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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A MOD REMEMBERS: We Will Remember You Barbaro - A Tribute (+playlist)

O.K. FAIR WARNING - This is a true story, a real heartbreaker... and an
inspiration. Keep tissues handy if you watch.

THE OTHER DAY I opened my mailbox and discovered a cream colored
envelope from The Dean and Faculty of the University of Pennsylvania
School of Veterinary Medicine. Baffled, I wheeled back up in Black Beauty,
set myself in the big, blue stuffed chair overlooking Elliott Bay and the
Olympic Mountains, and just stared at it. Who do I know there? Did someone
make a mistake sending this to me? So, I stared at it because the envelope was
so beautiful.

Then I opened it.

Inside was a card with deep blue edges, a prominent seal on top, and the following

"The Dean and Faculty
of the
University of Pennsylvania
School of Veterinary Medicine
wish to inform you that
a generous gift has been made to the
Bararo Fund
in your honor by
(a MOD we all know and love)

New Bolton Center
I just wept. (Yes, I have turned into a big crybaby.)
I couldn't believe my eyes.
I couldn't believe my eyes when Barbaro fell...
the horse with the Mightiest Heart!
We all wept then. We weep now; remembering
just as we do and did with each owlet
who passed away...
A MOD made a generous gift to the Barbaro Fund
in my honor.
Yes, I was one of those little girls but not the kind who wanted a pony,
I wanted a racehorse! I voraciously consumed every single horse
book written that I could find as as child;
took riding lessons & competed in a horse show or two...
BUT what I really, really wanted, as Yahoo Rose knows,
was to sit atop my very own racehorse and run proud, run free:
Barbaro Flew.
And then he didn't.
And a little bit of a nation died with him.
And no one will ever forget.
So, I wept. But not because of Barbaro, exactly,
I wept because of the Large-Heartedness of such a Gift!
And how many will benefit from it.

Because, having told no one, I fell, too.
So, this was  personal. As every one of
you feel personal.
And so exactly, perfectly touching my Heart,
the way Squirrel does from his portrait on the wall,
the way every eCard, email, phone message, get well card,
every prayer, and every star wrap me up and tell me
to keep on fighting, that I am not alone even though just feels that way a lot.
Because I am afraid to share.

Whether it's temporary and treatable
or degenerative remains to be seen, but I've begun
experiencing temporary partial to full paralysis events.
Not just falling.
It's new. There's not a top sheet on my bed because when
I woke up paralyzed at 1 a.m. just to get up and go to
the bathroom I wasn't wearing my riding gear so POI got
me into a gown and the First Responders, who could not
fit a gurney into the bedroom, simply ripped off the top
sheet, wrapped me up in it like a mummy, and off we hurled
back to the hospital. "Flaccid Paralysis" (possible electrical
nerve conduction thingy) and more new, fun stuff.
 "Secret Agent" POI & I have entered
an even more distant Galaxy we never noticed flickering
in the broad expanse of the Night Sky...
Barbaro fell with such courage.

You MOD who made this completely unexpected, generous gift -
and every single one of you MODS who have sent cards, prayers,
thoughts of love,
phone calls, emails, ecards, given so generously to the Guinea Pig Sanctuary
that they now enjoy warmth, coziness, fun, soft homes of their own here.
... all my near and dear ones
in India and stateside...and now Barbaro:
Fearlessly this horse galloped with full-hearted
determination to win...
until he couldn't run any more.
Thank you for making a generous donation
to the Barbaro Fund in my honor.
Now you have given meaning to this illness for it is
going to help other animals. But you've also raised
the bar for the kind of courage I require.
I can't give up now, for love of a racehorse.
Thank you for this donation. And thank you on behalf
of those who cannot but whinny, stamp their feet with glee,
ask for an apple or lump of sugar...
Thank you for taking time to think, to reflect, and truly
introspect about what kind of Gift would make me
happy. Every card, every prayer received has come
with so much attention to detail, so much love.
There is a saying: "God hears the cry of an ant before
the trumpet of an elephant."
 We endure amongst giants: guinea pigs who struggled
to live when - upon entering the Sanctuary dying, had been given up on.
They not only lived, they forgave, survived, thrived,
they loved. And love.
Thank you.
I always wanted to ride "Black Beauty." Didn't expect her
to be a wheelchair. Perhaps I will have to rename her:
Thank you.

Friday, September 20, 2013



Yesterday was one of those days.
We all have them.  The ones that
make you come home and wonder,
"God, did you NOT GET MY MEMO?"

Because we all have a plan.
And life is supposed to follow that plan.
But it never does, does it?

So, yesterday slayed me.

POI brought me home and we wearily
went to the mailbox and inside was a key,
a package had been sent.

An unexpected package arrived on one of
those days when what you really hope is
inside is a good friend into whose
embrace you can just sob until her
sleeve is soaked with your tears,
the kind of friend who would
never even notice. I needed THAT
KIND OF FRIEND to come out of
the surprise box...because it was
just one of those days.

I placed the package in a special place,
too upset to open it because on those days
when our capacity for joy is in short supply,
I prefer waiting so I can enjoy opening
surprise packages. We slept.

Not really.

The next morning all I wanted to do was
play with the guinea pigs. So we did lots
of treats and snacks, and Squirrel,
God Bless that PIG! He gets happy
over any small thing, just being
skritchy-scratched got him
popcorning ALL OVER HISSELF!
He's such a happy pig that in Bellingham,
I had a large color photograph of him
on the wall because you couldn't look
at it without bursting out laughing,
his attitude that Life is for Popcorning
and Being Happy and yet I gave the
photograph away to a dear neighbor,
one with five girl piggies of her own,
because she and her kids had been
so incredibly kind to us...if you remember
a few springs back the photographs of the
little boy with Down Syndrome sitting
in their habitats with watermelon and
pigs on his lap, a beautifully-ribboned
box of cupcakes nearby, piggies just
giving that boy a smile that went on forever,
remember that? So, my favorite and only
framed photograph of Squirrel was our
"Good-Bye" and thank you gift to them.

I opened the box.


INSIDE...before the wrapping paper,
before the ribbons, before the card,
I knew...
not exactly but enough to start
crying because I knew SOMETHING...

A DEAR FRIEND, the kind of friend
whose embrace you could fall into and
cry your heart out on and she would
never complain how wet you got her
sleeves or shoulder...
(and later missed terribly) TO OUR

My friend, a MOD, an iconic MOD,
one with whom I have never even spoken
to on the phone, actually contacted an
artist and commissioned a portrait of
Squirrel which you see above... hangs on the wall while
Squirrel and the boys gather
for their next round of snacks,
and I realized...

God did get my memo.

I cried.

Tears of...well, how it feels
to open a box and have your friend
come out and fall into her embrace

This is the portrait of Squirrel she commissioned.

The artist sent a note that she really enjoyed
doing this portrait and the blog...who would've
thought? Guinea pigs. Barn Owls.


Thank you...we are so happy,
we feel so loved,
we don't feel sad anymore,
and we will never feel alone.

Thank you...

(POI doesn't have a computer and often
asks, exasperated: "What are you doing
on that thing? You don't really
know those people...why do you
spend so much time with them?")
This morning when I opened the box,
I said to him: "This is from
one of those people!"

And you know what? I think he finally gets it!

Thank you.
Thank you,
it's so DID YOU KNOW?
love you...good tears. Happy tears.

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013


"If I spent enough time
with the tiniest creature -
even a caterpillar -
I would never have to
prepare a sermon.
So full of God
is every creature."

~ Meister Eckhart


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"He prayeth best, who loveth best
All things both great and small;
For the dear God who loveth us,
He made and loveth all."

~Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Dear Near and Dear Ones,
Thank you for loving us,
one and all.

(if this poem is a repeat, i forgot; just really love it and
Vinny-Guinea, left your pic out by accident, oops, Sorry!!!}
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Monday, September 16, 2013

SUSTAINABILITY: A Different Definition...

{Drawing during Migraine.}

SUSTAINABILITY always meant a species could not survive if its ecosystem was destroyed, so we needed to create sustainability to enable that threatened species to not only survive, but thrive.

And it was always someone, something else, a prairie, wetland, arctic tundra, and all wildlife who depended upon that ecosystem for survival. That was my life's work. Giving "Voice" to those who could not speak on behalf of themselves.

And the work is more important now than ever, particularly with the exploitation of the Arctic now that climate change is melting the polar ice caps and countries are clamoring for earth's riches: OIL. Who will save the baby belugas?

Today, my new physical therapist arrived for her first assessment.
And "sustainability" applied to me.

I have been asked by all care workers now coming for
"In-Home Assessments" what my goals are:
Simple: to live independently, to walk...
 Is that asking too much?

It may be. The temporary, partial paralysis I have been adapting to in my lower body is spreading to my upper body. My speech is becoming slurred. We now use the floor for a bed whereas we never had to before. We now do not get up whereas before we always did. POI & me, we always got back up.

I always responded to physical therapy whereas now...
I may not. After this morning's assessment. It was different.

This may not be only a G.I. issue, it may also be what so many doctors insisted before pissing me off to the point where I looked directly into their eyes, announcing with authority:
 "This is absolutely not a neurological disease, why on EARTH would you jump ship now before we have ruled out things I DO have symptoms of, like pancreatic cancer? Use common sense, this isn't ROCKET SCIENCE: I fall because I've gotten weak.
I am weak because my body hasn't absorbed nutrition from food for nearly a year. Who wouldn't fall? Not rocket science."
(Inside: "I hate you and want another doctor who will think and say and do exactly what I want to hear: Give me that doctor.")
The one who says I can safely pick up my guinea pigs without fear of falling or dropping one. Because now I am afraid to.
I want that doctor. For the guinea pigs. They need more love.

We will soon have that full G.I. workup. Nearly a year later
than I hoped, but have it we will! Thank you, "Transitions" Team!
I want to GIVE my AmeriCorps volunteer hiker-girl the snowshoes she tried on last week. They aren't allowed to accept gifts...but who else can I bequeath a lifetime of really awesome gear to?

Why isn't she my real daughter? I want a real daughter like her.

This week? Mandatory neuro consult; another 
stupid hoop to jump through.

Until this past weekend...

Falling isn't new. Not getting back up is.

Slurred speech?

Slumping forward from sitting position to "Blackhawk Down!"

Lungs too weak to breathe properly; shallow, labored breath?

Muscles behind the eyes not strong enough to hold them in place to focus, read, draw, see clearly?
Not brand new, exactly;
but new.

The physical therapist after an initial eval which I thought went swimmingly announced that "This is not sustainable, you falling so much. This is not safe. Carry a phone with you at all times."

Which I interpreted as "Oh GOODY! I get to shop online for a pair of hiking trousers with a cell phone pocket, FUN!"
followed long will I be able to continue living here as "whatever is happening" happens faster and faster?

Before we can trick out the apartment with grab bars resembling an indoor climbing gym; shoving XC skis, poles, snowshoes, speedskates, backpacks, tents, hiking boots, and gear into storage?

Except all the grab bars in the world won't work without enough strength to grasp, hold, & pull up.

I called the Housing Authority early last week, just in case, ya know, just in case, and asked: "Hey, now this is totally a hypothetical question, seriously, HYPOTHETICAL, long could I be out of my apartment oh...I dunno, let's just say - what if I had to live for a little while in a convalescent facility or something, H.Y.P.O.T.H.E.T.I.C.A.L.L.Y...HOW long could I do that before I would lose my apartment, how long could I be away before losing my home?
Hypothetically, of course. He told me. I didn't like the answer.
So I made up a different story. Didn't like that answer either.

Need one cup of Zen tea accompanied by deep, calming breaths.

Don't press "PUBLISH" and risk having a panic attack.

Or press "PUBLISH" not knowing how much longer
I will have the luxury of writing. Then later regret
not having had the guts to press "PUBLISH."

Deeeeeeep breath...three, two, one, PRESS!
No panic. Pet guinea pigs. Meditate. Inhale. Exhale.
Good tea.
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Sunday, September 15, 2013


This Sunday morning I picked up my mail and
enclosed was a stunning, glossy, inviting catalog
of Adventure Trips to the "Arctic Kingdom"
so I needed to get out of the building.
Since I cannot get out of the building, I went to
the roof. This is the first summer I am happy
to see leave us. Having the windows open to
the unending roar of a big city
was hell. Next spring, if feasible, I am
definitely moving to a flat, quieter place.
Close to nature.

DREAMS...the Arctic...last night I began to
remember how it felt to be a wildlife photographer,
how it felt to wake up in the morning knowing that
if God asked: "Good morning, Chana, today you
can do anything in the whole world that you want!
I will give you your heart's desire, what would you
like today?" The answer? I wanted to be a wildlife
photographer, an outdoor writer, an environmental
educator, an activist...and I was!!!

Outdoor adventure, awesome people, sacred moments
communing with wildlife in Cathedrals carved by God,
tallgrass prairies, marshes, swamps, mountain peaks who
beckon the soul like Towering Sentinels...and wildlife
who...if you learn to be quiet, not move, and just listen,
whisper secrets and reveal Gorgeousness that was too
breathtaking to photograph. My best photographs
never got taken because I could not place a viewfinder
between myself and them in those Holy Moments,
which - if I can learn to scan Kodachrome into digital
images, I hope to share...the most indelible memories
live on in my heart & soul, not Kodachrome.

Did I want to adventure in the Arctic?

It made me need to sit on the roof.

Life has been the most extraordinary Gift bringing
friendships, adventure, solitude, introspection...

There is nothing to regret.

The question now is how to accept the "unlived life"
 finding out within the next few weeks whether a
diagnosis and treatment mean it will be lived.

The hospital is going to admit me, thanks to the
Transitions to Hospice Team. And the AmeriCorps
Volunteer who comes to visit...she could be my
daughter...a cowgirl from Montana she is an avid
hiker and we went up to the roof while I showed
her how to strap on snowshoes, what gear she needed,
and how to learn about avalanche danger for
safe, wintering, unforgettable
Adventures in our North Cascades.
For hours we sat on the roof and talked only
of Mountain Adventure and horseback riding.

The day after that was the first day I didn't wake up
at 5:30 a.m. crying. Because Life woke up instead.

Then the brochure arrived about the Arctic.

Beluga whales actually have facial expressions
and if you dunk your head into the water (if you
can stand to) they are curious and will come
up to you and they will smile.

I always wanted to smile at a Beluga Whale.

Who wouldn't?

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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Squirrel Opens Shop!

Please see my expertise on Mom in
the blog post below.
Available by appointment only.
"Have Wheatgrass, Will Travel"

Mom: "No you won't."

Squirrel: "Oops, O.K. Bring wheatgrass here!
if you want to be as gorgeous as mom in the
blogpost below."

Mom: " good, not good...
Stop no've been
warned. We assume no liability, none."


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{Hair Courtesy of "Squirrel's Coiffure"}

Disgusted with me sleeping on his pillow,
Chai gives me a bath, licking me clean.
Cuz, after all, it is his pillow!
The post below (explaining why) was written on 9/11,
after looking out the window to flags flying at half-mast.

My posts are becoming "stream of consciousness"
rambles and not narratives because the experiences
we are living I have no vocabulary for,
save than to just write from the Heart
knowing you all love enough to forgive
the ramblin' life Within.
Thank You & God Bless.
Your prayers are making a difference!
For that what thanks can be offered
than to share, and keep you in my life?
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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

BLACKHAWK DOWN: Confessions of A Dirty Shirt

Hey y'all, it got hot today, yeah, we didn't escape the record-breaking "last gasp of summer" and are roasting in Seattle.

My shirt hasn't been washed in a month. I use it for a napkin. Who has energy to go get one? All the meals I've had are wiped on it. It resembles a Jackson Pollock painting...a volunteer may come Friday to help. I've never been this filthy before, outside of backpacking trips...and even then we could always find high country lakes to splash about in...i really stink but am too weak to shower or bathe and the place hasn't been retrofitted with grab bars and stuff yet. I'm disgusting. Laundry room is way down in the parking garage. For the entire building, three old washers, two dryers, none of them accessible. Guinea pig cages are cleaner. (And always will be, if we have to make a choice with precious little energy.)

There's no photos with this post, just felt like rambling about tiny things...little losses and amusements, the cultural vocabulary POI and I are developing...he's a Veteran of the U.S. Military, so whenever i fall down in the apartment and he hears a 
Ka-LUMP! it's usually followed by a puny: "Blackhawk Down."
(In reference to the 1993, tragedy in Mogadishu, Somalia, in which 2 Blackhawk helicopters were shot down...)  POI and I watch lots of documentaries and military films together because he explains, too often first-person, the nuances and subtleties sacrificed by our Service men and women: those who served and those serving now...his co-worker pitches for the "Wounded Warriors" softball team and is the only amputee on the team who made his own prosthetic leg. They received a standing ovation after playing First Responders of Boston following the Boston Marathon Bombing once children amputees joined them on the field at historic Fenway was amazing - and he totally had the coolest leg out there! We are so proud of him. 

It's still 9/11, isn't it?  Are we at war in Syria yet? I checked "The Daily Show" from last night, but am afraid of The Nightly News. 

Thing is: this is such a great country! I just have problems knowing that some of the men and women sleeping beneath the roaring Interstate are wounded not, have not received the care they deserve and are entitled to...yes, POI reminds me how fortunate I am to have an apartment, but it isn't a home until THEY HAVE HOMES, TOO! Food doesn't taste good when they are hungry two blocks away. It's agonizing, falling through gaping cracks in our severely flawed medical system living in housing not conforming to the "Americans With Disabilities Act" or "Fair Housing" laws but by the Grace of God, at least i HAVE HOUSING AND FOOD!

POI told me to quit calling my doctor "Barbie." He's a very respectful person. He's a better person than I am. 
(Would it be wrong just to say "I have Tourettes Syndrome and don't mean every snarky thing that comes out of my mouth...and, yes, I can tell by the expression on your face I DID SAY THAT OUT LOUD, DIDN'T I?") 

So many have no doctors at all. So many too proud to admit they need help. So many who served and are serving, both here and overseas...our flags at half mast, our country still at war, wounded warriors walk invisibly amongst us, unrecognized for their valor.

POI just walked in so now it's safe to get out of bed and cash in frequent flyer miles for a flight to the bathroom...

Outside flags still fly half-mast and as sad as I feel at 5 a.m. every morning when I wake up realizing "This is NOT A DREAM? For REAL?" I feel sadder for our veterans. POI makes legs for them.
Their stories put my situation into perspective. A very different perspective. 

Every time I fall and eek out "Blackhawk Down," POI wakes up and picks me up or at least gets me comfortable on the floor until we can get me back into bed: How many never get picked up? Have no beds? What happened to LEAVE NO MAN BEHIND?

Our warriors are proud. They served and serve with dignity and courage; they and their families, our families sacrifice lives to preserve freedoms we take for granted.

It's still 9/11: America, "BLACKHAWK DOWN!" Please...
pick us up. 

{Update - since this writing, "Blackhawk Down" events are increasingly becoming "sheltering in place" events. We were taught by the Transitions to Hospice Team how to get cozy with the floor. TRANSITIONS folks are indescribably AMAZING!  Moving from "Blackhawk Down" moments which end up getting lovingly tucked back into bed to "Sheltering-in-Place" events in which the floor becomes the bed are details, such tiny losses, yet - taken together - represent a gradual disintegration of life that comes out easier in tears, cannot be spoken of, requiring so much vulnerability to reveal, explaining why I write, re-write, remove, delete, even replace posts like a real Whack! Because this IS WHACK!
Such intense vulnerability frightens me initially until it becomes part of the warp-and-woof of life and we pay no mind.
But, it's a process. Thank you sincerely, readers all, for your profound forbearance...} 


EPHEMERA: Early Morning

"You cannot simultaneously
prevent and prepare for war."
~ Albert Einstein

Which begs the question:
"How to simultaneously prevent
and prepare for death?"

The Hebrew Wall hanging is
from "Song of Solomon" 6:3,
and translates:
"I am my Beloved's and
my Beloved is mine."
My POI (Person of Interest)
gifted it to me nearly
20 years ago. It isn't up
because we are observing
the Jewish High Holy Days
because I am not observant;
if anything, more of a Sufi...

It is up because the
whole thing is just so damn
breathtakingly beautiful!

Seattle wakes up to predicted
record-breaking high temperatures,
Summer's final "Farewell!"
Fortunately, the breeze from
Elliott Bay spares us the swelter
and no piggies will need wrapping
up in cool, moist towels today.
We see flags flying at half-mast.
Yes, it is 9/11. Again.
It always will be now.
Nothing can take it back and we
have been inexorably changed,
each in our own ways.

For me, its ensuing wars are
taking another casualty: health care.
Budget cuts diverted to military ops
overseas and here in America
 prevent my receiving health care.
I returned to Seattle unaware just how much
had changed since last living here. 
We live amongst Bill Gates, Microsoft,
AMAZON, Boeing...some of the world's
wealthiest! A block away, people sleep
beneath the freeway. I am fortunate to
even have a home...Just not healthcare.
So, Seattle wakes up, that's Century Link
Stadium to the left from my window,
yes, we can actually see into it down to the
field while the roar of the crowd during
Sounders soccer games and Seattle Seahawks
games celebrate with marching bands,
cannons that explode with each point scored,
accompanied by fireworks and cheers that
would pierce the silence of what is not
a sanctuary here, because there never IS
Blessed Silence inside the apartment amidst
the bustle of downtown Seattle. 

Silence only inside what St. Teresa of Avila calls 
"The Interior Castle." (Within, during meditation, prayer, contemplative introspection.)

She guides:
"Let us leave it to the Lord. (For He knows us
better than we do ourselves. And true humility
is content with what is received.)"
~ from Saint Teresa of Avila
translated by Mirabai Starr does one keep hope
alive while preparing for a "Do It Yourself"
end of life? Not a fast one. A slow one.

"Why can't you DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT?"
Because, for whatever reasons, over 20 doctors
at 4 hospitals have botched things up into a muddle and Medicare will not cover inpatient
care without a diagnosis and I am too sick to
endure some of the most important, necessary
diagnostic procedures as an outpatient.
It's that simple. And emergency rooms, First longer work.
No diagnosis, no treatment. No treatment,
then it's in the Hands of the Beloved, is it not?

"I am my Beloved's,
and my Beloved is mine."

So, I  comb, snuggle, and cuddle guinea pigs
with a DO NOT RESUSCITATE sign hanging
on the bedroom door. There is nothing to
resuscitate. I am slowly starving due to
as-yet-and-maybe-never undiagnosed
G.I. and Neurological illnesses...
details, details.

Transitions to Hospice  Care workers
DONATIONS, their services free, and they
are doggedly trying to get the hospital to
admit, diagnose, treat, or at the very least,
provide Palliative Care. The Fire Department
has a key to my door because we seem to have
a lot of dear, precious 95-year-old
neighbor loves to cook. She AMAZES! Every single day she dresses to the nines, and goes
out on town with her walker: astonishing!
Errrr...but the cooking part...?
Not so good given she is going blind.
Further, we also have residing amongst
us a serial "fire-alarm" puller!
Yes, living amongst seniors is an
enlightening experience. My neighbors
here are extraordinary, though, and
take care of one another, strangers
in the beginning, yet they will "adopt"
each other and voluntarily find meaning
in's quite touching.
They all clamor to help me. But I do
not know them very well, yet, how much
do I ask, what is reasonable to expect?

You have all asked me to have a positive
attitude and be hopeful.

I am doing my best.

It is difficult to simultaneously hope for
a bright, beautiful future while preparing
for death. Sometimes funny things happen.
And I will try to write about them.
Sometimes hopes get dashed. And I do
not want to write about that.

But one thing that has never ceased is a
Parade of Unending Miracles: a few months
ago The Times of India published a letter I
wrote thanking the editor for all I received
reading and writing on their Speaking Tree
(Spirituality) many Indians,
people I may never meet, will never know,
all began praying, doing whatever religious
rituals exist to heal those they love, the
outpouring was a Tsunami that actually
stopped all the pain that was keeping me
from eating! All the pain VANISHED.
And, to this day, it has never but once
or twice been severe!

Last month, my POI, 
(Person of Interest/Soulmate/Caregiver who
 has forbidden me to use his name, identity, or any photos of him: righteously exclaiming:
heh-heh, yeah, 
"O.K. lang"
(Tagalog for "fine!!!")
Anyway, POI was
losing control of the walker on our VERY steep sidewalk before we got a wheelchair and instead
of rolling down into the middle of the street during
rush hour traffic (or all the way down into Elliott Bay, depending...) a delivery van immediately appeared OUT OF NOWHERE, the driver leapt
out of the cab faster than superman could spin in his telephone booth from Clark Kent into his cape, and grabbed the walker, helping POI safely navigate it into the building! We thanked him profusely and this is what he replied:
"That's what I am here for."
Delivery man? Or Angel?
"That's what I am here for."
We bought a wheelchair so the angels don't
have to work quite so hard, but they still do.
Yesterday, a gift came in the mail from a
friend I have never met. It was "loveful."
I just burst into tears, sitting in my wheelchair,
uncontrollably sobbing at how beautiful, how
generous, how kind, how full of Grace Life is.
And in those tears, the Fight I have been losing...
fighting for basic human rights which are allegedly guaranteed by law yet not guaranteed by bureaucrats...I stopped. Fighting. The anger I felt about the injustice of it all melted in her loveful gesture, in her generosity, then a flood of tears remembering ALL OF YOUR LOVE, ALL OF YOUR PRAYERS, ALL OF YOUR GENEROSITY and the anger, indignation, humiliation, the desire to retaliate against those bullying, those making the choice to deny medical treatment because Medicare pays so little...the fight melted. I texted POI "Should I let go?"
POI texted back "Yes, you'll feel lighter."

I do feel lighter.

Hope is in the hands of my Beloved.

I cannot read His Mind.
(Nor would I want to, what with everything
happening in the world, There by The Grace of God go we.)

Life is Loveful.
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Saturday, September 7, 2013



Today, it is the Little Ones who are saving me!
Even Brave Chai with his brain tumor remains
on my pillow, while Squirrel cozies under
the blanket...

You wonder why I haven't told you about this?
I never thought it would happen. We always expected
to get well, so why say anything? We moved to
Seattle with Hope on a Wing & a Prayer.

THAT we still have.

Now you know the truth.

And from your comments below, you are not
abandoning us: so I have to resort to the roll
of Bounty paper towels because you still love me.

Do you know how much you all mean to me?

Ask the roll of Bounty Paper Towels...the tears
it holds speak of how much you all mean to me.

Dear Friends in India, I PREM YOU LIKE CRAZY!
Dear MODS: "Who lurves ya, baby?"
Dear Friends in Iraq, Pakistan, Andorra, Russia, Latvia,
Australia, Great Britain, Germany, Scandinavia, Israel,
and the many numerous countries my STATS
say you are reading this from...I do not know all
of your languages so let's speak in the one
language we do all know: Thank you,
I love you. Your prayers have taken the
heaviness of pain from me, they have!
You friends in India know that.
Friends in America, please know that.
Friends all over the world whose names
and faces are inscribed indelibly upon
my heart in your own language,
please know that...there by the Grace of God Go We.

The doctors have, after nearly one year, done nothing.

Next week will decide, for my window is narrowing rapidly.

But, for the first time, I am experiencing your Love and
Inner Peace comforted at home with my little ones.

L'Shana Tova, here's to a Sweet New Year!

love & gratitude,
Pranams Infinite,

"Gone out...
Bisy Backson."

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Friday, September 6, 2013


{Photo taken by the Wee-est Kestra,
Experience Music Project Museum
Recording Studio, April, 2013}

Hiya Everybody,
My name is Chana Meddin. I have been told I have a
"sick & twisted" sense of Humor! Seriously?

And I'm dying.
With my beloved cat, Chai.
He has a brain tumor.
We aren't sure yet what I am dying of,
unless it's my sick and twisted sense of humor!

Those of you near and dear ones who are offended
that I am going to die with my sick & twisted humor
JUST DON'T LIKE IT. Hey, I don't!

But this is my blog and I'm not going down without
a fighting good laugh about it, so please do not
read me any more if you find it too painful.
I understand and love you and am grateful
you are my friend. It's O.K.

That said, it's my death and I'll do what I want to!

Which is to have the best party possible, the most
fun, as many laughs as we can squeeze out of my
crazy life, and I'll cue you when you may need
a hanky. (I use a roll of Bounty super-absorbent
paper towels myself, but this is not and endorsement.)

I am a drummer and when Kestra and the Wee Kestras visited
me this year for my birthday, we rocked & rolled at what was
formerly known as "The Jimi Hendrix Museum," now known
as "The Experience Music Project" Or, for us locals: "EMP."
Days later, we all took a ferry to Bainbridge Island and enjoyed a birthday afternoon I will never forget. Throughout the day,
Wee-est Kestra announced: "I smell horses." Cracked us UP!
So, Kestra and you two (not quite so) Wee Kestras:

So, here's the deal. Lots of crazy shit is going down.
It's surreal, but some of it is so absolutely ridiculous
(and tragic, yes, but ridiculous) that it's just funny!

This won't be no morbid party, y'all!

My dear friend and Tai Chi teacher, R. is my
"official Death Doula."
A doula is a nonmedical person who assists a woman
before, during, and after childbirth. I have hired him,
without pay, to assist me before and during dying
because he makes me laugh and laughter is the
best medicine. The guinea pigs help, too!

Just so's ya know, I have finally been guided via a sloth
bear (remind me to tell you that story, too, I just have
limited energy so blogs may be shorter) to a pre-Hospice
"Transitions" program and the women in it are
kicking some medical ass to get me treated humanely!
Love kicking medical ass. They'll also be providing the
support that my Person-of-Interest (NO PICURES,
NO NAME: "I don't want to leave a cyber-footprint!!!)
of 22 + years require for me to die "at home" -
(the place I live in Seattle now, for which the word "home"
is a bit of a stretch, but it is what it is)...I will stay here with
the piggies, dying Chai the Brave Bengal Cat, and our other
cat. We lived in Bellingham and HAD THE TIMES OF
After my traumatic brain injury a few years ago Chai had
to come back to live with my POI (person of interest) so
now we are all re-united together, all of us:
And it is GOOD.

The possibility always exists that I could get well.

Right now, many loved ones are keeping HOPE alive
and well in their hearts for us. I don't have a helluva
lot of it, but am happy for those who do.

Anyway, the whole journey is new, surreal, tragic, funny,
uncomfortable, and feels like a dream. When I wake up
in the morning only to realize that I am in Seattle, I usually
try to wait until after I've had a little instant, watered-down,
filthy disgusting Starbucks Via instant coffee before I cry.
My stomach hurts too much to drink lattes anymore.

I'm not sure whether I'm crying because I can't drink lattes

Anyway, remember that Fleetwood Mac song from their
hit album "Rumors" (I think?)
"You Make Loving Fun"?

Well, my Death Doula makes dying fun, he really cracks me up.

SO! If you think death isn't a laughing matter,

Because I deserve to laugh. And this is my blog and I'll laugh if I want to. And I want to.
You are invited to step off the train at this station
with hugs, kisses, and gratitude for having
been part of this Wonderful Life. can read the posts that I hope to have the strength to write, because funny things do
happen. And these are what I choose to share
and these are how I lived such a wonderful
life and humor is how I choose a wonderful...
ya know! Like I said, there's always room
for a Miracle! Hope remains!

Meanwhile, me and my cat, we be dying.
All together, with the ones I love and who love us.
With the EXTRAORDINARY support of the
"Transitions" team. It's gonna be a jolly good
show because it's been a JOLLY GREAT LIFE!

And I got to record a DVD with the Wee Kestras
back in April! Thank you, Kestra! Thank you,
Wee Kestras!

Thank you all! I love you. You make living wonderful. And, in my heart, you are helping
me through this transition with love, gratitude, peace, and my sick & twisted sense of humor.

Remember "Winnie the Pooh" and that famous
sign Christopher Robin used to put up when he
left home to go Wandering through
The Hundred Acre Wood:

"Gon out.
Bisy. Backson."

...going out. See ya soon!

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