• Category Archives Health
  • Cancer Dancer

    Samain and the Choice Moon

    Tuesday gratefuls: Dr. Eigner. Retiring. Testosterone. Rising. Thanksgiving. Urban Farmer. Ruth and Gabe. Tomorrow. Tom. Diane. Alan and Joan. Today. Rabbi Jamie. Tonight. Mezuzahs. Learning the shema in Hebrew. Snow. Driving Mountain roads in Snow. 76. Mountain life. Wild Neighbors. Adapted to the Snow and cold. Humans, in our artifice. Vince and his girls. Fixing the strip in the lower level.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Good medical care

    One brief shining: Not often, no, but yesterday hunger rumbled my stomach as I drove to my appointment with Dr. Eigner, the last one, and I pulled into Wendy’s, got a Dave’s single and a chocolate frosty, finished the hamburger in the car before I went inside, the frosty when I came back to the car. Not my preference, but. Fast. Food.

     

    Dr. Eigner walked in looking fit. You’ve seen your numbers? Yes. They’re good! He’s always cheerful at any apparent good news.

    PSA .04. Undetectable. Testosterone. 31. You see your testosterone is increasing? Yes. The good news is you’ll have more energy, gain some muscle, maybe some weight. (I don’t want to gain any weight.)

    And, the bad news is that the cancer has food. How long will it take for my PSA to go back up? When do you treat me again?

    Great question! The question. And I won’t answer it.

    Oh.

    Because there are three variables. How high is your testosterone? How much did the PSA increase and how long did it take to get there. So. If we said we’d treat you at 2 and your PSA stayed at 1.9 for three years, then went up to 2? We wouldn’t treat you because it took a long while to there. If, on the other hand, you come in next time and your PSA has increased to .4? We’ll probably treat you.

    With what?

    Orgovyx and Erleada. The same ones you were on.

    Well, I guess this is good-bye.

    Yes. I wish we hadn’t met, better for you. But since we did, I’ve appreciated the time I’ve known you. You’re a good man, Charlie.

    You, too, Dr. Eigner.

    I now understand this dance. With advanced prostate cancer the idea is off the drugs until the cancer recovers, then back on them or something new that’s come on line. Thus, cancer as a chronic disease. A new world for cancer patients. Living with the disease rather than dying from it. As long as possible. Kathy. Diane. Judy for five years. Mike. Dave. People I know.

     

    Breakfast with Alan and Joan this morning. Rabbi Jamie comes tonight to hang the mezuzahs. I’m going to get a cheese pizza. He eats eco-kashrut.* Doubt I’ll get there though I get it and it would be better for me.

    Looking forward to having these markers of my added identity put up. I like the way they honor the concept of thresholds and liminal places, reminding me to make going out and coming in a sacred moment.

    Gradually adding practices to reinforce and deepen my choice.

     

     

     

     

    *Eco-Kashrut, also called the Eco-Kosher movement, is a movement to extend the Kashrut system, or Jewish dietary laws, to address modern environmental, social, and ethical issues, and promote sustainability.[1]

    This movement began in the 1970s among American Reconstructionist Jews, and eco-kashrut or eco-kosher approaches enjoyed a resurgence in the 1990s with the work of Reconstructionist rabbi, author, and activist Arthur Waskow. A third wave of the eco-kashrut or eco-kosher movement began in the mid-2000s, spurred on in part by a series of kosher production facility scandals.[2]

    …More recently the movement has been championed by other Kosher-keeping Jews who strive to eat only food that has been ethically and sustainably produced, and ideally, locally sourced.[6] Eco-Kashrut also finds expression in the sharing of sustainable shabbat meals.  wiki

     


  • Missing Art

    Samain and the Choice Moon

    Wednesday gratefuls: Choosing Judaism. Nov. 28th. Temple Emmanuel. Mikveh. Beit din. Blood letting. Rabbi Jamie. Mezuzah hanging Nov. 21. CBE. Luke. Feeling better. Leo. And his friend the Corgi puppy. Gracie, Anne’s dog. Marilyn and Irv’s Australian Shepherds. Kippur, Rich’s new dog. Kep. My sweet boy. And Kate. Always her. Rembrandt’s Lucretia. Goya’s Dr. Arrieta. Beckmann’s Blind Man’s Buff. Kandinsky. Bacon. Close. Augustine. Aquinas. Chardin. Tillich. Whitehead. Evans-Wentz.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Blind Man’s Buff

    One brief shining: Missing this morning access to the Art Institute, those hallways filled with art become good friends, relationships that repaid frequent visits with new insights: Goya gripping the sheet as Dr. Arrieta treated him, Lucretia bloodied by her own hand after being raped, the tall red figure with flowing yellow hair in the Kandinsky, new acquisitions, new shows being installed.

     

    On the personal health front. Yet again. My first labs after stopping all treatment for prostate cancer. Undetectable PSA! Still rock bottom low testosterone. Good news. And the echocardiogram. Nothing serious as near as I can tell from the report. Dr. Gonzalez will let me know.

    Back to normal. Do back exercises. Workout. Try to eat right. Maintain low stress levels. See friends. Write. Read. Sleep. Repeat. All calm here.

    Goya, Self Portrait with Dr. Arrieta, 1820         Minneapolis Art Institute

    As you might have noticed, I’ve felt nostalgic this last few days for my time as a docent at the MIA, the Minneapolis Art Institute. Art occupied an important spot in my life before my twelve years at the museum and only became more important during that time. I grew to understand and appreciate a much broader range of artistic expression across many different cultures and time periods. What a lucky dude I was to have that experience.

    I’ve been a sort of Twin City’s snob here in Colorado. The Denver Post is not a good paper. I really don’t think it is, but when Marilyn told me she wrote for it, I backtracked, owning prejudice. Not that the Star-Tribune is a Des Moines Register or New York Times, but still… Also, the art scene here. Especially the Denver Art Museum. Not an encyclopedic museum. Stuff hung poorly. Bah. Humbug. No Guthrie or Children’s Theater. No St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. Also, further in to any of these things from Conifer than from Andover.

    Result? I’ve let my art world experiences wither. An important part of my life gone. Want to remedy that. Not the Denver Post. But the DAM. Live theater. Jazz. Which is quite good here. Means scheduling time to go and actually going. A bit harder solo, but not much. I don’t mind night driving. I don’t like it, but I’m not impaired. I have the money, the time. And, the art world I can visit during the day. Maybe schedule an art day a month? Something like that.

    Ever since I quit the MIA because the docent role had changed and not to my liking, I’ve had this feeling. Now almost eleven years, perhaps a bit more. Time to wrassle this bear to the ground.


  • I call bullshit

    Samain and the Choice Moon

    Tuesday gratefuls: My son. Jon’s estate. Probate. Still not over. Good sleep. Luke. Tarot. Astrology. Jamie. CBE. Becoming a Jew by choice. Israel. Hamas. Gaza. War. Peace. Gravity. Epigenetics. Genetics. A Long Day’s Journey Into Night. Angels in America. Oedipus. The Bacchae. Jason and the Argonauts. Odysseus. Telemachus. Penelope. Eumaeus. Jesus. Paul. Luke. Mark. Matthew. John. Moses. Abraham. Isaac. The angel at the Jabbok Ford. Struggle. Revelation. A calm heart, a clear mind. Palestine. The Nakba.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: My son as Jon’s probate representative

    One brief shining: Jon died over a year ago, his ashes remain in a plastic box on a shelf here in my study, his retirement account and mutual fund account still frozen by his death, messages flickering back and forth among my son, Jen, a financial advisor, and me the last details of a life cut short by angst and meth.

     

    Colorado law on beneficiaries after a divorce. Complicated. Paper this and paper that required. Divorce decrees. Powers of Attorney. Copies of a pension plan document and a mutual fund document. Then decisions up the ladder in a financial affairs company. All will work out. In time. So. Many. Steps. My son, a saint for his brother whom he loved unconditionally.

    Many twists and turns among the living. Those I know. Many. Late life gender transition. Brain bleeds. Illness. Joining a tribe. Monitor Lizards and Monkeys outside a Malaysian home. That white Camel Mark has befriended. APEC in San Francisco. Bringing the U.S./China tension close to home.

     

    Call from my doc last night. All will be well, all manner of things will be well. Sort of. We’ll check my blood panel again in two months, ratchet down my Synthroid dose to 100 micrograms from 112. Echocardiogram today to check out that aorta and the walls of my heart. Had my blood drawn yesterday to check PSA and testosterone levels. Exercising. Sleeping well. You know. Old people stuff.

     

    I push back against thinking young. I’m not young. I’m 76. I’m old. I want to think old in a healthy, vibrant way. I want to be who I am without needing to reclaim past eras of my life. Sure I have my medical issues. Most of us do at this age. Yet I get up each morning, write, eat breakfast. Go about my day as a man, an adult responsible for himself, his house, his relationships. I have assets that the younger me did not have and could not have. Stored knowledge. Experience of joy and grief with enough of both to know how to navigate them. With authenticity. Long friendships. Having lived long stretches in different places. Deepened inner knowledge.

    No. I do not want to be young. Do not need to be young. I am me. At 76. This may seem like a trivial distinction but our culture, even some of the medical advice I see wants me to turn my gaze back toward my forties or my fifties, to imagine myself living as that man did. In that way we live longer, better. No. I live best by knowing who I am right now. And living my best life now. Other cultures, most cultures, have know this to be true, obvious. Revered the elderly. Ours tries to rip our wonderful reality out from under us in the name of long life or psychic well-being. I call bullshit.

     


  • Some Exercise, Some News, Some Celebrating

    Samain and the Summer’s End Moon (1% crescent)

    Sunday gratefuls: The Wizard of Oz. The Seventh Seal. Wild Strawberries. Casablanca. Dracula. The Wolfman. Horror of Dracula. Seven Samurai. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Time the way it comes. Not by fiat. Wendell Berry. Rilke. Cold Mountain. Hokusai. Giotto. Tolstoy. Nabokov. Whitman. Frost. Wordsworth. Coleridge. Cezanne. Monet. Van Gogh. Rodin. 1001 Arabian Nights. The Odyssey. The Iliad. the Divine Comedy. Shadow Mountain. Downtown condos.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe:  Feeling stronger

    One brief shining: The treadmill comes to life, its broad rubber belt whirring on its neverending round, my tennis shoes hit it, again and again, my leg gets a hitch, muscles warmup and the morning’s workout has begun.

     

    I’m beginning to dig myself out of the deconditioned hole I dug for myself over a long period of avoiding resistance work. I no longer feel weak, unable to do things. I’m stronger and less achy. Even my dingy left elbow seems to have improved. Three workouts a week, starting with resistance after a brief warmup on the treadmill. Then cardio afterwards. About 50 minutes total. This week I plan to go to three sets of resistance and one additional day of cardio only. My mantra has become, it’s worth it. And boy is it ever for me.

    My mood also improves because moving sends those endorphins to the brain. Yeah. That’s part of it. Another bigger part is the tangible improvement in my day to day. Another significant contributor to an elevated mood? Knowing I’m taking care of myself. Put those three together and working out becomes worth it.

     

    A week filled with news from folks I know. Paul’s brother, Joe Strickland, got removed from his episcopate. A long time acquaintance decided late in life to transition from male to female. Kate’s sister Anne had a brain bleed requiring a couple of holes in her head to reduce the swelling. Jerry had foot surgery. A friend had the first signals of getting old. Should he keep his keys? My boy and Seoah spent three days in Okgwa over a long Veteran’s day weekend. Diane mentioned San Francisco’s preparations for the APEC summit there this next week.

    Life pulses, throws changes at us daily. We have a chance to be new each morning because the world is no longer the same as it was when we went to sleep. And, neither are we. That river Heraclitus mentioned. Ya know?

     

    We’re getting close to my favorite period. Holimonth. When the temperate climates show the world what it takes ritually to survive four seasons. Thanksgiving. Advent. The Winter Solstice. Christmas. Yule. Kwanza. Divali. Hanukah. Gregorian New Year’s Day. The Posada. The Epiphany. It’s the best time of the year. For me at least.

    We take a deep bath in the mythic world of God’s born in humble places, light driving out darkness, darkness triumphing over light, family, long pilgrimages and sudden awareness. Great music. Food. Entertainment. Seeing family and friends in a festive setting. When Holimonth’s over we can move into the next year reminded well and often of the amazing, the wonderful, the loving.

     

     

     


  • All Green

    Samain and the Summer’s End Moon

    Wednesday gratefuls: All green on my protein panel. Cardiology Now! Next week. Also, labs for Eigner. The great wheel of medicine keeps turning. Never an unmedicated moment. 28 this morning. Good sleeping. Moving on. Tinned Fish. Kimchi. Brown Rice. Working on that diet. Dazzle with Ruth next week. Winter weather advisory. Democratic wins.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: All that green

    One brief shining: A slight rise in my anxiety titer (Kate’s phrase) as I clicked through the sign in gateways for Quest Diagnostics, opened the results page knowing that finally my protein panel findings were there, scrolling down to get them, fist pump, all green, all findings in the normal range, all of them, even the gammaglobulin which was low last time, and my anxiety quieted, relief.

     

    Still not sure what took the Quest folks until yesterday to complete those tests. My doc’s nurse called them and they said oh that test can take 7-10 days. Then the results were available later in the afternoon. Only five days after they got my blood. ? Anyhow all’s well that ends. And this did. At least for now. Still doesn’t explain my anemia so I imagine we’ll have to track that down. Echocardiogram on Tuesday will look at my aorta, apparently enlarged, and the thickened walls of my heart muscle. Who knows what that will show? That same week I draw labs for my last visit to Dr. Eigner, my oncologist, who retires this January. This will be my first PSA since stopping chemo in August.

    I’m grateful to have a team that looks after me, sees to these matters. Yes, I’ll grouse about the tests and the appointments but that’s just noise. I’m an old man but not a dead man. They help me stay that way. What’s not to like? I mean, really.

     

    Politics. Good news on the Democratic front. Looks like abortion has women and their allies fired up. Three elections in a row now look good for the Democratic party. And look good for 2024. With the exception of Joe Biden. Whom I think is getting a raw deal from the electorate. His economic policies and his foreign policy have been masterful. I admire his finesse and nuance. Sure, he’s a center right guy and not at all representative of my deepest political values, but as a President he has far outperformed expectations. Far.

    Yet as a politician he’s responsible for seeing that his political wins, and they have been many, translate into electability. He’s failed there. Not sure why. Trump to some extent, yes. His age. Probably.

    I hate to say it, but I’d like to see him replaced. We need a candidate who can stiff arm Trump, gather up the working class wins of the Biden administration and turn them into a renewal of a working class constituency. Not to mention fence mending with the Black community.

     

    I would still have been in Israel today. Flying back on the 11th of November. Odd to contemplate it now.

     

     


  • Health and War

    Samain and the Summer’s End Moon

    Tuesday gratefuls: Dr. Gonzalez. No new info on tests. Cardiology Now. Gammaglobulins. Too much medical stuff. A day of reading. Emily Wilson and the Odyssey. Righting myself. A good workout. P.T. exercises. Renaissance music. Early music. Jazz. Chamber music. Reading about Jewish life cycle events and conversion. Joan. Rice cooker. New red kettle. Cool nights. Good sleeping.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Darkness

    One brief shining: Sat in the Stickley chair, opened Emily Wilson’s new translation of the Odyssey to where I left off on Sunday, dove into the world of Odysseus and his time with the Phaecians, including the beautiful princess Nausicaa whom the brilliant Japanese animation artist Hayao Miyazaki used to name his heroine in Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind.

     

    Emily Wilson’s new translation of the Odyssey is so good. I’m excited all over again about Homer, Telemachus, Penelope, Odysseus, the Greek pantheon, Olympus. What a treat.

     

    No news on the medical front. I sent an e-mail to Dr. Gonzalez this morning wondering about it. I’m not liking the accumulating medical news. The enlarged aorta found by the Korean family practice doc. A need for an echocardiogram. A thickened heart muscle. And then the whole immunoglobulin thing. Not to mention my damned back. Gettin’ old. Older. So much stuff to keep track of, to follow up on, to treat. I need a medical secretary.

    Wondered after this last round of medicine if the statistics about caregivers have begun to catch up to me. I thought I handled my role well, that is with the least stress possible, but perhaps I was wrong. Kate’s final illness was stressful, no doubt, for her and for me. And it did occur co-terminously with my own treatments for cancer. I suppose all of that could have made my body more vulnerable, less able to fight off insults.

    Whatever the causes, I’m now wrestling with more of this and that. I feel good. I feel healthy. Go figure. My mood is good. Not melancholy. Not fearful. Going on with the day to day. The way I want to live. Live until you die. That’s my mantra.

     

    Pro-Palestinian, pro-Israeli, anti-Hamas. I feel Israel’s response is disproportionate, violating the rules of war, and of human decency. It is not, however, genocide. Israel is killing civilians in a military operation against Hamas. Not. The. Same. Thing. That slogan inflames an already flammable debate.

    Another slogan: From the river to the sea, we want equality does suggest if not genocide, then a full elimination of Jews from the Middle East. It is anti-semitic and dangerous. The idea beggars history. Leaves out why the world thought Jews needed a homeland and a homeland in an area where their history lies. Why the U.N. and the U.S. supported Zionists. Leaves out the fact that the Palestinians have time and again said no to a two-state solution. It is this frustration with a long and bloody history that drives Israeli’s anger and pushes them past the point of reason.

    I’m not excusing the Israeli government’s behavior. Not at all. But this Hamas instigated war has not occurred in a historical vacuum.

     

     


  • Aural Prompts

    Samain and the Summer’s End Moon

    Monday gratefuls: Val. Who I think may have been hitting on me. Bless her heart. Zojirushi rice cooker and its first brown rice. Equanimity. Silence. Faith. Middot. Mussar. Emunah and Clouds. Hearing the Voice of the Wind, of the Snow, of the Wild Neighbors, of the Storm. Life in its immediacy. Life as a temporary gift. To cherish. Renaissance music. Cool nights. Gregorian chants. Chiropractors. Ellen and Dick. Heidi. Mountain Jews, my community

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Right now

    One brief shining: The crucifix, bronze and distressed, hung high above the five singers dressed in white tops and black bottoms, two good friends, Irv and Joan, both Jews, joined I learned later by at least one other Jew, as they sang, paradoxically, a high mass from the time of Queen Elizabeth the First, the haunting medieval music somehow transcending time and faith to place us all outside the Episcopal Church in which they performed and in that pure realm of music’s ethereal and ephemeral reality.

     

    Went to St. Laurence Episcopal yesterday to hear the 27 minute performance of Irv’s Renaissance singers. One of its members referred to what they did as serious fun. I’d forgotten how much I enjoy medieval music, early music. Reminded as they sang evoking both a time long ago and yet a time relevant to the present moment. This music is, to my ear, sparer than most later music, focused on a spirituality, not only tonality. I could feel as I listened the voices of the thousands, millions perhaps, that had sung and will sing about the world we rarely see because we know not what to look for. Tibetan and Buddhist chants. Throat singing. Jewish services. Black choirs. Voices raised in cars and at home. We need these aural prompts to sharpen our sight, to encourage us to see what we are looking at.

    Afterward a wine and cheese reception at Marilyn and Irv’s. I got there a bit late because I went home to pick up a book for Joan, a contemporary Korean writer’s short story collection. When I walked in the crowd had already been hitting the wine, so the first hello Charlie got taken up by others, then everybody. Hi, Charlie! I felt well welcomed.

     

    And, no. No news on the testing front. Still “in progress.” I’m prepared to live into any result, continuing my life until it comes to an end, either soon or late. No, not resignation. The opposite. I’m not letting go of this gift until it decides to leave my body.

     

    Looking back a bit. Joan and Albert’s first yarhzeit. Seeing Lauren and Kat, the two bat mitzvah’s from Thursday. Their bat mitzvah service would have been on Masada, as my conversion would have been in Jerusalem. I missed it because of my appointment with Dr. Gonzalez. I gave them chocolate bars from Sugar Jones where I buy my weekly truffles. Ruth at the Blue Fin, smiling and laughing, caring. Irv and Joan singing. A buzzy happy crowd at the reception. A good weekend. A very good weekend. Not in spite of my lagging test results, but because of my life already under way.


  • Through a dark wood I have already wandered

    Samain and the Summer’s End Moon

    Sunday gratefuls: Ruth. Blue Fin Sushi. The earrings. Driving back up the hill, into the mountains. Those who would alter time.  More light in the morning. The gentle curve of Black Mountain against a blue-white Colorado Sky. Sally. Jews. My friends. My family. Learning to live with yet more dissonance. Quest Diagnostics. Slow on this one. A good workout yesterday. Yetzer hara: oh, never mind. Let’s rest. Yetzer hatov: It’s worth it. No news yet on my test.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: A stable and happy Ruth

    One brief shining: A blonde-bleached Japanese young woman with elaborate tattoos asked me where I wanted to sit, no not out in the middle, here along the side, yes that will be good, Blue Fin Sushi logo under layers of polyurethane, put my flannel overshirt back on, and slid onto the naugahyde, a deep blue, here comes Ruth, I got up and hugged her so happy to see her smiling, bedecked in rings and necklaces, bracelets, and ear jewelry, her hair its actual brown for now.

     

    In a way Ruth is like the prodigal son. She leaves the world of happiness and teenage life behind on occasion, leaves the rest of us behind while she struggles with what her mind visits upon her. But when she comes home I want to slaughter the fatted calf, bring up the best grains, fruits and vegetables, lay them all before her. Hoping as the father in the New Testament undoubtedly did that she will stay with us this time.

    Last night she spoke of college applications, classes in her senior year, her friends, her Grandma Barb whom she helped get a new phone, buying a new car. She pointed out all the pieces of jewelry she wore that belonged to Kate. Rings. Necklaces. Bracelets. I gave her the earrings I found on the New York Review of Books shop. They featured Walt Whitman quotes. One read: Resist much. The other: Obey little. Kate and I, and at his best, Jon followed these very American ideals.

    A fine and hopeful meal. So, so good to see her. Dazzle Jazz next time.

     

    An odd adjustment to the slow pace of the protein electrophoresis. As the tabs on the various tests have shown Test in Progress, I’ve come to a place of peace about it all. As I would anyway, I’m living my life. CBE Friday night for Albert’s yahrzeit. Dinner with Ruth last night. Going to Irv and Joan’s renaissance singers performance at 3 pm today. Reading. Doing the laundry. Writing. Cooking.

    In this process I rediscovered the truth of it all. Alive now and in each moment. I can only live today, right now. And, I am. So no need to be Dante: Near the end of this our mortal life (but not, I hope, too near) I have already walked in the gloomy forest and come out the other side, no longer caught there far from the straight path, the ancientrail that leads from birth to the grave.

    How first I enter’d it I scarce can say,
    Such sleepy dullness in that instant weigh’d
    My senses down, when the true path I left,  Canto 1, Inferno

    Well, I can now say how first I entered it. My mother’s death pushed me down toward Dante’s inferno at too young an age, not midlife, but at seventeen, Ruth’s age as it happens. I wandered in that pit for so many years, making myself an enemy of myself, closing off the world, pushing others away. But with the help of Jung and John Desteian I found my way out. Long ago. I can still revisit the place on occasion, as I did on Friday, but I know the way out. Back to the light and to this life.

     

     


  • Nothing new

    Samain and the Summer’s End Moon

    Saturday gratefuls: Albert Greenberg’s yahrzeit. Joan. Kat. Lauren. Anne. Quest Diagnostics. Feelings. Veronica. Becoming a Jew by choice. Israel. Hamas. Gaza. Palestinians. Darkness. Standard Time. The days of our lives. Wembanyama. Basketball. The Potluck. Berry Pie. Good Chicken. Good conversation. Helen. Ellen. Mark. Bill. Robbie. Sally. Creme brulee truffles. Ruby’s cracked windshield. The Shadow Mountain life.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Becoming a Jew

    One brief shining: Spent the day yesterday waiting on diagnostic results that remain, yet this morning, in progress leaving me with no new information, making my lev, my heart-mind, spin through scenarios of impending doom and how to cope with bad news without having any real data then remembering and calling myself back to the present, to this moment, in which I feel fine and am living my life.

     

    Made me wonder about having my own Quest Diagnostics account. Trust your doctors. Kate. I’ve tried to be true to her advice while not abrogating my responsibility. A delicate balance. Having my test results come to me before Kristin sees them, interprets them helps me though. I like data. To know what’s going on. But. As Kate knew, I can use the internet to my full disadvantage. Reading this. Pondering that. Working myself into a tizzy as we used to say.

    Yesterday and now still today. An in-between space. Waiting. Not knowing. Most of the time I carried on. Read. Watched some TV. Ran errands. Cooked. Got ready for the potluck and last night’s service. Yet I obsessively ran the Quest site, too. About once an hour or so I’d walk upstairs and crank it up. Again. And again. Nothing. Nope. Nada. Still nothing.

    Not feeling anxious. Not much anyway. A bit buzzy and distracted at times. I slept well which tells me I’m handling my self-induced situation o.k. Reminding myself that the results will be what they are. Talk about high-stakes testing. Geez.

     

    Enough of that. Let’s talk about Israel and Gaza. Nah. Enough of that, too.

    I regularly do three games on the NYT site. Flashback, a history quiz. Spelling Bee. And, Connections. I’ve never like crosswords, having to guess how a person has tricked me is not my idea of fun. Kate loved them. Connections is the hardest of the three. Sometimes. There’s an element of trickery involved. The puzzle creator Wyna Liu produces a grid of sixteen words with four words grouped according to some theme. Figuring out how she’s chosen to group the words is the challenge. Most of the time I can suss out the connections but on occasion she uses themes that make no sense to me. Too esoteric or too niche. Fun anyhow.

    The lift that comes from solving the puzzles is nice. An atta boy handed out by the puzzle folks. I’m a words guy. Spelling Bee is a challenge, but one I can usually master. Not always, but often enough to keep me coming back for that top rank glow.

     

    Not going to get started on it today, but one of my ongoing concerns is the plight of the humanities. Vocational education? Sure. But education on how to live, how to think, what the folks who have gone before us thought and how they lived? That’s still the ideal of a college education to me. But it’s gotten to a dollar and cents equation. Does this degree make me money? That’s an ok question and one many will want to ask. That question though turns education into vocational education and pretends that the humanities therefore don’t matter. No monetary prize in a philosophy or an anthropology degree. For instance.

     


  • Yikes

    Samain and the Summer’s End Moon

    Friday gratefuls: Alan Greenberg’s yahrzeit. Joan. A salmon colored Cumulus Cloud over Black Mountain. Dr. Gonzalez. Her nurse. The phlebotomist. My heart and aorta. Considering the body as it decompensates. Shadow Mountain as a stable and supportive presence. Ruby. All Dogs, especially Kippur and Murdoch and Leo. My Wild Neighbors. Melancholy. Dawn. Evening. Liminal times, magical times. Doorways, thresholds. Mezuzahs.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: The One

    One brief shining: Opened up the test results from Quest Diagnostics and read my latest battery of tests with red fields and green, discovering that my doc has ordered a test for multiple myeloma, not completed yet, sending my anxiety titer (a Kate phrase) up, not high but noticeable, wondering if there will be more than my heart involved in this latest visit.

     

    Oh, boy. Well. I freaked myself out back in July when I got low gamma globulin results. Hadn’t processed them or heard from my doctor, went straight to multiple myeloma. Kristin said I was fine. She sees these results all the time. I calmed down. Now I discover she’s running a test battery for just that. Yikes! The results are not in yet, though my other results are.

    The possibility of multiple myeloma, a form of cancer, hit me hard because Dick Mestrich, a colleague of Kate’s at Allina, died of it after a long decline. She made him a friendship quilt which he wore often, may have been buried in it. My son and I played golf with him quite a bit when my son was in high school. I also learned recently that one of the Thursday mussar group also has it.

    The thought of a second kind of cancer to add to my already existing one? Again, yikes!

    All this is unknown right now and I’m pretty good at not getting excited before I know something for sure. Even then, I’m able to hold steady for the most part though melancholy can creep up on me. Understandable, too. Still. An uncomfortable moment for me. For sure.

     

    Just ordered two mezuzahs, one for the front door and one for the door leading to the garage. Will have Rabbi Jamie come out and hang them. There is a ritual for it. Inside each mezuzah is a scroll with the shema hand lettered by a scribe on the treated skin of a kosher animal. Not cheap. From the Jewish Museum store in New York City.

     

    At mussar yesterday afternoon another cancer survivor remarked about the love she experienced from her friends. They go to her appointments with her, help her in many ways. Nancy then mentioned Leslie who died of liver cancer two months ago saying, “Leslie had the same experience. What a wonderful way to die.” I said, “And, what a wonderful way to live. I’m experiencing that kind of love at CBE right now.” And from my longtime friends in the Ancient Brothers and my family. Knowing you are loved buoys the soul, helps it serve as the rock of your life. As long as you have it.