Monthly Archives: April 2008



(late post this should have gone up on friday but got posted to my drafts folder by mistake)

sleeping kitty

Being at the Vet all day is a bummer! Whoa am I beat!

Tests for the tumor on Hocus’ belly came back positive for cancer, so Hocus had her full body x-rays yesterday.  The good news is that her cancer has not appeared to have spread to her lungs or other parts of her body! <<<Happy dance for Hocus>>>  There is still a strong possibility that it may have spread to the lymph nodes, unfortunately x-rays are not good at detecting spread to the nodes.  She is scheduled for surgery on the 28th of May.  They will take the tumor off, just the tumor and see how she does from there.  We will not do a radical mastectomy, the vet recommended against it because of her age, old lady that she is.

As you can see she is beat.  Her and I hung out in the sun yesterday afternoon, I with a good book (Dante Valentine series: Dead Man Rising by Lilith Saintcrow ) and her with a wad of catnip……nap. Oh my geriatric kitty.    


Chick Flick Nite – “The Savages”


3 Tissues

Jon and Wendy Savage are two siblings who have spent their adult years trying to recover from the abuse of their abusive father, Lenny Savage. Suddenly, a call comes in that his girlfriend has died, he cannot care for himself with his dementia and her family is dumping him on his children. Despite the fact Jon and Wendy have not spoken to Lenny for twenty years and he is even more loathsome than ever, the Savage siblings feel obliged to take care of him. Now together, brother and sister must come to terms with the new and painful responsibilities with their father now affecting their lives even as they struggle with their own personal demons Lenny helped create.

Written & Directed by:Tamara Jenkins &  Staring: Philip Seymour HoffmanLaura Linney 

Typically on my way home on monday nights I stop at the video (dvd) store and rent what strikes my mood. However, this movie I rented days ago, my decision based mostly on the actors, story was secondary.  A little secret between you and me… I have always had a thing for Philip Seymour Hoffman, I don’t know what it is about him but I find him very seductive.  

I have not been in the greatest of moods as of late (gee I wonder why) and tonight I could have really used a good romantic comedy, not a realistic independent film about dysfunctional siblings putting their abusive father in a nursing home to die.

Despite the painfully inappropriate subject for the moment & my mood the film was really very good.  It had more humor in it than I expected, some quite laughable like daughter decking out dad’s nursing home room with swag from Urban Outfitters, lava lamp and all.   

I work with the “elderly” professionally, so the subject of the film did not surprise me.  Old people, nursing homes, sickness, dementia, all part of my work, unfortunately I have been desensitized.  What did surprise me was how real the film’s characters dealt with their father’s dementia taking into account and despite the troubled childhood that was eluded to throughout the film.  And I loved the relationship between brother and sister.  It all was quite complex and beautiful the way it all came together.   

This movie, “The Savages” was nominated for several awards, all well deserved.  Overall I give the film 3 tissues. (Any other day I would probably give it four or maybe even five, but today like most days I am bias to my mood) It was worth seeing, and did not suck.  It is though an independent film that does not quite fit the mainstream and has one of those stereotypical independent film endings that leaves you hanging.  In the end I was left wanting to see more about the characters lives, but no, time to roll credits.  It seems that the audience is only privy to the brief moment of their lives that brings closure to their relationship with their father.

Although the evening was not a total lost, next week I go back to my normal routine of renting a dvd the evening I plan on viewing.  It is best that way.  Such a creature of habit I am.



Baby Trees


I just realized that I never posted the pictures of the white pine saplings we planted from the Arbor Day Foundation. We planted them in two big clusters and surrounded them with black mulch. You can see the other cluster in the background.  

Hopefully in time they will shelter us from the tragic view of the horrific driveway (road) that ripped between us and the neighbors, killing dozens and dozens of mature trees in the process.  Hate those right-of-ways! 

Grow little trees, GROW!

King Leo update: 

The redwood King is budding feverishly but had not shown any needles yet. 

All hail King Leonidas! 



Bonus Chick Flick Nite – Juno



Four Tissues (not a crier, a belly laughter)

Faced with an unplanned pregnancy, an offbeat young woman makes an unusual decision regarding her unborn child.

I can see both sides of the fence.  This is a love it or hate it movie.  After all the topic is teenage pregnancy. I really enjoyed this movie.  Found the characters complex and entertaining, its a funny movie, but if you are sensitive it appears to really make light of the whole teen pregnancy issue.  

I have read some pretty harsh “lay” reviews online and all I have to say to them is…… This is just a movie people!  It is a comedy, NOT a bloody documentary (sorry, no pun intended).

It was worthy of all the nominations and awards won – too many to list but let’s just say that it was nominated at least once by every film festival it played in all over the world.  The script was flawless and the acting was as well.  

The awesome hip soundtrack is a bonus feature of watching this film.  Note ladies the last song of the film, so sweet you will melt a little.

I highly recommend this film if…. 1 – you can handle the controversial subject  & 2- you have a sense of humor that leans heavily toward the dark cynical side.  

Although I feel that men can certainly tolerate, maybe even enjoy this film thanks to the sharp humor (my “serioso” sat in on the last 1/2 hour of the movie with me and said it didn’t suck); I think it is still mostly a chick flick that takes you through a range of emotions with a feel good ending.

Best chick flick line in the movie is spoken by Juno’s dad, here’s his advice about life partners:

In my opinion, the best thing you can do is find a person who loves you for exactly what you are. Good mood, bad mood, ugly, pretty, handsome, what have you, the right person will still think the sun shines out your ass. That’s the kind of person that’s worth sticking with. 

How true!  Is sun shining out your ass?

Chick Flick Nite: I don’t get it! No rating.


Sweeney Todd

I just don’t get Musicals, even with Johnny Depp

Not  since being in the 5th grade have I enjoyed watching musicals.  It was then that I watched “Grease” over and over and over again.  I think I lost count at 36 or 37 times.

Well, OK I take it back, Does “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” count?  I spent a countless number of Friday and Saturday mid-nights at the local theatre (next town over) brandishing a water pistol and throwing toast, singing and dancing the “Time Warp”….  Oh and maybe that “Buffy” episode, “Once More with Feeling” <<a weak moment>> but oh so humorous. 

I have never seen the classics or at least don’t ever remember seeing, “Oklahoma”, “The Sound of Music”, “West Side Story”.  And although I hear it is quite the chick flick I have not yet subjected myself to “Hairspray”.  Sure when I was a kid I enjoyed “Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang” and “Mary Poppins”, didn’t most of us?

But I think it takes a certain kind of personality to continue enjoying Musicals into adulthood.  I am way to cynical and jaded to open myself up and be vulnerable to them these days.  They tend to grade on me like country music does, twang-twang-twang. (No offense to those loved ones who enjoy country music, gangsta-rap probably grades on you the way country does on me, understand? To each their own)      

Only the genius Tim Burton, casting Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter could get me to entertain the thought of subjecting myself such nasties.  I doubt though that Sondheim had the humor of Joss Whedon, but Burton is a dark enough individual to maybe resurrect the musical for me.  .

I thought that the morbid subject would over-ride the music.  No such luck.  I thought maybe that Burton would have taken some liberties with the music (NOT).  Again, not.   It took over an hour to get interesting to me, death & pie-making, and by then it was too late (I was already bored and blogging this entry).   

I understand the irony, but I guess I don’t find the humor in it all.   With all due respect to Mr. Burton I I will forgive him his creative artistry and not rate this film and  as well for wasting nearly two hours of my life. (Yes, I watched the whole awful thing).

If you are looking for a dark “black” comedy try: “Little Miss Sunshine”, “Fargo”, or “Pulp Fiction”.  Although music may be an important part of the film, the music is not nearly as annoying as the musical genre.     



10% Hope is not much :-(


OM at Kripalu

I am glad that I was mentally prepared and got a good chunk of my crying and worry out of the way yesterday evening.

Pathology should be back within 5-7 days.  There is a 10% chance that it is not malignant.  After pathology is confirmed we will run blood tests, urine samples and full body x-rays.  These diagnostics should determine 1 – whether the cancer has metastasized, and 2- whether or not she is even a candidate for surgery.

I am planning on making all the decisions based on Hocus’ Quality of Life, not quantity of life.  She is after all a geriatric kitty.  Surgery would only be an option if the cancer has not spread and she is not in a high risk category of going under anaesthesia, or the if the tumor breaks through the skin wall and begins to cause concern (I will spare you the icky details about that).  Chemotherapy is not even an option.  It is my will not to cause Hocus any unnecessary stress or trauma .   I keep reminding myself that every decision I make from here on out is for her, not for me.

To date, Hocus has had a full wonderfully spoiled life.  I was reading in a chart in the exam room today that she is the equivalent of 82 years old.  That is a good long life.  I plan on making her remaining days as happy as all her previous days and as comfortable for her as I can.  It is unclear at this point how much time we have left together, but from what I have read probably less than a year, likely 5-6 months.  If it comes to her being in pain, suffering, not eating, not enjoying her life, then I will make the difficult decisions. 

Right now Hocus is not acting sick in any way.  I am unsure  whether she knows that she is diseased. She seems to be really enjoying the Reiki sessions with me everyday and wants me to have my hands on her all the time (more than usual that is).  She is happy, playful, affectionate and my goal is for her to remain that way for as long as she can.  She is sleeping right now in the sun next to me out on the deck, absorbing all those good warm healing spring sun rays.

I am OK with this.  Yes it is hard, yes it will get harder, and it is sad, but I cannot change what is.  Fact -We all die someday.  I just feel like I have been challenged a little too much this year in the death department. I have experienced, “suffered”, many losses this past year, some people I knew intimately and some only acquaintances, but all significant in their own way.  I count seven total.  I know there is a lesson in all this death somewhere, I guess I have not learned it yet because I feel like I keep getting challenged & tested by it.   Either that or it might be the fact that I am inching nearly a year towards turning forty.  I think I like the “lesson” scenario better.    

I want to end with two quotes I found on a a Buddhist blog & website about the Buddhist perspective towards healing from grief and loss.  They make sense to me and resonate some beauty for me in this challenging time. 

It is best to expect to be up and down and just take each day and each experience as it comes. It is thinking that we should be feeling something other than what we are feeling that makes things so difficult.  The thing is to train ourselves to be as simple as we can be – simply feeling sad, simply feeling angry, simply feeling awful or happy for that matter.  That way we somehow can honour each experience and from that some inspiration naturally arises …….and we find the inspiration to somehow open up into the moment and live it in a way that feels meaningful and good.  Somehow we have the power within us to do that – it is what we are – we are that openness, that awareness and that sensitivity, responsiveness and its feels good somehow.  It is how it is and how we want it to be somehow.

I’m reminded of a Buddhist teaching I was given in England, by the 10 year old daughter of one of my classmates, Heather. “How do we hold on to the things we love?” her mother asked. “Like this,” she replied, with her hand outstretched, palm up, fingers open.
This is the epitome of accepting love, the gentle way we hold all that which is precious and delicate.

There is still that 10% chance on which I can hope.