compassion abounds

November 29, 2009


we had a really lovely 4 days away romping around beantown.  (beanygetsablog in beantown?!)  it was my first time up there since i was in high school and my sister attended wheelock (so that was a really really really long time ago).  and all i remembered from that visit were the train tracks, her college cafeteria and the frat party i was allowed to attend at m.i.t. where her then-boyfriend (since husband) attended.  with my sister-in-law teaching at university there, we had a chance to leave brooklyn and have a few days away. 

my sister-in-law teaches educational theater and had the foresight to get us tickets to see ‘best of both worlds’ at the american repertory theater in cambridge.  i highly recommend it.  it is a gospel retelling of ‘a winter’s tale’ – a shakespearean play that is a little stilted and stumbly (well, as far as i’m concerned).  she had come with us and our teenage daughter last year to see ‘a winter’s tale’ performed by ‘the bridge project’ at bam.  so this was a chance for her (and us) to see the same play done very differently.  the director is diane paulus – she directed the current production of ‘hair’ on bway.  her husband was the lyricist.  it was just the kind of theater i love – minimal sets and actors who can sing very very well and don’t flail about as a way of putting a  song across.  she brought the audience into the play and it was really a delightful afternoon.

sitting on the front side row was a man in a wheelchair.  he was obviously not able to move his own body and his head was held in place also.  i surmised that the older couple sitting next to him were his parents.  i’d guess them to be about 70-75 and he was in his 50’s.  i’d glance over occasionally and think that i could see him making some eye contact with the actors but it could have been wishful thinking on my part. 

the last number was a big choir-backed hallelujah raise-the-rafters, get up, and clap your hands finale.  it melded together as we, the audience, had gone on the journey with the cast and we were all clapping with each other to see this play to the end.  i looked over and saw that the man’s mother was up on her feet like all of us.  but his father (i presume) was sitting with him.  he had taken his son’s hand and was holding it with one hand and clapping on his arm in rhythm with the other.   he must have known that his son could somehow experience this joyful experience as part of the whole audience.  it was so immeasurably touching.  it’s hard to get through the days that we live and the little things can mean all the difference to hold us through the worst of times. 


very thankful

November 24, 2009


wishing every reader of my ramblings a healthy and happy thanksgiving.  i hope it’s a nice break.  i hope it’s filled with succulent smells – whether carnivorous or plant-based – and some hours of pure relaxation.   i am not a saccharin girl grateful for every little thing but i am certainly grateful for many little things and more than a few big ones like my wonderful family – extended, blood-related, and pick-ups – and for being here.  happy thanksgiving …. beany

up, up, up and down

November 22, 2009

it has been an unexpectedly emotional week.  i was going to say emotionally-draining but in some ways emotionally-bolstering or emotionally-charged might also fit the bill.  the new breast cancer screening recommendations set off a series of days in which i was furious (see previous post)– and still am, incredulous, and found myself ‘out’ as a breast cancer person in the world – “well, i was that one in 19,000″ and basically talking very publicly about the process and the path and how i feel today and how i worry about tomorrow,  etc.

yes, you’d think that has already happened.  my breast  cancer treatment was 4 years ago.  blink.  4 years passes like slow molasses and also quickly.  there are a new cast of characters in my life – work colleagues who didn’t know because they joined the firm more recently and you find yourself discussing cancer screenings and procedures from a very personal viewpoint – it’s the first time in a while that i once again felt that there was a neon sign over my head screaming ‘cancer’.  i wish i could say it read ‘cancer survivor’ but i haven’t quite gotten to that particular turn-in-the-road.   but i’m talking about it.  i know other women who can’t talk about it – it’s just too close to them – almost hovering over them – or they are still going through it.  the discussion can come close to rocking-the-karmic-boat – i know that feeling. 

at the end of the week, i feel tired.  i cannot imagine what it must feel like to be a full-time advocate.  the emotional toll must be enormous.  or is it just a job? 

i’m looking forward to 4 days away at thanksgiving.  don’t like the packing up or the traveling but do want a change of scene for a few days. 


you should be FURIOUS too

November 17, 2009

livid.  beside myself.  the new mammogram ‘guidelines’ recommendation is an abomination and must have been lobbied solely by the insurance companies…because that’s about who it benefits.  i’m posting a link but i could have written the same post – i would have been dead by now also without proper screening.  to add the most base insult to injury, the ‘guidelines’ tell women to stop doing self-exams.  who the fuck is on that committee?  wealthy men who own a lot of insurance company stock?  i rarely wish people ill but this mean-spirited change makes me wish that they ‘learn’ what it means to to be misdirected about monitoring their own health issues.  really, they should rot.  while i’m still fuming, this blog post below speaks eloquently to the subject.  you should be furious too.—-the_b_360538.html

never say never

November 12, 2009

on the up side, this isn’t a cancer post!  but it’s a sheepish-take-back-my-previous-post-post.  no droid phone for me.  it was a weird journey in which i got caught up in the excitement and found out that i was older than i thought!  or, at the very least, when push came to shove, i was firm about what i wanted.  that new droid phone is pretty cool…and has some amazing features.  but within 18 hours (some of them sleepless as my head spun with new technology trying to work it’s way through my aging synapses) i knew that it was not the needed-technology for me.  i didn’t like the shape – hard and oversized in my hand, the cold glass screen (always riddled with fingerprints) against my face and the flat keyboard was fingernail-city for typing.   i LOVE computers and i love playing word games and bubblet on my (now-retired) treo.  but i love/must have completely seamless email and a complex calendar that includes the three of us in one integrated color-coded view.  i always said: never a blackberry.  yes.  never say never.  i am now the semi-proud owner and user of a new blackberry tour – and tho it took a little bit of work and 2 hours of steve-the-computer-guy fixing some old pent-up tech issues on my laptop, it’s now loaded and running beautifully.  perfect syncing with outlook.  the games suck..maybe i’ll start reading more books in the subway – that would be a good thing for me.   i actually slept last night knowing that my day would mean i’d have all my contacts and calendar appointments with me.  on the plus side, it will be a phone we can use overseas for our travels (italy here we come in march!).  never say never.  listen to your instincts.  don’t hesitate to change/fix something that you know in your gut is not working for you.  my mini-life lessons (mostly for myself) for the day.  and i’m a bean with a bb!  that seems fitting. 

there’s a lot to be learned

November 3, 2009

from listening. take from that what you will. in a situation born out of luck and determination, i am able to exorcize (pun intended) some of my demons in my basement. lest you picture me practicing some cultish behaviour, it’s much simpler than that. i’m able to exercise in my basement. it’s not a beautiful basement but it’s private. (a reminder, that i live in brooklyn, new york…so a basement or private space to spread out is not a given but a luxurious joy.)  for the past week or so, i’ve started my exercise as usual: earphones in; ipod on. but rather than belting out whatever harmonic line suits my fancy, i’ve been purposefully quiet. i’ve forgotten how hard it is to just listen. so i have been working at it – just as i work at being disciplined at actually getting down to my ‘routine’. i have to stop myself from singing along and let myself hear the lyric and the arc of the song and the pitch of the singer. on another pass, i listen to the structure of the notes and the intervals playing off each other. the lyric. no matter how good the singer, a bad lyric can’t be saved. even just melting into the beats … a form of listening.  sometimes i feel the rise of my breath wanting to move along with the line of music and work to settle back and just hear.  i’m working on listening. 

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