26 April 2012


Ian shaved my head a few weeks ago, late in the evening. Although I had intended to see how it felt, I did not use the Furminator on myself before he got out the clippers, because it was that time of night when my short-term memory has left the building, and I forgot. 

Turning down the volume on short-term memory intensifies energetic and spiritual experience for me, however, and I found the whole barbering episode deeply, strangely, ritualistic. Images of young monks and memories of The Mists of Avalon cycled through my head as swath after swath of downy, silky, thin hair slipped, tickling, along my neck and onto the floor around my feet. It was surprising to be losing my hair, so late in the Gemcitabine cycle, long after I would’ve expected it to come out, but I’ve come to believe that it was a late-occurring side effect of the terrible illness of China. I felt so utterly depleted after that trip, and the continuing snow in Idaho. I could tell that I had used up all my reserves staying alive and regaining health. Hair had no place in such a strictly need-based environment.

“I really enjoyed doing the shaving,” said Ian when I told him about the ritual. “And,” he went on, “you remind me of this bald alien woman from one of the Star Trek movies.”

I burst out laughing, because really, he is such a nerd.

“No, I mean it!” protested Ian. “She was really sexy!”

And she was. 

 And so am I.

07 April 2012


This email address is supposed to allow me to post to my blog simply by sending an email. If it works from my phone, all the better!

one-fingered on my phone

06 April 2012

Unsuspected Idyll

Dogs and I were having a stroll through Woodland Park today (not the zoo part, which wouldn’t have been as calm), and came upon one of the loveliest groves I’ve seen in a while. I don’t remember ever seeing it in the park before, but by the height of the trees it’s obviously been there for some time. I’m guessing that my chance encounter today was based largely on two things: 1) the unusual nature of our walk (leisurely) and 2) the unusual nature of the afternoon sky for Seattle this spring (mostly blue, with sun and fluffy clouds). We were meandering along, sniffing at things at the ends of our leashes (the dogs) and keeping, even in relative tranquility, an eagle eye out for other park-going dogs (me), when I looked up, and down the hill from me, in a cove of dappled sunlight, were several trees at the peak of frothy, pink-kissed bloom.  

There were maybe half a dozen, 20 to 30 feet tall, interspersed irregularly over a fresh green lawn. Off down the hill behind the trees, grassy pathways curved into the shade of the evergreen stands. It was cool instead of cold in the bright air, quiet, utterly peaceful. What a perfect place for a wedding, I thought, picturing a young bride and groom shyly exchanging vows under the arching boughs. Then I amended my thought.

What a perfect place to be, I thought.

02 April 2012


I have been craving one of these fine hair-removal tools for several years now, but Seattle (read: Amazon) prices seemed high for a glorified dog brush. But then I saw one at the Potlatch Veterinary clinic when I was recently in Idaho (I was there primarily to pick up meds for the horses, NOT for Spackle, although I did pick up a flat of canned dog food for him in case his belly hadn’t adjusted well to the other food, but it had), and like other things I’ve paid for at the Potlatch Veterinary clinic, it was significantly cheaper than something purchased over here in the western half of the state.

I thought I was getting it for Spackle, whose thick Labrador undercoat sloughs out twice a year, but in the shower this morning it became clear that MY hair is shedding more than either dog’s right now, and so maybe I should try it on myself. I assume that the Gemcitabine is what is causing my current hair loss. It’s been so long since I’ve had an obviously therapy-induced spate of balding—almost 4 years—that I was no longer expecting such a thing to happen. But I’ve been on the Gemcitabine maybe 3 months now, and non-obvious thinning seems to have been replaced, all of a sudden, with serious deforestation.

My first thought when I noticed was, tellingly, not despairing, but hopeful—maybe my pate really has been thin because of the Navelbine and the Gemcitabine (a warning issued with both drugs), and maybe in a few months I will, again, have a chance to regrow everything, and it will come back in thicker!

In the meantime, I’m assessing my hats and headscarves.