Saturday, October 12, 2013

there is hope

"This sweater's about had it," I said, folding my cardigan and rolling it for my suitcase. Clothes that are okay at home seem shabby when I visit my daughter who looks great in everything, even the stuff she sleeps in.  

"It's served you well," said Hope.   Gentle in her new environment, she made me feel better. 

Everything we did together was nice and felt right.  Everything.

We ate what we wanted (more than we wanted), went where we felt like.  We both loved the Japanese Garden and were both ready to leave after a quick look at the trees and a longer look at the Koi.  We drank coffee, bought costumes, carved pumpkins, watched tv, ran some errands and not others.  We sipped tea, saw friends, met family.  

We buried Mrs. Nutley, the ancient gerbil who had traveled cross country to spend her last days in freedom, and now sleeps forever in a grassy spot under a large tree.  Hope surrounded the little creature with flower petals, I blinked back tears.  She'll put me to rest one day in a place she finds peaceful.  

She's making a music video for a friend known as Rap Girl. 
She has a party plan for her birthday.
She has work, and a boyfriend, not in residence. 
Her roommate and next-door neighbors are nice.
Best, she is nice to me.  which means she is happy.

Hope, enjoy your miracle.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012


I put Dad's ashes here
she explained
presenting him
in the sugar bowl

I definitely did not want to see
the bits.

Hope sleeps framed by people who loved her,

ancestors now.


Hope's friend played with the samovar that
holds Hal's ashes.
rather carelessly
it seemed to me

Thursday, March 10, 2011


i did have a choice when i chose you:

i chose impulsive
instead of responsible
how could i?

what we think about the wife of debbie's ex:

she's been with him a long time
we have no clue
who she is,
we minimize her
because we know one thing.
as for the rest,
we don't care

cancer mom

they saw me shrink
into a tiny dessicated person, weak, old.
even if i was not dying,
the amazing strong amazon-mom who protected them and fixed things
was gone.

"i was afraid to let you walk on the street;
you could break." 

out of control:

i'm already the nut job, crazy bitch
blabbing dirty and embarrassing thoughts
they don't know i supported a household for 22 years before i was your
and now i'm the friendly carbunkle, smiling benigningly
or cancerously
at lunch

blogger: the memo

if i ever go freeform again,
publishing what's in me
they can try to kill me but it won't work;
i have my own death panel

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

after a year off,

The physical recovery is easy. I'm in the same body, plus or minus. The emotional is new territory, twisty-turny, slow, confusing and solitary. hmm.

Monday, November 23, 2009


We had a really bizarre visit to the doctors at Johns Hopkins today. My oncologist is at Georgetown Hosp in DC, but I consult the oncologists at Hopkins where I had my second surgery. First we saw the oncologist, who talked about various options, depending on whether the tumor is increasing, shrinking, or stable as he put it. Also, I asked about a lab that does genetic sequencing of colon tumors, in case I need to stun my cancer with something new (and untried.)

Then we saw my surgeon. He looked at the CD of my CAT scans and said, I don't see the tumor, I don't know what they're talking about. So Dave and I just laughed. WTF! I don't actually believe this new piece of happiness, because a similar thing happened way back in January when a surgeon at Georgetown looked at the scans of my colon tumor and said, it's not cancer, it's diverticulitis. (I jumped across the desk to shake his hand, and sent him a huge bouquet of chocolate covereds). Today when the surgeon said there's no tumor, we said, oh that would be nice! The doc decided he'll ask a radiologist to read the scans. hmm, but the radiologist who already read the scans at Georgetown said, it's a tumor.

okay, so Donovan? first there is a tumor then there is no tumor then there is.

i just can't take this seriously, but we did feel very happy for awhile and decided to eat Greek food, which was very good.

After we got home, I realized that my scans are on 2 CDs, each with its own data. maybe my doc thought they were identical CDs and only looked at the one with no tumor on it. or maybe he was listening to an Alanis Morissette CD.

or maybe I don't have a tumor but I have something that looks a lot like a tumor, if you're looking for one....

first there is a tumor, then there is no tumor..

I'm still on Plan A. I have to do one more round of chemo before they scan me again. and then I'll know if i have a tumor. and then I'll go to my doc at Georgetown and both docs at Hopkins and then we'll make a plan.
the gtown doc said i would probably stop chemo and have surgery.
the hopkins doc said i would probably stop chemo and have surgery.
the surgeon said i would finish chemo first, and then think about whether to have surgery.

then there is!

oi vey, do doctors know anything? other than the one or two things they're trained to know?

this is the one time i probably won't lose any sleep about what the doctors said!!!


BREAKFAST: raisin toast with cream cheese, espresso with hot milk, toast with blackberry jam
SNACK: cafe au lait, large. danish pastry, packaged. ginger cookies. nausea.
Avgolemono Soup
Traditional Greek Salad with famous house dressing (are you eating your peperoncini?)
Souvlaki on a Stick: lamb stick, served with pita wedges
Combination Pekilia Platter, greek souvlaki stick, gyro, spanakopita, domades, oven roasted potatoes, and tzatziki
gigantic: 48 oz glasses of ice water

dessert: 45 miles of highway, listening to npr until we heard english accents. then, real jazz, XM

snack: fresh squeezed grapefruit juice.
beverage: pineapple juice.

late snack: bananas and cream

Saturday, November 14, 2009

how to beat cancer, and maintain weight

cancer sucks, but suck it up, some of us have to win! i'm riding that pony to the horizon.
my horizon includes LA, New Mexico, NOLA, Panama, Europe, Mongolia. in good health!

here's my plan:

1. medical help: surgery, chemo, surgery, chemo. not sure what next. got one tiny tumor.
2. healthy happy life, lots of friends and family
3. level of quackitude.
people live way beyond expectation. some are cured. each person finds something to commit
to; raw foods, naturopathy, hypnosis, 100-mile bike rides, marijuana, meds, supplements,
meditation, exercise, prayer.
i've decided on exfoliation. scrub the skin, shed it! thank you P Stallone for the idea, and
thank you for clueing me about the Pathmark card, my path to peace.
4. you gotta be tough.

breakfast: hot ginger tea, toast with marmalade and gruyere, hot cafe au lait.
snack: grapefruit
snack: nutty fruity trail mix
lunch: whatever looks good
snack: whatever looks good
snack: crystallized candied ginger, sweet and spicy, trader joe
dinner: whatever tastes good
snack: fresh orange

after the chemo-nausea phase, enjoy fish, steamed veggies, fruit, nuts.
supplement weekly with mac cheese, chocolate, happy snacks.

Saturday, October 03, 2009


Tommy Von gives me the twice-over. listens to my breathing, checks my abdomen, pokes my guts and my liver. pushes the lymph nodes in my groin. ahhhh! tickles! squeezes my ankles, hard.

I'm finishing the "picnic" period of my ride. For 8 weeks, I rest, and feel the sun. Tommy Von is my oncologist; he's checking my strength before I ride the pony another three months. "How's your energy?" "How are your hands and feet?" he asks. My hands are fine, my toes still tingle from neuropathy, nerve damage, from the last rounds. "Have you fallen down?" "What? I don't know! Have I fallen down?" Where did that come from? Oh. neurological health, this chemo crack they give me attacks the nervous system, every system, while it attacks the cancer cells where they hide, if they're still here, and hiding.

"You're fine," said the pharmacist at Rite Aid. She's sure there's no cancer in me. "You're done," said P, who's highly attuned. "You look great," says everyone.

Fuck you, Death! I'm still here!

But I have to finish, mop up, prevent. "Wipe out micro mets," says one surgeon. "Step on its neck while it's down," said the other.

While I'm still on unrestricted diet, we had a fabulous Thai dinner prepared by Diane Hodges:

appetizer: mixed nuts, dried shredded squid, lite as air chips, mango gummies, wine or orangina

dinner: thai fish salad
coconut chicken green curry
cellophane noodles with shrimp, veggies and nuts, chinese chives and ginger
thai white rice

dessert: sticky rice cake with sliced peach and pretty sauce

oooh that was good!

Monday, August 10, 2009


getting ready. filled out new advanced directive, called for my prep instructions. got results from my tests: the liver tumor has shrunk! in half!! let's go get it. oh god, i can actually live? cry for happy! lots of love
ames, brave rider

Saturday, July 18, 2009

mom haiku

jane was disciplined
she rationed out everything,
even happiness

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


I am a good candidate for an operation on my liver and colon next month, and have made appointments with surgeons at two medical centers. I wear blusher and concealer, to convince the surgeons I'm healthy enough for the operation. Each doctor takes maybe 12- 16 minutes to propose a surgery, detailing his experience and offering a plan.

The first doctor was great; he does these surgeries all the time, with the same team. He laughed at my jokes (rapport!) and answered my questions (communication!).

The second doctor was great; he does these surgeries all the time, with his team. He showed me my scans, on the computer, and explained why my resection could be considered routine. He agreed with doctor #1 on the pre-op testing, and said he would add another diagnostic one.

Today I'll see doctor #3, who is supposed to team up with doctor #1, if they have a consensus and calendar compatibility.

The first doctor told me that all the rooms at his medical center are private rooms, and there's a lounge chair for visitors.

All the doctors told me to pull down my pants.

Monday, August 18, 2008


When a couple decides it's the end of the road, sometimes they are wrong. They look back, later in life, and wish they had traveled together, longer.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

the dust has settled

so has dirt,  mud, jackson's bones and hal's ashes.  

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

i miss him and im sorry

I lit Hal’s candle last night. Then I dreamed about him. He was waiting at the curb when I drove off. I can’t remember why I had my own car. I thought I had my own destination, but when I got home, Hal was in a bed in the cabin, comfortable. What does it mean?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Remasculation of Duncan Blitz

Duncan Blitz was having a bad day. His hernia hurt, his head ached, he left his penis on the tub.

Should he work on his film? Or replace the baseboard moldings with his brother-in-law who rented a circular saw from Home Depot.

Duncan walked past the grave of his old dog Wylie. Pushing up paintbrush, indian.

Friday, May 23, 2008


It was there on the tub. David's penis. On the side of the tub. I wrapped it in a hand towel and looked for its owner. I gave the penis to my brother Tobe, but not Tobe, who was hiding his problem under a cupped hand. What made it fall off? "Don't you want to sew it on?" I asked. You have to get it sewn I told Hal, but not Hal. He was like Hal, because we were close but not married. He was probably hoping it would reinstall itself.

When I woke, David's was on and fine.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Sunday, May 04, 2008


10. music on, loud, whether he's in the room or not

9. torrent of great ideas, explained in paragraphs, with pauses between distractions

8. my husband drives while thinking grand thoughts. the passenger brake on my side doesn't work, no matter how I slam my foot on it.

7. he hates when i scream, after the brakes lock. "what happened?" i asked, after we put down 15 feet of rubber on Route 1 in Miami. "The dingus on the car went on," he told me.

6. the pay is no good


5. we can see our friends

4. evenings together

3. brunch

2. all this sex is clearing up my complexion

1. reading

Thursday, November 10, 2005

in bed with cancer

I'm not making any speeches, my mother told me. You know what's in my heart.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


my mom is responding well to chemotherapy. she is focussed on slowing or stopping the disease and she is great and wonderful and beautiful.

every night i light a candle for my mother. then i get in bed and cry.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

hell hath no fury

yesterday she tossed a load of snow from the office. it fell behind dave, and in front of me and florence. a splash of rath on west 66th.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

my good qualities

and, i have luscious lips.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

good at....

I can add numbers in my head, I estimate time, distance, size, age, pretty much anything that can be counted or measured. I draw animals, and I love to cook. I'm smart, and I feel comfortable talking to pretty much anyone. I'm a good sleeper.

Monday, February 14, 2005


"i miss you," i said again, and again i cried. "i'm heartsick," i said. " i love you," i told him, and he whispered to me, and sang our song. "mom, doorbell," said hope. "it's flowers, " she said, "don't you want to see them?" me, on the phone, in the bedroom, listening to my husband say my name. when i cracked the door, i saw the clutch of bright pink tulips. just like david to send a beautiful display, a wordplay.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

bondage blues

I told Emma I'd go with her and Swo to Rock N Bowl. But I'm worried my arm can’t take it. My hands will hurt. What if my shoulder separates? Have I ruined it, carrying the camera? Why is it suddenly worse? I like'm pulled up over my head with Dguy. Was it the handcuffs?

Friday, January 28, 2005

tsunami photo

the drowned woman is really an awful sight, but if we can't even process one death, what does 140,000 mean?


Bahar said his second cousin died in the tsunami so I lit a candle for her. Then I lit a candle for the five children in Bahar's story. It is too much to think about all the souls lost Christmas weekend, but too little not to.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

some news guys cry

This one will be a three-hanky, said Duncan, as we sat down to watch his story about funerals for National Guardsmen. "27 year old Christopher Babin had recently married, recently fathered a child. His mother wept for the entire service," went the narration. Duncan touched his eyes and then gave in to his own tears.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

newspukes don't cry

They said journalist should witness and report; not cry. But how should you not. The only way is to kill your heart while you shoot your footage, interview the survivors hoping for their tears, feed the story, report it life from the spot, again and again. -- Delvi Sinambela, Indonesia

Friday, January 14, 2005

there's a girl at MOMA

who resembles my stepdaughter, or what i imagine she looks like since her nose job. Broad chin, pretty face, curly red hair, dressed simply, with a largeish sling-type bag. she has blue-green eyes, but i think my husband's daughter has brown.

I wonder if she goes anywhere by herself, like this girl in the museum.

Nobody escapes clean, I want to tell her. You can not face him?

Inquiring mind want to know: Do you think he'll live forever?

quite possibly the worst place on earth

new nominee: Tal Afar, Iraq, according to chris hondros, embedded w/ marines there.

the shipping news

Nothing's moving on the river or highway, it's 41 degrees and raining. I overslept, if a person can oversleep when they have no assignment, grinding my wisdom snaggletooth, both monkeys safely under my arm, the heating pad stripped of its cover beyond the reach of my toes. What time is it in Louisiana?

Thursday, January 13, 2005


“I love you but I have to park a satellite truck here,” I told a guy driving an SUV with press plates. Miraculously he smiled and drove on, turning left on West 57th, leaving me to defend the last parking space on the corner of 10th Avenue.

CBS had announced their “Rathergate” findings. Unfair, inaccurate. Four people fired, and a blight on Dan Rather’s legacy.

The sat truck parked, I looked for my crew among the half dozen tv teams staking out the CBS broadcast center at 524. W 57th. We strolled down to 555 w 57th, where 60 minutes is located over the BMW dealership, glaring at a crew that started to follow us, and calling them sheep, until they drifted back to the pack.

It was cold in lee of the building. “I forgot my gloves,” I told the crew, “and I ran right down here without a shower.” Circle of stink, I’m sorry. In the car were my nice warm boots, but on my feet were a suede pair, with 4-inch heels, and that’s what I was wearing when Andrew Heyward, President of CBS news, emerged. I recognized him by the moustache and nice topcoat. “Here he is, I told the crew.”

“Mr Heyward,” I greeted. Will there be more resignations? (he didn’t respond). I fed our grab shot from the satellite truck.

We were back in front of CBS the next day. I bought hot chocolates for the crew. A security guy talked into his Nextel while Dan Rather sneaked in the back way.

I thought about the joke about the village where the carpenter is known as Joe the carpenter, the guy with the juicer is known as Tony the juice guy, and one guy who engineered the road, established the library and grows orchids said, you make one mistake and you’re known for it forever. The guy’s name is Roger the pigfucker.

When Leslie Stahl came out from w555, I asked her, “how’s the fallout affecting you?” “Not good,” she said, getting into a limo.