santa cruz wharf

19 November 2008

a new gang member

I greet the usual gang.  After four months they are as familiar in my routine as coworkers and neighbors.  Down the hall...through the doorway, I notice new faces.  Without meaning to... I catch them in an intimate moment.  Their raw emotion hooks my attention. 

Two very attractive with his eyes closed relaxing in the recliner...a blanket pulled up to his shoulders.  The other man leaning over the chair lovingly running his hands over the resting man's face...massaging his head.  Gently rubbing his shoulders.  He stands up. I can hear him apologizing sadly.  He has to leave.

He softly kisses the top of his loved one's head.  Common courtesy dictates that I should turn away, but their poignancy is riveting.  He can't help himself....he starts the therapeutic touching again.  Face, neck, chest, head.  He straightens and even from my stand point I know he can not pull himself away.  Adjusting the blanket. Checking the water bottle. Touching a cheek. Smoothing the beard. He turns to speak to someone out of my sight. He is already late and he has to leave. One last kiss and he heads towards me.

Passing next to me in the narrow hallway he catches my eye and says,"Good Morning."

There is a strident sense to his voice that is all too familiar.  He so wants this to be a good morning. I smile and say, "Hey".  I watch him scan me and then my Mama with the nurse. I watch him figuring out our gig.  He touches my arm... turns... and strides back into the chemo room.  Reaching out for the other man once again...he needs to get going....but in his face I see that he can not bear to leave.  He is torn between love and obligation.

We walk from the lab office to the doctor's office.  The man standing sees us and greets my Mama "Hello".    He watches our slow stroll....her arm through mine.  At 5' 2" I am never tall but these days I tower over her.  I have this ragg-mopp of hair...she has none.  He watches us walk by...his fingers still stroking.  I smile at him and make some typically smartass comment to the chemo staff.  They have finally become accustomed to my irreverent banter and laugh out loud. Humor is my shield. As we pass I see the man resume his affectionate goodbyes.  

After our time with Dr.A (for whom I am most thankful) we join the chemo group.  A circle of lazyboys with colorful blankets and pillows hold a half dozen warriors reclining with their poisonous IVs. Lengths of tubing. Drip bags of venom.  On days like today there is room for embedded family and friends.  As Mama gets situated I realize the anxious man is gone...and I get a first look at his loved one.

They are virtually identical...the same man a couple decades apart.  This is not his lover...this is his SON.  There is a tug on my heart. Those endearments were not that of a lover's distress... what I had witnessed was parental anguish. I feel that hot pressure threatening to flood my eyes.

I gather Mama's coat and hat to stow during treatment.  Crossing the threshold out the side door tears escape and I am ticked.  I haven't cried at chemo since the very beginning and I am not about to do so now. 

Later.  When I can think it through and control the tears.  Then I will cry for the father's torment. It has been a year of tears.

Back in the chemo room I sit between my Mama and this boy. He is well over six foot. Handsome. We exchange names.  He graduated high school in 2003 and just transferred to Sonoma State. He's read about LittleMissy. He is majoring in kinesiology....wants to be a physical therapist. I remember his father's attention.   Like my BearCub he wears those stupid ass corduroy bedroom slippers as if they are shoes.  Today is his first treatment.  He has a ream of paperwork to complete.  He needs to schedule other sessions.  A girl calls his cellphone.  He draws designs in sketch book.

I look about at the other players in our little drama.

Knitting lady who is dropped off and picked up by her husband...but her friend always joins her in the chemo room.  Usually eating...they sit and talk the entire time.  The entire time. 

The black guy who can sleep and snore through everything. A linebacker type who barely fits in the chair.  I wonder if his shiny bald head is by choice or a circumstance.

The elderly woman from my church who comes with her oldest son.  She lost her husband in January and her younger son in July. To look and talk to her you would never know of her illness or loss.

The police detective who is always reading. He carries an accordion file stuffed with work. His chemo quit working (why does it do that??)   He will transfer to Stanford for a clinical trial.

The well dressed quiet fred astaire type who seems so sad...but whose face becomes brilliant when his three year old grandson brings him lunch halfway through.

And the new kid on the block.  Chatting with me to keep the other stuff at bay. I know I will think of him...and his father for a while.  I start to sigh...then manage to take up a deep breath before the sigh has a chance to take hold.  

I've gotten pretty good at that.

13 November 2008

thursday thirteen ~ giving Thanks

Last year...when I was a faithful little weblogger... and did Thursday Thirteens every Thursday... I even had themes.  My November theme was:

        Things I Am Thankful For

It seems to me a good idea once again this November.  (How in the world did it become November already??)

I am Thankful there are no more political commercials on television and radio.

I am Thankful for winding roads through magnificent mountains.

I am Thankful for Google, Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, and Cruzio.

I am Thankful I have the right to vote.

I am Thankful for brisk clear mornings.

I am Thankful for warm hugging.

I am Thankful for living in a country where we can freely disagree.

I am Thankful for embracing change. 

I am Thankful for a mexican vacation to anticipate.

I am Thankful for winning bets and the promise of debts being collected.

I am Thankful for floating rainbows from the window prism. (remember PollyAna?)

I am thankful for Taxol, Taxatere, and Avastin.

I am Thankful for homemade tamales.

05 November 2008

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot ~ anti trust ?

explain this to me...

Microsoft and Google are big successful companies.

AOL and Yahoo are big and formally successful companies. they are in serious financial jeopardy.

The federal government won't allow the successful companies to merge with, or buyout (all or even part of) the not so successful companies. 

I get the anti-trust, global monopoly concerns. it better to just sit back and watch AOL and Yahoo fail?  Allow their stock to plummet until bankruptcy ?  Stand by while their employees lose their jobs?

'Cause then the business...and the revenue will just rollover to Google and Microsoft anyway. 

They will still be bigger and more powerful.  They will still control damn near 100% of the market.

But this way they get the last little bit for free.

with my hand over my heart....


hat tip to sandee

04 November 2008

03 November 2008

manic monday with mo ~ colorful

It has been forever since I played Manic Monday with Mo.  However the theme this week is "Colorful"...and I had some photos I've been wanting to post.

Weekend before last I was enjoying a few days of respite in the central valley.  After church on Sunday, The Teamster thought it'd be nice to head out on the bike to see if we could find some Fall Colors.



In our part of California we don't get very many trees with leaves that change colors...a few here and there interspersed with the redwoods, pines and firs. We do however, enjoy an amazing Indian Summer.

We stopped for lunch at the Black Oak Casino's Mill Creek Sports Bar.  Didn't do much gambling...but wanted to catch the end of the NASCAR race and Forty-Niner game.

After lunch we continued our beautiful ride . At one roadside stop in the late afternoon, The Teamster wondered if he should just call in sick on Monday, so that we could ride through the Sierras up over Sonora Pass. I must admit I encouraged him.



The Sonora Pass with an elevation of 9,624 feet (that's 2,933 meters for ILTV and David) is the second highest roadway pass through the Sierra Nevada range.  It is extremely steep (a 26% grade at some points) and very narrow.  Every couple of feet they are are warning you about something.

sonora pass c

sonora pass a

We had just about nothing with us to accommodate an overnight trip....except four pairs of glasses, a couple of cameras, two cell phones...and a laptop.   No toothbrush or hairbrush or change of clothing.  Thankfully The Teamster had stowed the chaps in the saddlebag...cause it got a little cold on the eastern side of the Sierras.



My cousin Jamie saw this picture of our ride and said:

"Nice Pict! I guess Desert Brown is a fall color.
It's probably also the summer color there as well."

What does he know?  He's spent the better part of his adult life catapulting off some carrier and has just chosen to settle down in the garden spot of Wichita for crying out loud.


About nightfall we came to Topaz Lake and started looking for a place to stay....see that tiny red dot?   Topaz Lodge !

I highly recommend this little spot.  Friendly and helpful.  Very affordable and fun. Good food. Comfortable rooms. The only draw back is that the area has only a single cell tower and it's for Nextel.  Since we are AT&T and Verizon customers neither of our cellphones or the laptop had service. sheesh. We had to use the room phone to call in sick and notify family and friends. (When extending a motorcycle ride its a good idea to let people know....especially when they can't get through on either cell phone...or instant message...those search and rescue guys don't appreciate false alarms)

We had a very enjoyable..rather old fashion...evening.

Topaz Lake is closed for the winter...but when open is an amazing place to fish!

colors08 colors09

Once it warmed up just a little we started our trek back home....this time via Highway 89 and up over Monitor Pass (only 8,314 feet in elevation).







I am very happy we took this trip when we did....I heard the storms of the past few days will close both Sonora and Monitor passes until the Spring.




We stopped for a gluten free lunch at Mel's....
but she wasn't there...sigh....



while you are humming  "on the road again....
I just can't wait to get on the road again....."
go visit  Mo's other colorful Maniacs....