the high points in area. Back at our home later that night she called Buffalo the " arm pit of the United States."  I had no response to that remark; can't imagine being so rude as to insult where someone was trying to make a new home.  "To him that has ears, let him hear." Mark 4:9

 Buffalo, New York has many hidden treasures.  One of my favorite places is the " Parthenon on the Sacjaquada " aka Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society.
" It occupies the building constructed in 1901 as the New York State pavilion for that year's Pan American Exposition, the sole surviving permanent structure from the exposition. As planned, the (then) Buffalo Historical Society moved into the building after the exposition.  Designed by Buffalo architect George Cary (1859–1945), its south portico is meant to evoke the Parthenon, in Athens. In 1987, it was designated a National Historic Landmark."  http://nystatearts.org/orgs/one?org_id=2984


My mother often shared her love of poetry with me when I was a little girl.  Today's blog entry opened with one of the poem she read so often I could recite it by heart.  It was imprinted in my heart at a young age to value time.  I often told Barry and Kara, " Money and time can be spent only once, choose wisely."  
Time passes much to quickly...
It has come to my attention that people who have not spent quality time nurturing a relationship with me have been asking my husband and children personal questions about my health. 

 Please do not put my family members in an uncomfortable situation when your concern is more about getting the inside story than about my welfare or that of my family.  If you feel the need to know more personal information than I convey in my blog put a little effort in rebuilding a relationship with me; send me a card or flowers, call me or invite me out for a meal when I am in your town. 

Working in triangle relationships within a family is not offering an opportunity for growth.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

“I have no regrets in my life. I think that everything happens to you for a reason. The hard times that you go through build character, making you a much stronger person.”

“I have no regrets in my life. I think that everything happens to you for a reason. The hard times that you go through build character, making you a much stronger person.”   
 Rita Mero

One of the attributes of being human is to have the knowledge that you like every other living organism are going to die one day. Animals seem to have a instinct that danger is at their door. We had several cats exhibit signs of restlessness as they grew closer to death.  They darted around the house or waited near the door as if going outside would allow them the escape the sensation something is wrong inside. Imagine if you will the frustration when humans first became conscious of death, the humans as they stood over a member of the pack who looked suddenly looked very different, who ceased to breath, who was no longer moving.  http://arcticcircle.uconn.edu/HistoryCulture/kawagley.html

Only humans have the ability to know there comes a time when no matter how strong, powerful, wealthy, famous, beautiful or intelligent any is one day each of us will face our death.

Having been a caretaker of my parents while they were dying allowed me to be by the side of numerous people as they ceased to breath.  In my mid thirty's it became very vivid to me that today is all we have, right now, this very minute is all you can be sure of. The hands on knowledge that life is not a dress rehearsal was the catalyst for me to see what would happen if I went back to college increasing my knowledge for a passion I possesses from a young age. 

Even with all the intellectual soliloquies that have played inside my head on the knowledge that I too will one day die, when I heard the word malignant and Carol in the same sentence my blood ran cold.  No matter how much money or how large of a family or social circle, somethings you have to do alone. We come into this world with No Thing and one day we will leave this world with No Thing.  

I don't know how many people you are going to hear say this but I have found in this situation, Cancer is my FRIEND.  Although they may not be aware of how it appears to me, I can feel people reacting to me differently now that I have the Cancer stamped on me.   Some people who have been close have pulled away from me.  It is not about me, rather, they look at me and it stirs up the fear of their own death.


I took these images November 15th, 2010 8:20 am.

Some people who have been close to my for many years have pulled away from me now. It is not about me that they pulled away, rather, they look at me and it stirs up the fear of their own death.



Some people I never would have expected have come into my life
 "for such a time as this." Esther 4:14    

 So far along this journey I feel very strong, optimistic and  profoundly thankful that I have been able to manage and attend to my health care tests and visits alone.  

As part of my decision making process, I elected to have a PET CT scan of my body from my brain to my thighs. Perhaps the worst part of having this test done is following the rules prior to the test.
  • No exercise for two days before the test.  This was really difficult as I have made a lifetime habit to build exercise into my day I had to stop myself all day long from working muscles.
  • No sugars, that includes complex carbohydrates, of any type because cancer cells feed on glucose.  We wanted the cancer cells good and hungry for the scan.
  • Eat only proteins; eggs, milk, cheese, meat, fish... sounds easier than you think until around 2:00 in the afternoon when I got really nauseous from the protein only diet.
  • Eat only green veggie, that sounded easy also until I began to crave red pepper, oranges, cranberries, winter buttercup squash...I make a habit to eat a rainbow of colorful veggies everyday. 
Overnight fast was easy as I had an 8:30 appointment.



As soon as I arrived two chilled bottles of Barium Sulfate were waiting for me.  It may sound odd but I dropped my straw into the first container then began to sing The Teddy Bear's Picnic
in my head. 
The song was a favorite of mine back in the days when we listened to blue, yellow, red or black 45 rpm  single records on the Magnovox console in our dining room. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnavox

 From the waiting room I was taken into a small, quiet room with a Lazy Boy type easy chair.
Somewhere around the bottom of the first container my body was telling me no matter how much fun I tried to make drinking this concoction to be it was a NEGATIVE. " Danger Will Robinson !!!"
Steady at the helm I consumed half of the second container as per instructions. With great relief, Jan, the soft spoken technician took away both containers mumbling that is enough of this.

Next came the metal box that Jan carefully opened behind a very, shallow metal shield she said was to protect her from the heavy exposure she has to radio active material. 

YIKES !!! 
  I was sure to THANK Jan numerous times for performing her job to help people like me. 
 No way am I going to hang around radioactive material if I can help it.
Once the radioactive tracer in a sugar solution was injected into my vein I was covered with a soft blanket to sit quietly for an hour. 
This was the easy part because I had my brown, wooden, rosary beads brought back as a gift from my dear friend Pat when she made a Pilgrimage with her daughter Lisa to Medjugorje.  http://www.medjugorje.org/
 The hour passed quickly and quietly as I prayed for all of us ;~)


After an hour I was escorted to a very cold room, instructed to lay down on a toboggan sled like table that was so narrow my arms hung by my side.  " Arms up over your head. " Do not move at all during the twenty minute test."  At this point I closed my eyes as the sled was drawn back into a narrow scanning machine.
Here is where I wonder what people who claim to not believe there is any power greater than man exists.   Believe me this part is not for the faint of heart.  I challenged myself to lay there perfectly still throughout the entire test. After all my 80 year old father survived this test when they scanned his brain looking for areas damaged by strokes.  He did it like the Marine he was.  Now I could know for myself about the vacuum like sounds that come from the machine.

Once out of the scanner I was told not to hold any small pet, children, old people or go to the airport unless I wanted the body cavity search of a life time.  I was radioactive for the next twenty four hours.  Can't even tell you how many cups of green tea or veggies I ate that day to clean that stuff out of me.

Yesterday the waiting ended at the doctors office.  The only evidence of cancer in my body is the sprinkling of cancer cells within my right breast.  No  Metastasis Cancer cells found.  My lymph nodes are clear.  This is cause for rejoicing indeed.

Why am I spending all of this time sharing very personal information with you about my health issues?
Because this is not just about me.  Cancer is very prevalent in Western Culture both Europe in the United States, Australia and New Zealand.
Please take time to listen to this podcast by
Dr. Servan-Schreiber

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

" I really look at my childhood as being one giant rusty tuna can that I continue to recycle in many different shapes. "



 " I really look at my childhood as being one giant rusty tuna can that I continue to recycle in many different shapes. "


Augusten Burroughs




You ever just know there is someplace you really belong ??? 
When I read the prospectus for the
 re.CYCLE.fiber 
Opening November 19th - January 23, 2011 at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts
I felt in my bones this is a show where my art work truly belonged.

 "Many artists today specialize in using recycled materials exclusively to create amazing work. The term ‘cycle’ can also apply to the creative process as well. Not only can materials of all kinds be recycled, but also the processes utilized to transform them. In recycling, we not only refer to a discarded item reused--the cycle of materials--but to the cycle of the process, the cycle of creating and the cycle of ideas that goes into the creative fiber process. There are many techniques that can be re-cycled and applied to new materials in a traditional way. The outcome is often fresh and inspired.



You are welcome to use the traditional approach to the theme and find some new way to use something old or what might but considered as garbage. Perhaps you would rather look for a more unusual focus and consider the 'cycle' portion of the theme. The word has many connotations. You might want to consider the process or techniques as a cycle or try recycling them!"









Growing Better with Experience 2009
hand knitted steel wire, paper pulp and rust

This work began as a vision in my head while I was studying in the Graduate Program @ Savannah College of Art and Design.
I was in a fiber program with students between the ages of 21 and 29. For some reason unknown to me instead of taking advantage of the wonderful weaving and computer aided design classes all the young women seemed to thrive in I was making an in depth study of myself, my life, where I had been, where was I going to go from here...
Being the only mature student ( aka 52 years old ) among a group of young women accentuated my point of view on life.  Many of them were so full of hopes and dreams, some were in graduate school because they were really good at being students. They used to tell me to stay there for three years because going out into the "real world" is scary. 
My answer to the girls was, "No, the real world is FUN jump in and you will see."  
The real world is FUN. Growing older can be FUN and SCARY at the same time.  When I began this piece it was concentric circles of knitted steel wire.  At the same time I was making stacks of paper in my apartment studio for another project.  One day I wondered what would happen if I coated the steel wire with the paper pulp ???
A beautiful rust shade, rather similar to my strawberry blond hair, began to appear. 
It was then that I Christened this piece, Growing Better with Experience.
Like a woman and fine wine the aging process definitely added interest to the pristine, newly knitted wire circles ;~)


Better with Experience  detail

Graduate school was nothing like I had romanticised the experience to be.  I imagined graduate students and I engaging in long philosophical talks about life and art. Instead, everyone was so stressed to fulfill reading and art assignments they had little time or interest to talk with me about art. 
" Carol, we don't know what we are doing ourselves, we have no time to talk with you." was the answer I received all too often.

Fortunately, Barry, Kara and Jim were used to the lengthy conversation that made my eyes dance as I spoke about art.  Over the cell phone, from New York State, they obligingly placated poor, tortured, graduate student, mother with their insight and reactions to my artistic explorations. 
Eventually, from long distant conversation with Kara, I came to see the myself as a pine cone. 

A cone (in formal botanical usage: strobilus, plural strobili) is an organ on plants in the division Pinophyta (conifers) that contains the reproductive structures. The familiar woody cone is the female cone, which produces seeds. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conifer_cone

Included among my favorite things I packed for graduate school was the Wollemi Pine tree my brother Fred sent as a present for my 50th birthday.  
I laughed at the joke when I opened the gift. " A fossil tree for an old fossil, me ;~) "   http://www.wollemipine.com/watch/issue_12.php


From exploring pine cones I went on to research "Fibonacci Numbers in Nature". 
That is pretty much the way it went for me in graduate school; researching one interesting fact leads to another until I was exponentially growing all over place ;~) 
http://britton.disted.camosun.bc.ca/fibslide/jbfibslide.htm



Took My Breath Away  2010
mixed media
bell jar, mask made from used coffee filters, bees wax, down feathers from my pillow, steel wire braided, paper pulp, rust, my hair and a skeleton key

This piece I created after much reflection on some relationships in my life. 
 Relationships can either Take My Breath Away in a good way
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NEOem7U2LPE

 or they can Take My Breath Away - to cause death as in Cease to Breath.
 " The Hebrew Scriptures speak of Yahweh breathing the rua, the breath of life into Adam, symbolism of the mankind. Breath and energy turn up again in the concepts of Chi and in Shamanic spiritual journeying.   So the root meaning of “spirituality” has to do with the Breath of Life. And Evil may have a lot to do with sucking life out. "
http://radicaldialogue.wordpress.com/2010/07/09/the-breath-of-life/


It is not possible for a healthy person to voluntarily stop breathing indefinitely. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breathing


Took My Breath Away  detail
 I believe much more exists than this material world we see with our eyes. 
All is not lost for the woman in this bell jar, the power of the key to escape is within her reach. 
I believe she shall rise again ;~)

Please come to speak with me at Friday evening
November 19th, 2010
 Opening Reception: GALLERIES & HOLIDAY SHOP

2010 Artist of the Year, Brian Dean Richmond

Things That Float, Gregory Witt, 2010 Emerging Artist of the Year

Recycle.fiber, presented by The Fiberarts Guild of Pittsburgh, Inc
Holiday Shop
Where Marshall Building,
6300 Fifth Avenue,
Pittsburgh, PA 15232

Saturday, November 13, 2010

“The mother-child relationship is paradoxical and, in a sense, tragic. It requires the most intense love on the mother's side, yet this very love must help the child grow away from the mother, and to become fully independent.”

“The mother-child relationship is paradoxical and, in a sense, tragic. It requires the most intense love on the mother's side, yet this very love must help the child grow away from the mother, and to become fully independent.”    Erich Fromm quotes (German born American social Philosopher and Psychoanalyst, 1900-1980)

If you have been reading my blog posts since August it is no surprise to you that I have joined the growing number of women diagnosed with breast cancer.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breast_cancer 

As the doctor gave me the news in October that the biopsy on my right breast has a sprinkling of malignant cancer cells I distinctly remember the first word in my mind then I heard myself say was,  JESUS !!!  Since I am a believer, in my case, I feel sure it was a spontaneous shock response as well as a prayer simultaneously.  

The next I remember thinking, " Oh No, I don't want to be a burden on Barry and Kara. "  They are working so hard and doing so well in their personal lives and careers last thing I want to do is add another thing on their plate to worry about me.  

Not surprisingly the seeds planted early in their lives have grown strong into fruition. 
 Both Barry and Kara said since I had invested so much of my life energy into their success they that fully intended to be here for me. 

 We don't spend anytime shedding tears together, in fact, they say being around me is very reassuring, relaxing and uplifting.  We each have our own private times that fear overtakes us and we release a tear or two.  This is a time to be proactive not giving in to fear.  Fear arises when we lose out focus that a Higher Power has all of us in the exact place we are supposed to be.

Kara says being with me is more comforting than when she thinks about me and cancer when she is away from me.  She laughs the evening I came home after spending 6 hours on my initial visit to Roswell Park Cancer Institute I was dancing in my studio to Steve Miller Band- 1982 Abracadabra
  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vWPQQbldFjw&feature=related

Hey after all, I am a  Baby Boomer-Generation Jones.  How else am I going to work out my pent up energy aside from dancing to rock & roll ???  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baby_boomer  

Barry has been calling me often to keep abreast with my health news flash updates.  Fortunately, this past week he was able to come work from our home in Western New York.  Barry agrees with Kara seeing and being with me is less frightening than not being around me.

This week is all about celebrations; Tuesday evening Jim took me to an Arlo Guthrie concert @ Buffalo State College, Wednesday evening Barry escorted me to an evening concert with Emmylou Harris -  State University of New York @ Buffalo.   

Thursday was Veteran's Day so Barry had the day off.  He told me to select anywhere I chose to go on that warm, bright, sunny day.  
I chose to spend our day in Niagara Fall, New York @ the American Falls.
 http://www.niagarafallslive.com/facts_about_niagara_falls.htm


" The air around Niagara Falls or another turbulent water source, for example, may contain between 30,000 and 100,000 negative ions per cubic centimeter. A negative ion (or to be more proper, a negative-charged ion) is a molecule that has an extra electron attached. The negative ions that we are addressing here, the ions produced by indoor waterfalls and mountain streams, are oxygen ions.



What Do They Do? Negative ions have been proven to have a positive impact on health, mood, and energy, affecting serotonin levels in the brain. Negative ions also bond with impurities in the air, adhering to suspended particles and removing them. "
http://www.discountfountains.com/negative-ions.html
 
The journey from Clarence to Niagara Falls is a wonderful drive through the country back roads for about 45 minutes is delightful.  As soon as we arrived in the the city Barry caught sight of a sign that read Little Italy Niagara       
 http://niagaratimes.com/Little%20Italy%20Niagara.htm
 
 
Barry treated me to a lunch consisting of a luscious cup of Bean and Greens soup followed by a plate of Cheese Lasagna and Eggplant Parmesan with Gnocchi. Sorry, I meant to take images to share with you but the soup was consumed and the nice waitress had packed up a large portions of the meal for us to enjoy later before I even thought about my camera. Trust me on this one, you have to go to Michael's on Pine Ave when you are at the Fall's.







Barry enjoying Negative Ions




Keep looking for Rainbows

Nikola Tesla http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikola_Tesla

Barry talking to Meghan on cell as he balancing on granite rocks @ Three Sister's Island
                 Meghan flew into celebrate Thanksgiving with us all together this weekend.
Going out to shop for fresh veggies and organic fed Turkey to make our dinner later this evening. 

                                   Wishing you a very Creative Day ;~)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

“If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair.”


“If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair.”
C.S. Lewis quotes (British Scholar and Novelist. 1898-1963)

This past summer I fulfilled my burning desire by traveling to Quebec, Canada.  My grandmother Clara Rice went on this journey with the AAA Travel Group in the 1960's when she was in her 80th decade.  From her journey she brought home stories of her adventures, pictures and a small oval medal for me from the Catholic gift shop @ Saint Anne de Beaupré.  I still have this tarnished medal in my treasures collection box.

Along with many people in America my husband has been affected by the economic down turn that began in Fall 2008.  While I was packing my belongs on a truck to attend graduate school at SCAD he was given the heads up that the career we moved from hometown Pittsburgh, Pa. to Western NY was going to come to an abrupt end before the year was over. 

His career as a Facility Manager began with a chance meeting of a man in St. Thomas Moore Church in Upper St. Clair, Monday night Praise and Prayer Service. Both men were in the vestibule with their very restless toddler sons.   I am as protective of my children as a mother Tigress. You can imagine the eyes I flashed at Jim when he returned to the pew without Barry. Jim had left Barry in the church vestibule with a man he had just met.  Little did I know that man who would soon hire Jim as part of his start up team at the prestigious PPG Place in downtown Pittsburgh.      http://www.ppgplace.com/
Bob became his mentor and is still his friend to this day.  August 4th, 1983 Bob called Jim to begin working at PPG the next day.  It was that same morning that I realized I was pregnant with Kara. Since that day I have been aware of miracles happening in my life.

The day before Thanksgiving 2008, after twenty- five years service with one company, Jim comes home with a box of chocolates and an ergonomically correct chair from his office to alleviate his chronic back pain. 

By a strange coincidence the next day while we were delivering Rice Rafferty Devore Scarves for sale in the Burchfield Penny Art Museum shop, Jim gets a call about a position for hire as a project manager for a bank.

Fast forward since April, Jim is now on a new career path as a Facility Manager with EFS,Inc.
He was offered this position by the owner of the company who at one time worked with Jim.  Having awareness of Jim's expertise he felt confident that Jim would be a good fit for his company.

Three jobs in two years has not allowed Jim much time off work for vacation aside from visiting and moving me back and forth to Savannah and a few trips to Pittsburgh to visit his mother and his aunt who recently passed away.

Sorry I digressed. 

Kara agreed to escort me on my pilgrimage to Quebec in July 2010 so I would not have to journey alone. Three days into the journey we finally arrived at the cathedral.




Saint Anne de Beaupré Church
 


Saint Ann my patron name saint




The Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré is a major Roman Catholic place of pilgrimage and has the only copy of Michelangelo's Pietà (the original is in the Vatican City).




The basilica is also known as a place of miracles. One of the builders of the original church, Louis Guimont, helped build the church despite having severe scoliosis and needing the aid of a crutch. When the church was complete, he was able to walk independently. Subsequent visitors to the church who have prayed have left their canes, crutches and walking aides behind as testament to their healing. The main wall when you first walk into the basilica is now completely covered with crutches.

Votive candles represent the prayers of the faithful


wish you could smell the wonderful fragrance of the burning wax and
 feel the heat generated in the room
 
St. Anne Chapel in the lower level of the cathedral

At the time I arrived at the church I had no clue to the next challenge I was about to enter.  I prayed for peace in my heart, the wisdom to know the Lords will in my life and the grace to fulfill it.
  It is a very good thing life is revealed to us " One day at a time."

YES !!! Miracles are all around you if you only have eyes to see.
                  I am very grateful for my adventures with Kara to Quebec and Montreal, Canada.


Come back to visit me again
Have a VERY CREATIVE DAY ;~)


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Looking for Rainbows and Yellow Roses in November

“I've been getting rid of some clutter — anything that doesn't serve a positive purpose in my life — and making room for things that feel happy to me. Because I get to make my life whatever I want it to be. I get to make the room feel however I want it to feel. I get to make the closet as full or as spacious as I want it. And, if I have more clutter to get rid of after Christmas, I'm not going to wait a year, or two or three to do it.”   Jan Denise

Have you ever noticed that you life is made by your own design ??? If you are not happy with what is going on in your life it is within your ability to make changes.  Maybe it is just a small change like buying a new pair of shoes to begin taking walks everyday.  Or, maybe like I did you may choose to pack up a truck load of your favorite belongings and move far away from home to attend graduate school.  The year I spent living in Savannah, Georgia after moving from Clarence, New York to attend Savannah College of Art and Design was a banner year of self revelation.

Whatever you decide to do whether it is a large or a small change in your life the goal is to declutter toxic people and things from your life.  The people in your life are there by the laws of attraction. 
Be the kind of person you would like to attract and they will be attracted to you.




This morning I woke up to a crisp, light coating of frost on my garden.  
How did I choose to greet the dawn of this new day ???
  Will I choose to see the cold of winter beginning to set in or will I look for roses blooming in my garden in November???   



The summer of 1994 was a huge turning point in my life. In addition to being a Mommy to Barry and Kara both in elementary school at that time I had devoted the past three years to be a caretaker to my mother during her surgery, double valve and double bi pass to help alleviate her heart disease who was a caretaker to my father with progressing dementia from numerous strokes and TIA's
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/transient-ischemic-attack/DS00220

As much as I tried to be all things to all people I often failed in my intentions to be kind and loving. Most of all I often failed to take time and attention to give loving care to myself.
This tension of my life falling apart as I tried to keep it all together is reflected in my artwork,
  My Life Unraveling at Thirty- five
selected into the Fiberart International 2007




As is the plight of many caretakers I entered years of The 36- Hour Day.
Being intimately involved with a loved one who is dying can be very exhausting and sad.
Or being involved with a loved one who is dying can help us learn important Lessons for LIVING ;~)



I learned how to look for the miracles in unexpected places like seeing this rainbow of sunlight yesterday reflected in the fountain along my daily walk through Clarence Town Park.

The summer my Mother died I lived in Pittsburgh. There was a yellow rose bush in my garden directly behind the driveway. Each day when I backed my car out of the garage I thought, " There will be a yellow rose in bloom when you back out of this garage to attend your Mothers funeral."  As much as I tried to savour each moment the time during the last summer I spent with my Mother felt like it was passing so quickly.  I learned how to play with my parents even as they were dying.  Fireworks are so important to me that I drove my car up over our lawn to the front door so I could take my Mother to see her last fireworks display this side of eternity on the July 4th, 1994.

Sure enough, just like the voice I heard in my head, November 13th, 1994, as I backed my car out of the garage taking the clothing I had selected for my Mother's burial to the funeral home, there they were to greet me.   Yellow roses blooming in November ;~)
I am choosing to be the kind of person that looks for roses in November ;~)


Friday, November 5, 2010

" You're out of the woods, You're out of the dark, You're out of the night. Step into the sun, Step into the light. Keep straight ahead for the most glorious place On the Face of the Earth or the sky."

" You're out of the woods, You're out of the dark, You're out of the night. Step into the sun, Step into the light. Keep straight ahead for the most glorious place On the Face of the Earth or the sky. Hold onto your breath, Hold onto your heart, Hold onto your hope. March up to the gate and bid it open. "   Optimistic Voices Wizard of Oz

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nudp1vbaEYE&feature=related

Dear Lord, what did I expect these wonderful people to do for me ???   No one can wave a magic wand and make it all go away.   I wonder if anyone was more excited to arrive at a Cancer Institute around 11:00 in the morning than I was yesterday ???
  arriving at Roswell Park Cancer Institute with my signature Blessing Basket

As soon as I walked into the front doors I was astounded by the similarity I felt to being in the Charlotte, North Carolina Airport, my favorite place for travel trip layovers.   You know, the sunny atrium room with all the really cool, white rocking chairs all lined up near the food court with the good Mexican Enchiladas and the piano bar.  

Well this place has a piano in the lobby too. The young man behind the piano must have played non stop for hours; Claire de lune, fur Elise and Somewhere in Time to mention a few.
There is really kewl art work everywhere, in fact, I found one in a hallway by Dianne Baker a local artist I know and am Linked in with in Buffalo. The furniture in the lobby are really comfortable arts and craft Mission style seating. Everyone from the greeters at the front Information desk, the lovely lady who begins the process of registration as new patient, to the lady who takes insurance and contact information is super nice. Everyone was dressed in really nice, bright, autumnal hues and wears a bright welcoming smile.

I filled out five pages of family history facts, listed all of the vitamins supplements that have been added over the years to my regiment of daily heath habits.  Instead of waiting in a confined space, I chose instead to wait out in the open hall/ balcony where we could enjoy more serene art photos of plants, candles and outdoor scenes.  The nearly two hours in the hall flew by as I occupied my time; people watching, smiling, doing modified Quigong exercises so I did not frighten anyone and reading a magazine about botanical gardens.  

After blood pressure check, body fat/ to weight measure, height and more questions about my vitamins I was back out in the big balcony area for more people watching.  Since I was not very hungry in the morning and had not finished my breakfast it was around 1:00 when I started to get hungry and thirsty for water. No sooner had I mentioned needing a drink of water when two lovely ladies appeared around the pole with a cart full of goodies.  " May I purchase a water from you? " I inquired. 
No this is water is for free they said with a smile.  I passed on the candy as I drank the much coveted water down in a flash.





inside the patients examination room at last ;~)


 After awhile a nice, young intern comes in to hear my story.  She has seen my films and read my reports but she wants to hear my story before she beings to examine my breasts. 
 Then the waiting goes on for about another hour before the doctor arrives apologizing for the delay.
 " No problem I tell everyone, I am just so excited and thankful to be here ;~)"  They seemed surprised and the intern says something to the effect that not many people thank them for being there. 
YES !!!  I have an Attitude of Gratitude for Roswell Park, for the doctors and staff, for the people who donated money to make this wonderful institutions available to me at such a time as this, for the people who had cancer before me and were part of research groups that allowed us to benefit from present day technology. 
YES, I have an Attitude of Gratitude for all of this and more because having a sprinkling of cancer cells is allowing me to grow and meet people I never could have before. 

So the BIG NEWS is  " RELAX Carol, you are not going to die from DCIS Breast Cancer."


  In fact, the cancer has been caught at such an early stage that now I have options to choose what treatment I want to select.  I have been breaking this experience down into baby steps. 

Next step is genetic testing to see if I did inherit breast cancer from my mother.  Driving my papers back to Roswell Park today to expedite the process.

Please come back to visit my blog again as I share my adventures in Breast Cancer in hopes that I will ease the fears and burdens for somebody else through sharing my experiences. 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

" Change is not something that we should fear. Rather, it is something that we should welcome. For without change, nothing in this world would ever grow or blossom, and no one in this world would ever move forward to become the person they're meant to be. "  anon

This is Meghan and Barry's cat Fever. Meghan rescued him from the streets of Brooklyn, NY when he hung around her band practice four years ago until he became part of her family.
Here is a clip of Meghan singing with her band Calentura, meaning Fever. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rkjQx4ivzWc
 
The first time Meghan saw me was November 2009.  She opened the door to Barry's apartment in Manhattan after a long day at work to find me dancing with Fever in my arms to a Beatles song.

 I knew I would love Meghan before we even met.  Barry told me he sees so many wonderful things in Meghan that he loves in me.  Meghan is an artist, she is a Libra, she had painted her walls the same rich hues i had selected for my home, she is interested in cooking healthy meals, working in her garden and she has a big heart for loving also.  She rescues pets off the street just like has been my practice.

 After she opened her home to Fever two more kitties found their way into their heart and home.  Fever was not happy anymore ;~(  He felt crowded and out of place in his home.  Barry and Meghan convinced me it would be better for Fever to come stay with me for awhile I agreed to see how he adapted to the change. I did not want to rock their boat.  It felt odd taking Meghan's pet away from her, after all, she loved Fever before she loved Barry. 
 
Happy to say Fever adapted famously to living with Gammy.  He is very relaxed and gaining the pounds he lost while he was in distress. When they brought him here to live at Gammy's house right before my surgery on September 28th I thought it was Fever that needed my help. Now I know is I that needed Fever as much as Fever needed me ;~)


He sleeps on the love seat in the sunny window in my studio or follows me around my home and garden. He really loves to sit on a stump and watch when we burn branches in the fire pit.
 
  Fever reminds me to stop, to be conscious of my breathing, to stretch, then to break out in spontaneous play.   

Fever in Downward Dog Position


We take cat naps in the afternoon in my studio. He climbs down off the back of the love seat then on to my belly where we drift off to dreamland for a few minutes.



Fever makes a great lamp to brighten my days ;~)
notice the shade I am creating from used coffee filters and bees wax


 Have a very Creative Day ;~)
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