Archive for the ‘Essential Sidetracks’ Category

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 8,100 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 7 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


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Might have been that Mercury was retrograde for most of the month, or the new puppy, or the deadlines at work, or the excessive traffic on our under-construction roadways, or the family emergency at the start of December that left my darling little mom with a broken shoulder and the entire family in a whirl, or it might have been Hanukkah, Solstice, Christmas as usual with all the gifts to find and good cheer to embrace; it might have been one extra pull on my energy or the myriad, but the outcome was not a second for blogging. And, oh, I’ve missed you – the inexplicable cyberific connection. I’m so grateful for your energetic support. Seriously. When writers thank readers, it’s for real. There’s a delicious symbiosis that occurs in the ethers as you tend upon our words, thoughts, ideas; and the comments and praise sure help too. So, I yearn to resume the connection and to conclude the Lump Lessons narrative in the first months of the new year. It has been two years – wow – since I began to blog at the end of treatments for breast cancer. Two years that went by in a flash, and yet it has also been two years… and it’s an auspicious new year now – 2012 – and I’m ready to shift into a fresh endeavor. Something that’s born in the turbulence of the new Mayan winds.

So, as this dynamic time period called 2011 wanes, may you feast to your heart’s content on the rising of the Light, and feel the Love – pause, breath deep into your belly, release slow…ly, and feel the steady pa rump pa pum pum within. In awe, L.

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There’s a popular spiritual belief that fear and faith cannot coexist. Maybe so. If so, I hope to attain that sort of faith one day. So far, my faith has kept me going, trying, taking risks, loving, despite being afraid at every turn. I’ve heard say that “courage is feeling the fear and doing it anyway.” So, maybe I’ve experienced courage and have yet to know faith. I don’t know. I only know that I’m heading into New York City today to see my friend Polly in a play despite reports of terrorist threats. The play is called NEW YORK by David Rimmer and it’s about 9-11 with proceeds benefiting 9-11 Families for Peace Tomorrows and judging by this YouTube video clip, it’s going to be intense and heartbreaking and moving.

I’ve got to go. Not because I need this play to remember 9-11 on the 10th anniversary and not because I love Polly; but because I want to know faith and maybe the way to faith is to have the courage to keep walking through the fear. I need to go to join in the magnanimous spirit of 9-11 that had people ban together rather than to allow terror to rip them apart. And I need to go to honor heroes like Welles Crowther, the Man in the Red Bandanna, whose love for others supersedes all else.

In Awe,



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My daughter is playing a clarinet in her bedroom on the other side of the wall of my office. Her smooth breathy notes are transporting me to long gone days of a first recorder festooned with skinny ribbons for lessons learned, then the obligatory school concerts of three tiers of children in black bottoms and white tops tooting exaggerated four count beats with occasional squeaks, and Twinkle Little Star ad nauseam. It’s a pleasant reverie. Those memories have easily pushed reflections on chemotherapy out of my head.

Plus, I’m on vacation.

The first two days of my Summer vacation were devoted to the burial and memorial service of a great aunt who left us for the Summerland just a few days shy of her 97th birthday. Auntie, as she bade us call her rather than Aunt Mildred, was a breast cancer survivor. I attended her services with my heart swelled with gratitude for her power of example. Her diagnosis and treatment happened more than thirty years ago when I was young, living in New York, and rather mesmerized by the glittering disco ball; but I took an evening off from the high life to visit Auntie at Sloan Kettering after her surgery. That hour or two spent with her would inspire me for a lifetime and particularly when I had my own breast cancer experience as I witnessed the efficacy of a feisty spirit. While most of the patients snoozed after surgery or treatments, Auntie walked laps around the cancer ward, dragging her IV pole along with her. While we chatted, she squeezed a rubber ball to strengthen her arm and peppered the conversation with promises that she would live long and remain strong. Indeed, she did. I would say, “Rest in peace, amazing Auntie,” but I’m betting that she’s already jitterbugging on the other side.

And now, I’m about to go to the beach. I’m in vacation mode and finding it too difficult to concentrate on the next Lump Lesson which is about the 2nd infusion and going bald, and I do want to be able to immerse in those memories, write well, and give a fitting tribute to momentous events. But that’s not happening today between the musical reverie and my desire to paint my toenails blue to match my bathing suit; so, I’m going to give myself a break.

However, before I go, I’d like to offer a link to an extremely important TED talk given by Eve Ensler about how she reconnected with her body through a cancer diagnosis and treatment. Her discoveries are so poignant and her delivery is so powerful that I considered for a moment that I need only share the link to Eve’s “Suddenly, my body” rather than to continue writing my blog. But, then I would miss making my own discoveries.


Enjoy the last sultry days and waning light of August!


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I’ve been so angry lately. The past several days have been gorgeous and sunny and I’ve been disgruntled, churlish, and down right pissy in them. There’ve been reasons, sure, and good ones too – insurance issues, car problems, life on 21st century terms aka overwhelm – but, truly, none of the issues have warranted running away from home which is where my hard feelings take me. I want to get in a convertible, put the top down and pump the volume up and drive non-stop to Santa Fe. I want to do a Thelma and Louise without Thelma because, when I’m this out of sorts, I can’t stand anybody.  Thelma could say, “Oh, Louise, you look cute in a scarf.” And I’d hear, “You should keep your ugly head covered more often,” because my inner bitch is running the show.

So, how did the Evil Queen take over the throne? I’ve been asking myself that very question and then pointing a finger at greedy banks, global warming, jousting politicians, inane tv, health insurance or the lack of, sassy kids, narcissistic drivers, my childhood; and, the more I focused on the problems, the more powerful my malaise got. The Evil Queen was feasting.

Finally, today, I sat still long enough to really hear myself think and I discovered that my eyelids were droopy. A ha, I’m not troubled, I’m tired. I’ve been running too hard and too long trying to meet the needs of a job, a home, a hubby, a kid, a dog, a rabbit, friends, extended family, church, community and I love ’em all so it seems like I’m taking care of myself by taking care of them, but really I’ve needed to sit down to eat meals, get a pedicure, go for a walk, sit in the garden (not weed the flower beds), and pay attention to me. I need to feed the Sweetness inside of me, and get some balance with work and play.

Which is all to say that I intended to write a long blog post today. (It’s about a very significant time period between my first and second chemo infusions – I’ve even got the title, Between the Acts, and I’m raring to go.) But, I’m going to take a nap.

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Do you remember the Gate Keeper? Well, I  just happened upon an article about my Breast Cancer Surgeon – the Chief of Breast Surgery at Columbia Presbyterian, Dr. Sheldon Feldman – spearheading a program to allow healers like reiki masters in the operating room during surgery.

He says, “Healers can help patients on the emotional level, which helps on the physical level. The positive impact on healing after surgery can be potentially huge.”

I’ve told you a few times that I love this man. I LOVE this man. He was exploring guided meditation to prepare for surgery when I found him in February 2009. I’ll confess that I’m a little sad that the energy healer in the room program wasn’t in place when I had my surgeries; but, overall, I’m thrilled for the progress. Check out this article.

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After reading a New Yorker article about blogging phenomenon Ree Drummond – aka Pioneer Woman – and her two or three book success not to mention the movie with Reese Witherspoon starring, I checked out her blog fully prepared to hate her down-on-the-range, wholesome, homespun, every woman’s girlfriend, goodness. But, surprise surprise – people are reading the blog and loving her because she’s totally lovable. As well as, inspiring. Her Ten Important Things I Learned About Blogging  just coaxed me back in the saddle again. Since I started working full time at the Peace Org in March of this year, writing my blog has felt like the dirty laundry piling up in the basement or just another mark that I was failing to hit each day.

The first blogging tip from Pioneer Woman is 1. Be yourself.

I forgot that writing Lump Lessons is a self care practice as essential as exercise and eating my greens because it keeps me in touch with myself, the part of me that I so easily lose in the interest of pleasing and serving others.  Pleasing & serving feels good too until the neglected self becomes so depleted that one more tug on the sleeve pulls me down for the count and all those good feelings turn into resentments. Balance. Egads! It’s time to find a healthy balance again. Maybe I can get up earlier each day or learn to write shorter posts or spend less time on email to make that time for myself. Oooo I’m excited to trot along and find out where the new trail takes me.

Thank you, Pioneer Woman, for the gentle nudge to tend to this blog once again.

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