Sunday, May 30, 2021

 Dear friends-

Today I took my last vancomycin. The last one. I'm still drinking aloe vera juice and taking probiotics but no more antibiotics. Hooray! I walked all the way to Kubota Gardens with the dog and boy it was hard. I ran out of steam. I'm just hoping my strength will return. 

I pulled up all the spinach in the garden as it was bolting. Of course I ate all the leaves. I've also gotten strawberries, not so sweet because we haven't had many sunny warm days. Still it's such a treat to pick strawberries from the garden. 

I'm rewatching Glee, surely a silly campy series with singing and dancing and queerness and bullying and all. 

The elderberry is once again making oceans of tiny blossoms which will be berries for syrup. I'm ready. I have honey and spices and ginger. 

Some friends and I are getting together tomorrow in their yard. We're all vaccinated so we can hug and sit around mask-less. It's so weird to leave the house without a mask now. I know I can but I still carry a mask because I want to be in solidarity with those who are not vaccinated.

I volunteered at another vaccination site yesterday. We served folks from Ghana, Kenya, Mexico, Vietnam and Honduras. We have loads of translation services. One of the volunteers from Kenya brought a boom box with great music and I danced, of course I did. We were outside under white tents. 

It's gotten much harder to reach people. We are now dealing with hard to find folks and vaccine-hesitant people. About 50% of Washington is vaccinated. What really hurts is throwing out vaccine at the end of the day. 


Tomorrow is Memorial Day. I don't know what we celebrate on that day. My dad was in the Navy. Many many humans have died and/or fought in wars, endless wars. 

I do know that for the first time, The White House recognized Vesak:

I do love me some Joe Biden.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021


Sunday, May 23, 2021

 An update on the sorry state of affairs over here. I'm better. Which means I no longer have terrible cramps and an unmentionable bowel situation. I am wrung out and weepy. My naturopaths have me drinking aloe vera juice, swallowing green tea extract, various probiotics, vit D and calcium and eschewing gluten :( and dairy :((.  How does one live without bread? And pie? And cookies? etc. 

They did give me a recipe for congee, which is the most delicious food in the entire world. It's white rice cooked forever til it's mush and then you add sauteed veggies and some ginger and broth and soy sauce and slurp it up. It honestly soothed my whole body. And I ate it for three days. 

I do lie around for hours. I make myself take one reasonable walk with Felix. The weather has been prefect, about 55, partly sunny and lush. I'm eating from the garden. No raw veggies so I steam the lettuce and spinach. I just can't let them go to waste. I am a wastrel. I could be writing the GAN (great American novel) or at least a book of poetry but instead I scour netflix et al. for anything I haven't already watched. Lying on the couch drinking tea and bemoaning my fate. 

I meet with my Year to Live folks tomorrow. I told the teacher I might have taken the assignment a bit too seriously. Next week I'm doing another vaccine clinic (I'll be fine. I've done two already and I wasn't feeling so hot for either of those.) I think I suck as a sick person. I vacillate between feeling useless and depressed to contemplating the meaning of life, all to no avail. I don't want to talk to my friends because they want to know if I need anything and I'm good. I don't want to talk about it. Then I think about my many friends who have/are dealing with chronic conditions or cancer scares and I think I'm just an asshole. 


These are my unvarnished thoughts, y'know. I don't want advice. I don't want to complain. I just...float here in this sick/healing body with foggy thoughts and hyper sensitive feelings. 

If I'm perfectly honest, I'd say I'm waiting, being patient and trying to be kind to this uncertainty, this off-kilter physical experience. I'm dizzy, unbalanced (literally) and unsure of my strength. Before this happened, I would launch into the day, ride my bike, swim, walk and hike for miles. Garden and water. Give myself daily tasks to write and meditate and do good deeds. Now I'm emptied out. Depleted. I do think about what it is to die, the withdrawing of the elements from the body. Not morbid here. Honest. Just a reflection on the corporality, the frailty of the body. Its' impermanence.  

Floating, that's what I'm doing. Floating. Taking the time to really look at the present moment without my usual distractions. Maybe in the world but not of it. Interesting. Very interesting. Untethered. 

What is important? We've been there for over a year. What matters to us? What really matters? I'll be coming back down the mountain and maybe I'll have some stories to tell. 

Monday, May 17, 2021


Just got out of the hospital. Why, you may ask? Well, remember the two week regimen of horrid antibiotics? Well, a side effect is an overgrowth of C diff, which is another nasty bug that causes a type of colitis. I'd been babying myself, probiotics, yogurt etc etc thinking I just needed to restore my poor gut flora while my gut got sicker and sicker and more painful. I'd call the clinic and I'd get an appointment for  three weeks away (!!!!) Finally after a night of fevers and horrible cramping,  I dressed and drove myself to the ER. When I got into the exam room with a doc, I just started crying. Not to be a drama queen but from pain and fatigue and relief. I was there for 8 hours, got labs, another CT, an IV etc etc. They wanted to send me to the hospital in an ambulance but I got a friend to take me.

Everything I read about C diff is pretty scary, it can return, it is contagious, it can kill ya. We're hoping for the best-it doesn't return, its just a dread memory but at least if it does come back, I know what it is!!

BTW conscious sedation is the bomb.

Jeez and we just started being able to hang out with each other. 

Raining here. I love the way the plants glow with the water they ingest.

Thankful for my many friends who helped out over the last few days. They are the best. 

Sunday, May 09, 2021

 Dear friends-

Happy mother's day to all the mothers out there, whether you have human children, fur children, beloved chickens and gardens and/or you regularly 'mother' yourselves. In fact, all of us. 

Micha visited with May, who is her beloved foster baby. May is 7 months old and a fat and happy babe she is. Micha told me she has never loved anyone as much as May. Don't we know that feeling!! May's extended family is going to take her 'home' after a futile search for the birth dad. Apparently the birth mom is MIA too. Micha is facing heartache, oh boy. Comes with the territory, doesn't it?

My computer is not letting me post photos (sigh). I'll have to mess around to see what I can do about that. Apps invariably want you to pay something. Or if stuff is 'free', it is terrible to navigate. Meanwhile the second richest man IN THE WORLD hosted SNL. The first host on the spectrum, ok, that's good, but jeez. Billions of dollars so he can build a rocket ship. I will continue to be astonished at unbridled greed and heartlessness.,others%20on%20a%20regular%20basis.&text=In%20addition%2C%20their%20heart%20rates,feelings%20and%20motivations%20of%20others.

One doorway to compassion is through our own suffering. We are aroused by the sorrow of others because we too have been there. The rich suffer when they contemplate losing their vast wealth. Not a problem I think I will ever have...

I did another vaccine clinic yesterday. It was the Asian counseling center near my house and wowza. What a beautiful building filled with modern Asian/Pacific Islander art. Just splendid.

Nancy's birthday was yesterday and we met in the park where we always meet for her birthday. We sat on blankets, ate cookies and read poems to Nancy. It was a great blustery day with a soccer game going on, people with their kids flying kites and dogs chasing frisbees. 

I visited a 3 day old baby this morning. A fat, pretty boy with lots of dark hair. And his happy mother and mother-in-law. So sweet on mother's day. 

Time to walk the dog. I promised hours ago.

Much love to all. 

Friday, May 07, 2021

 Dear friends-

Wednesday I went to the Ethiopian Muslim Association mosque. We vaccinated about 60 people. The Imam guided us around, taught us to take off or cover our shoes, cover our heads. The interior of the mosque had a carpet that is designed for individual prayer rugs and there was tape on the floor so folks would be safely spaced. We women and men were set up in different rooms with screens  and folding tables. My companion Lauren and I chatted together between giving shots. She's a public health nurse. Some of the women were scared, most were stoic. Several had two scars from smallpox vaccine. All of them were refugees with identification cards. 

We were fed lunch from a local Panera. During lunch was a call to prayer. How beautiful, the words in Arabic. Men and women came in and knelt down praying. 

I know woefully little about Islam, nothing really. So I will study, at least to have some idea. 

I'm taking a course in comparative religions from Harvard, free to audit. The focus is Buddhism and I'm learning so much. All the different schools from Pure Land to Tibetan, so different from one another. 

Humans are a mystery, right?

Tomorrow I again attend a 'pop-up' vaccination clinic for half a day. 

I continue to be amazed. 

Sunday, May 02, 2021

 Dear friends-

I wished a bunch of people a happy mother's day and my daughter told me it's next Sunday. My response-the early bird catches the worm.


And so it begins, right?

Waves of the pandemic, like waves in the ocean. Some bigger, some smaller. Some knocking us over and tumbling us around. And so on with that metaphor. 

We are thinking it's maybe over but it's not, not for a long time. I knew that last year, I just knew. This illness would grab us and shake us and threaten us in spite of vaccines and health precautions and all. And so many of us would die. 

The spring continues to bless us with her beauty. Maybe I'll get more than a handful of grapes this year. Judith and I went to Cougar Mountain to hike and we saw wild bleeding hearts and trillium and tracks of a deer. Felix got gloriously dirty. 

My sister called and asked if I still performed weddings and of course, I still do. She wondered if I were available next October and of course I am. She then told me she's getting married. WTF. She's been dating this guy in Florida for several months and he's a retired teacher from the Bronx with kids and grandkids and he's a widower and he is very fit for a 74 yo guy who bicycles and likes to dance and she sent me a photo of the two if them on New Year's Eve. And she's been totally silent all this time!!! He came on the phone and I said, Brooklyn? The Bronx? He replied, "two block from the Yankee Stadium." Annie's attended a Seder already. He's a very tall, slender man with his arm around my sis. 

Whaddya know. I am delighted for her and jealous too. I'll get over it. I mean, how lovely to find someone during the plague years to play with. Going to Florida was a smart move. So I guess I'll be helping them with a wedding in the fall. I got excited about going to Florida (Mary!) but they think they'll be in NYC. 

And that's it from the Pacific NW. Wednesday I vaccinate some folks. 

May all beings find happiness and the causes of happiness.

May all beings be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.

May all beings experience the joy that is without sorrow,

And may that joy never leave them.

May all beings live in balance and in harmony,

freed from greed and aggression,

Believing in the equality of all that live.