Moon Rise

Last night there was a beautiful full moon in the sky. As we have had off and on rain for a few days, the moon rose up through the silvery curtains of the clouds. When it finally broke free, it was radiant.

I have loved the moon all my life, and when it is at its fullest, it is truly glorious. Each stage of the moon; crescent, half, three quarter, full—all are lovely and evocative. I can’t remember when I didn’t love the moon.

When there is a full moon, I can usually see only one star far below it. It is just as if the stars themselves pay homage to the full moon by letting it have its own space. I know many people who wish on stars; I wish on the moon.

Years ago I was lucky enough to work with the Barnstormers the summer I graduated from high school. It was a wonderful theater group in Tamworth, NH, directed by a wonderful man, Francis Cleveland. During the week we put on “Our Town,” there was a full moon.

As we all walked home that evening after the show, two of the older actresses stopped and looked up at the moon for a long time. One said to the other, “it’s just not the same since they walked on it, is it?”

She may have been right, but even today the full moon is just as beautiful, mysterious and captivating as ever. We now know that there are possibly hundreds of millions of universes, trillions upon trillions of stars and moons; more than we can possibly imagine. But for us on our own little blue planet, the moon is a reassuring presence that promises not to leave us.

Take a moment tonight to enjoy the full moon; it’s well worth a look.



The Lifeline of Friends

If you’ve been kind enough to read my blog (and thank you if you do!), you will know that I believe in the Japanese “red thread” theory, which reads:

*”The two people connected by the red thread are destined lovers, regardless of place, time, or circumstances. This magical cord may stretch or tangle, but will never break. This myth is similar to the Western concept of soulmate or a destined flame.”

**”One Japanese legend tells of an old man who lives in the moon and comes out every night to search among kin spirits to reunite them on Earth, who have something to learn from each other, and when he finds them he ties a red thread to them so they find their paths.”

Ever wonder why you feel an instant attraction and kinship to someone you’ve just met? It could be due to the red thread theory. Even the opposite: should you meet someone and dislike them on sight, it could be due to the same theory.

Whether or not we believe in the red thread theory or past lives or reincarnation, we can’t deny that we naturally gravitate to some people. We may meet in childhood and carry on our friendships as we grow. Or we may develop a closeness later in life to someone we may not know yet.

All I know is that the friends I have are a lifeline. Whether or not they are those cherished friends whom I met in childhood, friends I met later on in life, or even my “radiation buddies” I met only two weeks ago at the hospital; friends are lifelines. Friends are the ones who ground us, who lift us up, who listen and care, who have seen us at our worst and still love us.

We may not see eye to eye on some things, but we don’t let that divide us. I have a small handful of wonderful friends who mean the world to me. They have helped me, accepted me, supported me, loved me when I couldn’t love myself, and comforted me and lifted me up.

It isn’t called a lifeline for nothing. I am more grateful than I can say for the lifeline of friends in my life.

*From Wikipedia and **


2:00am Pancakes and Bacon!

No, this isn’t a recipe; it’s sheer madness. For some strange reason, the Crankee Yankee and I woke up around 1:30am or so the other night. We started talking, which attracted the cats, who thought that it was time to eat if the humans were up.

Then I remembered the two packages of bacon in the refrigerater, and we looked at each other and said, “PANCAKES AND BACON!” Since we don’t use maple syrup, we have maple agave, but there was only about a fourth of it left. Then I remembered the blueberry compote I had bought at Stonewall Kitchen (and also the sour cherry one as well).

We do have tons of blueberries in the big freezer downstairs, but it was too much bother to go dig them out. So, with all five cats circling our legs and inhaling the bacon fumes, we got all the bacon cooked and ready to go.

We decided that pancakes were too much work, so we decided on french toast. That’s all I really remember, because all of a sudden, I woke up on the couch with at least one cat drooling on me. The others were sleeping in the bed with the Crankee Yankee.

Once the cats were fed, the Crankee Yankee made some heavenly french toast, and enjoyed it with the bacon. Besides, who says you have to wait to fix bacon in the late morning, anyway?

It was just one of those crazy nights where the kitchen was filled with the heavenly sent of bacon at a crazy time of night, everyone was up and no one complained (as if I would ever complain about bacon!).

And when you think about it, it’s just one of those magic times when rules do not apply, when you know that you can get right back into bed if you want to, and when you just don’t give a hoot about ironclad meal times.

Sometimes sheer madness tastes the best.

We Love What We Love

I am a Doctor Who freak; I’ve watched all the Doctor Whos from Tom Baker on up. I also love the Sarah Jane (one of the Doctor’s companions) Chronicles. My hands-down favorite doctor is Doctor Who #10, David Tennant. I even occasionally wear my silver cuff bracelet with his quote engraved on it: “wibbly wobbley, timey wimey stuff,” and my other silver cuff that reads his standard battle cry, “Allons-y!” (French for “let’s go!”)

Because of this, I have every consideration for all those who love going to Comic Con conventions, *Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter conventions and the like. We all have our favorites, and personally I think it’s pretty cool when people go the distance to make their own costumes, war gear, wands and robes and so on. We love what we love; we just can’t help it.

And frankly, there should be no need to apologize for what we love. If role playing Star Wars characters or medieval knights and warriors are your thing, then go for it. I love people who truly commit to their passions.

Too many people scoff at those who throw their hearts into their characters, and call them “weirdos” or “freaks” or “childish adults” or whatever—if this is truly your passion, then embrace it. It is a whole lot of fun to take some time off from the real world to play in your own “**holodeck.”

Say what you will about these brave and dedicated souls, they are completely immersed in a world that they have chosen for themselves, and they love it with all their hearts. For example, if I had the great pleasure and honor of traveling with Doctor Who #10, I’d go in a heartbeat.

Ah well, it may be fantasy or fun, but there are hundreds of thousands of people who embrace these not-so-secret lives. It may be the only real fun that they have. So why make fun of them? We love what we love. Some of us just can’t help it.

*When I lived in Texas, I actually went to two Star Trek conventions. I got to see Brett Spiner (who played “Data” in “Star Trek the Next Generation”) one year, and Marina Sirtis (who played Deanna Troi, also in “Star Trek the Next Generation”). Both of them were very personable and answered lots of questions from the crowd. They appeared to enjoy themselves fully as much as the “Trekkies” did!

**From Wikipedia: The holodeck is a fictional plot device from the television series Star Trek. It is presented as a staging environment in which participants may engage with different virtual reality environments. 

Giving Back

When we can give back,

Give with love.

When we can give from our hearts,

Give with sincerity.

When we can give from a place of peace,

Give kindly.

When we can give back a favor,

Give it with joy.

When we can give a gift,

Give it with pure pleasure.

When we can give with happiness,

Give it with good intent.

When we can give with no expectation of reward

Give it with grace.




A Hairy Retrospective

I have rarely ever met anyone who loves their hair. Mostly it’s women, but often it’s men as well. I have seen women who have hair I would love to have—and guess what? They hate it. I would have loved to have had long wavy tresses that flowed down my back like a gorgeous river. But no—my hair has always been short because of my inheritance: each and every female in my family had/has thick coarse hair like mine.

When I was in my 20s, I let my hair grow to a shoulder-length pageboy style. My ultimate goal was to have a pony tail. Well, guess what—the pony tail was massively thick. In fact, when I tried to put an elastic band around it, the elastic band broke and ran off into a corner, sobbing.

Worse than that, I felt like I had a very hot hat on my head. It was horrible. The very next day I went to a salon and got a short haircut. Soooooo much better.

I used to work with a beautiful young woman who had the kind of hair I wanted; waist length, shiny and silky deep brown hair with golden highlights. I told her how lovely it was, and she rolled her eyes. She said that just a simple shampoo, hair-drying and styling took her nearly an hour! AN HOUR!!! Who has that kind of time?

A few months later, she was in a car accident and broke her arm. She could not manage her hair on her own, so her husband, a big fan of long hair, had to take care of it for her. He had told her for years that she should never ever cut her hair, that he loved it and couldn’t imagine her without it.

Well—after two weeks of washing, drying and styling her long hair, he begged her to have it cut. She went to her hairdresser just as fast as she could, and came back with a beautiful shoulder-length hairdo. Her exhausted husband loved it, but not as much as she did!

I would say that most of us get more upset about our hair that about our weight. Seriously, hair is a major issue. If we are born with curly hair, we want straight hair. If we are born with straight hair, we want curly hair. In college I watched more young women wear orange juice cans in their hair so that in the morning it would look naturally wavy.

And does anyone remember those hellacious wire and brush rollers? It’s a wonder that I don’t still have dents in my scalp from sleeping on those torturous things in high school. My mother set her hair in pin curls, which to me was just one more pain-in-the scalp.

I have to say that these days women of all ages have freed themselves from the shackles of trying to make their hair do things it was never meant to do. I want to cheer for every girl or woman who proudly flaunts the hair that God gave them: curly, straight, long, short, shaved, funky, daring, dyed, and so on. Just the other day I was admiring a woman who had a head full of bouncy light-brown cascading curls. She looked absolutely gorgeous and proud of herself. (She should be proud; she looked amazing!)

There are women who dye their hair with different colors and look fabulous. I bought myself some temporary hair mascara; one hot pink and one purple. Like mascara, it has a wand, and you simply stroke the color on wherever you want it. I have some silver hair around my temples, so that’s where I put it. It looks fun, and with one shampoo, it’s gone; no big deal.

So ladies, what do you say we stop hating our hair, and start loving it instead? Try a new style or color or shape or just something different. If you don’t like it, hair grows back. Sometimes it’s fun to just break out your freak flag and fly it proudly.




Have We Come to This?

“A dying culture invariably exhibits personal rudeness. Bad manners. Lack of consideration for others in minor matters. A loss of politeness, of gentle manners, is more significant than is a riot.” (Robert Heinlein)

This quote gives me the shivers. It seems to me that we are perilously close to this description. Manners seems to have gone by the wayside, rudeness and selfishness are rampant, politeness seems to have taken a holiday, and driving these days is getting more and more aggressive.

The very words “please” and “thank you” are getting pretty thin on the ground. People who might be perfectly nice on their own turn into savages on Black Friday, or any other time when there is something they want, and they want it NOW. Children have learned that shrieking and crying and throwing things gets them what they want faster. Many parents are barely parenting these days.

But for me, the worst indicator of how our culture is changing is the way people drive. Case in point: I was driving behind someone just the other day on the highway, and it was obvious that he/she was either texting or pre-occupied with something other than driving. I hung back just as far as I could while I watched the vehicle swerve into other lanes. It is frightening how common this is.

Also, it seems as though people these days are just looking for a reason to get mad at something, someone, anything. I don’t engage anymore while driving; it’s too dangerous. I do not flip anyone the finger, I don’t do the hands-in-the-air gesture meaning ‘what the hell is wrong with you?’ If someone behind me is crowding me, I take the first opportunity to let them pass me if I can.

It isn’t that I’m some kind of goodie-goodie, it’s just that I’m afraid of retaliation. These days you just don’t know who might be at war with the world and is looking for a fight. You don’t know if someone driving nearby is holding a loaded gun; it’s better to just not engage.

Back in the stone age when I was learning to drive, you let people go in front of you with a smile. Generally, the recipient smiled back and waved a thank-you. Also, when you were out driving, most people were smiling anyway. They were out of the house, driving somewhere and enjoying the experience. There was no speeding up to grab a parking spot before anyone else; none of that. Time was slow and fluid, and no one seemed to be in a hurry. It just seems today that no one has a bit of patience.

These days I have seen drivers who never look behind them when they back out of a parking space. I have seen people nearly run over because the driver couldn’t wait for them to walk into a store.

Worst of all, it seems that everyone everywhere swears; not just the occasional ‘damn’ or ‘hell,’ but some pretty crude language. Saddest of all, this crude language does not stop in the presence of older women or men, or small children.

How did we get like this? These days everyone seems to want to pick a fight, and most people look angry all the time. Why? When did life become so terrible that we have to be rude, crude and nasty to each other?

So, here’s my question: are we becoming a dying culture? It sure seems that way. What a shame.

Miss You, Dad

Today makes one year since my dad died. The Crankee Yankee and I were honored to have him in our home for the month and two days he was with us. It was a joy and a pleasure for us all.

We developed our own routine, and we all adjusted very well. Dad couldn’t eat very much, but we had a good time making things he liked. He liked hot dogs, french toast with blueberries, vanilla ice cream, soups, salads and toast. Never a big eater, he was happy with our impromptu menus.

As time went on, he was in bed most of the days and nights. We had Hospice come in for him, and he enjoyed the help and attention. We devised a “call” system for him so we could help in the nights when he needed it. We started with a bell, and then switched to one of those little air horns. We all thought it was funny, but it worked.

There came a time when he refused food, saying that he needed sleep more than food. But occasionally I would tempt him with a homemade cookie (he loved my chocolate chip ones) or some ice cream. Come to think of it, I haven’t made cookies of any kind since.

It was both a sweet and sad time, but we were grateful for the time we had. By the time Dad was in our home, we had taken care of all his paperwork, we were in the process of selling his house in Wolfeboro, and we had everything that Dad needed.

The Crankee Yankee was always there to help get him out of bed when necessary. He loved Dad, and Dad loved him. There were many times when I could hear them talking together, and the sound of their voices made me happy.

The only thing that seemed to bother Dad was the constant rain and gloomy weather. How I prayed for just one sunny day so I could put up the shades and he could lie in the sun. I wanted so much for him. Even though he was nearly bedridden, I wished so much that we could have taken one more ride around the ocean, and to see Wentworth By the Sea where he and my mom had had so many lovely overnights. I wanted him to have just one more lobster roll, one more plate of clams, and one more day of sunshine.

I was alone with him he passed on peacefully. He looked like a little boy who had had a big day and fell asleep. There was such peace in his face, and I knew that he had been ready to go for a long time.

While I cried for the loss of my father, I rejoiced in knowing that he and my mother were finally together again. He had missed her dearly since she died on December 16, 2015. They were perfect for each other, and perfect for me.

I miss him and my mother, but I know that we will all be together again someday. I believe with all my heart that love lives on. The love we keep never leaves us.

Radiation Nation

As you may know from some of my posts, my mammogram this year showed DCIS (Ductal Cancer In Situ). What this means is that the cancer cells are encapsulated in or around the milk ducts in the breast, so they don’t go anywhere or spread. If you are going to have a cancer, this is the one to have as it is pretty easily treated.

If you too are facing this, please know that there are hundreds of thousands of us soldiering on with it. The advances made in breast cancer is phenomenal!

In my case, this is the second round; I had it first in 2015, and had a lumpectomy (which always sounds to me like they take a melon baller and just scoop out the bad bits. Thankfully, this is not so). This time I had another lumpectomy, and, just to be sure, I am following up with radiation and after that, Tamoxifan.

Now that I am healed up from the surgery, I just began radiation. I am only one week into it, and the newest protocols say that 20 sessions are plenty (it used to be 33). So that’s a good thing.

So, if you are curious, this is how “radiation nation” goes:

  1. You will first have a “radiation rehearsal.” This means that the nurses will take you into the radiation area, and get you set up on the table (which is surprisingly comfortable).
  2. They will make a few tiny dots with a felt marker so that they can pinpoint the beam to the right area.
  3. If they have to move you down or sideways on the table, they will ask you to just “lie heavy,” which means don’t move; let them do all the shifting around.
  4. They will explain how the radiation is directed to the area that needs it, and, depending on how much needs to be done, give you a time estimate. For me, it turned out to be only about 2-3 minutes. Easy-peasy.
  5. When you go in for the real deal, you will be met with wonderful and kind nurses who will answer any question and keep you as comfortable as possible. They are great at telling you all the details of what you can expect.
  6. When you go for your first radiation treatment, just relax into the table and close your eyes. Personally, what I see behind my eye lids is a gorgeous red when the radiation begins. When it’s over, I see a beautiful turquoise color.

The nurses and your doctor will keep you up to speed on what to expect. Some people become tired post-radiation, some don’t. Some will feel sensitive in the radiation-focused area, some don’t. Should your skin become sensitive, let the nurses know and they will suggest various lotions to try out (BTW, they will give you literature on this). For me, Eucerine works fine, and a little goes a long way.

After I get home if I find that I am tired, I lie down and rest for a bit and/or read a book or watch TV. In my opinion, I look at radiation this way: it’s a tool that fights the cancer for you. In my head I feel that the radiation is sending me soft and warm healing light. If you go into this with the idea that you are going to receive something good, something healing and helpful, you will feel much more relaxed.

You may also wish to consider a support group during this time; it’s up to you. You can ask at the hospital if they have such a group, or if not, they can tell you where you can find one. I am finding that I am meeting a few very nice people who are also undergoing radiation, and we enjoy chatting with each other. In this battle, we are the warriors whose weapons are our medical staff, radiation and our loved ones.

Keep positive, be informed, ask questions, and be prepared, not scared. Please know that you are not alone. We are with you in mind and spirit, and we will get through this together.