Could be the Lupron

Summer and the Radiation Moon

OK. Stomach still unhappy. Fatigue as I go up the stairs to the loft. Flickerings of something hot, as if the oven’s warming up.

When I told Gilroy my symptoms yesterday, “Not stomach upset for radiation. Some bowel trouble, diarrhea, later. Maybe you caught a bug?” Could it be the Lupron, I asked. “Hmm. When did you, oh, July 18th (a day after I started the radiation). Let’s see. Oh. Well. With Lupron the testosterone stays the same for first two weeks. You’re in the transition, between week three and four. Yes, this could be related to the Lupron.”

Not fun. Not awful or impossible, but not fun.

Yesterday I listened to the Rolling Stones. I now close my eyes, grip the ring for my hands, and listen to the music, getting lost in the rock and roll. The time passes very quickly. I’m up and on my way. After this week, I’ll be just a bit over half way done.

I’ve also noticed some mood changes, not sure yet whether they’re related. Thoughts going a darker, quicker. Got an e-mail from two of my good friends from seminary with whom I’ve lost connection over the years. She’s doing quilting and Japanese dying and he’s become a free lance illustrator. They both have a great looking web presence, grandkids and live in Cambridge, Ma.

So, the obvious thing is, they’re life’s better than mine. I didn’t do anything. Well, no, that’s not the obvious thing, but it is where I went. That sorta thing. I usually don’t slip over to envy about others. A fool’s game?

The tunnel has gotten a bit narrower, perhaps for a while. Gotta pay attention.

Bytes and Pixels

Summer and the Radiation Moon

Zoom, zoom. Zoom. From the land of First Light to the top of Shadow Mountain, two in the land of sky blue waters. Friends. Bytes and pixels. Sight and sound. Remember when video phones were still a thing of the future, the distant future? We knew somebody from Bell Labs would create them, but when?

Still no flying cars, but there are multiple instances of the video phone. Zoom and Skype, for sure. Kakao, which allows full on video calling. I know there are others I haven’t used.

These forms resolve one of my problems with the old, voice only phone. No facial expressions. No interaction of a bodily nature except for vocal cords and the ear. Too thin for me.

We spoke of gum and sealing wax and other fancy things. Laughed. Nodded when we gave our ideas about patriotism. Complicated, as Mark said. Mostly we reaffirmed our friendship, saw each other in body and soul. A fine thing to do on a Sunday morning. The church of friendship.

In trying to get back to full bowel readiness for the 4th chapter of the Radiation Tales I went too far. Body rebelled. Nausea. (OMG! Is this a side effect? God I hope not.) Finding the balance for preparations is not easy. Pretty sure I brought this one on myself. In bed early with no supper. Stomach still ouchy this morning. Insulted.

It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood. Expect to hear Mr. Roger’s, “Won’t you be my neighbor!” Toot, toot of the train.


Summer and the Radiation Moon

The Radiation Moon will take me all the way to August 1st, within 5 days of the finish. The Algonquin’s called it the Thunder Moon. In the traditional Chinese calendar the July moon is the Ghost Moon. The Hungry Ghost festival follows in August, now the month of the Ghost Moon. Thundering ghosts radiating from the heavens. Or, hells.

Last radiation day this week. July 4th long weekend ahead. Breakfast with Alan at Dandelion.

Not sure what we’re going to do for the 4th although we have never gone to fireworks. Crowds and up too late. In Andover we could see the fireworks the city put on from our house. Later, we could hear the fireworks loving neighbors displaying what they’d found. Meanwhile the dogs would cower in their crates or up against our legs.

Monsoon rains

In the fire prone foothills fireworks displays are often called off. This would be the year for them, since the fire danger is much less than usual. The monsoon season is here already with afternoon storms. You’d think the added water would get the fire danger back down to low, but it’s been stuck at moderate for the last week.

Trump’s very big, biggest ever, best ever fourth of July celebration. With tanks! You can see his mind turning over television news clips of military parades in Hitler’s Germany, North Korea, Russia, even some European countries. Oh, boy. Look at us. Big missiles! Big tanks! Lots of soldiers! Flags. We’re patriotic. We love America. Enough to put on a big fancy beautiful wonderful moment. When will it ever end?

Back to the Inner Glow

Summer and the Recovery Moon

And, summer. A warm week ahead. Of course. Mountain weather. Great sleeping.

My first weekend respite from the radiation is over. It’s off to Lone Tree and Anova around 11:10 or so. Have to get gas. Burn through a lot of the fossil fuel with an hour commute. But, it is in a nice car. Back on the Beano, only drinking tap water. No seltzer. Bubbles.

The Gleaners, Jean-Francois Millet

Sunday is my rest day from working out. I read. An essay on charity and justice in the Torah parshah for Kate and mine’s bagel table on September 14th. These suckers are long. In this instance Deuteronomy 21:10–25:19. It contains the most laws of any parshah in the Torah. The charity and justice essay is a reflection on the laws concerning gleaning.

Then, some art criticism in a book Hot, Cold, Heavy, Light. Peter Schjeldahl. This guy is a genius. Wonderful, short essays on contemporary artists and their work.

Finally, a couple of articles on what conservatives are up to intellectually right now. It seems Trump has unveiled cracks in a conservative consensus begun around the time of William Buckley: a corporate oriented focus on the economy, a robust military with a kickass foreign policy, and conservative social values. Simpler times, man. Simpler times.

A CBE friend brought over a blueberry lemon pound cake and a large plastic container of serious vanilla ice cream. She’s in cancer treatment right now, too. We talked for an hour or so until Jon, Ruth, and Gabe came up to take another run at the serious clog in our bathroom sink.

He knows a lot about houses and their inner workings. I don’t. With Ruth and Gabe’s help the three of them spent a lot of time in our crawl space first with a snake, then with Drano, then with the snake again. It was a stubborn clog, mostly hair, I think. They persevered and got it. Yeah!

I made mashed potatoes with cut up steak from yesterday’s left overs. Broccoli florets. Ice cream, as you might imagine, for dessert.

Getting a plumber up here to come by for such a small task is difficult. Only a few good ones up here and they spend most of their time on remodels and new construction. They work in small jobs when they can. Good thing Jon could help.

Ruth decided to stay all night so she can help us today. I hope she and Kate can get back to sewing.

All is Well

Summer (at 33 degrees and a prediction of snow?) and the Recovery Moon

King Ramkamhaeng stele at Sukkothai

“There is fruit in the forest, there is rice in the field, there are fish in the river. All is well.” King Ramkamhaeng, of Thailand. Brother Mark sent this quote from a 13th century king of Thailand. When we discussed simplicity at the Mussar Vaad Practice group, we noticed that abundance does not contradict simplicity. And, that complexity doesn’t either. Chaos and ingratitude contradict simplicity.

In the book Simple Abundance, there is a line that Rabbi Jamie quoted: “First comes Gratitude which leads to Simplicity that gives us Order that brings us Harmony that shows us the Beauty which opens us up to Joy – and we live happily ever after.” I just ordered the book so I can’t say where she goes with this, but I like the thought.

It’s tough in ‘Murica to take in this thought. He who dies with the most toys wins. Winning, you’re gonna get tired of so much winning. Success is achievement is money is power is life. What else is there?

Only the important stuff. Like love, justice, compassion. The definition of leadership ginned up by the rebel Leadership Minneapolis class Paul Strickland, Sarah Strickland, and Lonnie Helgeson were a part of. The whole volunteer board got fired after trying to integrate this idea of leadership back into the organization. Back in the 1980’s.

A friend who’s just coming out of her cancer journey observed that being sick had forced her to pare away commitments because she couldn’t rely on herself to keep them. I made the same decision when I resigned from teaching at CBE in February though the decision related more to Kate’s illness than mine at the time. She went on to say that now that she had begun to recover she could choose how to complicate her life.

Illness, serious illness, can have the unintended, but salutary consequence of driving us toward simplicity. I’m taking in this lesson right now. Kate and I had one life before Sjogren’s, before the bleed, before cancer. We’re still in it, that paring away of commitments and even domestic responsibilities. It’s an opportunity. What kind of life do we want post-illness? (if we are fortunate enough to recover, and I believe we will.)

Joe and SeoAh

We’re both grateful for the way friends and family have shown up for us. SeoAh’s coming to stay. CBE dinners and constant offerings of help. Tom and Mark coming out in January. Then, joining Paul and Bill in our monthly meetings on Zoom. Jon and Joe have picked up tasks around the house. Jon was just out to try and unclog a stubborn sink drain.

We’ve had to consider which household tasks are necessary and which can be set aside for a time. Cooking, cleaning, laundry, doing the bills, buying groceries, key maintenance tasks, yes. All the rest can wait.

By September, lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise, Kate may be over a hundred pounds and back to sewing. Probable. I’ll finish radiation on August 6th and Dr. Gilroy said it usually takes about a month to get back to feeling normal. September might be the time for us to reemerge, out of this illness chrysalis.

The Lupron is a wild card. I get my second injection of September 24th. Not sure what I’ll be like, but I’m hopeful I’ll feel well enough to get back to those aspects of life Kate and I choose to emphasize. September 28th, four days after my second Lupron injection, will be the anniversary of Kate’s bleed. 9 months ago this week.

But, even now, to paraphrase the King, “There’s meat in the freezer, vegetables in the fridge, and bread in the bread box. All is well.”


Summer Solstice and the Recovery Moon

This morning

Black Mountain has a wispy cloud draping over its peak, moving slowly toward the northwest. The greens this summer, with so much water, are intense, Hawaiian. The lodgepoles are a deep dark green, the aspen groves a yellow green spotlighted by the sun. The grasses are lush, the dandelions abundant, cheery dots of yellow.

The white cloud dances with the blue sky, revealing it now, obscuring it. It’s another cool morning, 43. Perfect for sleep. The mountain streams continue to flow fast, white where they hit the rocks, still not full with the snow melt proceeding slowly. On the way to CBE yesterday Kate saw a cardboard sign, hand lettered, Slow: Fawns.

And, snow is in the forecast for this weekend. Yes, on the day of the summer solstice, weather5280 predicts snow that might hit us. Snow. The fire hazard signs are still on low, have been since March. Never this far into the summer. I’m grateful for the wet, for the dampening of wildfire probabilities. One less thing.

Patsy Cline

Day 5, fraction 5, of the 7000 cGy prescription. After today’s isotopic rain, only 30 to go. The weekends are off. Time for the body to rest, they say, though I imagine not running a seven day a week practice has something to do with it, too. Pandora so far: The Band, Baroque, Coltrane, Patsy Cline. Haven’t decided about today. Maybe Izzy.

No side effects so far. Early days for both the radiation and the Lupron. Feels like I have a job. Get in the car at a certain time each day, navigate four lane highways to Lone Tree. Same exit, same turns. Same office. But in this case I don’t have a job, I am the job.

The Beano seems to work, suppressing the gas which screws up the Cyber Knife’s navigation of the volume created by Dr. Gilroy. The Miralax helps as well. The calcium/d3 pills are horse pills, almost as long as a finger joint.

Mussar Vaad Practice group, MVP, last night. Rich Levine led a wonderful session on simplicity. Kate and I went for the second time in a row. Still wears us out. Finished at 9:30 pm, way past both our bed times. Here’s an interesting statistic, of the 10 of us in the MVP group, two of us have active cancer right now and one is in remission from breast cancer. 30%.

Cracks Filled With Gold

Beltane and the Recovery Moon

Comment and response:

Tom and Mark at the Boulder Tajikistani Tea House

Tom Crane said:

It seems we are all becoming wabi sabi humans. Or Velveteen rabbits. The same perhaps. Deepening the love for ourselves and others, wearing the roadmaps of our lives for others to see while we sort through the inner souvenirs, not so visible.

Love and blessings, Charles.

Charles says: June 4, 2019 at 10:37 am (Edit)

I agree. Third phase life, done well, could also be called the Velveteen Rabbit phase. When we become real to ourselves. The cracks in our lives mended with gold, their existence treasured. Even the impermanence of life becomes beautiful, a frame for the whole. Our imperfections, flaws, mistakes as crucial and necessary as our achievements. We see that now.

The Mountain Way

Spring                                                                                 Recovery Moon

Kate, BJ, Ruth, solar eclipse 2017 at BJs Idaho house

Kate, BJ, Ruth, solar eclipse 2017 at BJs Idaho house

Kate’s sister BJ comes tomorrow for the weekend. She and her s.o. Schecky were out here in September, a planned visit to see our house, but they came the day Kate went into the hospital. They took me to a Japanese restaurant for sushi the night Kate had her hemicolectomy. It was a kind thing to do. I needed the break. Look forward to seeing her.

Had lunch with Alan Rubin yesterday. He’s auditioning for a part in Cabaret, another Ovation West production. You might recall he was in “Funny Girl” which Kate and I saw last fall. He’s taken to retirement by becoming a performer. Taking voice lessons, learning music theory, and this year becoming President of the Ovation West board. He and I were teaching the religious school class until I had to quit due to too much stuff going on at home. A good friend.

John came by and fixed my john. Apparently I blew the seal plunging out a clog. Geez. Water under pressure is powerful. Just ask all those folks in Nebraska. Interesting article about the one guy who manages all the Army Corps of Engineers dams on the Missouri River. He chooses whether to let dams fail or send more water downstream to already flooded farms and towns. Another one the next day wrote about the 25 states under risk for extreme flooding as this winter’s cold begins to loosen, melt snow and ice. When a severe winter like this last one thaws, if it comes too soon, the water hits frozen land. No buffer in the land, just like flooding a parking lot.

Walking and Hiking in Bear Country   Your neighborhood is bear country, too!

Walking and Hiking in Bear Country Your neighborhood is bear country, too!

Up here getting a tradesperson out to the house, really tradesmen since I’ve not yet encountered a female plumber, electrician, handyman (though I’m sure they exist somewhere), often depends on a personal relationship. Herb, of H2O plumbing, ignored my phone message. He didn’t remember that I was the guy who lived in Andover when he lived in Nowthen. When I got him on the phone, he remembered and got a guy over here in two hours. Like living in a small town.

The mountain way. Had to take the garbage and recycling bins back inside the garage. The bears are awake. Bears can smell food, the Colorado Dept. of Natural Resources says, from five miles away. I still don’t let the dogs out at dawn or dusk because of mountain lion predation. All the critters are hungry as the snow melts, food’s been a scarce resource for a while now, just like every winter.

Toward Evergreen

Toward Evergreen

Another interesting part of the mountain way, driving up here. Roads in the mountains, except for I-70 are neither straight nor multiple lanes. Hwy 285, a divided four lane now past Conifer, devolves into a curvy up and down two lane (with the occasional passing lane) as it heads toward Bailey and Park County. The rest are two lane, no passing, winding. No sight lines beyond the next curve up and down.

It took a while to learn, but there is a code. Leave the person in front of you a healthy distance since deer or elk might be standing in the road around the next bend. Don’t go too fast or too slow. Stay alert. If somethings ahead, either wildlife or Jeffco sheriff’s deputies, blink your lights at oncoming traffic. This confused me at first since it was the signal you had left your lights on back in the old days before car lights turned off by themselves.

Two sorts of drivers violate this unspoken code. The first, most of us grant license, are tourists. We have two spots on Black Mountain Drive/Brook Forest Drive (same road), Upper and Lower Maxwell Creek, that draw crowds from the Denver area each nice day. There are also folks staying in Evergreen in one of the many cabins or motels who wander out of town for a drive in the mountains. Many of these drivers brake at every curve, even going uphill, which is silly since the mountain will brake for you if you let up on the gas.

Guanella Pass, 2015

Guanella Pass, 2015

The second type are residents who have to get down the mountain thirty seconds faster than you do. They’re the ones who’ll put you in danger. I haven’t seen it, but others write of people who pass them. Passing on these roads is like spinning a roulette wheel with your life and somebody else’s. Others will crowd up on your bumper. As if that changes the physical reality we both face. Flick their lights in your mirror. You know.

Mostly driving here is sedate since the roads don’t really offer a safe alternative. I like that since it gives me a chance to savor the rocks, the trees, the peaks and valleys while moving at a speed safe enough even if I encounter a bouncy young fawn or calf or a whole herd of elk.





This. That.

Spring                                                                         Recovery Moon

We hit 58 yesterday, predicted 60 today. Snow piles melting, but plenty of snow remains in our north facing backyard. I took a chance on the ice dams, hoping they’d disappear before any damage was done. Not my brightest move ever, but while I was sick  dealing with the company who would have had to clean them off  and while we were contemplating moving overwhelmed me, and I went into stasis on them. So far, it’s ok. Sometimes you get lucky.

Brief political note: we have a President who’s proud he wasn’t found smoking gun guilty of collusion with a foreign power. Any other president, ever, would have been sunk by the very implication of a treasonous act. How he can be so puffed up about this escapes me. Life in Trumpworld is life down the rabbit hole. The Red King says off with his head!

After my third cancellation due to illness I’m going in Thursday for my new workout. My o2 sats have been low, but not dangerous, then middling, but ok. I think working out over the last four years has kept them in safe territory and I’d like to put that concern to rest. I’ll check them over the next month or so as I return to a more active life. BTW: Kate says my reasoning about a 93% sat in a 75% reduced o2 environment is not sound. “It’s not a linear process,” she says. Makes sense. Still, life in thin air has an effect and not a positive one on 02 saturation.

Just back from my monthly THC run to Bailey’s Happy Camper. Great views of the continental divide, many peaks covered in snow. Their inventory is always in flux and though we prefer Love’s Oven, I had to settle for a couple of brands I don’t know, Green Hornet and Wanna. It still feels a little strange to get in the car to go buy marijuana. No baggies on street corners. No phone calls to your buddy’s dealer. Just walk in, say I’d like this and this and some of that. Pay. Walk out.

Lunch with Alan today at the Lakeshore Cafe in Evergreen. Looking forward to it.



CNS. Bombogenesis.

Imbolc                                                                                   Recovery Moon

I’m ready for my third recovery in a month and a half. Looking forward to it. Not yet. Buddy Tom Crane should be on the road to recovery under the recovery moon, too. Kate’s gaining weight. Maybe a trifecta here.

cns challengeToday is chicken soup day. I have a simple truth organic chicken thawed in the refrigerator. It comes out to warm up to room temp. All the ingredients are here. I had to go buy some peas yesterday since I used the original pack in the fried rice I made. Friend Bill Schmidt looked up the Gold’n Plump Chicken soup recipe. It was there, floating out in the internet’s wide reach. It’s simple. Much as I do it now though I’ve added a tweek or two. Some garlic. Deglazing with white wine. Paul Prudhomme’s Chicken Magic. Kate had the bright idea of making our matzo balls green since the CBE competition is on St. Patrick’s Day. I’ll offer green matzo balls and egg noodles as additives.

A great day to make soup. Gonna be a big storm, already underway. Maybe 6-12 inches. Record low barometer readings. One reading in Kansas is lower than any data point in 140 years. Bombogenesis* may happen here. It’s been a good year for the snow pack with all watersheds reporting at least 127% of median years. The all important Colorado River basin is at 136%. Hoping this storm adds to those percentages.

Still generally demotivated except for home, Kate, and dogs. This will lift.

20190312_083623Mary, she persevered. Sister Mary. When my father died, she insisted that he had a portion of an oil well that should come down to herself, Mark, and me. It took her some time and some legal work, but I got in the mail this week three letters from Roan Resources detailing how we make our claim legitimate.

This oil well is in Canadian County, Oklahoma and I have no idea how Dad became a part owner. He and his siblings were all on it. I remember very well our first check, it folded out seven times, was from Sinclair Oil, and was for fifteen cents. Dad cashed it and gave the money to us kids for bubble gum. Of course, we’re now dividing his share into three, leaving us each with what Roan say is a 0.00015625 percent interest in the well. Probably not gonna get rich.

This means we own land in Texas and have oil well shares. I’m not heading over to the Cadillac dealer quite yet.


*”Bombogenesis, a popular term used by meteorologists, occurs when a midlatitude cyclone rapidly intensifies, dropping at least 24 millibars over 24 hours. A millibar measures atmospheric pressure. This can happen when a cold air mass collides with a warm air mass, such as air over warm ocean waters. The formation of this rapidly strengthening weather system is a process called bombogenesis, which creates what is known as a bomb cyclone.”  NOAA