All are welcome to a free special screening of the ALS documentary ”Better Days” on Sunday, Dec 6th from 1:15 to 3:30pm at DCC Fellowship Hall, 421 D Street in Davis. The event, officially called “Better Days- A Special Community Screening in Honor of Cathy Speck ,” is free and appropriate for all ages, although issues about dying can be intense.

“Better Days,” was produced, written and directed by an independent filmmaker originally from Lebanon, Nadine El Khoury. She says that “The documentary puts you inside the lives of four remarkable individuals who refuse to surrender to Lou Gehrig’s disease. I had never heard of ALS until my dear friend was diagnosed with it. Watching him deteriorate from ALS was worse than living in war torn Lebanon for fourteen years.”

“Better Days” is ithe closest look yet taken at the whole ALS community, from science to faith. Families, caregivers, celebrities and healers help form a perspective that collapses five years of slow degeneration into moments of human spirit. This is a documentary that will make you love four strangers and want to help find a cure for ALS , as well as help maintain quality of life for PALS ( Person with ALS ) and CALS
( Caregiver for ALS .)

In the Spring of 2014 , after El Khoury was finished with the film footage, she needed to find music to accent the emotions of the documentary, so she started searching on You Tube. This is where Cathy Speck enters the story. El Khoury heard Speck singing the Duval Speck song “Sweet Beyond” with lyrics written by Speck about what she imagined her Mom would’ve said to comfort her after she died . Speck had just turned 13 when her mom died of ALS the heartbreaking age of 52. Other Duval Speck songs are also featured in the documentary.

It’s a remarkable story that El Khoury had no knowledge of Speck or her family’s history. When the two met in person in Long Beach in June of 2014, they quickly became dear friends and Speck felt completely compelled to raise money and help El Khoury finish her project and to make her dream come true.

El Khoury explains, “After I met Cathy I felt a new momentum to finish the documentary – she brought beautiful energy and support from her community. The last leg of the journey happened because of Cathy and if she hadn’t given me all that support it would’ve taken much longer to finish. It took me seven years to complete “Better Days” and I am so excited to share it with the Davis community.”

ALS a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death. The usual prognosis is between two and five years upon diagnosis, though more recently people are living to 10 years or longer.
Currently there is no treatment or cure for ALS.
Ninety percent of ALS cases are sporadic, meaning it can happen to anyone, anywhere, however, 2% of ALS cases are caused by a SOD1 genetic mutation, in the Speck family’s case, the genetic mutation came from the maternal lineage. Other members of the immediate Speck family have died from ALS : brothers Larry 2008 and Paul 2011, “and I ain’t dead yet, ” confirms Speck. All of Dorothy Speck’s children have/ had a 50/50 chance of inheriting the genetic mutation that leads to ALS.

To kick off the event Duval Speck ( Linda Duval and Cathy Speck ) will lead the audience in two sing-along songs “to help people feel more connected with each other. This is horrific disease, but together we can turn it into a beautiful love story. We are one.” says Speck.

After Pa

Part one of two:
Tough day today. I think it lasted two or three days. If you read my previous post about procrastinating and blah, blah, blah ….Well, I finally got my butt out of my too comfy recliner, cuz I knew staying there was not good for me in any possible way. So, I say to myself silently, “What helps me smile and chuckle faster than I can typo “purrrfect?” Phototriking with Mazie the dog monkey princess, of course ! I knew I needed to ride somewhere that requires more physical force than our leisurely alley rides- I had to get some serious Sheeeyat out of my body. And no I don’t mean that literally- this time.

I loaded up my trike with everything The Monk and I need: soccer ball, oxygen tank, water bowl and poopy bags for monkey and coconut water for me, bike light and flashing reflectors, ALS WALK promo material, tent, fire wood, lanterns. ( Oops. I got mixed up with my camping list from the last time I was able to camp – two years ago- three ? Oh no ! Feeling sorry for myself ? Me ! Nah…) The last thing I did was strap on my Sony Walkman and listen to a mixed CD my dear friend Julie Bowin made for me ( before she died obviously.) And yes, I’m safe and only use one earphone. This time the lyrics of each song sang directly to my grief, my raw, unbridled grief. And that was okay. I feel so free to feel my feelings outdoors -my free range feelings. As the sun went down and the sky turned darker , so did my mood. Oh yeah, I forgot to sAY that when my emotions were too big to be silent and I wanted to give them words, I stopped to free range type on my PHONE. feelings See Part Two of Two.

Part two of two
Triking in the dark with Mazie. I am crying as I listen to Jackson Brown, John Lennon, Bonnie Raitt, that big song from the movie “Once.” My dad died Monday Sept 7th an hour after I left his bedside where I’d been for eight days.

I feel so, so sad. Deeply to my core sad. I haven’t felt this sorrowful emptiness since Mom died. Why now? big hole. big hole that opened up wide for all losses . All losses too visual . Too loud . Too hurt. These are My losses that for today. I will not let them be philosophically and spiritually wiped away. My real, wounds untended. Not edited. Not glossed. Not spiked with humor here & there. I am 13. I am 55. I am alone. I am embraced. I am with. I am without. I know why I am here. I am here to help. This knowledge does not numb the intense nothingness. Deep. Difficult introspection is that. Deep. Difficult. I can cry. I cry. My body heaves like it did more than 40 years ago. But now I am not 13. Am I lost. No. I only feel like I’m lost . I know what to do. When to. How to. My own death. My own dying is not sad. For me. For you it is. I am so sorry that you will feel loss. I hope not lost. You are here. So am I .

What does lost mean. What does loss mean. And now. Here I am. Back in my head. I am not in my core, my torso. I am in my head. I’m not crying now. Damn it..
The sun goes down. The moon comes up.







I’m sinking. I’ll sink into the pink. It’ll be okay there. I’ll be okay there. Here. But where do I sink ? Sink fully. I can sink now. I Will sing. I will sing later. Now I’m just sinking. Damn it ! Damn it. Feel it. Fully. It’s okay. I’m okay. The pink is not dark.

It’s been a long time since I wrote something for da Blong, yup, too long. Oh, yeah, I want to clarify: someone asked me if I have a ” ghost writer” because it says ” Written by Laura.” No, I do all my own writing; my dear friend Laura Marsh posts it for me cuz I’m techno – disabled. Alrighty then, enough about you, let’s talk about me. It’s always about me.

In November of 2014 I did a TEDxUCDAVIS at the Varsity theater in delightful downtown Davis, Ca . The theme for that event was “Roots of Inspiration,” a perfect set up for me since I’m a Davis native, and I’m told that I’m very inspiring.

“What do I do now?” was the title of my talk, but I don’t know if anyone in the audience understood the connection, or if they even noticed the title. I’m not at all criticizing the audience, they laughed and cried at the appropriate times. Well, I bet that some folks who don’t know might have been “speechless” when I rolled my fabulously blinged-out walker up to the microphone . I was wearing a bright blue cape with bright red letters – all in caps – that spelled “STOP ALS. ” I was also wearing a tie with my stiff, white button up shirt.

The stage didn’t have a ramp so four of my friends helped me and my walker onto the stage. Just that show of support was enough to get the audience intrigued – who IS this person and what is WRONG with her ?

Before I launch into my story, you should know that all TED TALKS are limited to 18 minutes, and that TED stands technology, development and innovation, I think. Or maybe it’s Technologically, Especially, Dumb.

While I was preparing for this talk that could possibly change my life forever, I , well, I never prepare for my talks, I just open my mouth and let Chatty Cathy take it from there. And then there’s that oft -heard phrase “change my life forever,” well, everything changes our lives forever – that’s what life is, change. We are always changing, and nothing is permanent, never, ever.
Since this was kind of a big deal, I did prepare, I wrote and rewrote for hours, days, and then I changed my perspective. What did I want the audience to remember forever. Ha ! When I woke up Saturday morning, the day of the TEDxUCDAVIS, I pretty much threw my preparation out the window and into the recycling bin. ( Can’t say threw it in the trash in Davis.) Like Sinatra crooned, ” I did it my way.”

I had a blast bantering with the audience before I got to ” the meat” of my talk ( yes, I’m a vegetarian. ) But the I noticed that the stage manager was holding up two fingers which meant I had only two minutes left on the stage.
Gosh darn it ! I didn’t have to think on my feet since I was sitting down. During the last two minutes, I quickly prefaced my lyrics and then I sang one verse and one chorus from my “loss and healing song,” Sweet Beyond. Before ALS I was a performing singer songwriter and emcee. This song was on our first ” Duval Speck ” CD which you can hear at When I watched the YouTube video of my talk I cringed when I heard my self try to sing. Ego be gone ! Away ego, step away. You only bring me pain.

Ennyhoo, I had so much fun while I was talking that I completely forgot to say that now I have cancer too: Metastatic Neuroendocrine Carcinoma. I even have a great scar on my torso that I could’ve flashed to the people , but no, I never even thought about the cancer.
If you want to have fun vicariously, check out my TEDx talk URL :

And if you’d like to hear all the stories I didn’t have time to tell at my TEDxUCDAVIS talk, I invite you to attend “Better Days with Cathy Speck: An ALS Documentary Benefit,” featuring Cathy Speck, with an extended version of her inspirational, standing ovation 2014 TEDxUCDavis talk, and Nadine El Khoury, director, producer and writer of “Better Days: the ALS Documentary.”
The benefit takes place on Saturday, Jan. 31, 4-6:15 p.m. at the Davis Community church Fellowship Hall, 421 D Street (look for bright yellow smiley face helium balloons to enter the hall.) Doors open at 3:45 p.m. The suggested donation price for tickets are whatever amount the donor wishes to give, from $1 to $ 100 or more. Advance reservations are recommended, as seating is limited and tickets may not be available at the door. To reserve a seat or make a donation, go to to donate, then click on “contact” near the bottom of the page to reserve seats. Thanks for reading my Blong, and if you come to the show on January 31st please come and introduce yourself to me. If you already know me, please come over for a hug !

You’re Not You

Welcome back to my Blong. I’m sorry I stayed away so long. I’m trying to “make up for it” by posting three entries in one evening. If you want to understand where this post came from, make sure you read the one before this. I’ll ask my ” post-er” Laura Marsh, to make these fall in line . One, two three. Just like the Holy Trinity, right ?

Mine was a happy, active, exciting childhood. I am the second youngest of nine children, I’m sure each of siblings have different perspectives . By the Time I came along I think my parents were much more lenient and relaxed. I jumped off the roof with a pillow case thinking it could be a parachute. Since that didn’t work, I tried an umbrella like Mary Poppins. That didn’t work either. But it was fun to think about Julie Andrews cuz I hD a crush on her even though I had no idea what that crush feeling was…

And then sometching happened, something devastating-life changing, diagnosed when iw as 11, she died just after I turned 13 . I hadn’t gone through my angry teenage years, so is til wanted to be at moms side. I want my arm to touch her arm.

But isn’t everything changing always, nothing is permanent, so it’s all life – changing. By not trying to cling to things that used to be, we let go of suffering. Can I cling to my moms robe and cry” please don’t go, please. Don’t leave me- my hands can’t hang onto your robe.they’re slipping , I can’t hold onto….This is suffering. Let go, to grow yesterday’s attachment is gone …

Embrace death & dying to live more fully. No fear energy taking you away from this moment. The longer people stay away the worse they feel and less likely to ever come b/c guilt. It’s okay. I understand . But please learn from this. I am here for you to practice with/ on. It okay. Our PILLOW: Jennifer Terra and me with Huyen.
When I talk to classes, My hands and arms look like I’m conducting an orchestra ,,,,and in a way, Mybe I am. Yeah, maybe in am. Are you feeling conducted?

Cancer diagnosis who knows how long I’ve had it ? I know the date of my surgery and my scans, but who knows? Really it’s the same with ALS.? I do know I was born with the very rare genetic mutation butter who really knows when it turned the key… Yeah, the keys been in the ignition but when did it actually turn it on? It’s hard to tell because I’m so tuned into it- way more aware of my own body than any doctor .how about While I was watching the Lou Gehrig movie Pride of the Yankees on TV ? I couldn’t put the popcorn in my mouth? I kept hitting my chin? When I couldn’t open my bottle of carrot juice? When I started looking like a big flirt cuz I couldn’t button my top buttons?

Choose to adapt. My choice in the morning how I want to feel.
Facebook thank you ! Nadine hears music, we meet, do interview, I offered to help fundraiser market ,promote, DCC ice bucket to BETTER. Days? How perfect to have an ALS Documentary featuring music written and performed by someone with ALS?! My arms are open wide, and look what comes in? Be asked to talk at Emerson, sac city, Emerson, woodland .sierra, DCC , Korematsu. TEDx ?
Hillary swank has ALS in movie “you’re not you.”

TEDx Notes

Howdy doody my precious Blong Peeps ! I told you I’d be better about a writing and posting in my Blong, so here ya go:

After I was selected to speak at the TEDxUCDavis event my fingers were flying all over my iPad and my fingers were stumbling around with my Bic pen on scraps of paper whenever I had a good idea. Well, after four re-writes some of the ideas proved to be good.

What I’m sharing with you now are some of the notes I wrote to myself. Unlike my other speaking presentations where I sit on a chair, open my mouth and let it talk for an hour or so,
at TEDx talks speakers are limited to 18 minutes. Auugghh, OMG, WTF, LOL, BTW, LGBT, WXYG, LMNOP and ZIPPITY doo dah! Chatty Cathy talk for a mere 18 minutes? Truly this is one of the most challenging …uh, um, urr…yeah, that.
Okay here are my notes- it’s kinda like letting you read my diary. I trust you:

I spent a lot of time at the Varsity theater when I was growing up ind Davis on Oa k avenue. The neighbit rood kids sometimes trow of my sisters would ride our bikes – no helmets back then, and bike lanes hadn’t graced our streets yet. During the summer they had Wednesday matinees for kids first a cartoon with bugs bunny , the roadrunner, Elmer fud, double feature ,usually at least one shoot em cowby movie. The Swiss family Robinson, The Love Bug, The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes, original Parent Trap. Patty Dike duke.

Before the movie we.d run across the s fret to Quesseberry drug store and buy gobs of candy and stuff it in our pockets and sit and eat candy for over four hours. Life was good. It was great. I had a great childhood, . Not that it was purrrfcet. so many kids wild n free , we were encojraged to be creative.

And we were free -range , no GMO s back then. We had a big funhouse where ll the friends liked to hang out, dad was at work on .campus, and I knew my mom ws the most wonderful mom in the world. She was warm, open, generous,patient, oh so patient, she had enough love for everyone. Her smile could cure my stomachs aches and her round warm hug made me feel like I’d be loved forever. I bet there were mny people who felt the same way.

Here I am in this moment how did it get here – well I didn’t ride my bike but if I did I would wear a proper helmet to make good example for our youth and .baloney. I ride a trike without a helmet, hook pull me off stage ?

I bet more people than you think have been touched by ALS , affected by your boss sister, or your friends uncle, maybe your own mom or dad – but they don’t talk about it cuz it’s too darn hard. If you truly haven’t. Been touched, I will personally come touch your shoulder, after the event is over…I’ll even give you a little peck on the the cheek if you want $1 goes to Better Days the ALS Documentary. Nadine El Khoury, writer, producer , director using Duval Speck music in trailer and film. How to raise more money to help her/ project.




TED Talk!

Mea culpa , mea culpa, mea culpa ! I fully apologize for my lack of Blong posts. The whole cancer thing over the summer interrupted the flow of my wonder-filled life. Yup, cancer bit me in the end of May. Had major surgery July 17th and stayed in Sutter General Hospital in Sackoftomatoes for a wonderous week. What is My diagnosis and prognosis you ask ?
Metastatic neuroendocrine carcinoma. My totally awesome cancer surgeon removed a sizable , extremely painful tumor in my small intestine, and cut out more of the small intestine. Then, uh oh, surprise ! The cancer had spread to my gall bladder and appendix , so he took those out too, along with 24 lymph nodes, 15 of which were cancerous. This means there is still cancer in my body, but we can’t “cure it.” We hope the remaining tumors are slow-growing.

It was risky to have surgery – most ALS folks would question taking such a risk. With a compromised respiratory system, anesthesia is ….oh, so scary, but it was a quality of life decision, and I chose to take the chance.

I don’t know if you’ve heard about the TEDxUCDavis this Saturday from 9:30 to 11:30 at the Varsity Theater..blah blah…but if you wanna get a ticket before it sells out, here ya’ go :

I ( it’s all about me, me, me) take the stage ( and I’m not giving it back ) at 11am and I’m the last speaker. A performance artist will come on after me, then we’re done and it’s time to party. My BFF Bestie Blanchie Simon ( aka Angela Simon PhD) is coming. My mom isn’t -she died. Oh, so did sister Susan, brothers Larry, Paul, um, baby Stephen and Grandma Mabelle Speck, the only grandparent I ever knew. Dad is 92.5 and is doing quite well for someone who has experienced so much loss, grief, pain and flatulence .

Ennyhoo, now you know and if you can think of anyone else that might like to go they an get tickets online. It’s affordable $5 for students and $7 for people who don’t go to school anywhere, never ever. Not that there’s anything wrong with that….

Again, my dear Blong Peeps, I’m so sorry for temporarily abandoning you, I thought about posting everyday – seriously. But I spent all my writing energy on Facebook , and that’s not a bad thing.
I’ll be back. In the meantime, if you come to the TEDx talk please say hi or some other word to me.


Cathy Speck
to me
0 minutes ago
At last ! I am here , I am here, I am HEEEERE ! ( any Seuss fans recognize that slightly -altered reference? Don’t be afraid to speck out…I mean speak out- how egotistical of me. )
Here’s a copy of a highly secret, personal, private email I just sent to a dear family friend, whom I shall not name, but the band her daughter plays in is “Misner & Smith.” I realize that re-cycling an email to use as a Blong post isn’t very professional, but, hey, even I am gonna cut my self some slack on this one…
The photos looking out of my private room in Sutter General Hospital in Sacrapimento were taken by Linda Duval and Jennifer Terra.

Good morning from luxury suite 5403 – truly a room with a view ( see photos of Sutter’s Fort, skyline of downtown Sacramento, and sunset over the skyline on a rainy evening in July ! )

Oops! Well at 4:15 am in Sutter General Hospital after major surgery , I guess it’s understandable I might send the draft instead of the polished masterpiece I crafted especially for you , Peg. Let’s see, I already sent the photo of my eldest sister Barb tending to my parched lips, but I didn’t even finish my sentence : “Am I a candidate for a Playboy Centerfold or what ?” You get to answer the question – it wasn’t rhetorical-and I’m assuming you’d reply affirmatively, yes ?

What else…the surgery was successful and I pulled through breathing on my own, which was the ….um, the Big Question. Linda and I both agreed that living on a vent was not an acceptable option for me. The other super good news is that I can keep-on living with ALS without the horrendous abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting that had been plaguing me for over four years. I had simply brushed those symptoms aside as unavoidable side effects from ALS and the medications I’ve been taking. I never even told my primary physician about the misery I endured- why would I ?

The not -as -super news is that the neuroendocrine cancer cells spread and are lurking about in the mesentery and other nurturing places to lurk. They don’t respond to chemo or radiation other than a slight nod, tip of the cell hat, and a whispered, “Howdy do, ma’am.” It’s a fine trade-off, and the metastasized cells don’t scare me. I’ll show them how to have a good time, or else ! Or else….they’ll have yo sit in the corner and mope. Or maybe sit under the coroner and …mope. Even if chemo and radiation were an option, I would’ve “poo poo-ed” them. (Speaking of poo poo, that’s something I must do ( doo ) before I can check out of my luxury condo across the “Old Sackamenna.”

Also, I listen to my M & S CD over and over again- please let them know that their music brings me great pleasure. I’ve been spreading the news about their music to friends and even to folks I don’t know very well. After their last concert in Davis, I roamed the streets of downtown Davis with my blinged -out walker and the Amazing Mazie pug/poodle/ terrier / monkey Princess perched upon her four-wheeled throne and we sang the song of local musicians gone good. Gone excellent. Gone so darn awesome that proper grammar is trumped. Chatty Cathy indeed ! ( I might’ve even been telling my surgeon and anesthesiologist about Misner & Smith before my surgery commenced. )

Well, it’s 5:27-ish am now which I’m merely pointing out so you know how much time I spent crafting this email masterpiece especially for you ( and, shhh, my lovely BLONG Peeps ! )
Now that I’m nodding off, I shall tie this in a bow and sail it across the Sacramento River to you. Enjoy the moment.

Cheers & chuckles & buckets of love,
Miss Catherine



Happy 4

Happy 4th of Juy to everyone, even if the date means nothing to you. Happy Friday to all and be super careful on freeways, highways and three-ways. Oops, no, not that. Or yes, maybe those should be safe too. Yup. What does July 4th mean to me? Well, thanks for asking- it means freedom, independence from whatever is ailing you. My grandma Mabelle Speck died on July 4th 1974 in a convalescent hospital in Davis, CA. Thank God. She had “bowel cancer” as they called it back then, but she already “beat breast cancer” in the 1930′s and 1960′s. She had just turned 81 when she last exhaled and was much too foggy from the morphine so it was kinda okay, it was good that she died then. Enough of that. The point is “have a NICE day” or else ….I’ll come make you smile. = D

Since I’m in SoCal I finally met and talked for hours with Nadine El Khoury, director of the ALS Documentary I’ve been writing about. I’m am so thrilled to tell all y’all that she chose two of our ( Duval Speck) songs to use in the documentary itself- not just in the trailer. Yes ! I’m so excited it feels like fireworks are shooting out of my head, heart, hands and ears, but it’s really too loud so…Oh what the heck Cathy Speck, live it up. That’s the key anyway, right? Live it up!

Enny hoo, I’m sharing a post from Nadine about the film “Better Days.” I hope you, or someone you know (or don’t know) can help fund the finishing touches… Hm “finishing touches” sounds like the title of some paperback romance novel. I won’t be writing any of those.
Here’s the real deal :

Countdown for “Better Days”
This is the last weekend to support this ALS documentary “Better Days” Please do what you can. We are close to finishing it with your help. Thank you to all who donated thus far. Your care and generosity makes a beautiful impact. We will be growing a fruit tree in a pub…”

News Flash update !

After our appointment with Dr Lee, my cancer surgeon, I had some final blood work. The results were not good on a few fronts (and backs, too, I suppose.) It appears that the neuroendocrine tumor in my small intestines has young cousins elsewhere in my body, and they are the kind you (well…Dr Lee ) can’t remove surgically. ) And since this bugaboo is so flippin’ weird and rare, chemo and radiation won’t be of any help either. “Oh bother,” says Pooh..

I’m gonna stick with removing the tumor, appendix and maybe my gall bladder and My Left Show- I mean Shoe, no um…My Left Foot. Whew ! My mind is playing cruel little jokes on me…Wait, who ARE you ? And why are you reading my private diary ? I locked it and hid it in my special garden ! Hm…!

Okay,back to the Blong. Let’s venture back a few days so you don’t feel lost or lonely and vulnerable. We can take care of that
The “Wednesday” I’m musing about in this post is from last week– the 18th of June.

Ready? Got yer seat belts on? Safety hats? Foolproof goggles strapped on ? Are you prepared to read sentences ending with prepositions on ? Ok! Let’s git ‘er done, and by ” ‘er ” I mean ” ergonomics” ie, typo-ing and reading sitting on an appropriately – fitted a chair, or at a standing-work cubicle while using good posture and deep breathing. It’s that simple. Let ‘re rip :

What a day ! Wednesday, that is. I think we’re on Thursday now,yes, it’s 1:02-ish am June 19th and the days daze are flying by while I’m flapping with only one wing. Shoot. No, don’t shoot! I’m not really a sitting duck, goose, egg, McMuffin, but I do feel kinda confused.
Here’s one thing I know for sure: the surgery is at 8:30 am on July 17th at Sutter General Hospital in Sacramento.

Tuesday 6/ 17, Linda, Mazie and I had the “big meeting” with my cancer surgeon to discuss the risks, the realities, possibilities, hopes and fears regarding removing the neuroendocrine tumor in my small intestine and maybe some in my teeny tiny intestine. And then there’s the “exploratory” part,which makes sense: major surgery is highly risky for ALS patients with respiratory weakness,especially for those of us who have lost too much weight –mostly muscle.

This a quality of life decision and I’m willing to shoot for the stars. No, please don’t shoot. I think all the gun controversies in the press are making me trigger happy to use the word “shoot.” (Chatty Cathy has done it again.) Enny hoo,the cancer has been so painful and unpredictable I wanted to shoot mys….oh no you don’t Miss Missy.

I am willing to risk the inability to breathe on my own. And that, my dear friends, would mean I’d leave Sutter General Hospital in Sacrapimento and go home to hospice.I have chosen to not live with an invasive vent or feeding tube.But let’s back up to the surgery: beep beep beep. Anesthesia and major incisions and taking stuff out and putting other junk back in will be traumatic on my body.But I do believe that emotionally,spiritually,mentally, sentimentally will be a culmination of myriad experiences and beauty will prevail. Now we don’t usually think it’s “beautiful” to also remove the gall bladder, appendix, and my left converse high top from 10th grade,

But, to use that same ol’ cliche’ in “the big picture,” this surgery is right for me at this time. Well, not at 1:21 am Thursday June 19th, but at 8:30 am July 17th. If there are “no complications I’ll spend about a week in that hospital -the one I said before, please don’t make me type it again.. And if there are no further complications, my recovery should take from 4 to 6 weeks.The details are all in the phrase “if there are no complications.” If I had a million dollars…oh wait, that’s another hypothetical…blah blaaaahhhh. Blah.

In the three photos I am lovingly intermingling with beings I love so dearly. These days -I truly mean this– these days, and these moments feel like I’m holding on to something ten years old….more later…
Stayed tuned for the next Blong post. Don’t touch that dial.. No, not “DIAL” soap . If you don’t “get” this reference, it’s okay; it’s simply toss-away nostalgia from the life-altering, high tech age somewhere between “the world is flat” ages and fueling cars with leftover french fries oil.

Yum, that smell is making me hungry for something I haven’t eaten in years–garlic french fries, onion rings, and wrestling with a woman from France. (That sentence structure is awkward, but I think it’s hilarious, and I’m the editor so it stays..) If you’re laughing yet, I’ll wait for you to read it slowly so can then join “The Laughing Game” which is a better story than “The Crying Game.”

This is Chatty Cathy signing off 10. 9. 8 7 w x y z ei ei. Oh. Uh oh !

daniel elisa me

daniel me 1

karina coffee (1)

Memory Day

Greetings all, I sure hope you’re remembering to have a memorable Memorial Day! My sister Mary is on holiday so Linda, Mazie and I are up here in the mountains of Pollock Pines with Pop/Dad/Grandpa. Mazie loves her Grandpa and loves to leap high up onto his lap. He smiles his special Gene Speck smile while Mazie does a few circles around her perch before plopping down in the perfect place, for her, that is. But it doesn’t last long because she almost always has one eye part-way open, then zing -she’s off like a rocket ! Outside of the window she spots a mama deer and her two fawns looking for leftovers in the “backyard.”

After Linda patiently explained to Mazie, in one-syllable words, that it is not okay to scare the mama and her babies, Mazie and Linda went outside and approached the deer, who were oddly not spooked at all.. Mazie stood quietly curious, but Linda and the mama deer had quite the loquacious conversation. They even talked about religion and politics.

Meanwhile inside the house and enjoying the rhythm and coolness of the ceiling fan, Dad was staying abreast of current issues by reading two newspapers and I was avoiding breasts and real news by playing around on Facebook. I’m not sure if I worded that properly, but since when am I concerned about being “proper?”

Okay, enough about me, : I decided today that Mazie should have her very own Facebook page and being up here was the ideal place to take oodles of Mazie photos some of which are attached. Yes, yes Linda and I have thousands of Mazie photos, but Mazie’s Facebook photos will demonstrate her perspective.

This afternoon we all (not the deer) drove down to Sly Park at Jenkinson Lake which is not far at all from Mary’s house. Yikes! the park and the beaches were overflowing with people- not a deer to be seen. At the park entrance we got a discount for having our handy blue handicapped decal hanging from the rear view mirror, which, by the way, is actually against the law. That is, the decals should not be displayed until the vehicle has stopped permanently, but not eternally- I hope. I’m not done yet…

Enny Hoo, Dad used his charm and the Gene Speck smile to keep us outta jail so we finally got down to the picnic area to party in the shade. Okay, no here is a true story-you can even ask Linda. At one of the spots we explored there was a lovely walk way handicapped walk way for disabled/handicapped folks which crossed a meadow and lead to vista point.As we got nearer a bunch of flying insects were swarming -not in a scary way, just very…different. They turned out to be migrating ladybugs and they were…everywhere, including my arms and hands (see photos.) Do any of you know the story of migrating ladybugs?I bet teacher Mary Pat knows !

Enny hoo, again, on the way back to the parking lot five little kids came running up to me asking if my toys are for sale–oh that silly walker o’mine. I said “yup, cash only, no returns, no exchanges $12 each or 2 for $24.” Not really, but the kid were so fun and curious and asked why I wore “that thing around your neck” ( my neck brace.) I told them it keeps my head from falling off and they squealed with delight.

We ended up having a delightful afternoon despite the crowd of humans and swarming ladybugs and a bunch of goose poop on one of the beaches. Dad skipped the goose poop adventure.He said he really enjoyed this outing and seeing all the tents and picnic parties because the only time he’s been close to the lake there weren’t many people around the lake. Maybe he’s been sneaking out in the PT Cruiser in Winter after 2:00 am to make sure he gets a prime parking spot. No quite sure about that.

And speaking of 2:00 am, it’s almost 1:45 am – Pop, and Mazie and Linda went to bed hours ago, and I’m sticking to my usual after- midnight creative jams–not jellies.I first started this late night writing patterns when I was twelve, when Mom was finally put in the hospital. I couldn’t stand her not being with us at home, so I wrote about how I felt and what I wanted to happen.
Wow, I almost made it all the way to the end without talking about something sad. Well, come to think of it, it’s not sad. Writing, expressing myself, was an important and healthy coping mechanism. So there. Smiles everyone !
Cheers and lotsa love,

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