Thursday, June 29, 2006

Pendleton Blankets.

We are going to Arizona in three weeks. We leave on the 18th and are going to return on the 24th. Yes we are going to the High Arizona Desert in Mid-July. Yes, we are crazy. Yes we are going seeking all the healing the Navajo have to offer.

We will be seeking the balance the "sing" will provide. We are traveling thousands of mile and driving over uncertain highways to find balance.

To join in the sacrifice of lamb.
To join in the preparation of the lamb for the feast.
To join in the singing and the chanting and the dancing.
To join in the magic of the Hogan.

For this there is a price. A lamb, some money, our time and pilgrimage to this remote place, a quilt for the Medicine Woman, a Pendleton Blanket for the Helper, A Blanket of highest honor for the Medicine Man. A cherry pink shawl for the small child that will sing.

We will try not to offend. We will try to take something of ourselves to leave behind. We will partake and become a part of the clan for a few moments and seek the balance that comes with being there in that place with our clan members.

Pendleton is giving us the blankets for this ceremony. We originally asked for 12 and they opened their warehouse and said take them.

We don't need that many. We only will take what we need. We will always be touched by the generosity they have shown. We will always sing their praises. We will continue to sleep in cold times under "The Story Teller" and "Coyote and the Three Huckelberry Sisters" and cuddle under the Santa Fe Trail in the living room.

We will tell everyone of their kindness.

They should be proud that the blankets are so valued by the Dine'.

Spread the word of how wonderful they have been. Click on the link and do some looking. The blankets are like quilts some speak louder than others.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Life if Full of Surprises and Not all of Them Are Fun

I hate that I keep getting reminded how fragile life is and how "human" we are. I was in Marysville for a deposition yesterday. At the end of the Dep, the attorney announced that he did not know if he would be continuing after Friday. He was going in for a biopsy of a brain tumor in his left frontal lobe.

It was apparent that he had not told his client and things were a bit tense. When I arrived home I sent the following E-Mail.

Things I have learned that help me survive.

1. You need a notebook to keep the massive amounts of papers they throw at your in the effort for full disclosure.
2. You need a person to call and be in charge of managing "help".
3. When people asks your wife what she needs, she needs someone to do the laundry, clean the house, do the shopping and water the yard ........... Make a list of all the things that get done in a week and in the notebook and give out assignments. People are parallelized, they want to help but not be intrusive so a ready list helps everyone.

4. Put someone in charge of the taking and passing messages and start a blog so the info can be available.
5. Everyone is spiritual. It comes in lots of forms and you will find that lots of people are pulling for you. Good energy is good energy.
6. Zofran- it will be your friend if you have chemo.
7. Dry cereal if you have radiation.
8. Hats
9 Sunscreen
10. A subscription to NetFlix. Lucy and Twilight Zone are wonderful to watch.

The knowledge that what will be will be. Worry about the things you can change.

I offer my support in anyway possible. If your wife is going nuts please call. Now I know that she won't have the strength or time or ability to call. -See, the first person that wants to help.

It is so frustrating to be outside of the situation and not be able to effectuate any change. It is so hard to see the pain in others and know only time can make a difference.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

No, Sadie is Alive and Well and Miffed

Sadie: I never asked for a baby brother.

Tucker: Play with me. Chase me. Let me bite your tail.

Sadie: I have tried to ignore him. Did I ever suggest I did not like being an only child.

Tucker. Come on, Come on, I will keep barking in that very irritating high pitch tone until you play. Come on, what would one bounce do!! Pretend

Sadie: Have you noticed the very annoying high pitched bark?

Tucker: See I have your bone, come get me.

Sadie: Okay I have had enough of this brat. What did you expect? I had to jump on top of him, hold him down, growl at him in a vicious and very serious way. Puppies are just not smart enough to be ignored. You are not doing anything to keep him under control!!!!!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Favorite Things

Long summer evenings
The laundry all done
The house clean
Dinner with no problems
Puppies that know what to do outside
Daughters that seem to be doing great
Learning new things
Road trips
Good wine
A mother who advocates Margueritas
Fountains that the raccoons leave alone

Yes it is a rubber chicken with a purple bathing suit. What else would it be?

Historical Markers

I never knew if we stopped because my dad loved them, it was an excuse to get out of the car or because we needed a bit of history in our lives. A bit of history in the proper context.

We always stopped. Few passed by without notice. It has been a long time that I have been with the girls on a road that had any. Cross country travel is now punctuated by road side rest areas with cold water and blow dryers and McDonald's. It has lost some of it's charm.

I passed one on highway 12 and realized my mistake. I then stopped at the next one and made the kids get out of the car. Then, horrors of all horrors, I made the kids go with me the Whitman Mission. It was very hot and M-E was limping but we walked out the wagon. It sits on a part of Oregon Trail. A long time ago someone pointed out the trail in the desert. You can still see the wagon track in the ground after all these years. It is sort of sobering to realize that they are still there, visible. Tracks that held the wheels of so many hopes and dreams. It also makes it real to see even a short part of the trail.

We headed home after our stop. A bit more aware of the vast distances we could travel and the comfort of that passage.

Maybe we will look back at these words and pictures and these will be the historical markers of those that follow our journey in the future.


They come in many forms. They are forms of travel or sometimes a bad moment of dis-coordination. They often lead us to more than we expect or stop us from doing what we expect.

We just returned from Walla-Walla late last night. Does anyone know where Walla-Walla is? It is not a little bit beyond Yakima....

It was a pleasant drive, beautiful scenery. Little or no traffic. Easy to find the Hotel, there is nothing in the town that tall. A cute downtown. Good Mexican Food. We did not get up the nerve to try the Chinese.

M-E had "tripped" just before we left. She sprained her ankle getting out the boat at crew. Don't ask, I guess it is possible. So she was in pain and forced to stay at a hotel with no pool and no room service.

A good time was had by all. I made them go the Whitman Mission sight. They now appreciate their lives a bit more. What a life. Mary-E did not want to go to see where someone tried to force a new culture on others. I think she learned that we know that is not a good thing because it has been tried and failed.

See, Life is full of Trips.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Ms. Marion is about the Go do her Tri-Atholon

School is done. Summer has started. M-E is headed to high school. I attribute her great success to the teachers at St. Joseph's. They supported and helped M-E from the moment she was diagnosed with leukemia. Two years ago we started on our journey to this point. We have many miles to go but will make it with everyone's support.

Ms. Marion is biking, swimming, running, in Bend next week-end. With everyone's help she has raised $6000.00 for this effort. This is the last one she is going to do and wanted to get to $10,000.00 in honor of M-E. If you always meant to send her some money now is the time. The title is a link and will take you to the "site".

Over the past few months I have received several e-mails from Kathy Marion asking if __________ was someone I knew. More often than not it was. Thanks everyone.

Friday, June 16, 2006

What a Difference a Year Makes

We all have those big moments in our lives. Firsts that never leave our consciousness. We all have those historical moments that we never forget. Since I am so old they include things like JFK's death, 911, challenger. We also have personal moments that we never forget.

I have a whole bunch of them in my head between now and August 14th at 8:30 a.m. They start with June 17th at 5:20 p.m. The moment that Dr. Balter pulled back from looking at M-E and said: "We have a problem"

We sure did. We did not know for two more months what it was but it was a doozie. What more can I say.

I can say that M-E has had a chance to experience curly hair. She has learned what adversity can be. She has found personal strength. I have found out how important it is to let people help you. When there is nothing else to do, a roasted chicken does help. There are no empty gestures of kindness no matter how empty they might feel.

Someday days like June 17th, August 14th and so forth will seem like just another JFK day. One we remember but only for a moment. We are not quiet to the place where they have not further power over us. They will begin to recede when we add the "last day of treatment" to the list. It will get here. We are getting closer each day. Then we hold our breath for a very very long time and pray that continued remission is our friend.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Healing Ceremony

Healing Ceremony American Style

Tuesday July 18:

Depart Seattle before the Crack of Dawn
Arrive Phoenix at 10:30 some sort of time. Mountain?

Rent big honken SUV
( Try not to bond with gas guzzler)

Drive north to Grand Canyon
Stop at all the parks and look at big rocks.

Do not steal any.

Reservation at Red Feather Lodge
Plan to go into the park for dinner and Sun Set

Wednesday July 19

Go Back to the Grand Canyon Early before the it boils
Wed Hike, dehydrate

Thursday July 20

Leave early and head to Tuba City to find Dinosaur footprints.
Continue on to Chinle using "INDIAN COUNTRY MAP"

Arrive Chinle (God willing)

Reservations at Best Western
Swim and try to re-hydrate

Friday July 21:

Early morning sacrifice.
Making of Blood Sausage,
hang out and try to be politically correct and non judgment. Claim to have alergry to some ingredient used in the sausage to save face.

Meet with the Medicine Man and other members of the tribe.
Afternoon into the Canyon with a Navaho Guide
Hike, maybe go to Ship Rock or Swim and try to re-hydrate

Saturday July 22
Work on feast
Spend time with Medicine Man
Feast with Navaho healers and friends and family
Dancing, Singing
Enter the Hogan

Sunday July 23

Call Mom, it is her birthday
Head back to Phoenix,
Visit Winslow Crater

July 24 Fly back to Seattle

Birthday Invite

Almost 14

Sally Lanham
Lanham Home in Ballard614 N.W. 77th Street, Seattle, WA View Map
Sunday, July 2, 12:00pm
Well, we made it another year. !3 is almost behind us and on to 14. Please come and join in the usual summer party fare. Your are more than welcome to add to the feast if you have a special favorite. I must say I might be convinced to fix one of my famous jello desserts.We look forward to you joining us.

We Lied -His Name is Sir Tucker of Berwick

He likes to explore deep deep jungles. He likes to try and make Sadie play. He likes to chew on yoguart containers. He likes to climb. He ran after Lucy. He slept all night. He and M-E went on a bus ride. He did not like the big noises.

M-E is exhausted. Her numbers are still high so they upped her chemo. They seems to do this every time. It always makes me nervous. It has been 22 months since diagnosis. It has been almost 24 months since we knew there was a problem. We have lived with leukemia for a very longtime..

Monday, June 12, 2006

Sir Berwick of Ballard (Ber) for Short

What can I add. M-E's puppy is alive, well and sleeping as I type. He is a sweet, sweet thing. He has a howl that I wish I could record and ears that become more floppy as he tires.

He has finally been named. I wanted Toad. Tucker seemed to fit. M-E did not think he looked like a chip or cappachino too black. Spanish names did not seem to work, Diablo, Negro Pablo. Chemo and Fred were also rejected out of hand.

Sadie is okay with this new addition. She seems more irritated than anything. She did manage to get on top of him yesterday and hold him down and let him know that all of the chew bones were hers, in case he were to forget. She makes noise but not much more. He has a healthy respect for her.

M-E is in heaven. She is great in taking him out and on walks (drags) and giving Sadie more attention.

He is so little that he can sleep in a cat carrier and has been sleeping about 4 or 5 hours in a row at night. I woke him up last night to go outside. He love to hide in the bushes and the undergrowth. He is very tenatious and aware of noise more than anything. Great addition to the family.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Pictures Come Later

Yesterday was quite a day. Up early and head off to Mass. The kids were so excited. They sang and spoke and passed the torch of leadership to the 7th grade. M-E was asked to speak and was just too nervous so one of her friends, Summer read the speech for her. She received a big hand of applause. A glowing report card and a gold cord.

Practice, a long nap, a special dinner in honor of the graduate, Dick's Deluxe, Frys, tartar and a Chocolate Shake.

Off to church again. She was dressed to kill in her dress from Maggie. She headed into the church and we waited for the process to begin. Beautiful trumpet procession, girls on one side, boys on the other. Father called it the hormonal divide. Presentations, a speech, then awards.

I figured at some point there would be an award ceremony. M-E came home with two. A math award and an award for courage. Yes, I cried.
Both were a surprise and both were not. She has studied so hard and so diligently at math. She just kept at it all the time. Johnny was surpised with the math award and Ana pointed out that M-E had her head in the books so, so much.

The Joseph Boyle award was the greatest honor. It was a scholarship that is awarded in the name of Joseph, the child of the vice principal, Rick Boyle. Joseph would have been a freshman this year. He had AML and only lived to be 4 years old. It is such an honor to be given the award and M-E deserves it.

Then off to dinner, a sleep over and then a Mariner's game. I am sure the girls will sleep tonight.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Countdown Begins

I keep thinking I should be more excited. These are the last few days of M-E in grade school. What I am coming to realize is that since March, there has been a transition happening. I read the St. Joe's stuff with less interest and have begun to attach myself to the Holy Names Community. As I assess those people I will work hard to keep in touch with and identify the new people at the new school.

I have known some of these people for 9 years and would bearly talk to if I ran into them at the mall. Some will always be dear friends. I guess that is how life will be for the next few years.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Mary-Elizabeth's speech for Graduation

I have been at St. JoeƂ’s since I was in Kindergarten. This has been my second home. I have loved my time here and it will be sad as we move on.
I loved Mrs. Smart. I loved the pajama party, the Thanksgiving Feast and the Teddy Bear Picnic.
I loved when we were big first Graders and Ms. Garrety taught us to read and we were able to go to Bainbridge Island.
I loved second grade, even thought I might have talked to much.
I loved third grade when we had the new teacher Mr. Lacktrup even he was such a good teacher even thought it was his first years.
I loved fourth grade when we had Mrs. Sullivan and she kept us so busy learning and writing and working on math.
I loved Ms. Dumas and getting to earn points for the end of the year auction.
I loved Mr. Miller. He was so quiet and only had cookies for breakfast.
I hated 7th grade when I got leukemia. I hated not being in school and seeing my friends, I hated feel so scared and so sick all the time but that is when I really learned to love St. Joes.
I loved that my classmates sent me cards and came to our house for service days. I loved that Mr. Boyle came to drop off dinner three of 4 times a week. I loved that the teachers came and worked with me at home. I loved that they made it possible to do work over the summer so I would notbehindd. I loved the cards and picture that came from everyone. I loved that people called over the summer.
I really loved that I had a chance to be here for 8th grade.
I love that we have had such a good year. We have all worked so hard to get ready to leave. I love that we are ready to go but I really love that we have had 9 great years together.
I think what I love the most about S.t Joes is that we will always have the history of being here. This will always be our first and best home. We know we can always come back. And let the 7th graders know, we will be back to see the passion play next year.