Monday, September 30, 2013

LEFT-HANDEDNESS

During recovery from recent lumpectomy,
Prohibited from lifting with left side of body.
Benefit of increased awareness of multiple 
Daily contribution by non-dominant left hand.

Until last two cars, had used standard shift.
Because right hand kept busy with shifting,
Left-over habit to employ left hand for steering.

Dominant hand, more adept at fine-motor tasks,
Unlocks entrance doors to car, residence, office;
While right hand is busy, left holds briefcase,
Purse, groceries, shopping bags, and coats.

As I protect left side from overuse, become
More aware and appreciative of left hand's value
And contribution to necessary daily-life tasks.

Additional level of lessons from Summer, 2013:
Look closely, near at hand; celebrate new 
Awareness; consider the lilies, smell the roses.

Ann Beth Blake 
(c) September 30, 2013

TOENAIL-LESS IN SEATTLE

Finally happened--left middle toenail 
Fell off in sleep sock during night, just
As hoped would happen--out of sight.

Bandaid worn for a week to defray process.
But eventuality less creepy than imagined.
Two more might follow in its wake--or sleep.

Toenail injury seems connected to Wales'
Second day, walking up and back down
Ubiquitous, gorgeous steeply-sloped valleys.

Possibility of initiating injury during eight days
On Spain's El Camino de Santiago, distracting 
Left heel pain, compensated by gingerly walking.

Left heel now mysteriously and miraculously
Cured--walking without pain, without envy,
Without wistfulness about others' ease.

Left breast, not yet out of the woods, but OK.
Still sore and awareness of vulneabiity,
undoubtedly requiring additional treatment.

Left side, vulnerable and receptive to ills and
Injuries and mishaps, continual reminder of
Openness and of receiving all coming my way.

Ann Beth Blake 
(c) September 30, 2013

Sunday, September 29, 2013

ISOSCELES HUGS

                            In
                         Lump-
                        Ectomy
                      Aftermath
                    Leaving sore-
                   Ness, not pain, 
                Well-meaning hug-
              Gers must be kept at 
           Sufficient distance to pro-
        Tect injury from excess proxi-
       Mity. Solution--use high school
     Plain geometry forms (Miss Scott 
   Guranteed an application): Maintain 
  One-foot gap, leaning forward only at 
Shoulders, just like an Isosceles triangle.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) September 28, 2013

Saturday, September 28, 2013

LIVING WELL

Having lived most of adult life alone and solitary,
Spent all of Summer, 2013, living together
With pilgrims on Camino in northern Spain,
With Swedish kin in several homes and towns,
With colleague pal at Congress in Copenhagen,
With colleague pal in London and Wales, and,
Finally, with Swedish cousin in Seattle home.

Although, overall, singleness often yielded
Loneliness, envy, and, even, bitterness,
Introversion necessitated alone time to refuel 
And to recover inner equilibrium after social
Engagements and, even, after one-to-one talk.

After full dose of co-habitating for 3 months,
Increased awareness of benefits and costs:
Increased emotional nourishment concomitant
With emotional overwhelm and exhaustion.
Comforting possibility of contact, conversation,
Companionship, community, and collaboration.
Unexpected glitches and unavoidable mishaps
Require keeping current about presumptions 
And about nuances of crossed communications.
Admonition to delay sleep until all is clearly resolved.

Now alone for one night, reflection, based on actual
Experiential knowledge, highlights both perspectives,
Abundant clarity based less and less on assumptions.
Confident and peaceful in singleness of dwelling;
Receptive as well as present in social encounters;
Grass is not greener; current grass is nourishing.

Hats off to you who continually and successfully
Live well with others! Other hats off to you who
Continually and successfully live well with self. And,
Of course, hats off to you who continually and
Successfully balance living well with Self and Other.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) September 27, 2013

ELIN ON THE ROAD

All Swedish connections are a precious gift,
Like warm, loving, open relationship with Elin.

Oh, gosh, as Stina says, my time with Elin in Seattle
Was absolutely fabulous, and now she's gone to Iowa.

So you see, as Per states, she was here for three weeks,
And the time has come to continue on her own journey.

Lisa's sparkling smile reflects my pleasure and delight
With mutual synchronicity of conversation and caring.

After three weeks of meeting brother Dan and of
Cementing previous links with Jules, Mar, and DJ,

Now Elin's in heart-held embrace of Heartland branch 
Of Britta's line; visiting enhances loving family bonds.

Soon to meet Lisa, and, perhaps, Ryan in NOLA,
On the brink of Caribbean basking and splashing.

Next generation forming new layers of intersections,
Forging strong platforms for launching into world.

Outer connections and external travel mirror inner
Resources built upon strong familial webbing.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) September 28, 2013

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

UPDATE ABOUT BREAST CANCER

Eventually, something will get us, will end our life, if only by wearing us down and out so that the last breath takes all our energy. Cancer, the Big C, a terrifyingly unspoken word in my childhood, plagues too many people across the globe. In my immediate family, members have had a variety of cancers: niece's brain cancer, sister's colon cancer (also her paternal first cousin), mother's lymphoma. 
At the moment, breast cancer hits home as I join my maternal grandmother, mother, maternal first cousin, and maternal second cousin's two children. My breast cancer was detected early and is small, although the recent lumpectomy results showed two kinds: (1) lobular carcinoma in situ and (2) invasive ductile carcinoma. Thankfully, we killed two birds with one stone.
Poking arount the Internet, I found the following informative web site sponsored by the American Cancer Society, specific to breast cancer. 
American Cancer Society, Breast Cancer Facts & Figures 2011-2012. Atlanta: American Cancer Society, Inc.
The site offeres definitions, classifications, incidence, demographic rates, treatment options, cure rates, mortally rates, and current research. Although I asked for 2013 statistics, the article addressed 2011-2012 information. The following paragraph summarizes pertinent information. 
Two areas in the breast can develop cancer: (1) lobules: glands for milk production, and (2) ducts: transmit milk from the lobules to the nipple. Most cases of diagnosed breast cancer are invasive, meaning that the cancer has broken through the cell wall to invade surrounding tissues; a smaller percentage are in situ, meaning that the cancer stayed within the cell wall. Of the in situ types, 83% are ductile carcinoma in situ (DCIS), 11% are lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS). In 2011, predictions were as follows: 230,480 new cases of invasive breast carcinoma and 57,650 new cases of in situ breast carcinoma; total = 288,130; survival = 246, 610. Men account for 1% of breast cancer diagnoses. One in three diagnoses of cancer in women is breast cancer. Skin cancer is more frequently diagnosed in woman than is breast cancer. Women die more frequently of lung cancer than of breast cancer. Ninety-five percent of new cases (and 97% of deaths) are in women 40 years of age and older. The highest rate of diagnosis is in women age 75-79 (421.3 of 100,000 cases). The median age for breast cancer diagnosis is 61(50% are younger than 61, 50% are older than 61). Studies of racial and ethnic patterns indicated that non-Hispanic white women (n-Hw) have higher diagnostic rates than African-American women except in two areas: African-American women are more likely than n-Hw women to be diagnosed below age 40; African-American women have higher mortuary rates at all ages. All other racial and ethnic groups of women have lower incidence of breast cancer than African-American and non-Hispanic white women. Survival rates depend on type of tumor, stage of tumor, and treatment option. In general, survival statistics are as follows: 89% 5 years after treatment; 82% 10 years after treatment; 77% 15 years after treatment. These facts and figures are startling and sobering, yet inspiring and hopeful for me.
Because I previously experienced abdominal surgeries which effected functioning of core organs, this current diagnosis and treatment are substantially different and are, therefore, challenging to integrate. Previous surgeries required several days' hospitalization and weeks of recovery compared with the current day-surgery and next-day ambulatory prowess. Grateful, of course, for these differences, I don't quite know what to make of the current circumstance. Am I minimizing or denying or ignoring something important in this process that, so far, seems quite straight-forward and non-traumatizing? My experience, of course, is mitigated by clean margins and clear lymph nodes (dyslexed by me into "nymph lodes"), meaning that I will have radiation therapy and will NOT have chemotherapy. This current outcome, radiation therapy, is markedly less invasive, less traumatizing (both physically and emotionally), and less disruptive of social interactions and work tasks than is chemotherapy intervention. I am fortunate and grateful. 
For now, I have a follow-up appointment with the surgeon this week, see the oncology team next week, and soon will talk about radiation protocols and schedules. And, for now, I am fine and in positive spirits.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) September 25, 2013

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

MARKING TIME IN TRAFFIC

Sitting at stop signs and red lights or 
In rush-hour traffic can seem endless,
Except for several essential tasks 
That make time productively flow.

Assorted pragmatic rituals bond with being
Behind the wheel but moving not at all:
Essential Kegel exercises for pregnant 
Women and for women of a certain age;

Stretching neck muscles in 360-degree 
Rotations yields swifter blood flow and 
More flexibility for checking blind spot
--Less tension is additional by-product.

Extending leg muscles by pretending to 
Pump old-fashioned Singer sewing machine
Prevents swollen ankles and calves, à la
Effect from extensive pan-oceanic air travel.

But best use of car stoppage time is writing:
Items for grocery shopping; lists of errands 
and tasks; journal entries; rants and raves.
Even better, writing poetry to pass time.

Poetry beckons and encourages nuanced
Observation of self and world; tilted head
Enhances understanding via oblique or muted 
Shades; shifted perception clarifies knots.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) September 21, 2013

CRESTING THE HILL

Driving home from south, 
Hilly West Seattle offers

Startling views of sparkling
Puget Sound islands,

Backdropped by Cascade 
Peaks receding in color 

Intensity in westward 
Succession toward Pacific

Ocean's coastal beaches,
Eventually lapping Japan.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) September 20, 2013

Thursday, September 19, 2013

WAITING AND CELEBRATING

At first, wait extended by
More stains to make certain.
Another opportunity to practice
Being in the moment, letting go,
Knowing OK = anything that occurs.

Only one day later, surgeon 
Sought information, followed by
Detailed phone message of best news,
Not only OK, but completely, totally fabulous:
Clean margins, clear nodes, follow-up appointment.

Hurray, hurray! Gratitude for expertise:
Clear-cut excising of troublesome extra cells;
And for personable, communicative bed-side manner:
Eye contact, ease, honesty, caring message delivery.
Welcome, dear surgeon, to ABB's wondrous Dream Team.

In addition to best news, experience offers gifts:
Confirmation of value of staying positively expectant;
Practice being gratefully present in each marvelous moment;
Acceptance of sustaining support from family, friends, and experts;
Openly participating in unfolding reality and in caring, loving relationships.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) September 19, 2013






Monday, September 16, 2013

CLOUDY DAY IN SOUTH SEATTLE

Recovering well from day surgery,
Surrounded by family and friends.
One more meal, typical American cafe
Breakfast, before Dan returns south.

Sitting in Starbucks, updating blog,
Accessing e-mail; gratified to be
Out in public, breathing fresh air, amidst
Others drinking, working, chatting.

Subdued view of strip mall stores and parked cars,
Wooden stool impinging on sitting muscles,
Other errands needing attention and completion,
Propel me toward home's increased comfort.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) September 16, 2013

TWO NECKLACES

Years ago, planned to purchase
Multi-stoned necklace, each gem for
Siblings/cousins by birth and by recognition,
Valuable and varied best friends.
Now, metaphorical rather than actual.

A second translucent, gleaming necklace
Also rests around neck, representing
Those who have passed, yet whose strong
Presence sustains through life's walk.

Great and great-great grandparents,
In Sweden and in Germany, as well as
In Hibbing's graveyards; ever more present 
As genealogy information cascades. 

Six grandparents: 3 unmet; one visited 
Every sunny summer; two seen often,
Even living with them at birth and in teens.
All now gone to deserved, well-earned rest.

Parents, all five: one died too soon, others passed
Early in second millenium. Mother ever-present 
For me for 58 years; step-mom supportive/sweet.
Three dads: first left early and reappeared in my 40s;
Second, actively present during all childhood, died 
Too young at 47; third, Pop, sweet/gentle for 20 years.

Aunts and uncles, all resting in peace,
Mom's/dads' sibs expanded connections.
Sister Terry Jeanne, still at birth.
Cousin John Carlson, lost at 18.

Other family and friends, including Jean DuBose,
Who appeared during recent Sunday church service 
To wish me well and to stay a few moments to chat.

Tears glisten like jewels in both necklaces.
Clear gratitude for abiding, sparking presence.
Godspeed. Traveling Mercies. Happy Trails.
God bless you. God have mercy on us all.
Thank you for your love. I love you.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) September 16, 2013

INVISIBLE AND VISIBLE ANGELS

Only two bridges cross Lake Washington, connecting
Washington State's two largest cities, Seattle and Bellevue.
520 bridge, closed for construction, places extra pressure on I-90, 
Which should have been crammed and clogged with traffic on

Recent Sunday morning, invisible angels clearly on high alert.
After Row-for-the-Cure regatta dedicated to her godmother,
Goddaughter, dressed in neon pink paraphernalia, began
Usually-hectic drive homeward across commuter I-90 bridge. 

Unbelievably, only car on the road as I-5 merged with I-90, 
B slowed to required 40 mph around converging curves.
But steering mechanisms failed, careening car and driver across
All empty lanes, then return-ricochet bumped Jersey barriers.

Turned off car and eased out of wreckage; noticed pinked and 
Tutu-ed woman, brightly visible angel, stopping traffic and running 
Across highway. Had also attended regatta; had watched son row.
Checked, stayed, and watched until arrival of police and tow truck.

Angels ever-present, indeed, both invisible and visible to humans.
Grateful for vigilant invisible angels, some previously known to us.
Welcome to visible angels who make conscious decision to help.
When experience offers opportunity to be angelic, put on wings!

Ann Beth Blake
(c) September 15, 2013

AFFIRMATIVE

"Yes," he wrote on my left breast.
We are ready; this is the right one;
We've got this; let's get this done

All others checked, oriented, prepared, 
Poked, prodded, photoed, comforted.
He wrote, "Yes," signaling to proceed.

All necessary steps had been completed;
All boxes checked off; all systems go.
Blue ballpoint pen inscribing, "Yes."

Ann Beth Blake
September 13, 2013

Another Summer Camino Experience Update


Miracles simply continue. Lumpectomy performed on 9-12-13. Left for hospital at 6:30 am, chauffeured by Mary and Julia. Sister Mary, niece Julia, and brother Dan accompanied me through every step; cousin Elin prepared for my return home and waited through the day. Friends called, held the space, and sent flowers. 
Full morning of poking and prodding: inserting wire to guide surgeon; inserting isotope to test lymph gland involvement (you don't want to know how they did that!!); images taken of lymph glands. Waiting and waiting; orienting by various professionals, each cautiously asking my name, birthdate, procedure, and location. When the doctor appeared just prior to the surgery, he checked me once more, ending by writing on my left breast. "Your autograph?" When I glanced down, he had written, "yes." 
I was rolled away at about 1:00 pm. My family members had patiently waited with the patient till they could finally leave for lunch. I remember shifting to the OR table, adjusting my head on a rubber pillow, probably asking a simple question--and the nothing until I groggily awoke in the recovery room, trying to greet a nurse walking by. At some soon point, they wheeled me into another recovery room to rejoin the family. Ingested a muffin and cranberry juice, just because I hadn't eaten since midnight--not a good idea--I will leave the rest to your own imagination. Took two pills, which added to the above-mentioned issue. Some extra bleeding from the removal of the IV, followed by a flurry of intervention. Groggy, tired, slight discomfort. Left hospital about 6 pm. Tough transition from hospital to home, but once in my own bed, I felt much better. Family fluffed pillows, bought Saltines and ginger ale, and made sure that I was tucked in. Elin and I briefly watched TV, soon both falling soundly asleep.
Slept every well, awaking at almost 9 am. Instead of feeling/being doped-up, dizzy, and drooling, I was alert and wide awake. Elin made me yummy oatmeal for breakfast--simply delish! Although sore, I felt surprisingly fine! Green urine from the isotopes--my favorite color! I was slow and tired, but got up and dressed, made phone calls, talked with Elin and Dan all afternoon; Julia and Anitra visited too. We intended to walk, advised by discharge recommendations, and finally got outside in late afternoon. I kept up with the pace, did several errands, and felt just fine. Mary came after work, and she and Elin and I talked and talked until after supper and beyond. At 10 pm, I am finally thinking about sleep.
I am totally surprised and mightily grateful for this speedy recovery. Results on Tuesday. Follow-up with surgeon the following week. Just fine so far! Yay Team!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

EXTRA CELLS

Tomorrow, experts remove 
Extra cells from my left breast.
Bodies regularly generate 
Extra cells, usually sloughed.

Trying to love and cherish
Extra cells, as well as to
Wish them gone for good.
Extra cells, superfluous at best.

They come in many functions,
Extra cells, such as fetuses
And cosmetic enhancements.
Extra cells adding to life.

Sometimes excess of too many
Extra cells are detrimental
Or even deadly if not stopped.
Extra cells: go away now, forever.

Temporal/temporary bodies are
Extra cells in the big scheme.
Task: balance and care for all
Extra cells until no longer needed.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) September 11, 2013

FOG HORNS

Welsh fog horn on long breakwater
Near both coastline and pastures,
Like mournful, complaining cow.
Do cattle imagine a Cow God's
Occasionally meting out advice:
"Staay awaay fromm cliiifffsss!"

Back home, urban Seattle fog horn, 
Same sound, never nor now 
Reminds me of mooing, lowing.
Caution to Puget Sound connective
Ferries and product-loaded freighters:
"You are here! Veer toward piers!"

Damp airiness seeps into and clouds 
Discernment, decisions, cognition.
Inner intuitive warning, course correction:
"You are approaching your edge!
Come back to center! Re-attune to
Rhythm of heart beat and breathing!"

Rather than insistently moving through
And forward, could honor outer and 
Inner marine air pockets' invitation to
Soften, blur, pause, go off-line, relax,
Lean into earned respite, take a break.
Simply wait for sun and warmth to offer 
Ebb and flow, wax and wane, clearing.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) September 10, 2013

NEVER EVER, BUT NOW

Mom fearful on bridges, my adolescent eyes rolling.
But in twenties, driving across San Rafael Bridge,
Freaked out and--at least in memory--stepped
Out of car to let passenger finish drive to other side.
Ever since, heights prompted sweating and avoidance.

In graduate school, studying behavioral techniques
And closer route to home via scary bridge deck exit,
Intervened via progressive relaxation, which worked
For that bridge, but none other without redoing project.

During professional trip to Atlanta, highly motivated
To eat birthday brunch with good pal at glass-
Elevatored restaurant at top of fancy hotel. Exited 
By slipping off sandals to wipe sweaty feet on carpet.
Another professional meeting, incentive to see 
Christmas lights strung outside glassed elevator;
Greatly startled when inside wall suddenly appeared.

When niece was recovering from stage-4 brain tumor, 
Agreed to every Disney World ride, although eyes closed,
Breath held, and knuckles whitened on flimsy safety railings.
When she turned 18 and celebrated with yet another
Thrilling, chilling, life-threatening adventure, vowed that 
One more, and never, ever again--until the Summer of '13.

Two 2013 experiences, both physically-demanding and frightful,
Shifted perspective of personal best and personal possibilities.
Although Camino aborted after 8 days, four of which were painful,
Climbed over the Pyrenees Mountains in one very long day.
Six weeks later, walked 5 days at cliffs' edges on Wales coast,
Breath-gaspingly beautiful precipices plunging to crashing sea.
Based on the above successful adventures, considered riding
London's Thames shore Eye, stories above compelling city views;
Relaxed and calm in line as well as entirety of gondola ride.

Seems as miraculous and as unpredicted as lessening pain in
Left heel--or as miraculous and as as unpredicted as credit card 
Debacle (left Week 8 in Copenhagen airport automated boarding 
pass kiosk) ending by spending last cash and last gift card credit
On last day of nine-week journey in six European countries.

Experiences repeated and observed seem to enhance and improve
Confidence and ability for actualities and for upcoming possibilities.


Ann Beth Blake
(c) September 3, 2013

 

I, THE EYE, AND ME

Previous to Pembroke Coastal Path's many precipices:
Abject fear of heights at approaching edges and ledges;
Sweating palms and feet, shallow breathing, brakes;
Avoidance, refusal, phobic; abbreviated activities and life.

Shifted response to walk the Path not due to flooding behavioral
Technique, but, rather, due to fascination, motivation, intention,
Commitment, stubbornness, intrigue, will, decision, so much beauty.
After hiking Coastal Path, considered London's Eye. Surprising
Response: calm, unflapped, present, unperturbed, enjoying the view.

Fifty years after assasination, JFK emerged in London's 
ShortList, pp. 32-35, issue 289, 29 August 2013. Re JFK's
Fatalism: " 'If they're going to kill me, they'll kill me' " (p. 32). 
He pursued Bay of Pigs, partenthood, and many women.
Dr. Martin Luther King dreamt of demise, yet marched.
Bobby Kennedy launched fully into uncertain/certain frontiers.
Joan of Arc listened and fought. Maya Angelou wrote and wrote.
Eleanor Roosevelt spoke. Joan Baez sang. Diana Nyad swam.
Rosa Parks sat down and stayed. Frida Kahlo wept and painted.
Jackie Robinson faced hatred on second base. Hillary ran for office.
Abraham Lincoln freed and addressed. Gaga was born this way.
Aung San Suu Kyi and Nelson Mandela protested and served time.
Malaga Yousafzai survived Taliban bullets and spent her 16th
Birthday advocating at the UN for free education for all children.

Julia survived brain cancer and certifies as radiography tech.
Kira focuses, advocates, and sings. Ryan fixes computers and plays hard.
Quinn befriends and nurtures. Mason kicks that ball and wears 
Mismatched socks. Dylan pursues and pursues within uphill task.
Bronyn advocates for marginalized folks. Mira learns hard languages.
Elin explores self and world, has active and truthful conversations.
Lisa is Little Chief. Per studies history. Stina takes fab photographs.
Amanda works with little ones. Nelly seeks justice and service.
My helps immigrants. Joel braves seas. Klara supports people on edges. 
Lina mothers. Jenny reclaims disasters. Zebastian builds structures. 
Serena seeks truth, discerns inner path, bravely faces challenges.

Taken 68.5 years to learn lessons from wise people in my life:
It'll be OK. Trust. Love. Listen within. Be kind. Ask questions. 
Focus on each moment. Stay engaged. Maintain curiosity. 
Expect best, prepare for worst. It is what it is. Calm in chaos. 
Initiate interactions. Receive and appreciate kindnesses.
Attend to all daily tasks: both conscious and unconscious,
Both controllable and autonomic, both desirable and repugnant.
Accept the truth in self, others, relationships, and the world.
Lessons must be relearned in each nanosecond, over and over,
Just like rythms in biological processes: ins/outs, ups/downs:
Breathing, metabolism, blood pressure, sensory perceptions.

Am I cured and healed? No, but I am doing better than ever.
In the face of possible annihilation, always possible in every
Nanosecond, Carpe Diem, for certain, seize the moment/day.
Live to the fullest to the largest degree possible. Then start anew.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) September 3, 2013

A Few More Updates and a Few More Poems

Now that I am accustomed to daily writing, even though back in my usual life, I will continue to write and to publish on the blog. Again, thanks for following along with me on my Summer, 2013, adventure.
Smiles from Seattle!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Tapped out in London

Well, my gift cards lasted until yesterday. Now I am tapped out. Here I sit in Heathrow waiting for our flight. Joanne just generously bought me lunch. Whew!! Down to the wire. 
The play last night was lots of fun. Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap was originally written for the Queen Mother's 80th birthday. The play has run uninterrupted for 61 years. Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip (known to some of you as Phlip) attended the 60th anniversary production. The play has been at St. Martin's Theater since 1974 and began at the Ambassadors Theater next door. The St. Martin's theater was commissioned in 1913, but delayed completion until 1916 due to WWI. The theater is funky, smallish with 2 balconies. During intermission, an old "safety curtain" was dropped; we knew its function because those words were painted onto the curtain. Snacks were sold at concessions, which we could continue eating at the beginning of the second act. We had a tiny double chocolate ice cream that came with a small blue shovel/spoon in its lid. We had a fantastic day in London. 
Today we left for the airport at noon--relaxed comfortable. On my way home! 
Thanks for following me around for these nine weeks that, at this point, have flown by. I have practiced being retired, and I have succeeded. When my half-time position at Antioch is done in 3 years, I will be prepared, ready, and able to lay down my chalk. 
See you soon!

I Rode the London Eye

After waking the Pembroke Costal Path heights, I decided to tackle the London Eye, the gigantic Ferris Wheel on the Thames. No problem whatsoever. The gondolas were large, the rotation was very slow, my anxiety was zip to none. Beautiful day, cloudless sky, expansive vista. Other than initially mistaking Parliament for Westminster Abbey (we soon realized the error), we had a terrific day. We began, of course, with breakfast at our local Starbucks across from the British Museum. On them way to the Eye, we got tickets for agatha Christie's Mousetrap, found the theater, and found a restaurant in which Joanne can eat Yorkshire Pudding. We then walked the entire way to the Eye, a lovely walk to Piccadilly Circus and  through the posh business area. I toured Westminster Abbey, paying specific homage to the Poets' Corner. We took the subway on the way back to the hotel--much more complicated and disorienting than the Eye!  We only lost each other once. Quite a successful day. So much better then yesterday.  Cheerio!

Monday, September 2, 2013

A Lovely Day in London Town

After waking the Pembroke Costal Path heights, I decided to tackle the London Eye, the gigantic Ferris Wheel on the Thames. No problem whatsoever. The gondolas were large, the rotation was very slow, my anxiety was zip to none. Beautiful day, cloudless sky, expansive vista. Other than initially mistaking Parliament for Westminster Abbey (we soon realized the error), we had a terrific day. We began, of course, with breakfast at our local Starbucks across from the British Museum. On the way to the Eye, we got tickets for Agatha Christie's Mousetrap, found the theater, and found a restaurant in which Joanne can eat Yorkshire Pudding. We then walked the entire way to the Eye, a lovely walk to Piccadilly Circus and through the posh business area. I toured Westminster Abbey, paying specific homage to the Poets' Corner. The subway on the way back to the hotel was much more complicated and disorienting than the Eye!  We only lost each other once during this busy day. Quite a successful endeavor and adventure. So much better then yesterday. Cheerio!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

First Full Day in London

We saw some bridges, saw some old buildings, stopped at 3 Starbucks, ate a good small dinner at our hotel, had a good conversation; we'll see more sights tomorrow. After the beauty of Wales, hard to feel grounded in a big city. I am glad to be in London to see famous things, yet Wales was more soulful. We will see Westminster Abbey tomorrow--the top of my list. We'll also see an Agatha Christie play, Mousetrap. 

And lyrics running thigh my head tonight from "Annie:"

THE SUN'LL COME OUT TOMORROW 
The sun'll come out
Tomorrow
Bet your bottom dollar
That tomorrow
There'll be sun!

Just thinkin' about
Tomorrow
Clears away the cobwebs,
And the sorrow
'Til there's none!

When I'm stuck a day
That's gray,
And lonely,
I just stick out my chin
And Grin,
And Say,

Oh
The sun'll come out
Tomorrow
So ya gotta hang on
'Til tomorrow
Come what may

Tomorrow!
Tomorrow!
I love ya
Tomorrow!
You're always
A day
A way!

IT'S THE HARD KNOCK LIFE
It's the hard knock life...
It's the hard knock life..

It's the hard-knock life for us
It's the hard-knock life for us

Steada treated, 
We get tricked
Steada kisses, 
We get kicked
It's the hard-knock life!

Got no folks to speak of, so
It's the hard knock row we hoe
Cotton blankets ..steada wool

Empty bellies ..steada full! 
It's the hard-knock life

Don't if feel like the wind is always howlin? 
Don't it seem like there's never any light??
Once a day, don't you wanna throw the towel in?
It's easier than puttin' up a fight

No one's there when your dreams at night get creepy
No one cares if you grow...or if you shrink
No one cries when your eyes get wet and weepy
From all the cryin' you would think this place would sink
Ohhh.. ohhh

Empty belly life! ((empty belly life))
Rotten smelly life! ((No no no no no))
Full of sorrow life! ((full of sorrow life...))
No tomorrow life! 

Santa Claus we never see...
Santa Claus what's that? Who's he?

No one cares for you a smidge
When you're in an orphanage

It's the hard-knock life for us
It's the hard-knock life for us 
No one cares for you a smidge
When your in an orphanage 
It's the hard-knock life
It's the hard-knock life
It's the hard-knock life!