A little town full of little people….Once Upon a Time Continues

The not-at-all a princess heroine of her own story slowly turned the pages of her 20 Wishes Book and realized how many of her old dreams had now come true.

There were pictures of nurses (she was a nurse now and loved her job), pictures of Africa (been there and seen the Rift Crow), the picture of a Toyota Corolla and a Prism was sitting outside, (really ought to change the Beige Pearls name to the Silver Pearl, the 14 yo Prisms paint had faded that much), even her goal of completing a Triathlon had been accomplished. Time had passed and in 15 years she had fit in another lifetime, it was time for some new goals for sure.

Pictures of Hiking and Sailing were the goals not yet finished, she would keep these.

And very ironically all her prayers of a Cary Grant moment for a very dear friend of hers had translated into a Prince of a man in her life that might make her abandoned dream of growing old with someone a possibility.

Then there was her lifetime goal of becoming truly compassionate. Hard to face that she, like Belle at the beginning of Beauty and the Beast, held some judgement and contempt for those who read less, thought less, had traveled less, etc. But then as she had become less focused on improving herself it had become easier and easier to blame, complain and judge. Not that being Negative Nancy or Debbie Downer was her natural state.

So that would be her first wish in her book….

“I wish I could again focus on compassion for all life and if I am unhappy reflect on my personal growth”

Now what would that look like. She grabbed her magazines and started to flip the pages……

31 Poems in 31 Days

With Big thanks to Poewar.com

They aren’t all here yet, but they will be soon. Most have already been read by my poetry fans. October is 30 in 30. November is novel month, December is RAK month, and January is the month when I feel overwhelmed by all of last years unfinished business an try to start over. February is the month of LOVE (this year even the valentines kind, but usually just a chance to focus on the “charites” more than the “eros”

Prompt 1 Write about something you gave away in childhood

Present Pluperfect

The beads were pink, a perfect opalescent pink
Plastic my adult knows, but my child believed pearls.

So very pink, perhaps I should have chosen white
I will never know,
My mother’s life leeched away before I even knew her middle name
Let alone a favorite color,
I was six, and the Ben Franklin jewels were pink.

I’d heard her wish for pearls after the lady with the driver came,
It was the final fitting for her New Year’s dress,
Mom was sitting on the stoop with Miss Darlene’s mom
Darlene was Roxanne’s age
And had real Barbie dolls, not the hollow plastic kind,
They were talking about the sparkly earrings the Lady kept twisting as she eyed herself in the mirror making it hard for mum to mark the hem

“You outdid yourself Marlene, the dress is stunning, ”
She wiggled a hand dyed pump, “Do you Really think these are the right shoes?
My mother’s stained fingers touched them with the reverence saved for holy things.
“The satin is perfect.”

The pinning and the preening done
The woman stood and waited impatiently for the teeth to seperate
The new zipper making a soft munching sound between the satin and the bugle beads.

“Well I need it done tomorrow instead of Friday.’

“Yes ma’am, ” my mother breathed, “but that will be-”

“Not extra, I won’t pay it” And the woman wrinkled her nose and sniffed disparaging,
“I can’t bare the smell of cabbage, how can you eat it so often.”
The woman stood there in her bra and girdle
Unashamedly aware of no one there.

When she left my mom plopped on the stoop.

“She’s quite a piece of work,” my neighbor laughed, “Wish I had just one rock half the size of those she was wearing in her ears.”

“I don’t much like diamonds,” my mother replied, touching her hand to her neck
As if remembering a time
When the flowers men gave her
Didn’t bloom blue beneath her left eye.
“I had pearls once.”

The beads were pink
And 3.99 plus tax and required a sisterly co-conspirator for the ransom.
The tag said “Santa Claus” that Christmas morning
When I was six.

Prompt 2 Write about changing your opinion
Heart Change

Zack was my best friend in a childhood parsimonious with friendship
Bought by my father to hunt birds, a pedigree and blue ribbon progeny
Who herded me away from the ditches and crosswalks
while parents were busy with important adult things
I was just 12 when I woke to be told he was gone.
No good-byes.
I cried inconsolably and ate a bottle of baby aspirin I stole from the neighbor.
I threw up and no one knew
And I swore I would never love again.

 

When Buster first appeared,
We were still we
And all love lasted forever.
Sick with the desire to please,
I agreed
And I said the dog could stay
If you kept him off the bed.

Now his golden head drapes across my ankle
Warm brown eyes smiling approval as I drift towards sleep.
I think of him then,
The vector for this, my most infectious love.
And how you again gave me forever.

 

Prompt 3 Write about something trending

 

 
My response to Day 4 prompt of a “place” poem in 31 in 31 at Poewar.com, plus a bonus poem!
Lighthouse Rock

I smelled of Jean Nate and Fresca
You of collar starch and bottled beer
Each time the ocean crashed against the rock
And seaweed reached between my toes,
You tossed another swallow back
And I blinked the spray away from tearful eyes.

“Why are you crying?” You asked, puzzled only, not afraid,
Used to the quick and constant turn of tides.

“All this,” and I motioned,
Trying to encompass the enormity of light, and color and form.

Knowing I could not help you understand
The choreography of gull and wave and sand,
I merely said, “it’s OK, it’s a good cry.”

“You’re silly,” you said and tossed your empty bottle,
messageless,
upon the retreating sea.

The fire and violet dimmed at world’s end
And the cold of the granite clawed hard at my buttock
Ignoring my corduroy jeans.

“Also, you’re a senior, ” I said.

“So?” The first shade of caution in your eyes.

Dropping your hand I raced back up the dirt path
Avoiding the sumac and poison ivy wearing their first full day of green.

“Last one back to the car is a rotten egg!”

You caught me and we tumbled together there
All legs and lips and jeans
Till the stars sang of curfew
And home.
And the tide in full retreat
Began to rise again.

 

Prompt Day 5: Here is a composite picture. I wrote from a patients personna but then rewrote till all identifying info was removed. Almost all of my patients have some degree of vision issue, hearing problems, and tracheostomies. Some are completely dependent on vent and feeding tubes, depending on the nurse even be moved; others only use the vent at night, some are now vent free and some even eventually walk. But ALL have personality, likes, dislikes, fears and favorites. I hope I did them justice.

 

Occupational Therapy

Music is playing as I lay on my back and respond with my body to the
Colors and lights and sounds.
Footsteps, I feel them as much as hear them grow closer,
Even though the new hard plastic things are already shoved in my ear.
Two people, one grandma, one a stranger.
I hear those sounds again as Grandma’s voice rumbles
My name, I know my name in all its versions,
Elizabeth, Lizbeth, L’il Lizzie, Hush Lizzie, Poor baby,
But she says my favorite “Pretty Betty Butterfly”
Only Grandma calls me her “Pretty Betty Butterfly.”
I turn my head trying to catch a glimpse of the other, new voice,
it is soft and full of small sounds. It’s mostly Grandma talking.

“Cortical Blindness”
“Anoxic Brain Injury”
“Difficult delivery, lucky they both lived”
It is grandma’s voice, but those sounds make it sad.
I know the sounds but not what they mean.
I know sad,
I know happy,
I even know mad.
I know Grandma
And mother
And hungry
And full
And light and smells and warmth of arms.
I know I like Elmo, and Daniel the Tiger.
I start to chirp my tracheal Grandma song.

But now there is a new voice.
I am cautious, and close my eyes, pretend sleep.
Because I also know pain.

But there are no bright lights or biting smells
Just the press of the thing against my chest and my belly.
I am uncertain, afraid
But then there are arms holding me and the voice knows how to lean into the parts I can see.
Her hand puts my one hand on Grandma
And moves her other hand by her chin, her mouth.
Then I am sitting propped in her lap,
She takes my hand and touches Kitty,
my other hand touches my face, just below the nose
(I know nose)
and my hand moves sideways in the air,
I think she wants something from me
So I try to raise my own hand to my face.
Over and over we touch things and move our hands.

I like her smile, and her singing
And I want to tell her that
But mostly I want to close my eyes and smell her shirt
And dream.

 

Prompt 7: lists

Five

Five minutes
Five tasks
Five objects each task
I count the cups as I wash them
1..2..3..4..5
Then count them again as I dry them
5..4..3..2..1
Folding five towels
Five items from gravity storage to destination
Five uniforms ironed
All to forget that outside
A man was just murdered
By his memories,
So technically a murder/suicide.
They say he went to the gas station and called 911
Then returned to stay with her until they came.
He had her blood on his hands
And his own pouring out from his stomach
Not at all like the TV
No need for music swells to set the mood.

The cop who wrestled him, banging loud at my door
Asking questions
I say I know nothing
Because at that moment all I know
Is the need to lock my door five times when he leaves.

Five episodes
Not even the Doctor or Torchwood
Erasing the memory
Or stopping the rocking
I am not here but there again
Counting the hands and the bodies
Playing a sorting of colors
Like human M&M’s.

Five breaths
Five minutes
Five corn chips

Five dishes
Five letters started and shredded
Five random posts onto face book

I walk the dogs
Counting my steps
In sets of five
Five more minutes
I can be OK, in five more minutes
In the meantime, five quick games of Words with Friends

Five seemed to choose itself as my magic number.
Three was not enough to soothe me
Back when I picked a cap for my compulsive behaviors
And six just too many
I still had children to raise and life to live and function was my highest priority
Only later did I equate it with the elements
Earth, Fire, Air, Water and the One Spirit infused in all
But sometimes instead of counting I say them.

Five more steps, five more minutes, five more bites
When I am reaching
Anyone can eat a whale, five bites at a time.

And only five when I am coping, forgetting
Remembering I am alive.

Five words
As remedy for my PTSD diagnosis,
“And this too shall pass.”

Prompt 6

 

A Poem after Meditation
The tingle starts at my largest toe;
My right foot is slightly bigger than my left,
And more calloused.
It is always that toenail on my outsized distal phalange
That I sacrifice to long distance running;
When I can run
Which isn’t today
But I wish was today
Which is why
I am sitting
And breathing
In
Out
In
Out
In

Out

Out

I am my breath.

Empty of expectation
I find that center again
Where something more than I resides

Quan Yin smiles from my altar
The music playing her chant is somewhere far outside me
Until the final chime

The unfolding into the world begins again
With stretches and steps I can take
While my soul prepares to run

My old poem was about the bleakness of an old dead tree in spring.

October Tree

Camouflaged amidst the newly winter widowed and almost child leafless trees
The un-growing oak cradles a newly pregnant squirrel
In its hollow places;
Myriad bugs build shelter, eat
Reproduce
And are eaten
In the city beneath it’s loosening bark.
Creating civilizations,
While the rest are mourning leaves.

Prompt 8 Write an elegy, which is where I got stuck.
Suzanne’s Elegy

In preschool you already knew that tilting your head to the side made adults stop and stare
Large brown eyes and elfin face, hair like night,
Daddy’s princess and Mommy’s most wanted baby girl
We all heard the story again and again about the miracle of you;
I might have resented you
But I, too, was enthralled.
Always the same
Everyone’s golden girl,
The one we loved best
And rescued, and pampered, and pretended was whole.
You were always singing and laughing
Hiding your pain in your humor and music
In the end you took your own life
When your final misadventure took its toll.
It was this time of year when your daughter died.
Not yet 18 and hit by an inebriated driver,
We all put our differences behind to bury her
And make memorial Rosita Kittens at the Tennessee mall Build A Bear.
Was it that loss and that memory that pulled you deep into the well of despair that fall?
Or was it everything, maybe nothing at all?
Depression is like that, unpredictable,
Yours as dark as your childhood suns were bright.
And you did your own unpredictable medication routine
With your equally unpredictable and cruel husband
Bearing his beatings for the feel of the elixir he brought in your veins.
I will think of you each autumn and swing in a swing,
Tell a punny story,
Maybe climb a tree
I will remember you as a child
As a teenager singing about the small house of Uncle Thomas
On your high school stage,
Young mother with the shining eyes of joy,
Danielle’s mother at her graveside, shoulders bowed in grief.
I will not remember the bruised face and arms
The lies and attempted manipulations,
Or the times you stole money, or refused to leave
As anything more than symptoms of your disease.

 

 

Prompt 9 is my metered poem, and there is a bit of poetry geek humor Which I hope makes up for its purely punny message.

Epic Elegy

I stopped his leap at yon Meyer’s bridge; yet our poor hero fell
No epic deeds, no Latin tongue, no mourners, no church bell knells.
Herman’s bridge the footing slipped, momentum gained, grip lost
Homer’s form free falling now to history truly lost.

 

 

Prompt 14 Let’s repeat ourselves for art

 

Rainy Night in San Tan

Beside the light that stops my homeward progress,
A billboard family promises the “lasting lifestyle that love makes,”
While wet ammonia slams into my nostrils;
The future suburbs stockyard past bruising my senses, watering my eyes.
The beasts themselves long since became burgers, beefy fast food fare
Or Johnson Steak House fresh filets.
The land sold during the building boom stands vacant
except for the faded plasterboard promise,
And memories bitter perfume.

 

 

American Nightmare

Wake in panic, sweat soaking the bed, body screaming formal commands to neither move
Or remain still;
The burner cell phone blinks green but
Every voice mail is just one more bill collector
And the ghoulish green lights up the
Stapled papers from the door reminding me that tomorrow
I lose everything. Eviction
Or pay
But that was yesterday
And the money ain’t coming
But any way the new day is here .
Roll over to syrup brown eyes and feel warm licks to the hand
And smile as Janis voice breaks across the tinny speakers of the AM/FM clock radio
“I guess we got our freedom,” I say and fluff his ears,
Knowing we were just casual visitors to this stable middle class life
And today we return to our roofless home
Less the peripheral accoutrements of the American Dream.
I contemplate
Calling Goodwill at the crack of dawn to come take it all
Except for the clothes and the dogs in the car.
But then I shut off the phone
And roll over and go back to sleep,
For four more hours I can pretend
And believe,
But knowing whatever the miracle looks like
We’ll still have each other
And I’ll still have me.

Endangered Species

Sometimes the bravest thing I do all day
Is wake up.
On days like these
I pace the confines of my safety,
Unsurrendered.
More Northern White Rhino than Arabian Orryx,
I crumble under your constraint
Dreading the cost of this kindness.

Hi Ho!

Yup, working another 40 hour week this week. Not up to overtime yet, but pulling a full week again.

Also actually introducing some of that “D” word back into my life, Discipline. Seems the more D I have the more Happy I have as well. So…..

Back to sleep by 9 PM and awake at 4.

Stretches, rolling, meditation (coffee!), healthy breakfast and homework are the perfect way to start my SOFT day.

3 times this week I will walk 3-5 miles, already accomplished it once!

I have often dreamed, of a far off place

Okay, maybe it was the timing, or the plot but I am NOT a fan of Disney’s “Hercules,” however, I do love this song.

“I am on my way
I can go the distance
I don’t care how far
Somehow I’ll be strong
I know ev’ry mile
Will be worth my while
I would go most anywhere
to find where I belong

I will beat the odds
I can go the distance
I will face the world
Fearless, proud, and strong”

Kind of been my theme song in my head the past few days. I have been feeling very overwhelmed. I have some new big ideas, dreams, and just as I started moving towards them the reality of the immensity of those dreams came crashing down onto my motivations back.

My internal dialogue went something like this, “My weight is back to 227. I am tired all the time. The new love of my life and my roommate both prefer pleasure foods. My pulmonary and cardiac health are permanently screwed. My pain is 6-8 out of 10 all the time so I can’t do anything. I am too broke to see a chiropractor. Maybe its not worth it to….. and on and on and on.” All the excuses I had accumulated over a lifetime, some even borrowed from other people, came pouring out of my brain into my personal journal.

And wow! I looked at what I had written and wondered who I was trying to kid.

It is true that friends can facilitate my poor nutritional choices but they are MY choices all the same. I was sick again for three days, just a cold, but the respiratory portion made it hard to climb stairs, clean, pretty much do anything but knit and watch television and my pain was up to 6/10 with OTC pain meds. So for those three days, NO movement, house progressively messier, no energy to clean the chihuahua and cats mess either, and blah blah blah….but here is the kicker. I was just as sick before my Sprint Triathlon and once I started moving and improving I stopped getting sick like this.

I am currently in Physical Therapy for my back, hips and knees and the are going to add upper back.

I am not sharing this to complain so please bear with me, I am just giving a baseline for others out there who like me, get all there shit in one sock for a few minutes, then lose it again.

Not how many times we fall, it’s how many times we get back up.

I am making three goals public!

My main man and I are in a contest. He has to lose 50 pounds and I have to lose 35 (same percent approximately of our current body weight) First one their owes the other one game of their choice from the Game Store.

So that is my first goal!

Lose 35 Pounds.

Second goal.

Swim a mile without a rest.

Probably one lap at this point, but first to find a pool to swim in…

Third goal: Complete all three college courses with an A.

Right now I am off to see BAM, TAM and Mr G and Saja and help with some yard work

No worries, I will get another entry into the fairy tale this week, not that anyone is asking.

Please leave a comment here on what excuses you are kicking to the curb, or pretty much anything you want to say. I love to hear from my readers.

When You Wish Upon a Star, Makes no difference who you are…

…she realized she had spent too little time recently in daydreaming or wishing with her heart.

Her dreams now, even at night, were absent or were filled with running, running away from the wolves, running to find the solution, running from a hurricane only to be pulled under by flood waters or sometimes she would stop and turn because she wanted help and saw a friend, so she would stop running, and turn and then she just get shot in the chest.

It was always one of the same two friends firing the bullet.

The other dream she had repeatedly was being given a precious little toddler to care for, and then having her attention drawn away by a thousand other tiny tasks, or her Prince’s kiss or even a Remarkable Shiny Thing. The distractions were varied and multiple but they always led to the same result. The baby would cry, and she would come back, and the baby was somehow tinier and weaker, and there was no food. In the dreams she would then just breastfeed the starving baby, until her mind would break in and remind her this was impossible; cancer took her real breasts years ago, she had no milk to give.

She knew the baby was her “better self,” the one who bravely completed things she wasn’t good at like triathlons. The baby was the part of her that never made promises it couldn’t keep, paid its own bills, focused on helping others, found the good in every situation; knew it wasn’t important who was to blame or who was right but but important to assess the actual situation and find a solution. Grandma knew that the baby was her SOFT Hero and her hero needed nurturing.

The rest of that dream would then become running here and there trying but never finding milk for the baby, because something was always wrong.

Looking at her “20 Wishes Book,”*** Grandma realized what was wrong.

She had a really big problem.

Her problem wasn’t the lack of income, although finances had not been this bad since she had children at home.

Her problem wasn’t her health, although her mind, body and heart had all been dealt significant and almost mortal blows this calendar year.

Her problem was not the world, not her friends, not her enemies and definitely not her situation.

Her problem was simply her fears; fear and some poor choices surrounding that fear, and not having the foggiest idea where she was going.

The grandma knew her dreams were telling her that her heart absolutely DID NOT like a lot of things about where she was in life and she needed to find the right direction, but in dreams just as in life, to get the right directions you have to have a destination.

So the portly little Grandma put her mobile phone down, shut off the television and computer and poured herself a nice cup of tea. She closed her eyes and followed Ilyana VanZants guided meditation for “A Perfect Day”, then began to page through her book to see which wishes she had fulfilled, which needed some more visuals (She loved to cut and past collages from magazine pictures since childhood and found it a really fun way to recycle magazines and figure out what she was actually drawn to in life, not just how others thought her life should look) and which wish would be her next great adventure.

After all, when you wish upon a star it might not matter who you are, but it does matter what you wish!

***I made my first 20 Wishes Book a few years ago, the idea is from Debbie Macomber. If like me you are struggling with depression and/or chronic health issues (I have both) I highly recommend reading her little romance of that title. If nonfiction is more your style find a self-help book on vision boards.

A Dream is a wish your heart makes

Once upon a time……

There was an intelligent and reasonably attractive plump little grandmother with life altering chronic illness (she never liked the word “terminal”, after all everything ends and she did not love redundancy just prodigious verbiage) who lived with a roommate and their dogs.

Wolves prowled at the door constantly but so far they had been kept at bay enough to keep a roof over her head; faith and good nutrition were the only answers still available (not one to do something medical just to be doing something) at this point for her issues but she still was functional so she didn’t mind.

A Prince had recently been hanging around her cottage and she was enjoying the company and attention, and well she loved her life even with the wolves and owing all the villagers.

However, she did not want her story to end, and knowing that what keeps a story going is the next great adventure, the grandma sat down to plan hers.

First she opened her “20 Wishes” book……

Our life together is so precious together, we have grown

(Just Like) Starting Over was a number one hit this time of year in 1980, it was the lead single off the new Double Fantasy album and John Lennon had just been shot. I loved the song while I mourned his death. It is a song I associate with this time of year, like “Favorite Things,” not actually a Christmas song but I still always put it in my December playlist. I have started over again, and again, and again.

In 1980, every time I sang along with my AM radio, I truly felt that I was getting my second chance in a life that had up to then been pretty traumatic. I fit in my skin and I felt loved, and safe and useful.
I was honor graduate and a recent NCO and I was madly in love and recently married. I had reconnected with my family of birth, felt loved and supported by my foster family the Urbanawiz, and had just learned I was pregnant.
Life couldn’t have been better.

Something happened the following spring that changed everything. What happened is not the point of the blog, but in that moment the old me ended and I believed myself worthless and for the next year or so behaved accordingly, as my life, except my work and my writing which suffered but survived, fell apart and away from around me.

But I started over.

Christmas of 1983 was spent with Bill’s parents, I had two amazing baby boys, a husband who I knew loved me, even if he had a bad temper and a tendency to wander into other women’s arms. My writing was still earning me a bit of money and acknowledgement, my family of birth and I were actually pretty close for a change, Connie and Ed, my foster parents, were being the parents I wished I had, my skin might not fit but I felt loved and useful and almost safe.
The following spring I was alone with another child on the way, no idea how to survive the crushing emotional and financial burden of truly single parenthood, but I tried, I truly tried to hold it all together as my life, except my writing and my work at the VA which suffered but survived, fell apart and away from around me.

Then I started over.

December 14 of 1988 my children were finally home after a year long separation from me (the persons bringing the suit on my fitness lived out of state, so the boys were in state custody for their protection) It was a bloody and vicious court battle (his side, I had no lawyer) in which every mistake from my past was dragged up and thrown at me on the stand and even I became convinced that I wasn’t the best thing for them after all. But mostly I loved them and the judge said the only way they could be together for Christmas was if one of us stopped fighting. So I said if surrendering my rights would get them a good, safe home with the Bartleman’s I would stop fighting and sign. Which I did.
I said Good-bye, tickets were bought, and the day they were to fly out, the Guardian Ad Litem got a phone call from a very drunk and angry man (who used unapproved by court language) to tell her that it wasn’t a convenient day for them to arrive. I had exactly 7 days to get together a household that could pass court inspection, but I did, and the boys came home for good. I felt grateful and so full of love and very, very scared.
That spring I was in a full time position as Director of Volunteers at Catholic Community Services and life was really, really good. I was still frequently scared and overwhelmed but I was doing this thing called life and all my sons were healthy and growing and happy.

I was truly starting over, this would be the winning chapter of my life.

Except my life story is more like a GOT novel than my preferred Tolkien or L’Engle or even Lewis novel.

So many more restarts in my life I could make this the longest blog in history, because as often as I fall or get knocked down, there is again “starting over.”

A year ago today, on my way to someone’s house to drop off some organic produce, I was rear-ended by a possibly drunk hit-and-run driver, which began my toughest year yet. January 1 in the same emergency room in which I had been treated I watched a code blue run on a little angel, after 3 fruitless but heroic hours, first her parents and then I held her lifeless body as my heart broke along with all the others who loved her.

Since that opening of the year, I have moved twice, been first on the scene in two rather gruesome crashes and provided first aid, witnessed a violent suicide, and helped a man in the road who had been assaulted until the cops and ambulance arrived. These opportunities to be a good samaritan cummulatively have made my PTSD the worst it has been since 1981. And add in that I have had a return of my rather big share of physical medical issues.

As of today, my GFR is borderline and my anion gap is too low, my blood pressure is through the roof and I don’t know yet if the drugs that may save my life may inadvertantly take it.

Nothing makes it harder to enjoy your own excess and good health than another’s poverty and suffering so I try to keep a low profile socially.

My sisters and I are in touch and we love each other which is good. My sons remember that I exist off and on when I remind them, although they are usually too busy to help or socialize unless its an actual holiday, even than its my DIL that invites and only at the last minute. But they are my kids, so I still love them to the moon and back. And i am very proud of how their lives are unfolding. They may not think much of me, and maybe I deserve that, but I think I have pretty awesome kids. So family this year is good. I love my family to the moon and back, twice

My writing except for some poems in October and a half finished novel in November are a complete no go.

However I love my job, I am useful there and my inherent silliness is a bonus. This week I am even going to try 40 hours of work as its my second week of treatment break, and they really need me.

Also this year has reaffirmed that I have the best friends in the universe, this universe or any of the other Geek universes I regularly visit. In no particular order – Sara, Laurie, Cathy, Amie, Pat, Regina, Jen, the Videans, Angela and Amie (and others I am probably forgetting) have literally and figuratively saved my life and its general accoutrements this year. I love you guys to Gallifrey and back.

Gil, and Saja, and Bam, and Tam get special notice for always making me welcome, inviting me to visist if its been more than a few days without seeing me, and most importantly of all is they way you are so willing to accept the time and efforts I can share. I cannot think of a more special title than Nanna Jo, and you make such an effort to include me, even this year when I know how much easier it would have been to do otherwise. Love you guys to the moon and back by train, twice!

And yes, I have another scan Monday morning, this time to look at my bones and back. (Playing my own medical game of “Where in my body is Cancer San Diego?”) But my tongue is flat, my spirits good, and every morning I wake up and see the face of someone I love its just like

Starting Over!