April 2012

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While Dennis was away on a James Bond business trip which involved a tux and flying on a jet(!), Little J and I enjoyed some gorgeous weather and good times with friends here in Sugartown.

One afternoon in the garden, the dude took my phone and snapped a couple shots which he then cropped, tinted, captioned.

The first one is above. I love the framing and light streams. The second is below. Note the caption:





Our hearts are so full. We’ve had days and days of beautiful sunshine and no school, time to hang out with grandma and “Ray” as J calls his Gramps. So much family time makes me miss my brother. A trip to Seattle is in order for sure.

Last night little J called cousin O to wish him a happy birthday. They chatted about O’s new wetsuit, his trip to the sacred Japanese Shinto. He’s a great one for J to look up to. Just like his dad is for me.

Tending to the family, like a garden that appeared suddenly, like these irises at J’s school. Here, but not forever, to be cherished. Forgetting the seasons of neglect, we look at what’s here now. Always loving what’s here now. I’d forgotten how sustaining the love of family can be.

If you want more love, give more love. I’d let go of that somewhere back in a season of wanting more love. It’s in the giving. The giving.





Three cute Cooper guys spend Easter afternoon building with Legos. Quietly, seriously, calmly, in the signature Cooper way, they proceed, bonding in the deep, wordless way of the Irish male. Fascinating. And adorable.

We’ve been enjoying days upon days of harmony. Having my parents close, knowing that I’m okay for now, watching the layers of a barely-winter peel back to reveal spring.

My friend Lori is teaching me to play piano. I sit at the window and watch the hawks circle our court while I run scales. I don the pretty new apron my mom bought me and pick sweet peas in the garden. I read and rest and play with Little J and his friends.

That’s all. Just life. As simple and beautiful as it can be when the alarms are turned off.

I hope you’re enjoying all the gifts of what’s easy and harmonious.




Good news. My scan looked good. There are still hot spots of activity, but they haven’t grown. Some are smaller.

Wow. No one saw that coming. I do believe the islands Gods granted my wish.

The pain, it seems, is from some non-malignant fluid that is collected in my lower, right abdomen. We don’t know why it’s there.

The other reason for pain is the sigmoid narrowing. That’ll get flushed this week.

For now, it seems, I can stay on my current regimen of Avastin and Cytoxin. It feels like a miracle. It’s what we’ve been praying for. I want get through at least the spring and summer on this doable regimen.

Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers and love.



I woke up from a dream of Granada this morning. Maybe the birds singing out my window reminded me of how, on a day like this, when I lived in the Spanish city, my best friend Jon and I would sit in the Paseo de los Tristes and sip our cafes con leche, listen to the River Darro, and watch the light play on the hillside, the houses leaning over the river, the cobblestones:

We would invent a life story of the busker, whose dog, so obedient and comically sad, sat by his side, perhaps daydreaming of a better time:

Then Jon and I would walk for hours through the city, through twisty-turns streets of the Albaicin:

Calle Zafra, where I lived

At some point in the afternoon, we would part ways to go teach English to the children of wealthier Granadinos. Then I would come back to my flat in the Albacyn and rest, listen to the radio, or just sit on the balcony and look out at the Alhambra:

At night, we would gather friends and go out for tapas, for more drinks, to dance or listen to music. And we spent two years doing this, sipping coffee and chatting, soaking in the culture and learning a language. At twenty-five I was thrilled to be doing something “irresponsible” for the first time in my life. To be doing something that wasn’t meant to achieve anything or further a career in anyway. To be doing something that just felt so good and inspiring.

Ironically, my experience in Spain helped form the foundation of what was to become my career in educational publishing. I still marvel at that sometimes. It’s really true, that when you follow you heart and do what feels right on a soul level, things really do fall into place. Not every time, I guess. But sometimes.

I also believe that you don’t need to drop everything and move to a foreign country to live an inspired life, a kind of life that I like to think of as just, “Spain in the spring time.” It’s harder with the day-to-day grind, the scary doctor appointments, the stack of laundry to fold. But it can be done, at any moment. The wisteria blooms and our hearts are ours to open. At any moment. No matter what.

I’m going to listen to music that reminds me of Granada today. I’ll use chores like flex-spending reports and laundry to distract me from thoughts of the appointment that looms. And I’ll try to find the “Spain in the spring time” that surrounds me. And has, for all these years. Whether I see it or not.