The silver scissors cut her hair so she could fly away.
The owl had found his own true love.
He said good bye to the pussy-cat
And gave her a ten pound note.
Invest it wisely, but not in bonds.
She left the pea-green boat in tears.
The Golden Maiden and the Two-Timing owl
Sailed away for year and a day.
The romance couldn’t last.
He never cut his nails.
(Greeting card on card-stock with images gleaned from old masters and other secret sources.)
Early morning. Five o’clock. I am alone in a small room. I stare at the wall facing my bed. Chipped and battered from beds being pushed in and out. The only decoration a faded cork board and a sign advising one how to wash your hands. Nothing beautiful to look at. Nothing to bring me up from the black abyss. I am alone with various tubes attached to my body. I weep tears of utter despair. A few years ago my breast cancer returned. The first encounter I had a right breast lumpectomy. This time a mastectomy in the other breast. I am alone. Feeling so sorry for myself when my nurse enters my room with a gift wrapped package. Pillows! Soft, comfortable pillows covered in a happy flowered pattern. Pillows to give me under the arm and breast protection. In that moment the sun came out.
I’m smiling. I’m not alone.
The package contained pillows hand sewn by a group of woman who are members of the Delta Hospital Auxiliary. The hospital is located in Ladner, British Columbia. They are post-operative pillows tailored for post mastectomy surgery. The pillows are a gift from the Delta Hospital Auxiliary. These amazing women known as THE PILLOW PALS cut, sew, stuff and package these pillows. A thoughtful card with encouraging words are enclosed with the pillows.
I am giving back.
I am a proud member of the Delta Hospital Auxiliary. I search for wonderful fabrics to be sewn into pillows by dedicated woman known with great affection as THE PILLOW PALS.
I am giving back.
She weighed the strawberries.
Measured the sugar.
The wisdom of tradition whispered to her.
This is state of mind.
This is a way of being.
Her thoughts weighed heavy on her wrists.
She filled the jars
With the warmth of the sun.
The perfume of the crushed berries.
The blue she had grabbed from the sky.
The music the wind across the fields.
This alchemy of jam.
This seeing things without distortion.
She placed a flower on Buddha.
This she thought is the zen of strawberry jam.
The voice of Kiri te Kanawa soars through our home. A favorite and much loved CD … Chants d’Auvergne (songs of the Auvergne). I’m ironing napkins, gorgeous banquet sized antique linen damask napkins. The final memory filled task of Saturday’s dinner party, a memorable evening with friends and family.
No ordinary napkins these, but heavy, large 24″ by 24″ drifts of shimmering white. I treasure hunt for vintage linen. Finding them in thrift shops and garage sales. Buying single orphans. Incomplete sets. Monogrammed napkin embroidered with the initials of others.
At the end of the evening the napkins soak in cold water over night. If there is a recalcitrant stain I add a little powdered bleach. I wash them in more cool water, gentle cycle, mild soap. I hang them to dry.
I spray them with L’Occitane’s lavender-scented Linen Water. It’s lovely to see the beautiful damask patterns come to life under the heat of the iron. I fold the napkin in half and press a sharp crease, then fold and iron again. My Mother, who was a beautiful ironer would not approve of this. It wears the linen away. But, I like the sharp, crisp crease. I do the same with my linen tablecloths (it’s the French style).
The napkins, still damp and immaculately ironed, air dry on the laundry rack. I tie each set with with coloured ribbons and carefully tuck them away to wait patiently for the next dinner party.
This simple act of calmly and quietly ironing, and storing them in an orderly fashion is the zen and art of ironing linen napkins.
Three years ago I was diagnosed once again with breast cancer. I had a mastectomy. After surgery my treatment was oral Exemestene – an anti-cancer hormone treatment not normally given to woman over eighty years old. Two years of Exemestene and the many serious side-effects of this drug became so debilitating, the quality of my life so miserable, I made the choice to stop treatment.
One of the unpleasant side effects was painful burning and numbness in my feet and legs at night. My feet became numb and I was having trouble walking, climbing stairs, anything relating to balance. It was diagnosed as peripheral neuropathy. I received little help from the oncology neurologist other than suggesting adding a B Multiple supplement to the vitamin supplements I was taking. This was the beginning of my extensive research on treatment of chemotherapy induced peripheral sensory neuropathy.
Courtesy Google I researched many North American sites reporting positive results treating people with type two Diabetes with large amounts of Vitamin B 12 and Alpha laporic acid (an antioxidant, ) but little information on chemotherapy induced neuropathy. The information I required was found on Dutch and German medical sites. I discussed the decision to add vitamin B12 and alpha laporic acid to my supplement regime with my family doctor and my nephrologist.
It has been just three months since I started taking B12 and alpha laporic acid and I have been able to sleep with less burning pain. Physiotherapists gave me exercises to strength my feet and legs and improve my balance. Periperal Neuropathy weakens the muscles. I’ve made major changes in my diet with emphases on fresh fruits and vegetables and protein. The Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy is an excellent source of information. But, it is important to be your own advocate. Do extensive research and question everything. And most important to discuss your choices with your family doctor and not self diagnose.
On the most positive note – my research has improved the quality of life for my younger sister. She has type two diabetes and had never been diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy. She discussed treatment with her physician and after adding vitamin B 12 and alpha laporic acid to her vitamin supplements she ended years of suffering and has absolutely no burning night pain in her feet.
It is not my nature to be so open about something so intensely personal. Cancer has been my unwanted companion for eleven years. If this experience helps just one person that is what this post is about, and I will have made a difference for some one.
May I introduce you to an engaging, brilliant and thought-provoking writer – Theadora Brack. Theadora is an American ex-pat living in Paris.
Her fascinating and witty blog PEOPLE , PLACES AND BLING is both insightful and informative If you are not a follower please take a few minutes and read her most recent blog on the Statue of Liberty.
Statue of Liberty: Where is the Love?
Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to break free,
the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send there, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me.
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.
“Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
MOTHER OF EXILES. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
(The text of this sonnet by Emma Lazarus is mounted inside the Statue of Liberty)
(The text “suffer little children” from King James version of the bible Matthew 19:14)