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Yep, That Stinks

I’ve gotten good at activating my verbal filter when people complain about their infirmities.

Just because I had cancer doesn’t mean that your cold is not completely miserable. I’m sorry. I really am.

The normal ravages of aging appear to be difficult for you to handle. I’m sorry.

How’s this for some context.

Holy Mackerel, you have had a debilitating headache for the better part of a decade and you have managed to achieve all kinds of awesome things in that time? Hats off. And oh, your medical problem? I shudder at the thought. Yeah, this is one person in particular, and you are the inspiration for this post.

Your kid died and you haven’t gone insane? You inspire me to be a better, kinder, wiser person every minute of every day and don’t think you are ever far from my heart and prayers. All of you. Even if you don’t know that I know about your child.

You struggle with depression? I’m sorry. No, really, I am. I don’t even know what to say except hang in there.

Your autoimmune disease? I can’t even imagine it. And I love you.

Syria. Sudan. Guns, so many of them, going off accidentally or worse, on purpose, and blowing apart the bodies of our children.

It’s easy to compare ailments and see where we stand on the spectrum that goes from bad to worse. It’s even easier to tell people that their attitude makes a difference, and the fact that there is a sliver of a hair of truth in that last statement makes it all the crueler.

I don’t even know what the truth is, but what I believe is that life is both hard and beautiful, and there’s no explaining the measure with which it is poured out for each one of us.

For so many of us, faith in God is the anchor that tethers us to our better selves during times of crisis. Does God send us challenges to test and teach us? I don’t think so. I think it’s just life and that any attempt to draw meaning from it all is a lie.

What, then, is the truth? I don’t know.



I’m in the middle of a small-to-medium scale painting job: staining our mantle (a huge chunk of wood) black. I’m using gel stain which goes on right over paint. The smell is terrible, and it’s messy, but I think in the end it will have been worth it.


I’m having a quiet day. It’s raining, and projects are either too big to start, or else done.

I am deliberately sitting in silence.

I don’t have to fill the vacuum to keep the terror away.

It’s not something I am taking for granted.



I’ve begin to plan out the garden (again) for when the pool is complete.

I’ve been looking at purple-leaved plants for days. This morning, I ran over to Home Depot and grabbed three dwarf peach trees in a variety called “bonfire” which have burgundy foliage, and I’m also looking at a purple-leaf crabapple for another planting spot.

I don’t know why I’m suddenly so enamored of purple. It’s not something I ever wanted before. But now, I’m trying hard to rein in my enthusiasm.

At the same time, I’m also looking at painting my office a deep lavender. And upstairs, in the kid’s playroom where there is already an aubergine rug and cordovan-colored leather couches, I’m looking at amethyst-hue’d drapes.

I look down and notice that I am wearing a purple sweater.

I wish I knew what’s motivating this sudden rush to perse.


This is a post for the discipline of writing a post.

Sometimes, if you think you want to do something, you do it even if it is terrible. What’s unsaid is the fear of — not failure, but banality.

Maybe I’ll post tomorrow. This is enough for today.

Should I not have bothered?

Is it better to do something bad than to do nothing?

I’m not sure anyone is going to read this anyway.

I feel like a voice in the darkness.


Unknown-3Today, my son was going to go to his best friend’s birthday party. It was an awesome party — a trip to the lake, a campfire, and an overnight camp out.

We didn’t let him go.

There was a threat of bad thunderstorms, and we did not feel comfortable with sending him off to camp in bad weather, where a tree might fall on his tent, or the wind might blow it down around him. It was a small chance, but too much for us.

That’s not a normal reaction to bad weather. We should have let him go — but we just couldn’t handle the risk.

When you have lived through a worst case scenario, you lose the ability to pretend that a small chance is no chance.

This is the lingering scourge of cancer.

Round #2

We have a second meeting with Pool Genius Guy this week.

I’m too hopeful.

The Funny Look

The lie won't go away

The lie won’t go away


It’s what I want to say sometimes, when people give me a funny look after they find out that I got breast cancer in my 30s.

“Does it run in your family?”

“Nope, just me.”

Funny look.

Read more…


butterflyPieces of my crusty feet keep falling off. It’s disgusting.

I don’t think it’s disgusting. I think it’s beautiful.

It reminds me of the days my hair fell out, strand by strand, or by the handful in the shower. I remember the afternoon I lost my eyelashes, and the friends who held my hands while it was happening. I remember how my skin came off, the powdery residue that followed me for over a year. I remember my lips leaving an imprint of themselves on every glass and mug of tea.

This is different.

That was disintegration.

This is emergence.

Not a Metaphor

dragonFive days after my initial “Baby Feet” treatment, my feet have started to peel in earnest. It doesn’t hurt at all. It does look completely disgusting, or would if I hadn’t already been through so many even more disgusting things. All I can do is laugh.

I don’t want to say THIS IS THE BEST THING EVER because What Does That Say About My Life if shedding my scaly feet is the best thing that has ever happened to me, but right now, at this moment, that is what it feels like. My heels have been so horrid for such a long time.

I’m reminded of the chapter in Voyage of the Dawn Treader when Eustace gets un-dragoned by Aslan.

I’m also sleeping in our spare room because my feet are patently disgusting, and I know I’ll peel my socks off during the night — along with a lot of dead skin.

In our spare room are a wardrobe and some art  . . .  and come to think of it, that WOULD be the best thing to ever happen to me.

Except, of course, the part of the story where I did not die.