Sittin On A Porch

Sittin On A Porch
Our little back porch

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Thoughtful consideration

It is Wednesday and I continue to feel a little lost.  One reason I feel a little lost is that I am very bad at understanding linear time.  I tend to be very early or very late going to places or having people over.  I have a terrible time knowing when things happened.  I have trouble even narrowing most things I have done into a decade.  I have been so busy my entire life trying to fill it up with doing, that I did not take the time to notice or even care when I was doing something.  I just tried to stay focused on what I was doing.  No, that is not quite right.  I was as obsessed with the next thing on my list, so there are a lot of things that I remember doing, but really missed the moment.  I can mark them off my list, but I really did not get all the enjoyment out of those days, events, moments as I could have.  I remember being torn as a young child when I could not do everything I wanted.  When I would have to make a choice on what I would do.  It was so hard trying to decide what to do and what to not get to do.  The older I got, the worse that I became until here I am at 56 still trying to do everything.  I have to say that since the cancer I have started paying more attention to the moments, but I am still terrible about having to give up something I want to do because I am doing some other wonderful thing. 

And I do get to enjoy so many wonderful moments, and get to experience so many amazing things.  But as spring rushes toward summer I am tired and have not taken the time to get out into the yard and garden.  Next to gardening I do love to read and play.  But gardening is really and truly the thing I love the most.  And there is so much to do in my yard to help it evolve into the what I see in my mind's eye.  Oh, in my mind, my yard is magnificent.  And it is the doing to make it look like my vision that I love the most.  I love to weed.  I love to plant, I love to prune and spend hours after dark looking through garden catalogs turning pages down.  I love to go to plant nurseries, especially Just Fruits and Exotics in Medart.  This is a big beautiful nursery, my friend Kim introduced me to years ago and it is always a wonderful time there, only it never fails, that no matter how careful I am, I seem to bring home a car full of plants.  I have been trying to get out there since this fall to purchase 2 apple trees, some more grapes, a male and female kiwi, a couple of pomegranates, another persimmon and some more blueberries, but I have been too busy.  The urge to put my hands in the dirt has gotten so strong lately that it just might be time to put my garden back as the priority in my doing schedule.  This next weekend is the closing weekend for The Fantastick's, but I still have the Murder Mystery to work on. 

I am not sure what all I will do in the play.  I was supposed to co-direct with Judy, but she is doing such a wonderful job directing while I have been working on the Fantastick's, that I do not want to step in and change what she is doing.  Maybe the Assistant Director.  I do love to work with her on plays.  We compliment each other so well when it comes to plays, and it is such an amazing experience to work with her in this type of creative process.  I know I will be involved in makeup and costumes.  Oh Joy, Oh Rapture!!!  I love stage makeup and costumes.  And this play, downstairs, close up to the audience, in fact, literally in the lap of the audience, it is more like doing street theater makeup, which is something I have been involved in for years.  I have tried to teach myself stage makeup, and I do that.  In fact I help to age three of the men in The Fantastick's.  It is harder because we are not aiming at people 10-20 feet away.  No we are doing makeup for people 30 - 100 feet away under blazing, blaring stage lamps.  Stage lamps fade makeup as quickly as people look 10 pounds heavier on TV.  It is just a fact of theater.  But the actors are usually a little uncomfortable at first with the grotesque lines and shading.  It looks overdone to them.  But after people comment on how old they look who are at the play, they usually relax and are more comfortable with my work.

It was absolutely glorious today.  Well, from my vantage point in the Opera House Office.  Lisa took a well deserved day off, and I baby sat the office.  I did not get much of what I had planned to do, but I am just so tired and worn down, I don't have the energy.  I think most of this is the hepatitis C, not the cancer.  Stress really affects me, good stress or bad stress.  The long hours wear me down, but the worry about remembering everything I need to do and when to do it, and to not let anyone down, or bang them in the head or throw a sword at their face and they move and take a sword to the nose, I mean this some serious stress here.  So that is another reason I feel a little lost.

I also feel a little lost because my watch must need a new battery and it keeps loosing time.  a few minutes here, I reset it and it is fine for a week, then a few days in a row I have to adjust it again, and then it will work okay for a few more days.  And well, I just simply have not remembered to get a battery when I am in places that have them.  I really need to wear a watch or else I get so lost in the day and it simply slips away. 

Yesterday I did so many different things.  I did laundry, cleaned the hummingbird feeders, made nectar for the feeders, filled them and hung them outside.  Filled the bird seed feeder, spent time with the chickens, vacuumed, changed both beds, cleaned the kitchen and emptied the dish washer, baked cookies, fixed lunch for a friend, walked around the yard clipping back dead wood from winter.  I also got to play with the dogs and cats, read a little and spend time just walking around the world with my rose colored glasses.  I hope to get some pictures of some of the beautiful flowers in my yard.  There is plenty of room for more plants and flowers and lots of TLC.  But what a wonderful day to just do the small projects that always get pushed back.

I am going through lots of mind games right now.  I am breaking away from my life focused on cancer.  I am wanting more out of life.  Cancer has given me a lot, but while I am still strong and healthy I am getting ready to move past the little c, and quick waking up each morning thinking about cancer.  I mean I take one little pill a day.  That is it.  Okay, once a month I give blood and a week later I see the Doc.  Soon a new doctor.  And the only way I can move past my fear and trepidation of learning a new doctor, is to say good bye to the amazing Dr. M, to let him move on to bigger and better things in this world.  He will make a difference wherever he goes.  I wish him well.  But I am ready to take back my life into my own hands out of the doctors.  I am not sure I want to give my life over to a new doctor.  I want to be in charge of my life.  Okay, that is pretty scary.  It is not like I don't push myself beyond where I should.  I mean I have a couple of tiny splinters under one of my finger nails now, and I am just dreading calling my GP and have him see what he can do to remove them.  I had hoped that if I ignored it, they would simply go away.  Nope, now the end of my finger is staring to look not so great.  Not bad, but I obviously can not ignore this minor situation unless I want a major situation.  I do not want a major situation. 

So who will I be?  I don't know, but I think I am ready to be more then just Kathleen with stage 4 lung cancer.  I want to be more then my diseases.  I want to be more then my doing.  I want to be happy.  I want to have opportunities to continue doing fun things.  I want to do the Easter play with Jack and Jan at Ron and Pat's church.  I want to go to the passover sedar at the Episcopal church with Jack and Jan.  No, I am not religious, but I love tradition, and this sedar tradition goes back more then 2000 years.  How cool is that?  I want to ride on motorcycles and garden.  Yes, I really want to garden.  I want to have a yard that when I look at it, it looks more like my mind's eye.  I want to work with Judy and our friends on the murder mystery.  I want to watch the video Hugo with Carolyn and go see a play in Tallahassee.  I want to go to the full moon vegan meditation next month.  I want to spend time with my cousins.  I want to think about all of these things and experience them in the moment.  I don't want to see myself as I see myself now.
I am the only one who sees myself with cancer.
The people I love still see me.
I wish I could still see me.
I have grown bored and tired with the cancer.
I have realized that my life can be different.
It is so much better and different than it has been,
but I want more.
I want to have a life where I have something to offer someone that I care about.
I want to not hold back out of fear that I am cheating them by having cancer
No one thinks like that
but I do
and I want to shift that perception
to what?
I don't know, but it is a time of shifting and changing.  A time of great opportunities and possibilities.  I hear the metaphysical people say this. 
I see it in my own self, my own life.

It is a time to set goals outside of my own little cloistered self who is swimming and reveling in my cancer.
It is time to climb out of that pool and jump into a new one. 
Hopefully one that is deep enough to not crack my head,
but shallow enough that I don't drown.
I can tread water pretty well
I have been for the last couple of years.
Now to swim.

Monday, March 26, 2012

To Play

Our first weekend for The Fantastick's is done.  Here are some photos from this weekend.
Jacob, Dave and Jamie

Stage Hand Becca and Stage Manager Abisparkle

Cast and Crew of The Fantastick's

Tovya, Jeff and myself

Dan (sorry Dan you are just too cute) and Jeff

Erin, Alex, Tovya and Jeff

Jeff, Dan, Alex, Abby and Deedee
Only three shows left!!!  If you don't have your tickets yet, I suggest you go out and get them.  It is a classic and a fine production. 

Well, off to see if I can start the lawn tractor and mow the pasture so I can hang some clothes out.  A day off from the Fantastick's.  Tonight I finally get to go to the Murder Mystery Rehearsal and play with the next production.  Oh joy, oh rapture!!!!  To play, to play!  What a wonderful life I have!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Opening Weekend

Last night was opening night for The Fantastick's, and it was............wait for it............wait, you know what is was Fantastic!!!  hee hee

We had two dress rehearsals because the lead female lead is played by two different young woman.  Two very talented, lovely young women.  I have watched them for several years now as they grew up on the Opera House stage.  And to get to see them in this production is just wonderful.

Our dress rehearsal on Wednesday went well, Thursday did not go as well, but in the theater there is a superstition that a bad dress rehearsal means a great opening night.  And it was a great opening night.  We have extremely supportive audiences Wednesday and Thursday.  Mostly family and friends of our Opera House stage companies.  They cheered and laughed and it was so delightful to get to see so many of the kids I have watched grow up on this stage. 

Friday night was the fund raiser to benefit the art league, the Opera House and MAD Co.  The crowd might not have been as big as we hoped, but the audience was fantastic.  Really, they were so responsive, they laughed and cheered and gave us another standing ovation.  Everyone really shined last night.  Erin is adorable as Matt.  The Louisa's sweet, innocent and silly.  The Dad's, oh my goodness, Dan and Larry are hysterical.  And Dave and Jacob as the acting troupe are over the top.  Jacob does one of his famous death scenes in this play.  And don't forget Jeff as the infamous El Gallo.  Pronounced El Guy Yo! 

Last night we are Tovya as our Luisa and each of the Louisa's are so very different in their energy, voice and dance, and I honestly can not tell you which one would be my favorite.  They are each so special in every way.

So we have done two of our six performances and the audiences have loved the show.  Everyone has been so supportive and helpful to this 56 year old woman with lung cancer.  You would never know as I run around the stage and toss swords and move drapes and hold walls and branches.  I get to watch most of the show from on the stage.  I can't tell you how amazing it is to get to watch these talented actors from up close and personal.  

And then we have Abbie, our Stage Manager and Becca, our stage hand.  These young ladies are so helpful and do their jobs so extremely well.  The audience will never know just how much these two young women do for us, and how they keep the show flowing along smoothly.  They preset our props.  They clean up after us.  They assist us with props in the wings during the show.  Abbie starts and cues the show, Becca handles the lights.

Then there is the orchestra.  We have Janis who is such a talented and amazingly sweet friend.  She has a gorgeous voice and in this show she plays our piano.  Andy our Opera House drummer does his great job and if I need to remember why I am doing this show, all I have to do is to look done at him and he will be smiling back up.  The final member of our perfect little orchestra is Kaitlyn, the harp player.  Those three musicians blend in with the voices and add bird sounds, whispers of wind and violent storms.  They keep the voices on key and the beat throbbing away. 

Finally there are the crew working out in the audience.  We have our Caleb up in the balcony with the spot light.  And he has a very important and busy part.  Then we have a crew of sound people, the Director and Todd, our resident sound and light guy who pulls it all together.

There are many different styles of directing and our Director, Melanie, directs differently then any of the other directors at the Opera House.  It takes longer to block the show, but when it is blocked, the detail already blended in is amazing.  The end result speaks of her success.

We have a matinee show today, then a pickup rehearsal on Tuesday and three more performances next weekend.

Thursday I had lunch at the Rosemary Tree with my friend Lenny and Friday Carolyn and I want shopping in Tallahassee.  I actually bought some clothes.  Clothes that fit me.  Clothes that I can replace some of my older clothes that are perfectly fine, but way too big for me.  It is time for me to quit thinking I will ever be significantly larger then I am now.  Where I have been for more then a year. 

We also went to Wally World so I could pick up a toy for the big brother, Owen.  Carolyn saw this battery operated car that makes car sounds and rears up on its back tires, plays music and is very cool.  There were two cars to choose from, I picked the electric blue Viper.  I had looked at baby things at several stores, but I was not sure what Gibson would need after having a big brother would has grown out of so many things.  So I decided a gift card at Wally World will allow them Lily and Jason to get those everyday things babies need, but are not fun to buy.  That way they can choose what to get and not spend them money on the not so fun things.  As we were leaving Carolyn saw a Winnie The Pooh pillow stuffed animal and a monkey stuffed animal that had huge eyes.  The monkey is big and it looks like those photos where they are too close to the dog nose so the nose and the eyes are googly and  huge. 

I laughed and said, well, just don't show it to Owen, and you can have it to play with Jason.  He laughed but I saw the glint in his eyes.  hee hee  After all, Owen also got the monkey.  Owen is a money boy.

I was able to kiss Lily on the forehead and stroke the warm pink softness of Gibson.  I got to hug Daddy Jason and Auntie Jesse.  How very very lucky and special I am to get to share this family of the Mr and Mrs Moon.  How very lucky!!!  My family is so far away, and I love this one so much. 

Well, time to go and put Nola's face on.  Everyone who has come to the show has been so complimentary.  I appreciate their precious kind sweet words.  And I am amazed as I stand on that stage each night.  The lights burn down hot and bright, I run back and forth.  Who would have guessed that a 56 year old woman with Stage 4 lung cancer would be able to be in this historic production.  The longest running musical.  Now played by a new cast.  A Director who played Luisa when she was young, now shares this show with a new generation of Matt and Luisa's to a world of people some who are familiar with this old show.  Others who are new to this play. 

This may very well be my last production on stage.  I  have now realized how hard this is on my brain.  I am tired.  I am worn out and as this glorious weather tempts me to go outside and play, but my body is heavy and my eyelids droop.  My eyes sting with desire to close and rest.  But now, the show must go one, so off I go.  And when I get home?  Will I drive over to the Suwanee Spring Music Festival?  No, as much as I so missed not being there this weekend, there will be more weekend music festivals, and I will go to one or more of those.  Oh, yes I will.

Well, break a leg.  I will have some photos for my next post. 
Enjoy the glorious blue sky and soft spring green.
Enjoy the warm air as blows around us thick with pollen and the scent of flowers.
Oh life
sweet life
and when better to enjoy then right now the first week of spring

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

It's Spring

The weather here is glorious! Simply, glorious.  Blue skies, air filled with bees and pollen, butterflies, birds and warm sweet perfume of thousands of flowers.  But most glorious of all is Gibson Monroe Hartmann is here.  Lily, Jason and Owen welcomed Gibson yesterday on the first Day of Spring.  What?  You haven't heard?  The whole family is rightly in a buzz with such happy precious news.

Well, you must stop this very moment and read what his Mermer has to say Ms' Moon's blog  and then read what his sweet Aunt May's allwriteythen blog.  All I can say, is Hip hip Hooray! YEAH!!!  Whohoo!!!

Ms Moon, bless her sweet, sweet heart, she has been so busy with this precious wonderful dear family, and I have been caught up in the Opera House and we have just not had a relaxed sit on the porch in forever.  But amidst all of the activity of the baby, she still took the time to call and let us know that Gibson was coming.  People everywhere have been holding their breaths waiting for this new precious child to be born.  And Ms Moon has been taking  care of her family, her mother, the dear Zen Glen, and all of the kids, but especially Lily.  She said to me that she was sorry we had not gotten together.  We are both riders of guilt.  I instantly felt guilty because, I have a play.  That is it.  I actually thought I would have two plays, but instead, Ms Judy has stepped up and taken over the Murder Mystery and I am hearing such wonderful things that she is doing for the murder mystery.  And Ms Moon has been with Lily and Owen.  I said, oh my goodness Ms Moon, you are helping Owen. 

Owen, the new big brother, the older of two beautiful sons.  Who now has the biggest adjustment of his life.  We forget just how much it is for someone who is just learning about themselves and their world, at two years old, now has to make a huge adjustment from being the baby to being the older brother.  From being a diaper wearing baby, to the child who is more self sufficient and needs to start growing up.  Who will no longer ever be the baby again.  Who now has so much to process and learn and figure out.  And his pop-pop and his mermer have been there to help this process.  This huge life changing moment.  Where he must for the first time see another child step into his world and take over his mother's attention and time, and nursies.  Yes, Ms Moon, you have to take care of your baby so that she can take care of her babies. 
One, the older brother, the other, the new baby brother.  Oh Ms Moon, you blow me away with this precious family you have and love and take care.  And thank you for letting me be a tiny part of it.

Yesterday Other Bob and I went for a motorcycle ride.  It was heaven.  The black ribbon of the road unfolded before us and we slipped along in the spring air, so full of potential and life.  The sun warmed our skins, the motorcycle roared, my heart beat loudly with joy.  Spring.

Funny that we had such a mild winter, and yet, this spring is still so very very welcome.  Even though the weather has been so kind, my senses still ached for the soft green of spring again.  The brown and grey of winter wears me down, and I was outside in that time of winter and sleep and rest this year more then ever.  And now to be outside in this beautiful time and to have so much color and life.  Oh, sweet precious spring. 

I know I did not make much sense here.  I am tired from rehearsals.  I am tired from late nights.  I am worn out form the last few weeks.  But I am happy.  I am so very happy.  I love the people I work with on the play.  I was standing on the stage, the other actors were standing in front of me, the lights burning down bright in their upward turned faces.  I was standing there behind them and my heart just filled with such pride to be a part of this production and these wonderful people.  I was standing in the shadows, they were in the light.  And it was just so real and surreal at the same time.

I love the fresh green sprouts of my spring bulbs pushing up through the rich organic soil, swollen with life. 

And the world has a new precious life today. 
Isn't life just so amazing?
And to be here
to be a part of all this

Monday, March 19, 2012

More chickens, spring and maybe being a better person

Two weeks ago I picked up more baby chicks.  Why? Because they were at the feed store and the peeping is like the song of a siren to me.  I am drawn to the sweet peep, peep, peep, the warm light and the smell of grain from the peep food.  But really, who does not love babies?   I love puppies and kittens and baby chickens and well, babies of all kinds.  New sweet fresh spirits filled with all the possibilities of a life time. 

I am finding as I have gotten older that babies wear me out.  There is so much care and energy needed to take that delicate fragile life and help it to live and strive and grow.  Then to teach each baby the ways of their world.  How to be gentle and loving, playful and watchful when they become dogs.  Or how not to climb the ladder to watch the birds eat at the feeders for a cat.  How to live together amicably, if not lovingly when you mix different types of animals.  And for chickens, to become a flock, to come when you call, "Here chick, chick, chickens!"  To scratch and take dirt baths, to roost in the coop at night, to be happy and healthy grown chickens. 

Ednarose has worn off a lot of the love for babies.  That is why I got baby chicks.  Because puppies are so much work, for years.  And sometimes when you think you got a lab, you find out you got a lab mix, and what that mix is will never, ever be known, but you will have to figure out how to teach it to teach you, so that you can each understand what is going on.  Peeps, are still a lot of work, and one in particular, shall we call her Daisy? Is turning out to be an excellent instructor.  Oh yes, she is.

I came home from rehearsal on Saturday and as is my custom I went directly to the guest bath to check on my seven little balls of fluff.  When I walked into the bathroom the toilet paper had been unwound from the roll and was spread throughout the bathroom.  There were little drops of poop everywhere, but no chicken.  Then I heard the splash and looked into the toilet.  There was a drenched, very unhappy Daisy, standing in the water looking cold and pitiful.  I slipped my hand around her and lifted her up into a towel where I rubbed her vigorously, but gently to try and bring warmth back to her appendages and to dry all the down which was plastered to her bony young body.  She taught me well, I make sure the seat is down on the toilet now.  No more indoor swimming pools in the baby chicken area!  This morning when I finally pulled myself out of bed around 8, I checked on the babies first and sure enough as I walked closer to the bathroom I could hear one of them screaming louder then all the others.  The others had a nervous peep, this one was screaming. 

Yep, it was Daisy.  She was out of the tub again.  So I picked her up, hugged her to my face and whispered sweet admonishes to her, then gently placed her back with her sisters.  I am sticking with the flower theme again this year.  So I have Hyacinth, a sort of bluish Aracunda, Iris, her more yellowish sister, then Daisy, Marigold, Chrysanthemum, Dewdrop and  Cosmos.  They are all various shades of yellow and gold.   Daisy is the easiest to pick out in that she is the lightest yellow of them all.  And the one that consistently tests my ability to learn.  Sometimes those are the ones that turn out to be roosters.  Hopefully these are all hens.  The goldish color ones are all golden sex link, a combination of Rhode Island Red and Rhode Island White.  A very pretty chicken that is supposed to be an excellent egg layer.  What do I need with more eggs?  I don't have the need for more eggs.  No, I do not.  I have 8 hens and one rooster now.  I really did not need anymore chickens.  But it is spring and they were peeping and now they are mine.  And I have grown attached to them so quickly.  They are all strong, healthy looking peeps, and they have grown rapidly.  Today they will go out into a cage inside the second coop.  They will stay in the cage until they have doubled in size and then I will let them run free in the second coop until they are the same size as the chickens I have now.  Then we will go through the process of merging the two flocks under their one rooster, John C. Bennett. 

John C is a wonderful rooster.  He is big and beautiful and very good to his hens.  I have never seen him, um, well, you know, mount any of the hens yet.  None of the girls have the loss of feathers on their backs like is common when a rooster takes a particular liking to one of the hens.  I have recently begun to notice what I normally see in a fertilized eggs, but as Ms Moon has reminded me, the lack of that spot does not mean that they have not been fertilized.  John C calls the girls over when food is put out for them.  He makes sure that everyone gets some before he eats his share.  I did see him yesterday do the pre-dance with one of the hens.  The only one that has any loss of feathers on her back.  I have no plans to incubate and hatch any chickens.  I do admire the Moon's for doing it.  Especially so that Owen can see the entire cycle of chickens.  He feeds his Mermer and Pop's chickens and he collects eggs.  Now he will get to see baby peeps born.  This on top of getting a new baby brother or sister, soon.  He will be able to help Mermer name the new babies.  It will be interesting to hear the names that pop out of a 2 year old's head. 

It always makes me laugh when people who come to my house are confused when the rooster crows all day long.  He crows when he is happy.  He crows when he can not see all of his hens.  He crows for danger, for food, for eggs laid.  As far as I know he might crow when he is telling a joke, or if one of the hens just told him something funny.  I do not know.  I just know that from the moment there is any light in a roosters world it seems important for him to make announcements in his loudest cock-a-doodle-doo.  I have heard many roosters all make sweet sharing noises to his girls also.  "Here is something good for you," he may gurgle to them.  Deep throaty noises that thrills a hens heart. 

What, really?  Too much chicken information?  Really?  Can there be too much chicken information?  Oh all right.  Enough on the chickens.  But after all tomorrow is spring.  Today is the last day of winter.  As nice as it will be to move past the spring equinox, I usually celebrate spring, not tomorrow, but on May Day, my favorite day of the entire year!

Here is some information I found on the web about spring on the site:

Celtic Druid’s Spring EquinoxEquinox means "equal night" and this happens because the sun is positioned above the equator and at this time of the year - day and night are about equal in length all over the world. The Spring Equinox is sometimes referred to as the Vernal Equinox – vernal means spring so together the Vernal Equinox means “Spring Equal Night and Day”. This is the start of the Astrological year when the Sun enters 0* of the Sign of the Ram (Aries). The famous Egyptian priests built their Great Sphinx to point directly toward the rising Sun on this day every year.

The Spring Equinox is also called: Alban Eilir, Eostar, Eostre, Feast of Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Festival of Trees, Lady Day, NawRuz, No Ruz, Ostara, Ostra, Rites of Spring. To Celtic Druids it is the time when day and night are equal in length and this happens when the Sun is at 0* of Aries and again in the Autumn when the Sun is at 0* of Libra.

and from:
The first day of spring is also known as the Vernal Equinox. Alban Eiler, which means, "Light of the Earth," is one of the two days that night and day stand equal. The equinoxes and solstices were holy times of transition for the ancient Celts, a celebration of the miraculous balance of nature and life cycles of renewal.

Ah, see that is part of the problem with the web, is that since every one's opinion is included and the information is not always consistent, but it is always interesting.

Finally, maybe it is time to be a better person.  For the last several years I have tried to be a good person, but at times I have been very difficult, petulant, bitchy, unpleasant.  I have used the excuse that I have lung cancer.  That I should somehow be given a pass on my bad behavior.  Why? Doesn't everyone have some excuse for bad behavior?  Maybe it is stress from money issues, or your boss yelled at you, or you have bitten off more then you can chew and feel overwhelmed.  Pretty much we can blame stress for most everything.  After all we are a nation of Xanax, check the news, it is the story of the moment.  And I am one of those people now also.  I am not on Xanax, but on another type of crazy meds, and it has helped.....a lot.  A real lot.  It has given my life back to me.  I talked to the nurse about the fact that I do not understand why people would take these drugs  for recreation.  She explained to me that if you do not need it, you do get a high or a buzz.  But if you need it, you just feel, well, sane.  And that is me.  I  feel more sane.

And with this new found sanity, I am thinking it is time to get over the cancer.  I don't mean stop having cancer.  I don't think that is an option.  Or even a good idea.  I have learned so much having been given this disease.  But I think it is time to stop wearing it like a security blanket.  To quit wrapping it around my inappropriate behavior.  To quit using it as an excuse not to do things.  And maybe more important for my personality type, to quit trying to do everything as an excuse that I only have so much time left.  I am not saying that anyone will notice the change, but maybe I will.  Maybe I can move past this.  I think part of this is from the crazy meds.  But part of it is coming to terms with the amazing Dr. M leaving.  You may remember the news of his impending departure threw me into a tizzy of childish pity party behavior.  But now as I think about it a little further, I realize this is very freeing.  Since making the amazing Dr. M's acquaintance I have used it as an excuse to stay here.  To not move or leave.  I needed to be here because he was here.  But now, why can't I find a new doctor.  Find a new place to go.  Can I really leave here?

But what about my beloved ones?  Mr and Ms Moon and family, Judy, Denise, Jack and Jan, Carolyn, Ron and Pat, Marcy and Fred, the rest of The Opera House family, the Garden Circle ladies, The Art League people and all of my dearest friends here?  What about my dearest friends in Tallahassee?  Bob and I have been friends for more then 25 years!  No, I do not think at this point I am ready to pack up the zoo and head out with my suitcases.  I love where I live.  I love Labrun.  But it is also refreshing to be in a place where I could move if I wanted.  And between that epiphany and the crazy meds I realize that it is time to get back to just living again.  Stop being a "victim" of cancer and start just being a regular sort of person again.  A regular sort of person who takes chemo and crazy meds.  According to the new reports in the media, I am more "normal" then I would have thought.  Yep, I am one of a growing majority who needs drugs to deal with life.  I would say everyday life, but I know that is not true.  And here I am back giving myself an excuse to take drugs.  I have cancer.  The cancer causes its own anxiety and stress in the body.  Then when you add in chemo which also affects my brain and mind, I need to take crazy meds to stop the anxiety, the obsession, the insanity.  But since these drugs deal with the problems, it is time to move on.

I need to move the baby chicks.  They have feathers and little tails and the beginning of flight wings.  They are ready to go out.  But the last few weeks, which I have down played how much I have been going as I started realizing how crazy it is to go as hard as I have gone over the edge of busy.  But instead of doing all the things that need to be done, I think I will whiten my teeth, it is amazing how off colored normal looking teeth look like when you have on white face.  Anyway, a nap.  I think I need to take a nap.  And I need to rehearse.  But first, some lunch, now that I have intelligently used this glorious morning by phone calls with friends, time with the animals, time spent sitting on my front porch soaking in the warm glorious spring air and sunshine. 

We had 2 good run through of the play yesterday.  Okay.  I had one good run through.  I fell off the stage, no not the big one, just the one that is about 12 - 18 inches off the main stage.  I did not hurt myself, but I jarred my brain and lost my way.  We are close.  Oh, so very close to being ready to open.  I have also been asked to assist a couple of the actors with their makeup.  And hopefully I will be able to shift over to the larger task of makeup for the murder mystery, while Judy directs.  I love the creativity of makeup and masks.  I am ready. 

Now to nap.
oh, first lunch. 
shoot, I almost forgot
more later.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

family, tie dye, rehearsals and museums

It has been a good week.  A week of family.  Monday night Dad, Rob, JongAe and Jessica got in for spring break.  The weather was warm and glorious.  We need rain, but it is hard to think about that when the air is thick with spring.  The bees buzz, the butterflies flutter the azaleas blow in the wind forming pink, white and magenta skirts of colors underneath the soft green of new leaves.  Bird song woke me every morning to the early sunshine and scent of sweet olive, roses and multitudes of wild flowers.  I slept in my beloved airstream, nestled in the trees and green light.  Each morning I woke with Bob and Edna cuddled up with me in the single bed.  Stella perched on my shoulder, queen of the mountain.  One night Harry even decided to sleep out with us.  The rest of the nights, he slept in his bed in my bedroom with Rob and family.

We open The Fantastick's this coming week.  We are working hard, trying to pull everything together into the vision of the Director.  My family was patient with all the time I was gone at rehearsals.  At rehearsals I grew ever more frustrated with not knowing my part and how to prepare for it. 

On Wednesday the five of us loaded up in the toy, put the top down and drove into Tallahassee from Hwy 27, the southeast side of town.  We drove up the Parkway where as you come up over the hill you get a view of the State of Florida Capital building.  We turned west and then back around to the Museum of Florida History.  I had Dad's travelling chair.  It is not as big as his regular chair, but it is easier to get in the trunk of the car.  We wandered through the museum.  Dad really enjoyed the new Culture Exhibit that shows the native Americans present in the country at the time of the Spanish Conquistadors.  Rob really enjoyed the WWII exhibits.  Jessica loved Grandma's closest and the replica of a river boat.  The most memorable moment for me is the 1940s radio that you can push the button below it and with the crackle and echo sound of the 40s you hear FDR give his moment of infamy speech.  It is chilling to hear the words spoken during a war that changed the map of the world.    It is truly a beautiful and amazing museum and we are so lucky to have such amazing wonder right in our back door.  The skeletons, the dioramas, the travelling and the permanent exhibitions.

After the museum we had a huge lunch then meandered our way home where we collapsed, warmed by the ride with the sunshine swirling around, warming our still winter cold skin.  Our minds full with the sites seen, our tummies full from the food eaten.  Naps were taken or simply restful time.  That night was our only night to get to spend together, we just stayed home and were a family.

Thursday Dad and I worked on scanning photos from Dad and Mother's previous trips to Europe and Spain in the past.  Rob, JongAe and Jessica took a drive into town and spent the day just wandering around Tallahassee.  They bought me a chicken balloon.  You can walk along holding the ribbon and the chicken will walk along behind you.  I love this little red hen.  She is completely adorable.  The dogs and cats are not as thrilled:

little red hen balloon
 Here are some photos of the early spring flowers starting to bloom:


A Joseph's coat climbing rose

Dozens of butterflies sipping nectar from the blush of bloom

Butterfly ginger pushing up through the ground

Another lovely Amaryllis
Rehearsals have  To say the least, but after a particularly hard, but successful rehearsals yesterday Dave suggested that we all go to Pizza Hut to unwind.  It was a great idea and really help us all bond.  The play will be wonderful.  But the process has been horrifically painful.  We open in less then a week, and I need to rush now to get ready and go.  I have made my "fire" ribbons.  I have gathered up a blue shawl.  I have put together my costume, and pulled out the makeup.  I will wear the makeup tomorrow, but today we have a 5 hour rehearsal, and I just don't think that trying to do it all right now, is just a bit much.

It was a good week in more ways then it wasn't.  On Friday Jessica, JongAe and I tie dyed.  We made one for family members at home who could not be with us this week.  Saturday as the family left, the car filled with swirls of colors as each wore a new tie dye shirt.  We all hugged and promised to get together again very soon.  As soon as I can get away from the Opera House for a few days.  Not until after this play closes.  But first we have 7 more days of rehearsals or performances in this nine days straight.  I hope to see y'all there.  I do not willingly get up on stage that often.  This may be the last nail in the coffin.  I watch the other actors and they come alive, they glove the bubble endorphins.  I struggle to not let them down.  This is joy to them.  This is hard for me.  I am sure that once the play opens I will find the joy as I watch the actors glow under the hot lights, the applause of the audience.  Then I will be happy and love being a part of this very special little group of actors.  I love all the actors and stage crew in this show.  They are marvelous.  You are going to love them to. 
See you soon!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Do I sound like a petulant 12 year old?  Well I feel like one.  Which is a step up from how I felt an hour ago.  An hour ago I was having an anxiety attack.  An hour ago I was on the verge of crying.  An hour ago I thought I only had three months to live. 

Am I being dramatic.  Yes, Yes, I am.

And you would to if you had gone to one of the very worst doctors ever given a degree in doctoring and he told you to go home and die.  Then you are whisked away into the amazing and magical world of Dr. M.  Dr. McCutie Pie.  The Most wonderful and amazing doctor you could ever ask for.  He has excellent doctoring skills.  He is handsome and has a sweet smile.  He is extremely intelligent.  He is married and uses that same charm and skill that he used to win his beautiful wife to soothe his female patients.  "I am married so I know better then to tell you what to do.  But if I could just make a suggestion......"  See, he knows how to talk to me. 

He reached in and grabbed me back through the veil of death back to life.  He saved my life.  Yes, that is dramatic, but it is true.  It is simply true.  This man saved my life.  And now....

And now......

He is leaving.

The amazing and most wonderful doctor I have ever known is simply packing up his beautiful family and moving. 

The new crazy meds he has me on has been wonderful.  I am so much more peaceful.  I have not had any anxiety, well, since the two weeks it takes to get into your system.  Nothing, I have just been calm and accepting, well adjusted, happy, sane.  And that is how I feel.  Sane. 

I told him that he was going to have to bump up my crazy meds if he is going to leave.  He laughed and said I was fine.  He then told me that the PT Scan came out great.  No problems.  The cancer is controlled.
For now

I told him that I thought he would be my doctor for as long as I lived.  That he would be the doctor I would have when I died.  So that gives me three months to live my life.  Yes, I sound crazy, but I am afraid.  I am afraid to loose Dr. M.  He has taken a woman who was dying and made her live.  In a lot of circles that is called a miracle.  To him, another day at the office.

Bobbie and Ashley his two nurses tried to calm me.  We all three ended up with tears in our eyes.  I started thinking how could I live the rest of my life in three months? Can I get all the paperwork done?  Can I make all the trips I want to make, do all the things I want before he leaves?

Can I live after he leaves?
Can I?

I don't know!

At this moment, all the terror and anxiety is back.
Not as bad as before the crazy meds
But bad enough

They are loosing two other doctors at the same time.
They are replacing all three doctors with three woman doctors
I am a woman
I don't want a woman doctor
I have never cared one way or another before

but now I want a doctor just like Dr. M
I don't want anything new
I don't want different
I want a doctor that I can not get away with anything
Who will talk to me intelligently and like he is speaking to his beloved wife
I am not his wife, but I like that he has one and that he knows how to talk to women
with respect

Will another woman find me funny?
Will she get Judy, Mary and I?
Will she make me want to put on make up and look good?
Will she make me want to live?



I feel like I should be on the ground throwing a temper tantrum.
I need to get past this
This is not the worst thing in the world
I am healthy and well
I still have a lot of life to live
But Dr. M, the amazing and wonderful Dr. M was part of the reason for me wanting to live

He loves a challenge and he challenged me to want to live and to move past cancer
To have a life filled with quality
Will the next doctor care and like me for me?
Or will I simply be another patient with cancer

That is how the first doctor saw me

Ms Moon said that maybe Dr. M is really not all that amazing.  Maybe compared to Dr. Blowsucker he just seemed amazing.
I tried.
I really tried hard to believe that.
I know Ms Moon was hoping to believe that too
We really don't believe that
Dr. M, the amazing Dr. M is special
I have felt special being his patient
and now I
I don't know
I wanted to get better and live because it seemed to mean so much to him
He knew how to work me to get me to want to live again
will the next doctor?

I don't want another doctor
He only told me because he did not want me to read it in the form letter coming out
He wanted to be the one to tell me.
I am crying

I am anxious
I am childish and self centered and having a pity party

But it is Dr. M, the amazing Dr. M and Ashley and Bobbie, the world's two greatest nurses
There is Mary and Judy and me
The six of us saved me
The six of us were a team
I love these people
I hate change
and this is big change
this is really really big change
this is more then I can handle right now
even on my new crazy meds

Three months
How can I live the rest of my life in three months??????
Will I still want to live after he is gone?
I don't know
isn't that silly?
I am not considering killing myself
no, I am not crazy
I am on meds for that
But somehow it just feels that when he leaves my life, my very breath will go out with him
but not come back

Will I will survive
will I will carry on
Maybe I will like this new doctor
maybe they will be amazing like Ms Moon said

I mean, a doctor as amazing as Dr. M?  We knew he would not stay,
but I just thought he would be here as long as I was.

Okay, I feel better
I still scared
I still feel anxious
I still do not like this one little bit
no, not one little bit
but I have no choice
Dr. M has no choice
He needs to go where he can stretch and learn and grow
Where he can save many more people
where he can become the most amazing Oncologist to ever walk this earth
instead of the most amazing Oncologist to walk in my world

His job here is done
sort of like Nanny McPhee
As Nanny McPhee always says,
"When you need me, but don't want me, I must stay,
when you want me, but don't need me, I must go."

Maybe I don't need him anymore, I just want him to be here in my world.
He could see me crying
He could see Bobbie and Ashley hugging me,
they each had tears in their eyes.
He knows this is going to be hard.

He smiled and looked at us with those big dark caring eyes
He looked at me and I knew he must do this
but I don't feel like being big about it
not yet
I will

He did say as he walked out of the door
"I have a plan for you."
and he does
and he will tell it to me over the next three months
and when it is time for him to go,
I will cry again
but for now I have other things I must do.
I must return to my body and life as an adult
I can not stay acting like a petulant teenager.
No matter how much that feels like the right thing to do.

The most amazing and marvelous Dr. M is leaving y'all
but he has a plan

Monday, March 12, 2012

Spring Forward

It always amazes me how much I am affected by daylight savings time,  going on or off.  I didn't get to sleep until after 11:00 pm, which is very late for me.  I slept until after 8:00am, which is completely unheard of.  I think I could have slept for hours more  The sun is taking it's time this morning burning through the fog and clouds.  The days seems sluggish like it is confused by the change of time also.  The light is pale and soft against the brightness of spring green leaves or the brilliant colors of the azaleas which are peaking in my yard.

The girl's tents was nestled in amongst these lovely flowers.  I am so happy that they were up this weekend to see the flowers.  Dad, Rob, JongAe and Jessica will be in tonight so they will also get to see all the flowers.  I still have more azaleas to plant along the fence in the front.  Some day you will not be able to drive by and see my yard, other then the flowers along the fence.  That is my dream.  To be completely surrounded by flowers, sigh.  Doesn't that sound lovely?

Here are a few more photos of things in my yard:

Cobalt Martin trying to decide which condo to use this year

bird feeders

Right before I took that photo there was a pair of cardinals, some Carolina chickadees, sparrows and a finch  I have to change the feeder in the middle in that it is the wrong kind of feeder for meal worms for Cobalt and Azure Martin, my bluebirds.  Right next to the feeder is a water feature made out of a large brown Mexican bowls with a Panama Pacific water lily in the middle that gives the birds a place to stand and splash in the water.  I am so happy about the variety of birds showing up so soon to the feeders.  Today I hope to get my hummingbird feeders out.  I also may need to add another feeder a little further down the fence so I can watch the birds from my red chair.  Right now my feeders are set up to watch from my back porch.

Here are a few photos from this past weekend:

Redneck wine goblet
Myrlene made the redneck wine goblet by super gluing a mason ball jar to a candle stick.  To be fair the girl's told me to make it truly redneck I have to bling it up by super gluing jewels on it.  Feel the bling

Bonita and I

Myrlene was crowned queen of the crafters this weekend.  Yes, she is the one who came up with the redneck wine goblet, the beautiful skeleton, Ms Bonita (hee hee) for my closest and the high tea hats.  Ms Bonita is made from gallon milk jugs.  Isn't that too clever.  And I am so happy to have a new skeleton for my closest.  I have not had any skeletons in my closest since I moved here.  I used to have a medically accurate skeleton in my closest on Pine Island.  It always made me laugh when people would step out of my large food closet and say, "you have a skeleton in your closest,"  my only response was, "don't we all!"  hee hee

Meagan was crowned Princess for her crafting ability.  She made some of the most beautiful tie dye shirts I have ever seen.  She also tie dyed her tea hat and made a very cool candle holder. 

Each was crowned with a tiara.  They were thrilled and put their tiaras on right over their tea hats.  They will be our queen and princess for the coming year.  They may wear their tiaras for all occasions, including parties, dances, teas, cleaning the frig, vacuuming, shopping, including grocery shopping or watching TV.  Tiara, the most underused accessory.  Great for travelling with girlfriends.  Yes, going to a street fair?  Maybe a large museum exhibition?  Or just spending the day shopping, a group of women in tiaras is definitely a conversation starter.  You are treated more queenly, or is it that we are having so much fun that we are behaving nicer and people respond.  I am not sure, but I assure you a group of women in tiaras are treated very well.  It also helps to find each other if you get separated from each other.  The tiaras catch the light and help you to spot even shorter women in a crowd.  And when it comes to cleaning or doing other mundane tasks, a tiara can make you smile and change the task at hand from drudgery to something special.  Give it a try.  It just might make you smile.

Well, the sun is coming out and it is time for me to switch from the girl's camping trip to family spring break.  Honestly, I would love to lay down and take a nap.  Maybe I will later after I have straightened up a bit more.

Spring will be here in a week.  The yard is filled with flowers and butterflies, birds and I see bunnies again.  It is a wonderful spring, as crazy as the weather has a been, but I love all of this warmth.  The pecan trees around my yard have not leafed out yet, so I am not sure what surprises this spring still holds for us. 

This coming week is Bike Week at Daytona.  There is always some rain and cold during bike week.  They have had some terrible rain and wind this past weekend.  I hope for all the bikers that was that.  We will see.

Time to get up and head out.  Well, as soon as I finish watching Martha bake the scones.  hee hee, I do love a good scone.

It is another beautiful day.  Family is coming in tonight.  I get to see the amazing Dr. McCutiemeds.

I did hear an article on The American Life, a radio program on NPR.  They were interviewing a woman who has had breast cancer for 23 years.  Twenty three years.  And you know what?  She is happy to still be alive.  She is in the smallest minority you can be, still alive with her cancer 23 years after diagnosis.  She says she is able at times to forget that she has cancer and almost live a life that is normal to others, not thinking about how life is terminal.  But then time and time again something comes up that reminds her that she is terminal.  She has tried every possible treatment over the past 20 plus years.  Some of those treatments they now know are of no benefit, others are now mainstream treatments.  She has been willing to try whatever it took to stay alive.  I am in awe of that.  I am not willing to do that at all.  I love my life.  This year, and it is only March, only the third month of the year, has been amazing.  Just full of possibilities and wonderful things.  Lots and lots of wonderful things, and I am doing as many of these possibilities as I can.  I am enjoying my life to the fullest.  But part of that ability to go and go and go is knowing that like Christmas there is an ending.  A date will come when no matter what is left to do, time has run out.  Does that scare me?  Not really.  Do I want to live for 20 plus more years.  No.  No, I do not.  As much as I love my life.  Part of that is because I can live for the next several years anyway I want.  I can pretty much do whatever I want financially, physically and  emotionally.  But when this disease breaks through the fire wall of chemo and starts to take control again, I can't say that all of those things will be true.  I also have a very specific cancer with one really really good treatment.  But only one.  So when this one stops working, do I want to go back to infusion?  I don't know.  If I had to make that decision right now.  This very moment?  No, I would not be willing to do it.  I don't really remember how out of it and sick and useless I was during the infusion treatments.  Of course I only had one or two treatments of the correct chemo.  The other three were for breast cancer.  Duh, I have lung cancer.  I do realize that some treatments treat more then one type of cancer, but the first three treatments did not control the cancer even one little bit, so there is no doubt that was not the correct treatment.  But, no, I am not interested in continuing to live my life like that.  I understand what she has to say.  She doesn't sound like a regular sort of person.  She sounds like I do.  Someone who is aware every moment what is going on in our bodies.  We are no longer Kathleen or Susan or Mary or whatever our name once was.  In our minds we are now Kathleen with Stage 4 Lung Cancer.  It makes us special, not necessarily in a way we would have checked off on a wish list.  But it is who we are anyway.  Some choose to "fight".  Obviously this woman has been fighting her disease for 20plus years.  No, I do not want to live my life fighting.  I want to live my life learning how to be peaceful.  Peaceful.  World peace.  It starts inside each of us. 

I am at peace with the life I have lived.
I am at peace with the love, joy and happiness that fills my life
I am at peace amongst my animals and flowers and plants
and friends
and songs
and dance
of all the life forms in my world
Yep, spring is a little over a week away. 
Woody's birthday
Wes' birthday
have a lovely day.
I have to take the time to write a blog on books
I want to share the words of others that touch my heart.
touch my heart

Let me leave you with this final photo from this weekend.  My dear sister Sioux and I, laughing and joyful after another successful girl's camping trip.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Girl's gone wild in the woods 2012

I woke up Friday thinking about all the possibilities of the day.  I straightened up the house, finished the laundry, and cleaned the airstream.  Okay, all I did was to move things to make room in the airstream, but it did not get vacuumed or completely cleaned up.  Then I drove up to Monticello and met with my accountant.  I had a woefully small folder with paperwork for her to use with my taxes.  Mostly I needed her to be able to fill out the forms correctly concerning my retirement and IRA and roll overs and all of that stuff.  I ran some errands and then headed home to finish getting ready for the girl's camping trip.

It was around nine and I was just laying down on the couch when they drove up.  They had gotten to leave a little early.  Rooms were assigned, bags were carried in, hugs shared, hearts connected and we settled in to the weekend.  Another girl's camping trip.  Mothers and Daughters.  Sisters.  Friends.  Grand daughters.  Everyone had been up early and it wasn't long before eye lashes fluttered against delicate skin.  Fluttering while the body rests and the mind soars to those places that piece together into movies we call dreams.  Together, all of us in one place, again.  Together and yet sisters and mothers and daughters, friends, were missing.  Some will never come back to us.  Others will be bringing their mothers or daughters, their friends to one next year or maybe the year after.  But those of us who were there felt whole.  Like those we missed were there because their faces were in photos and dreams and hearts.  As our eye lashes fluttered against the delicate skin of our cheeks.  We slept.

As the sunlight streamed in eyes popped open as excited as the first day of camp, or maybe even a little like Christmas morning.  Everyone was in a happy disposition and smiles came easily after the last few busy days.  Breakfast was made, coffee sipped, the smell of bacon and eggs and biscuits fed our excitement for the activities yet to come.  Plans and strategies were set and it was decided that soap would be made at the first available time everyone could be there.  Wives were away from their husbands and kids and calls had to be made, "I miss you" and "love you too!" had to be shared.  Sioux and I got things set up for tie dying and soap making.  Sioux also got her painting project out and ready to go.  Other bags with other projects appeared.  Gloves were shared, techniques discussed, rubber bands were hunted down and then into the dye, white v-neck Tshirts.  That is our favorite.  The theme, what would be the theme this year?  We had several techniques this year so we would be able to write the theme on our shirts and then dye them.  The brain storming began immediately with ideas tossed out into the air, all falling flat.  Some gave up and simply wrote the date on their shirts.  After this weekend they would be washed and folded and lovingly put with shirts from trips from long ago.  But the memories are stored in that soft cotton with swirls of color, mostly purple.

I was writing on my shirt, "Girls Gone Wild in the Woods 2012"  Everyone stopped and stared, Sioux stood up and announced the theme had been decided upon.  She is very regal in her announcements, having been queen several times in our past trips.  I had simply put all the words together that each person had thought most important.  A flurry of activity and writing using sharpie markers as Tshirts were grabbed from the fence.  Then once the flowers and peace signs were done a few drops of rubbing alcohol were dropped carefully onto the writing and design and the colors blur out and mix together like tie dye.  The skill these woman have in making these shirts is amazing.  Several new techniques in the art of dying were shared and each one picked up and enjoyed, assimilated into our genetic material along with all the other projects worked on at previous camping trips.  Here are a few photos of our tie dying:

Megen with one of her tie dyes shirts

My first shirt of the day

Audry with one of her treasures

Myrlene proudly showing 2012
We laughed and played all day.  I had forgotten how much brain power is needed to marathon craft, deftly switching from one craft to another, stretching your brain as you use different parts of it, different skills, different thought processes to work each craft.  We were able to make the soap late morning when all the calls had been made and we had finished standing in the morning sun, oohing and aahing over each shirt, each jeweled treasure being unfurled like an art exhibition.  Each shirt marvelled over and discussed, techniques reviewed over and mysteries solved over why it worked one way instead of another.  We do not only create and play, but we think and learn, store away the knowledge like survival skills for the long year away from each other and this weekend. 

After the shirts, various projects were started by each as we all started coming together to make soap.  Soap making is really only a one or two person job.  There isn't enough room for everyone to be in the kitchen at the same time.  In fact we assigned meals to people so that you only have to spend a limited amount of time in the kitchen, and have the most pleasant experience while you are there.  But this was soap making and we all eagerly crowded into the kitchen.  I moved to the counter and turned like the Julia ChildsCoolish spring temperatures and clear blue skies, what a perfect weekend.

The soap finally started to trace and now the real fun began.  We returned to the kitchen in force.  Molds were shared and embossing stamps placed.  Soap was poured, more molds cut from large yogurt containers.  Don't forget essential oils for scent as well as qualities needed by each for their skin type.  Those with sensitive skin avoided the dyes, a loofah sponge was brought in, cut and divided up while each of us tried a different technique.  The kitchen first, then the entire house, and maybe all the way into the yard and beyond filled with the scents of essential oils.  10X Orange, grapefruit, lime, lemon and tangerine, lavender, vanilla, mint, spearmint, and eucalyptus, rosemary, patchouli, gardenia and jasmine, drop by drop freed from their amber bottles into the smooth rich creaminess of the soap.  Wooden chop sticks were used to swirl in the scents and dyes, rose petals, jasmine flowers and peppermint leaves.  The molds were carefully taken back to a book shelf to be stored out of the way until the trips home. 

We ate all day.  Wonderful food lovingly made ahead of time and wrapped snugly up, stored in coolers on dry ice and brought here for this weekend.  A southern woman's fantasy, fried chicken with potato salad and cole slaw.  Cornbread pudding and baking powder biscuits, carrot cake and lemon tart, Godiva chocolate cookies and bags of Hershey's.  So much food, it is hard to name it all, but it was enjoyed with eyes fluttering closed and smiles that lifted our lips. 

We always end the weekend with high tea.  Once the camp fires have gone cold, the s'mores squished and eaten, the tents broken down and the crafts lovingly admired by all then packed for shipping we have our tea.  We have tea sandwiches, egg salad, chicken salad and cucumber.  We had the carrot cake, lemon tart and cookies.  Three types of tea was brewed, decaffeinated Earl Grey, Green Tea Jasmine and a small pot of a blooming flower tea for the grand daughters to see and marvel at the world of tea.  The sugar had pieces of rose petals through it  This bothered some of them, not truly sure it was petals instead of bugs.  That led to a lesson on how to properly dispose of an unwanted beverage using the over the shoulder snap, followed by the appropriate facial expression, depending on the beverage tossed.  When my grandmother first taught me about tea and how to dress and bake, brew and pour the tea, it was much more formal filled with traditions.  This tea was accompanied by squeals of laughter, hats covered in flowers and stars, ribbons and moss.  It was on the back porch where we posed together for the trip photo.

The Attendees of the Girl's Gone Wild in the Woods 2012
Walks were taken, talks were talked, catching up and smiling, hugging, making new friends, admiring the amazing talent and ability of such a diverse group of woman.  Such joy, such ecstasy, such drama!!!  I loved every minute of it.  They were so sweet to me and took such good care of me the whole weekend.  But after the tea, drives had to be made, rehearsals attended, interstates to be driven.  Home was calling some of them, work, children, spouses, pets.  All of us were sated with our time.  We will long for this again, and hopefully in another year we will meet again.  Maybe it will not take an entire year.  I love these girls and have watched them grow and be married.  They are wonderful mothers, all of them, each generation, and such lovely young strong women they raise.  Tears were shared between Sioux and I.  Thanks to her this year happened.  Thanks to her and our friendship, our desire to learn how to make soap we had our first girl's camping trip about 20 years ago now.  We looked at a picture from that first trip.  The faces of two beautiful young, strong, happy woman looked back out at us.  Such youth and beauty, how did we not know then?  But we do know now, and constantly urge our friends and ourselves to remember that 20 years from now we will look back in awe at ourselves right now, right this minute.

I shifted gears from nurturing and play to play and working.  I gathered up my things and drove up to my other home, the Opera House.  I started seriously thinking about props and where they need to be, and to start my check list.  I worried that I do not know my part any better then I do at this late date.  I need to figure this out now.  now.  I did try to be responsible and not over sensitive to my faults.  I work very hard and when I am on the stage I try and test out things.  Small.  Much too small for the actual play, but to sort of give the director an idea of what I could do at that moment.  I always smile when she looks at me and tells me to do what I was doing.  I know she saw it, and is really say, "yes, that works, now make it bigger.  much bigger."  I can do that.  I made magical scarves change colors and made magical flashes appear then popped poppers and threw paper in the air.  I love my part.  I just wish I could do a better job at memorizing it.  I need to get it down as of yesterday.  yikes!  But we all worked hard at rehearsal.  We are going to be the ones standing in front of the audience when the curtain opens.  I will be the first person to burst out on to the stage.  Bowing and tipping my top hat, dancing across the stage, pulling the old clown prank of throwing a bucket of water that turns out to be confetti on the audience.  Only this time I actually throw it on myself.  Rehearsal was a struggle, but a good struggle.  We are all getting it.  We are all showing moments of splendor.  We just need to practice and practice  We need to be able to feel totally comfortable so we can play.  We will.  We will. 

Then home I came.  I picked up the few remaining things that I had not allowed the others to do for me before they left.  I enjoyed this last little moment of picking up the dye buckets and storing them safely away for this coming week.  Seeing in my mind all of the colors swirling together on the shirts.  Seeing the smiles and sparkling eyes of my friends.  Picking up a glass or a napkin used by one of their hands.  Checking to see if there was any warmth left from their touch.  Smiling at the thought.

Then sitting down and posting the photos to Facebook so the girls would have them.  And finally calling my Dad and writing this post.  Closing a wonderful weekend.  So special shared with dear beloved woman friends.  Then shared again with my Dad.  My Dad who will be here tomorrow.  With my oldest brother, his wife and their daughter.  Spring break is here.  Such possibilities of lovely events.  Nights of rehearsals where I must be ready to do my best, be my largest, dance my dance across the boards.  Days spent looking at museums, visiting the doctor for good news and yes, such possibilities.

I am tired and it is much later then I had hoped to be up this night. 
But now to lay my head down and to close my eyes.
To have my eyelashes flutter against my cheeks as I sleep and dream
The garden circle went to McClay Gardens today
They walked around the gardens looking at the blooms at their peak
I ran across a stage in a dark theater with bright lights shining down on me
Such possibilities in my life
such possibilities
good night