Hurricane Lindsey Strikes Again!


Hurricane Lindsey just left the Maritimes.  As soon as she announced her intention to cross the Maine border into New Brunswick, blue skies turned grey and the showers began.  After four days in Nova Scotia, as she began to packing to leave the Fundy shores, sunshine reappeared and warmed her journey all the way to Bangor.  In a different culture and at a different time, she’d be considered a shaman or at least a rainmaker.  If she played her cards right, she could still make a bundle bringing rain to drought-plagued areas.

We first became aware of her extraordinary talents when we lived in California.  Eventually ­­­­­­we would invite her to visit before plants and crops started to shrivel and burn in the fields.

Lindsey has other skills and attributes that don’t involve torrential showers.  For example, she has unlimited energy.  During her four-day visit to help speed my recovery from a fairly significant surgical procedure, she coordinated appointments with lawyers and gallery owners, set up luncheons and dinners with old friends, rearranged furniture, cooked and cleaned and would have weeded an overgrown half-acre if she hadn’t been deterred by heavy rain.

In addition to that, she managed her own business long-distance and organized summer camp activities for her teenage son in Cincinnatti.   As my Boston friends would say, she is one “wicked pissah”.

I must say in deference to my weakened condition, Lindsey only operated at half-speed during her visit to my sick bed.  In between appointments and social engagements, she was extremely solicitous.  She constantly urged me to rest and showered me with a half-dozen copies of People Magazine, bottles of white wine, and all the unhealthy food groups I dream about whenever more sensible health care workers take charge of my recovery.

To some extent, her approach to health care is informed by her own, probably more harrowing experience, as a cancer patient several years ago.  During which she continued to run her business, manage a complex household and oversee the education and volunteer activities of an extraordinarily engaged high school student.

Neither a Nurse Ratched nor a Florence Nightingale, Lindsey Johnson Suddarth IS a treasured friend and one of the family who clearly understands People Magazine makes fine reading when people are already in a drug-induced state of consciousness.

Today I am spending much of the day in bed…partly in respect for surgical procedures and beneficial hurricanes and partly in preparation for a vacation to Newfoundland and Fogo Island in nine days.  Which means, I think, I am doing well.  Not as well as Lindsey who played hockey the night she finished chemo but better than others who don’t make X-Men look like wimps.

I may feel differently when all the pathology reports are in and fully reviewed but for now, today, I am looking forward to a week when most of the rainfall, in pursuit of its Muse, heads toward Ohio.  And yes, I do realize that it’s counter intuitive for a sun lover to voluntarily head for Newfoundland but Elizabeth Warren is not the only one who can persist.  I persist, no, I INsist on a manageable pathology report AND sunshine on Fogo Island!

Don’t mess with me, Lady Luck, or  I will show you the dark side of Hurricane Lindsey

A Sucker Punch? Maybe Not.


We become complacent about our good fortune if we are, indeed, fortunate enough to have healthy children, good health, money for a moderately good bottle of wine, access to beautiful sunsets and a decent head of hair.  But “We plan and God laughs” can be paraphrased to read “We get smug and God gives us a sucker punch!”

I thought I’d been given a sucker punch last week but then this week, when I looked at the place where a non-essential body part was missing in action, I realized I’d probably been given a gentle tap on the shoulder.  Admittedly, it was a little shocking to see a gash the size of Texas creeping across my chest but when I inexplicably remembered all the armless, legless beggars on the streets of Phnom Penh in the early ’90s, my skillfully managed surgical procedure made me think God might have been pulling his punches.  Or Her punches if you want to be slightly ridiculous and assign gender biases to the Almighty.

I don’t mean to minimize the pain of other cancer patients.  Today, in the United States, there are almost 3.1 million men and women with a history of breast cancer.  Over 40,000 are expected to die this year.  Clearly, this is not a matter to be taken lightly. If cancer were tackled by the Defense Department, there’d probably be billions of dollars immediately added to cancer research and treatment budgets.

Nonetheless, as I’ve often acknowledged, I’ve been given a free ride on the Good Health Express for over seven decades. By the time misfortune caught up with me in 2017, advances in medical science, of which I’m a beneficiary, are so astonishing I am justified in viewing the whole scene with a little optimism.   Detection is better, treatment is better and since 1989, survival rates have steadily increased.  Of course at my age, with or without cancer, I’m not inclined to buy a lot of green bananas.  I am inclined, however, to

  • read books I want to read, whether or not they’re classics and guaranteed to make me a better person
  • travel to places where most of the residents do not indulge in long discussions about politics, their adversaries’ shortcomings or their own weight fluctuations
  • eat meals that feature corn tortillas, lobster, chocolate, baguettes, good cheese and coffee at least twice a day
  • drink better wine
  • listen more often to CDs my grandson and daughter-in-law send my way
  • hang out with friends and relatives that make me laugh or failing that, fill me with awe and admiration which will, presumably, allow me to
  • avoid people that make me anxious, inspire me to drive a butter knife into my gullet and generally make me feel like shit.

I also want to make time to thank the surprisingly large number of people that have, recently, through loving words, wicked and humorous stories, beautiful flowers, designer blouses, painted rocks and poetry, gifts of books, bird feeders, silver hearts, T shirts with raunchy messages, money, manicures and massages, offers to nurse me back to health, and fabulous food…even sensible advice I may never follow…provided me with a determination to live at least long enough to get howling drunk on the Orient Express as it careens through the jungles of Malaysia.  Or longer if my slightly mad but devoted husband; my moderately mad, gigantic sons; their sweet and eccentric wives and ex wives; my Wild Child / Photographer Grandson, the practically perfect Filmmaker Grandchild, and the Amazing Teenage Brother and Sister currently engaged in responsibly designing their young lives are all, not necessarily together, trudging down the Yellow Brick Rose headed toward the Happiness and/or Service off ramps.

If they go off-course, all bets are off, and I’ll just have to settle for Death by Pouilly Fuisse as I travel from Bangkok to Singapore on the Orient Express.    It’s not a bad way to go.  Ask Agatha Christie.

A Tip of the Hat to Isabella (who said it better) and to my Inspired Poetry Curator in Annapolis Royal

I look in the mirror and I tell myself laughter is the best calorie burner.

I believe in burning lots of calories.

I believe in kissing…kissing a lot.  And hugging strangers.

I believe in being strong

even when everything around us seems to be going wrong and most people are focused only on the possible.

I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls and that the best boys know that helping others makes them the best.

I believe that tomorrow is another day.

And I believe in miracles.

I believe in miracles.

I believe the opportunity to serve others is a miracle.

And that, that works.  Every single time.





Will A Mastectomy Make My Ass Look Bigger?

It’s countdown to a mandatory weight loss program.  In a couple of days, my bosom buddy and I will part company and while both the world and I will keep on keepin’ on, I can’t help but be aware that a mastectomy will probably make my ass look bigger.

A friend with an evil sense of humour also suggests that I start wearing T Shirts that say things like “Yes, they’re fake.  The real ones tried to kill me.”  THE McGowan, a formidable artist gone astray, also recommended a line of clothing with messages such as “Brand New Boobs.  Thanks a lot, Breast Cancer!”

She may be onto something.  If indeed, one of every five women (or in the USA, 12.4%) will experience breast cancer during her lifetime, the market could be huge.  Regardless of cup size.  Think about it, NAWBO.

I will probably have a fairly sore arm for a few weeks and will not be churning out blogs, e mails, letters, and telegrams detailing every twitch and tremble.  I will, however, continue to be very grateful for the loving messages I have received and for the extraordinary support of daughters-in-law, past and present, and surrogate daughters; my husband and sons; the Wild Child grandson and his cousins; nieces and nephews that sadly have too much familiarity with cancer; my kind and concerned Hmong family from Fresno; old and not-so-old friends, all of whom are generous not only with resources, including large doses of affection, but so much humour I am constantly doubled up with laughter; remarkably sweet and supportive neighbours; for former colleagues from arts/human rights/recreation and Chinese / Cambodian adventures; and for messages from my Poinsettia “kids”, each now pushing 60.

While I may not follow all the good advice of wise counselors who have “been there and done that”, I will try to be a better person and cut down on the chocolate, wine, hamburgers, and sloth.  I will also do what I can to exercise with more regularity, eat only leafy green vegetables and drink carrot juice laced with the tears of virgins.

And of course I will continue to watch sunsets from my deck overlooking Point Prim and the beautiful Bay of Fundy.

Laughing All the Way!


Late May Sunset on the Bay of Fundy

The last couple of weeks have been very full.  Discussion groups about expected sea level rise in Annapolis Royal (we have nothing on Miami and Bangladesh but within the next thirteen years, there will be some exceedingly damp cellars along St. George Street); church rummage sales; sold out showings of “Maudie”, the film depicting the late and shockingly unappreciated folk artist, Maude Lewis; chowder dinners to raise money so that a high school social issues class can travel to Costa Rica to build an elementary school; drinks with friends at sunset, coffee dates, and dinners with friends.  Life is a cabaret up here with the lobsters, beaver, and RCMP!

One of our recent dinners was cooked by Tiiu Poder, a favorite chef and fashionista en route from Antigonish to Labrador. It was a feast for the eyes, the palette, and palate. 

Seafood salad prepared by a fashion maven headed North.

Tiiu also brought me a new fascinator to wear to the upcoming Weymouth Teas and added to the growing collection of fascinators our friend and gallery owner, Rob Buckland-Nicks, contributed to my hat closet last summer.

Eat your heart out, Kate Middleton!  M’am.

Lovely Burmese religious icons, beautiful spring flowers, wine, books and clothing with rude boob humour have also suddenly appeared on my doorstep.  As have e mails with hilarious cartoons, bittersweet political jokes, and one-liners like Mitt Romney, a legendary funny man, once wisecracked:  “Donald Trump has had several foreign wives. It turns out there really are jobs many Americans won’t do.”

It’s hard to beat laughter but I also appreciate the good will and kind words that have appeared in my mail box.  Sometimes the words are so generous I wonder if my leg is being pulled but I’ve decided that would just be too cruel when other parts of my anatomy are being pulled, prodded and measured.  So while I might not share in the assessment of my life and times, a la Warren Zevon, I do believe in the sincerity of friends, old and new.  I may be the beneficiary of their low standards but I’ll take what I can get.

With gratitude.  If I live long enough and overcome my inherent laziness, I may grow into the person a few kind souls have glimpsed through their rose-coloured glasses.  In the meantime, I am smelling those flowers, guzzling that wine, rubbing the icons, and wearing the shirts that call attention to my (to date) handsome bosom.  And thanks to friends determined to laugh at damn near everything, I, too, am laughing all the way.

So…cancer, eh?  If you do happen to draw the C-card, there’s probably no better place to play the hand you’ve been dealt than right here on the Bay of Fundy.  The tide may rise over the next decade or two but it’s unlikely the spirits will sink so long as  flowers bloom right outside our windows and the brilliant Maritime sunsets continue to be as glorious as they are this spring.

Blossoms in my backyard.

Laughter, Friends, Titz and Glitz – It All Works Wonders!

A blog is a really interesting and useful communication tool.  I originally thought I would use it as a way to avoid writing ten – fifteen individual letters each week.  I thought instead of transmitting similar updates to my children or friends, I could simply write a blog so that everyone would know which godforsaken mud-filled ditch or jungle path I was currently trying to escape or conversely, which glorious Balinese sunset or Canadian Bay I wanted to share with them. I never anticipated sending strangers the latest news about biopsies, lymph node margins, or an upcoming mastectomy.  And it’s not the mastectomy that’s the issue.  That’s just a fact of life.  The surprising thing about the blog is that so many strangers appear to be interested in the most ordinary aspects of another stranger’s life.

It’s funny the way things work out.

Many of my friends and relatives happily have their own stories to think about and even, sometimes, to describe in their own more personal letters, Facebook postings, and blogs.  My brother’s family, one of my husband’s nephews, Nova Scotian neighbours, and curiously, my most alienated grandson, as well as a few dear and distant friends appear to read what I write.  They also remember more about what I write than I do and it must be disconcerting for them to discover I’ve changed sides when they dispute a theory or an incident I had described rather passionately.  Most of my readers, however, are people I’ve never met, foreign and occasionally responsive, commentators from Eastern Europe, Thailand, Cambodia, Argentina, Scotland, and even the Palestinian Territories.  I have no idea why anything I say resonates with someone from the Middle East, if, indeed, it does, nor why a blog about the Hmong community in Fresno will draw many hundreds of readers while a blog about the great Arnold Palmer or Akira Kurosawa generates little interest.  It’s all a mystery.

Unfortunately, if I want to communicate with my children and three-fourths of my grandchildren, I still must write ten – fifteen individual letters each week.

Cancer, predictably, seems to be more interesting than even Hmong marriage rituals to people throughout the world.  Everyone knows someone, perhaps a mother or aunt but at least a friend, who has cancer.  Too often, readers are sympathetic or have special insight because they, themselves, had or still have cancer.  Most stories I hear from readers are, happily, success stories.  Survivors that were diagnosed and treated ten, even twenty years ago are, without exception, encouraging and optimistic.  Many unknown blog friends offer to send meds or religious icons from China, India, or other developing countries (although if China is developed any more than it already is, I fear for the ozone layer if not the entire planet).  I’m not sure about the legalities of mailing medicine not approved by the FDA through the international mails but I think I will pass.  Priceless religious icons are, however, most welcome.

Some of my dearest friends have offered to hop a plane to the Maritimes to whip up a chowder, knit me a cap, or to find anti-nausea lollipops at a Halifax medical marijuana clinic. I’m convinced their kind words are more therapeutic than grass, radiation, or hormones could ever be so if I can, I will opt for kind words and funny faces over more toxic or playful therapies every day of the week.

Fortunately, Canada has a boatload of support programs designed to make the Big C journey easier and with names designed to make even the Grimm Brothers smile.  My personal favorite is Titz and Glitz on The Front Line.  Titz and Glitz offers financial assistance to Nova Scotian men and women with breast cancer and sounds like a pretty sassy organization.  I also want to check out Casting for Recovery, a program that provides fly fishing retreats coast-to-coast in Canada.  I’ve liked fly fishing since I first saw a young and virile Brad Pitt in “A River Runs Through It”.  That film, my friends, was the greatest boon to fly fishing since the discovery of smoked trout.  If the guides in Casting for Recovery have half the sex appeal of even an old, post-Angelina, Brad Pitt, I figure I will be cured by July.

Look Good Feel Better offers free cosmetics and hair alternatives (What’s a hair alternative?  Moose hair?  Hemp? Do you wear it or smoke it?) and then there’s Dragon Boating / Bosom Buddies.  Since I was one of the founders of the Dragon Boat Races in Echo Park and once fancied myself as at least one of the Los Angeles Dragon Boat Queens (not to be confused with Drag Queens of Los Angeles), I am naturally curious about Canadian women that ride in dragon boats and paddle their way to health.

In addition to therapies that include yoga, reiki, interpretation services, home care, massage, acupuncture, foot care and meal preparation, the province offers a pretty inclusive menu of medical services.  I may change my mind, attitude and free wig a month from now but at the moment, I think between Health Canada and my network of buddies, it all bodes well for a rapid recovery.

Although I don’t want a highly-educated Bucket Brigade of good friends to arrive on my doorstep, hell bent on scrubbing my floors, my baseboards and behind my ears, I do love their willingness to fly across the continent to support me with homemade soups and elbow grease.  More than that, I adore the humour they share with me.

Some friends send jokes, some friends are jokes and some friends just have funny bones.  My friend, Margo, the funniest woman I know, just has to describe a day in the life of a mutual friend afflicted with some malady characterized by frequent swooning and I am on my knees, heartlessly hysterical with laughter.  Margo casts our friend in different scenarios that involve her keeling over at opportune moments that facilitate the theft of jewels or a priceless coin collection.  At other times, she becomes a double agent unexpectedly fainting like those goats in the George Clooney movie.  It’s all very amusing and creates a foolproof distraction. She has also promised to send me an old wig that is sure to fit (she and I are each from the Tribe of Large-Headed Women) but I’m not sure if it’s a fright wig, a wig she wore to a Godiva look-alike soiree or a hair piece she wore for an audition of “Annie”.

Today she called to tell me about her substitute doctor, a large man identified as Dr. HO, first name Ivan.  Margo is a great and wicked mimic and when she becomes Dr. Ivan Ho, her caricature is tasteless, hilarious and a sure cure for cancer or whatever else afflicts the politically incorrect.

It’s both healing and gratifying to have kind and funny friends.  Although I think I am candid to the point of surliness when I tell friends I much prefer they schedule their visits when I have a stylish new haircut, courtesy Mr. Cecil, and after elderly ladies along the French Shore have padded and crocheted new, lacy lingerie for my post-carcinoma debut, I do wish my friend Hope had built the DNRR (Do Not Resuscitate Ranch) she threatened / promised to build when her circle of friends all reached their twilight years.  Of course, it wouldn’t do me a lot of good if she built the ranch beyond the service area of Titz and Glitz but it’s still a great idea for shared senility.  I wonder if she knows that if she built DNRR up here, the Province would fix our meals, schedule the Victoria Order of Nurses to check in daily before cocktail hour, and make sure we stayed fit with Pilates, step dancing and canoe paddle practice.

The kindness of strangers and one’s BFFs is appreciated in good and bad times.  Women that don’t have a team of girlfriends, a few of whom always seem to be men, don’t know what they’re missing.  Or maybe they do. In any event, my “girl” friends from high school, college, women’s groups, the arts, and China, Nova Scotia, California and other Blue States, Southeast Asia, and Europe are more than a blessing.  They’re a miracle. I can easily manage without a boob but I could never make it without my buddies.  That said, buddies are advised not to worry about my state of mind nor should they show up while I’m still experiencing leaks and nausea.  Ideally, they should either check in before surgery or whenever I’m ready to don my fascinator (a tiny Duchess of Kent hat) and head for the fabulous Weymouth Summer Teas.  Margo suggests that if I don’t have hair while the Teas are in full swing, I should just attach a rubber band to the fascinator and hook it under my chin.

Cancer:  an opportunity for endless New Looks and for fly fishing in beautiful places.

Disclaimer: the Fat Lady hasn’t actually sung…

I think the blog about the Fat Lady singing must have sounded more dire than I meant it to sound.  When I said she was warming up, I didn’t mean to imply she was already performing at Carnegie Hall.  Nonetheless, even a dress rehearsal prompted Claire, April, Hope, Gail, Sue, Kathleen, Lindsey, Allison and a slew of friends I had not realized were so domestic to offer to come North, clean, cook and/or wash windows.

It’s startling to realize I have so many friends with mops and buckets soaped up and ready to travel.  I have, however, decided to simply keep the windows open all summer and hope the eagles and a couple of hawks fly through.  Which will, of course, create a different kind of housekeeping challenge.

But thanks to those dear friends and family members, all apparently with aprons at the ready, for their caring words and offers to do manual labour on my behalf.  Had I known earlier I could rally Molly Maids and high quality chefs with a pitiful blog, I’d have exaggerated the seriousness of my asthma and trick knee years ago.  As it is, Blanche, I am discovering “the kindness of strangers” can never compete with the kindness of friends.

Cancer is a curse and some cancers are more cursed than others.  But kind and caring words, loving impulses, and raucous laughter are a blessing.

And blessings, my friends, (no pun intended) trump curses every day of the week.

Thank you.

The Fat Lady is Warming Up

I have always enjoyed better health than most.  I had my tonsils removed in Digby Hospital in 1950 and did not tax the Health Canada system again until I visited Annapolis Community Health Center in 2012.  Even then, I just stopped by to make sure I was, indeed, welcome to participate in various Canadian health care programs as I looked ahead to the inevitable hazards of aging.

To be clear, between 1950 – 2012, I was introduced to adult asthma that was treated by a family doctor in the United States.  I also gave birth to my older son at the Kapi’olani Maternity Hospital in Oahu and did a repeat performance in San Diego when my younger son was born.  On both occasions, I barely made it to those hospitals because my expectations of agonizing pain were so much greater than the reality, I did not walk to the hospitals with any great speed.  Labor lasted for twenty minutes on one occasion and for an hour on another.

So essentially, health wise, I’ve had a free ride that is the envy of my friends and the despair of my enemies.

Apparently that free ride is over.  The train has finally stopped at my station, the party’s over, the local saloon has made its last call, and the fat lady has sung.

Compared to trips my friends and dearest relatives have taken, I am still getting a discount ride.  My diagnosis is child’s play compared to the suffering the indomitable Black Swan (Eleanor Academia Magda) has endured for over a year.  She has been radiated, cut, drained, and become far too knowledgeable about chemotherapy over the past twelve months.   A rare and malignant sarcoma on her thigh was identified and challenged to the death in 2016 by the martial arts role model, heavy metal musician, composer, community activist, woman warrior and certifiable heroine.  Day by day, she continues to write her In-Your-Face, Kick- Ass blog, conducts occasional martial arts workshops and mourns the recent death of her lovely mother with grace and love.

Observing, in the emotional and geographic distance between Southern California and my small cottage on a cliff in Victoria Beach, the courageous, painful, and inspiring journey she has taken, I am surprised that my concerns about the weeks and months ahead are so trivial.  I find myself worrying about issues  so mundane, even I am amused by my own capacity for the shallow and the silly.

For example, I wonder if baseboards will be cleaned, cobwebs vacuumed and bacon grease wiped up if and when I begin to realize what “the cure is worse than the disease” really means.  We have a wonderful old house that looks fabulous when it’s sparkling clean and sunshine streams into its brightly painted rooms.  When it’s not sparkling clean and dust gathers, when coffee cups are left around willy-nilly, long after their contents have been drunk, and cat hair floats around the rooms, its shortcomings distract visitors even from the glorious views seen from the large living room windows and the wraparound deck overlooking the Bay. I find this troubles me.

It’s akin to a tired 40-year-old woman with dirty hair and no make up who looks like a 50- year-old bar habitue that has smoked too many Marlboros and absorbed too much whisky.  She can look like a 35- year-old knock out with just a good shampoo, a touch of lipstick and a little blusher but take that away, and a scary 50-something midlife crisis emerges.  That’s the way my house looks when it’s not fluffed up with great regularity.

I don’t want it to look like a whisky-addled, life long smoker.

I worry about paying outstanding bills.  When my foster mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, she sent me around the community collecting money owed her and paying off debts incurred for everything from services to a local mechanic’s bill for $9.  No one owes me any money but I worry that I may not have time to gather together enough money to pay off my debts.  Of course, I don’t have pancreatic cancer and I’m probably more likely to die from a traffic accident or shame than from my bush league carcinoma but still, I think about getting $200 to a neighbour for floor boards he gave me for a construction job that has not been completed.

I worry about getting letters written to all the people I love.  I want to tell each of this luckless group that I do, in fact, love them.  Passionately, faithfully, gratefully… albeit silently.  But where to start?  Some people are more fun to write to than others and I have, to my shame, always pursued fun before duty.  I don’t think I can or even want to turn over a new fig leaf now.  But if I write a wacky girl friend who makes me laugh until I cry before I write family members I adore and then am suddenly hit by a truck, will those I adore who make me laugh less think I loved them less?  It’s a dilemma.

I am not planning on being run down by a semi but it could happen.  Even healthy 77 year olds should put declarations of love on their To Do lists.

I don’t have a will.  Of course, I don’t have much in the way of assets.  That modest Hiroshige print that was given to me when Wendy Shepard and I visited Hiroshige’s grave outside Tokyo (her great great uncle, “Hiroshige Happer” was buried next to the legendary artist) has real and sentimental value but it’s the sort of easily ignored piece my grandchildren might toss in a ditch.  I have a great aunt by marriage whose folk art was actually tossed in ditches so I know this could happen.  Of course, now that there’s a popular movie about her making the rounds and her colourful paintings command many tens of thousands of dollars, no one’s tossing her artwork in any shallow graves.  But in Nova Scotia, it could happen to old Hiroshige.  In any event, my art collection is more valuable because of the memories attached to various pieces than to a savvy purchasing strategy.  And the house on the cliff could topple right off the cliff although if it hasn’t happened in almost a century, its journey to the sea might not be imminent.

Most of my jewelry has already been given away, usually to friends and family members that may have preferred a good vacuum cleaner or a slow-cooker.  I have some lovely First Editions and at least two grandchildren that are addicted to reading so those might find an appropriate new home.  But it’s probably a mistake to assume other readers appreciate the content of the books as much as I do.  For many years, “Anne of Green Gables” was dearer to me than any Bible has ever been and I gave the Anne series to a young woman, also dear to me, a couple of decades back.  I never stopped to think that Anne was by then far less interesting to young girls than Wonder or Cat Woman.  My beautiful granddaughter who can seldom be found more than three feet from the latest Riordan novel would find Anne of Avonlea more baffling than even a Gilmore Girl assuredly is.  Her imagination is captured by dystopian heroines with super powers and a First Edition Anne would, at the earliest, be read when she is a young mother looking for spunky characters to share with her own daughters.

But wills are important, I am told by friends with significant assets, not so much for the monetary value of gifts bestowed but because they say to those that genuinely care about us their affection was reciprocated.

These thoughts are not only shallow but of course, self-indulgent.  If I were suffering in the way that the Black Swan suffers, or even as many of my other friends have when struggling with nausea from chemo, I would not be thinking about cobwebs, letters of love and whether I can find an affordable Kim Kardashian wig in beautiful downtown Digby.  But it’s early days and my malady is, I’m assured, the BEST kind of cancer, a description as reassuring as being told I’m sitting at the captain’s table on the Titanic.   Still, even with the nicest sort of cancer, I may yet set aside silly thoughts, look away from trivial matters and place duty ahead of fun.

It could happen.

And it might not.  Instead, I may opt for denial and an ongoing preoccupation with the seasons, with the blossoms of spring, the cloudy skies and overflowing waterfalls after a night’s rainfall, and good friends that persist in laughing inappropriately at damn near everything.