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Okay…it’s been a tough few weeks.

I thought I had this cancer on the run and it turned out I didn’t. I got some bad news and it threw me. Threw me bad. Like a mean horse, it threw me and stomped me and there aren’t any rodeo clowns here.

I’ve spent the past few weeks trying to get on that horse and ride it out. Again. And there isn’t an 8 second rule here. It’s more like a 8 hour rule. I try to get through 8 hours. I try to work as if I’m not on cancer drugs. I try to work for 8 hours as if I’m not sick and tired and exhausted. I get through that 8 hours and then I set myself up to get through the next 8, and the 8 after that.

I try to sleep, eat, work and feel joy. Joy is why we live, isn’t it? Joy is my guardian angel. So I’ve spent the past weeks searching for sources of joy.

My source has shrunk down to small rivulets. Small doses of joy. You have to concentrate when you don’t have a river flowing past you. The river narrows to a small, incredibly clear stream. Only the tiniest, most lovely little nuances can slip through the clog, the blockage. Violets. An orange cat sleeping in the sun. A great book. A fine glass of wine. Sunshine. Misty rain. Ferries in a foggy morning. They don’t last. Joy doesn’t.

Short. Small. Reduced. No expectations.

Small doses. Life reduced to small. I’ll take it. And the intervening hours? I pretend.

2 minutes of a flower with a dew drop that is holding a rainbow. 15 seconds of the smell of turned earth. 8 minutes of silence and fog. 1/2 hour of a warm cat sleeping on my lap. I’ll take it.

I’m not happy. I’m not.

Did I mention that a mink got into the hen house? A couple weeks ago, when I could least deal with it, a mink, of all the damned things you could think of, guard against, a mink got in the henhouse. It killed 5 chickens. My pets. My little darling chickens. Joni, Elvis, oh never mind who it was, they got their heads torn off. It was bloody and horrible. Their sad, yellow feet sticking out of the towel before we buried them. My sister saw the mink. She didn’t even know what she was looking at. It was IN the henhouse when the door was opened. I had to go on line and look at pictures until we saw what it was. And even then I didn’t believe it. Mink?! Here?! Apparently we have mink here. And they can get though chicken wire.

So now it can’t. We framed the entire house in hardware cloth and dug it down. Now every night we can hear it trying to get in. So far so good. We have a live trap. Baited. Haven’t caught it yet. A mink. For god’s sake, I’m going to wear that mink someday.

And today…my drugs make me feel awful. I don’t want to write about it. I was thinking “What the hell, how long will it go on…how long can I do this?” and my uncle showed up with 3 watches. A Cartier Tank, a Phillipe Patak and a Tag Heaur (I can’t spell it, it’s a good watch though) Carrera. For me and Mom and Liza. Because time is so lovely and precious.

He didn’t know I am back in treatment. He just thought a $3000 watch would cheer me up, I guess. It was so out of left field. He has money but it isn’t like we’re close. Auntie Shirley, Dad’s sister, died, last year when I was in the hospital. He has come to visit and he bought $10,000 worth of watches. I’ve never owned anything so expensive. And guess what?

It cheered me up.

I have a nice watch. I took the Cartier Tank.

We bought 6 new baby chickens.

I made moussaka and souvlaki. I drank fine wine.


Maybe I will start writing again.

Maybe I can get though more than 8 hours without clenching my fists, shutting my eyes and enduring.

Maybe I’ll plan a trip to Greece. Take some time to look at the chance of joy in my life up coming. Plant some flowers.



33 thoughts on “Joy

  1. Laura! I got a big hit of joy when I saw you come up on my reader. It’s good to hear from you again. You’re going through another awful time but at least this time round you can flip the bird wearing a Cartier around the bird flipping wrist. Yes!


  2. You’ve been on my mind. You were with us at the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition so if you’re ears glowed, that was why. Strangely we were also talking about minks – there was one made into a crossover bag…just a thought…. xxxxxxxxxxxxx


    • Thank you Conrad. I’ve been resting up and sampling some Australian wine. We had a really nice Greg Norman – which I bought because I liked his golf game, is that a terrible reason?- and also a bottle of Nepenthe Pinot Gris. Yay for Aussie Wine Month!


    • Hope you are well and dry! Heard about all the rain in Florida – can it be true? 18″ in one day? Are you still there or are you somewhere planning another fabulous trip? I am dreaming of Amtrak these days, spending far too much time looking at all the schedules and routes and dreaming of rail journeys…ahhhh, nothing like a train trip.


  3. I am joyful that you experienced a bit of joy with: (1) a gift from someone who cares about you-Cartier watch; (2) six new chickens, though they will not replace the ones that are no longer with you, they will, I am sure, bring you many days of happiness; and, (2) making moussaka and souvlaki while enjoying a glass of wine. Wishing you many more moments of experiencing joy.

    Also, thank you. I now know what moussaka and souvlaki are — sounds delicious.


    • I have to say that I am enjoying the watch FAR more than I expected. There is something about a fine looking watch…I find myself petting it. The baby chickens have made it though their first week, which is always the worst what with big chickens picking on them and the whole world wanting to gobble them up as soon as we turn around. Happiness, as I remind myself, is in the small things, and sometimes it’s just hearing from someone like you. Thank you.


    • Thank you Shannen. I’ve been taking a bit of time to regroup, as it were. Adjusting to the new regimen of drug taking and side effects can be tiring mentally and physically. Plus I was just plain mad. It’s not called Kicking and Screaming for nothing! I am going to finish my novel this month – I’ve written myself into a corner and put it aside to let it simmer down. I’m looking forward to getting back into it. Hugs and when it’s done I will send you a link…promise!


  4. Laura Lynn,
    I am so sorry to hear the cancer is back. Having walked the cancer journey with my wife, the one who filed for divorce 4 days before Christmas 2013 after being cancer free for five years…wait, I’m off track, it breaks my heart when I see someone dealing with this demon. Cancer Sucks. Feeling crappy all the time is no fun and there is nothing anyone can say to make that go away. It just is. In the midst of dealing with the fallout of the cancer journey with my wife, I decided that I needed to look for those moments of joy just like you are doing. I turned them into my “Choosing To Me Happy” series on my blog. These simple post helped me to get through the day with a reminder that there is something to be happy about. I discovered that my moments of happiness helped others in the process. I keep going back and reread them to remind me that even in the darkest valleys I was able to find happiness. I’m now up to No. 34 and don’t expect this series to end anytime soon. I will keep you in my prayers. Hang in there.


    • Patrick, it’s such a source of comfort to know that there are men like you out there. Good, solid guys who are happy to lend an ear and send some kind words to a stranger. Although sometimes, it doesn’t sound like I’m hearing from a stranger. You sound like a friend. Thank you.


      • Anytime Laura Lynn. I have been praying for this round of chemo to wipe out the cancer once and for all! Also that you get your mink stole. Patrick


  5. Oh Laura, we have all been wondering. I had a feeling you were going through the ringer and was hoping to hear from you. I kept coming by your blog to check for new updates in case I’d missed it in my email. SO glad to hear from you. Your post is so eloquent that I can’t help but feel sad. Forget that mink, will you? And the other stuff: the wine, the flower, the kitty in lap, that’s the good stuff, the stuff of life. Hang on to that. Slow and steady, 8 minutes, here, 8 seconds there, 8 hours on a good day. The Cartier will keep you right. Maybe the uncle knows you better than you think. What a poignant and timely arrival. Take your time, do only what you can, sleep, rest, check your watch and in a few months, you will look back in time and be thankful you got through. Time is the great healer after all. Wishing you love and strength and patience and hope and oodles of time XO!


    • Jackie I am always so glad to hear from you. I read every post you write and I’ve read and re read Silk for the Feed Dogs with such gusto! What an inspiration you are. Stupid mink is going to be made into a lovely cuff bracelet when I finally catch it! They are quite horrid little things and I have no intention of letting it off the hook. Joni and Elvis will be avenged!
      I am strangely pleased with the expensive watch, far more than I thought I would be. I stroke it without realizing I’m doing it. Is that weird? It’s a good weird.
      Trying to maintain the ground I regained since September is my goal now. I don’t want to go back to the way I was last summer. I was in a funk, who wouldn’t be?, but now I am going to just face the fact that I am not going to be hopping around, all full of energy and ideas. Not right now, at least. It’s hard to admit that I’m tired or feeling side effects. I prefer to ignore things like that. They intrude. They WILL be ignored and I WILL try and remember that rest and hammocks are almost as nice as high heel shoes and dance floors…grrr….


      • After a certain point–I’ll not say what that is–we all start to choose the hammock over the high heels, sweetie!
        You’re the inspiration and don’t forget it. Embrace whatever you need to do (sleep, veg, snore, cry, shout) to get through this phase and when you’re out the other end, what a view you’ll have. You have the novel to finish in the near future so some rest before you tackle that will be well rewarded.
        Hugs and kisses and don’t be a stranger around these parts, ya hear?


  6. Cartier and Baby Chicks sounds wonderful. Your image of a rainbow in a dew drop was beautiful. I find Joy in your words. Use that Cartier to get through time my Darling. Greece sounds perfect xx ps perhaps London too 😉


    • Oh, I travel and travel. Every day I find a destination and search for all the jewels. Today it was the Empire Builder train from Seattle to Chicago. Then I’ll visit the Museum of Modern Art there and take the City of New Orleans down to Louisiana and eat beignets. ahhhh, who knows where tomorrow will take me. I should finish up the tale of my European adventures…I think I left off somewhere in Poland. I really must look that up. My London adventure was wonderful but I MISSED so much! Hugs to you, love!


  7. A Cartier Tank and Moussaka are right up my alley. You should plan a trip to Southern Spain, aka the Spanish Riviera. I’d happily have you over for the longest lunch in your life 😉


    • Wow, what a temptation! I’ll sell the Cartier-or better yet-I”ll talk Uncle Dave into buying me a ticket there instead of going on the tour of the Civil War battle sites in September with him. By train, no less. No no no….he’s a good man, and looking forward to seeing ‘The Old South’. I think he’s romanticized it a bit.
      I spent some time in Southern Spain. Near Benidorm and Alicante. I really loved it there. I should finish up my memoir posts of my trip to ‘Europe-The worst decade to travel 1991’ I left off when I trying to get into Poland, having set my mind of seeing, of all places in 1991, Russia.


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