July 13, 2002

home, awake, and blogging!

Marek is b-a-c-k.

p.s., kindly link the piss out of him.

jenna at four

she tells me,
look at that plastic bag
I see faces in it
do you see them?

she tells me,
I hear TV when it's not on
I hear it in my head
do you hear it?

she asks me,
are the bumps
on the road
giant worms

she tells me,
I don't want a baby
when i grow up:
how do I not
have a baby?

she tells me,
five teddy bears
flew across my ceiling
in the nightime,
I wanted you
to see them
but you were sleeping.

her mood spikes
and falls with the wind
submits only
to thunder
she tells me,
oh no
I made the storms
come again.

she fills my soul
then wrecks me,
she dances
light and fierce.

Pack the Van, Woods in Sight

Craig Jensen may have found a place to call home--six acres, big house, woods, pond, and privacy. Little does he know, the blog woodspeople are packing up the moving van. We'll be there soon--better put the coffee on, Craig.

Look what Elaine made for Marek

Even after having sinus surgery herself just two days ago, and judging by her blog still in fits of pain herself, Elaine was kind enough to make a get well present for Marek.

These are the times when I wish we had that place in the woods where we could bring eachother ginger ale with ice, and warm soup with saltine crackers, maybe a medium cheese pizza late at night, a boxload of books, read to eachother, and tell wonderful stories about trips into town, the curious people we'd meet, with bags full of the weekly staples and furrowed foreheads, staring at us in wonder, wanting to ask: "Ya'll aren't from this neck of the woods, are you?"

And we'd smile back and say, "Oh, yes. all of us."

Please know that I'm thinking about you mom Elaine and brother Marek.

Marek on his way home

Had a message on my voice mail a bit ago--it was Marek on his way home from the hospital with meds and his good spirits in tact--YAHOOOO! He expressed many thank yous for the love and phone calls sent his way from fellow bloggers. I'm sure he'll be blogging all about it soon.

July 12, 2002

The Master of Worst Practices

When Gary Turner decided to put this Tribute Collage together for RageBoy for his lifetime contributions to weblogging, I sent some text along. No real way to link to it from the collage, so guess what, I'm posting it here. For you, RB.

Well I'm standin' next to a mountain....
Choppin' down with the edge of my hand
Well I'm standin' next to a mountain....
Choppin' down with the edge of my hand
Pick up the pieces, make an island....
Might even raise a little sand

Cause I'm a voodoo chile....Lord knows I'm a voodoo chile

I didn't mean to take up all your sweet time
Give it right back to you....One of these days
I didn't mean to take up all your sweet time
Give it right back to you....The rest of my days

I won't see you again in this world....See ya in the next one
Don't be late....Don't be late

Cause I'm a voodoo chile yeah....Lord knows I'm a voodoo chile

-Stevie Ray Vaughan

Chris Locke is as real as real gets. The voices he's urged onto the net know that behind RageBoy, there is a Chris, digging way down deep inside, scratching at the sandy bottom, where there's joy and pain, fear and love, injury and triumph, expressing it like no one else can.

He connects with us when we need it most, through his writing and his latest high-tech obsession--the telephone--giving us brain juice and soul soup and about 8,000 watts of electricity. Here he comes again--OUCH! He wakes us up, dares us to stand for something, makes us look at things we don't really want to see, well, things we kind of want to see. Okay, yes, the things we have no choice but to see. Damn him.

Chris gives us permission to explore, think, speak, stomp, rage, love, fail, laugh, cry, scream--to grow--to be engaged.

His is not the easy path; it's the worthwhile one. Odd metered and a disconcerting, measures out of time, and always just right.

Not only that, but he does a mean Mick Jagger impersonation. Thanks for all of it and then some, Chris.


A strange thing happened on the way to cheering a sick friend up. Marek cheered me up! He got me imagining all the possibilities, power to the commons, a better world, worst practices=best life, stuff like that. Then I got some other good news--George is confirmed on a flight home Monday (Hong Kong time) and will get back to Atlanta on Tuesday--just four more days! He's "rappin'" up his blogging from the Grand Hyatt, HK, packing up the electric basses, his dead CPAP machine, some outfits for Jenna, worn-through dress pants, saying so long to the hated "upright replacement" bass, and waving a final "SEE YA!" to the fans and (mostly) hookers who have watched the band play over the last three months.





DALLAS 2:47 PM FRIDAY. Marek J., the rarely-linked-to Polish Blogger, today announced a new worst practices program. After a long argument with heads of his Ukranian satellite office over whether or not this Gonzo Marketing shit actually works, Marek J. made himself physically ill, requiring a stay at a Dallas area hospital, where he was admitted and immediately connected not to the Internet, but to several IV lines, which he says feels about the same.

Despondent over the lack of links to soapbox.radiopossibility.com, Marek skimmed Gonzo Marketing for clues two nights ago, and re-read The Cluetrain Manifesto to find the clues he might have missed the first time around.

"No one ever fucking links to me," said J. "I just got sick of it. I mean, like, really ill. I write on the Cluetrain list. I write on my blog. I comment wherever there's an open spot for me to wax poetic about corporate assholes. I give and give, but links don't come my way."

This blogger's latest program, designed to get Blogaria talking about him, has run into a snag, however. The loveable Pole has discovered he can't blog from his hospital bed.

"I guess I forgot," he said after popping his 2:00 pain medicine. "Here I am killing myself to get links and I'm not even there to see them. I don't have a laptop. Or a connection. Ooops. OUCH! Nurse! Please, that was my .... "

Hoping for a run on Daypop himself, Marek J., is planning to donate a kidney next week.

"I have to try this again--you know, with a little better planning on my part next time," he said. "Of course, if your company is in need of a consultant, I can be outta this place lickety split."

Marek J.is available all weekend for paid assignments. He is mostly lucid between pain medications. If you are interested, please call before 7 when the shit really kicks in.

For more information, visit Marek's Blog or contact him before Sunday at 214-818-7514. The next pill's coming at 7:00 p.m. Dallas time. Call at your own risk.


A Message from Marek

I talked to Marek. Asked him if he had a message for his friends in blogland. He said yes, then this: Wake Up Motherfuckers!!!

I sat with him while he got an IV, and we laughed about and trashed corporate nonesense. Not one for trashy novels, Marek is reading From Conquest of Abundance: A Tale of Abstraction Versus the Richness of Being by Paul Feyerabend, from his hospital bed. He read me something on page 241 I thought I'd share...

"Rationalists, and that includes scientists and philosophers, like to nail things down. They are confused by change. And they cannot tolerate ambiguity. Poets, painters, and musicians cherish ambiguous words, puzzling designs, nonsensical movement, all instruments which are needed to disolve the apparently so rigid and objective nature of scientists, to replace it by useful and changing appearances or artifacts, in this way to give us a feeling for the enormous and largely unfathomable powers that surround us."

Along with the book, Marek's got good drugs, good phone, good bed, good book, good nurse, lots of water, several nurses actually. And his good sense of humor. Friends can call him--he says he has nothing to do there but read and talk: 214-818-7514. Probably be there til Sunday morning. If the spirit moves you, say hi to Marek. He sounds great as ever.

Crafting for Marek

Okay, for an update: Ann emailed. Marek's groggy but doing alright. Might be an infection. Still being evaluated. Some test results won't be back until Monday or so. Hopefully Marek will get to go home before then.

Meanwhile, Elaine is busy crafting images for Marek into a t-shirt/collage. Email her if you have a contribution.

Ann asked that we fax good well wishes for Marek to her later today, so Elaine and I are on top of that. If you've posted anything--or want to send us words to forward via Ann to Marek, email me or Elaine. While you're at it, send some Love Elaine's way--she had surgery yesterday and is home concocting some love for Marek today.

Tom Matrullo has a great rundown of the Marek posts floating around Blogaria, reflecting the wonder of that passionate Pole who's not afraid to say, "that's just not good enough."

more later

Someone Get Clever?

Wonderful words are coming for Marek today. From Doc, from Euan, from others I haven't happened upon yet.

Does anyone out there know how to put up a page where (without logging in) we can leave comments for Marek--much like folks did for Dave Winer when he was in the hospital recently? I know it made Dave feel loved. I'm sure Ann could print it out and bring it to Marek to cheer him up, keep him feeling connected.

In the mean time, go login at Ann's place and leave a message for Marek.

Let me know if someone cooks up an online get well greeting.

And then you find out a friend is in trouble

Oh boy. How to start this one. No sooner had I hit 'publish' on my tribute to RB's antics than my email dinged in telling me mail's here. I almost ignore it, assuming it is late night spam, but I hop over and find an email from Ann with a note saying that Marek is in the hospital. Ann's post gives as much information as there is to know right now. She also gives such a loving tribute to Marek--to what makes him special, them special--that I had to include some of it here. Read the language of love:

"All I want right now is Marek healthy. No pain. I want to rub my face on his chest. I want to touch his strong legs. I want to watch his fingers on a keyboard and marvel at how facile his fingers are. Working magic on a keyboard. Magic with words. Magic in languages unknown to me. I want to out-funny each other. I want to grill halibut and vegetables listening to Adore/Smashing Pumpkins and Marek's magic fingers on my keyboard. I want to feel his facile fingers on my body. I want to wrestle and tickle and playfight with him. I want to smell him. I want to feel his smooth, soft skin. I want to kiss his sweet head. I want to have a conversation about a paragraph I read by Helene Cixous. What does he think? This is what I saw. I want Marek healthy. Happy. Engaged in conversations for what's possible."

Ann, please let us know if there's anything we can send or do, and we'll make it happen. Please know--and let Marek know--that we're with him and with you, sending positive thoughts and prayers and pieces of conversations to him on the wind so he doesn't miss a thing.

Doesn't He Ever Shut Up?

RageBoy's at it again. You can put super glue on his fingers; you can put duct tape over his mouth; some have even tried knocking him out with a right to the brain, but you won't silence this voice of the voices. Tonight, you'll find him leaving obscene messages on Gary Turner's voice mail. Doesn't he know that Gary's trying to w-o-r-k for a living? Hasn't this guy ever heard of IT Usage Policies? sheesh!

I think it's really gonna happen

I think George is really coming home next week! On schedule so far for a Tuesday arrival. I keep thinking of him coming up the escalator at Hartsfield with his gig bag on his back, tired road warrior. I told him that I think I may collapse onto the ground and sleep right there on the scuffed airport linoleum.

Cross your toes he gets back without a hitch. It's been three VERY long months since he walked me back to my car before heading off to HK April 11th. So much has happened--everything and nothing--and for him as well. Big connections, love and adoration from fans 'round the world, band dynamics--all fodder for blogging, later, after we rest and reunite. Or on the nearly two-day stinking journey back to the states, thanks to Air Korea.

I'm thrilled and anxious and excited and nervous and horny and timid and blushing and wondering and walking on air and falling further behind and making progress... I'm all of these things that make homecomings so special.

July 11, 2002


Been exploring my male voice over here. I've been moved by all the sharing from my love George, from George P., and as always, from RageBoy. This is sharing at a deeper level, the level that hurts a little bit. Or a lot a bit. RileyDog's Steve Laidlaw also weighed in with some pretty heavy amo on LifeChalking, scrawling his own life graffiti in my comments box:

"Meds: caffiene, nicotine, kool aid, sex
Issues: loss of father, aging
Fears: losing connie, death of children
Loves: wife, emily, sean, matty, home, old truck, dogs
Hates: winter, morons,
Wants: more chocolate"

I know you better now, Steve. Like you too.

Yes, so back to the male voice... women seem infinitely complex to men, way more complex than we actually are, and especially so in "relationships"--the death knell to many a good man (and woman).

Okay, so that's bullshit. The fact is, human beings aren't divisible by gender. Look closer. Divide yourself by this: who left you first, how early, how bad did it hurt, how much do you remember, how much don't you remember, how bad do you not want it to happen again, how bad do you want it to happen over and over because it's all you know? So much about wanting, waiting, getting, losing, looking. Where'd I put myself? And if you're lucky, finding again. The "rub" is that the damage and anticipation of loss powers how we love, and sometimes we lose before we every really have. Ala, this little experiment: the one-minute relationship, inspired by a conversation with someone you may know.

Baby, I'm so glad I found you, you're so beautiful and sweet and smart and look at those eyelashes, god I don't deserve you, gonna worship you and treat you right and never ever hurt you, we make each other feel so good, yeah, I want to be with you every day, every night, and sure I'll call you tomorrow, I'll call you every hour of every day, well what do you mean why didn't I call you yesterday, I was just tryin to write something over here, no I wasn't looking at her, that woman? no way, you know you're all I'll ever need, are you saying you're not coming over tonight, you need time for yourself, oh sure, okay, no I understand, I respect your boundaries, but it's not all me here, you need to look at you, okay it's all me, right, sure, I'm way fucked up, but how about this: why don't you get the fuck out of my life, okay, how does that sound to you; pack up your attitude and hit the pavement, bitch. Oh shit, I didn't mean you should leave me, don't go, could you give me one more chance, let me show you how much I love you, how you're so beautiful and sweet and smart and look at those eyelashes, god I don't deserve you....


George Partington gets it--gets what I mean by perspective. He just turned himself inside out over on High Water; he's letting the flood waters roll in:

"I'm angry, angst-ridden, alienated. Or in gentler moments, bemused, bothered, and bewildered. I'm adolescent."


"And I step up daily for more abuse. And if I'm feeling strong, I shake it off and say what else can you show me? Most of the time I'm strong enough not to hate. Most of the time."

What stirred up his words was a movie called Donnie Darko. The website alone gets a holy shit in my book.

Funny, I talked to George last week--knew I liked him, but didn't have much time to get to know him.

I know him lots better now.

July 10, 2002


So I guess I'm not a journalist, I don't report events; maybe i'm an internalist, writing from my innards out? oh shit, maybe that's not it. but you know, so what another corporate giant is charged with fraud--who in the name of bill gates ever thought organizations were honest to begin with? the default is fraud the default is screw you. command and control, sure enough, where have you heard that before? What do you expect from top-heavy behemoths soaking up hours and lives and loves and children and babies and aging parents in nursing homes and pets in crates from all of us who scurry around the bottom, the sea floor, picking up corporate litter like shells and selling a conch or two to anyone who will buy.

So where was I going with that--Oh, I know: I was going to you. To you. You. Fuck corporations, fuck technology, fuck feminism, fuch patriarchy, fuck politics, fuck meta blogging, fuck all of that. I was going to You. Who are YOU, what made you the way everyone says you are--"she's just that way," you know, the way you are when you step down into your thoughts, the things that stick in your mind, familiar enemies you're used to pushing away, been doing it so long you're really good at it now. Aren't you? No.

So stop pretending. Let them in. Let thoughts flood over you. Decide to drown in them. Decide it's okay if they pull you under. Don't swim, don't race, don't run, don't distract yourself. Sit with them. Close your eyes and let words start to wrap around those dark places, see then? what color are your words? maybe deep purple and orange and cherry, lots of them are black and midnight blue. What sounds are your words, what sounds repeat over and over--today I was thinking rice paper, and rice paper has been swirling around my head--why? it sounds like what it is, or maybe because I've been walking on it most of my life, but that's me--we weren't talking about me--we were talking about you.

How loud can you make your screams if you don't hold anything back?

Write from there. Blog from there. Not always. Not forever. But for today. Write from the inside out, not the outside in. You dare corporations to do it--to turn their business models all topsy turvy. "Hey, Look at Us. We the People. We Matter!" So dare to turn yourself topsy turvy too, flip yourself around, unzip yourself and wear your innards on your skin for a day.

And let me know when you do it, so I can link you like a motherfucker.

Oh, and by the way, sorry I missed the anger discussions that were floating around Blogaria the last two days. I was sitting with my words, and really, I still am.


Country, city, age, gender, and connection speed are nice. But, let's get down to it.

Diagnoses: depression, anxiety
Meds: Celexa
Issues: abandonment, death, family dysfunction, adult children of alcoholics
Fears: loneliness, death, public speaking, the blank page, going stark raving mad
Loves: husband, daughter, writing, crisp fall evenings, the smell of cow pastures
Hates: writing, worms, june bugs, the smell of moth balls in old clothes, 100-degree weather
Wants: time out of mind, sleep, peace, understanding, acceptance, faith

Lifechalk this.

July 09, 2002


1. -- The Loss

He went from me
in silence.
Red crayola in my hand
tired legs rest softly on a
dark blue matt in
Mrs. McKlusky's
kindergarten class.
Handmade shamrocks
stuffed in a brown
paper sack
rest on the seat
between me and Marvin,
we kiss on the bus
all the way home.

Carpeted steps
cushion my climb,
My mother a statue
guarding the white painted
to his bedroom,

Slowing now, taking it
all in
she is never standing
just there
The door is never
like this.

The quiet
in her eyes
is like fire.

Her hand reaches out
opens, and I give her
the bag of good wishes
watch them
disappear behind her back
a flood unseen
rolling over me.

My aunt waits
in my bedroom,
sits softly
on the quilted bedspread,
pats it three times
making a seat for me
next to her.

She tells me that
God calls us to be
with Him,
needs special people
sooner, not later,
and I am
already praying
to be ordinary.

I say, my father's dead.
She nods, yes, says
you can cry if you want to.
The TV downstairs
breaks the quiet
and I say no thank you.

My mother waits
outside my room
I hug her skirt
she puts a warm
hand on my shoulder
says this:
It's just you and me now.
My knees buckle
thinking that my
brother and sister
must be special,
must be dead too.

Not dead, but
not the ones who will
light my mother's tired eyes
gather dreams for her.
From now on
this is my job.

I ask can I go
outside to play
she says no
we are in mourning
we stay inside.

Every memory
ends somewhere,
the fits and starts
of remembering
protect us from
too much too

2. -- The Burial

I am inside my body
then out
then in

They send me away
for the funeral
the long drive
my grandmother
at the wheel
more quiet and stillness,
they don't let grief
touch me.

The Illinois night air
under a bright moon
lights fields of wheat
corn and soybean
as far as I know,
lightning bugs a fireshow
and the fresh smell
of cows in a nearby pasture.

Asleep on the side porch
in the house of an aunt
I hardly know,
everyone agrees
I should be
around other children
at a time like this.

My cousin camps out too,
five or six years older than me
with sun browned skin
a sandy haired farm boy
who notices
my loneliness.

In my sleeping bag
he comes to me
helps me unzip
tells me there's
something he wants
to show me.

I say what is it
he takes down his
pajama bottoms
reveals what I've
never seen before
stretched out
into the cool night

I think what is that,
and ask him.

He says this is my dick
and it goes here
he lifts my nightgown
points his finger
to my panties
the spot between my legs.

I say really?
He says yes.
Let me show you
how this goes in there.

I say I don't think so,
look around
no lights are on
in the kitchen,
the dimness reflected through
the glass pane
tells him the grownups
have gone to bed.

I promise you it's okay
he says.
I do this with all my girlfriends.
At six I wonder
if this will make me
his girlfriend too.

No, I don't want to
I tell him.
Please he says.
Let me just put
it in and then I'll
kiss you here
and he touches
my lips.

I think
that a kiss would
be nice.

I say, tell me what
that's called again
and he does.
And this, I ask,
he tells me.

So I say,
just once.

He brings his stiffness
inside me,
I notice it is hot and cold
at once
he moves on top of me
says, you see?
I say, yes I see
and I wonder when
he will kiss me.

He never does.

When he finishes I ask
is this how it works?
He says yes, this is
how it works, but you
can't tell anyone.

Why, I ask.
Because we would
get in trouble he says,
now hush.

I say Oh and
go to sleep
what I did.

When the sun comes up
he takes me in the kitchen
breakfast waiting
shoots me a look
that says don't
you ever tell.

I can't eat my eggs,
instead look around
to see if anyone knows
but they move
in a regular cadence
around the kitchen
and I notice that
the clanking of glasses and plates
and forks and knives
is too loud.

3. -- The Lesson

Back home
nothing is the same
my mother tells me
we are moving
my farm, my woods,
my trees, my boulders,
the snakes that surprise
me underneath them,
my cats, the worn rope over
the hay loft just
right for swinging
my barn, smells
of hay in the early
they won't
be coming with us.

I say, what about my pony
she says we can only
keep one horse, your sister
should keep her horse
and share it with you,
my sister tells me
I'll take the head
you can have the tail
and I say,
okay because
there is nothing
else to say.

I grew up
a voice,
in a room
crowded by
silent memories
stuffing down words
as deep as they
would go
afraid that
they might
tumble out
and with them
the tears
that never came.

I am thinking in poems
and I am thinking
Oh God,
I didn't ever want this
to happen again.

1:30 Poem for Penny

when she rises
her beauty unfolds
expressed from a frame
crooked, bent, not
straight like before,
more like
the crescent moon
emerging softly from the
heavy cover of night.

but her smile
but her eyes electric
her beauty rises in
a perfect arc
leans on the back
of her chair
shuffles three steps worth
finds a cigarette
or some cheese
to slice for me.

Sitting again
Using her feet to wheel
her chair into place
at the kitchen table,
in herhouse/myhome,
with a book full of friends
waiting for her to call
say, "How are you, honey?"

My memory is her voice
its warm tenor
its melody like wind
and the quiet reassurance
of her hand
resting on top of mine,
flowered placemat
and a bowl of
half-eaten cat food
in the corner
reminding me
we share one voice.

Reminding me
how to remember.

July 08, 2002

Commuting with Gary--or--Meta Talking

Got my first incoming blogger phone call on the allied blog hotline today. It was none other than Gary Turner ringing from the UK via cell phone on his drive home! Imagine my surprise and joy. Guess what, Gary's just as funny in real life is he is in Blogaria. And really nice too.

We noodled some ideas on blogging, what it means to us, what we think it means in the corporate and grander scheme of things. Gary and I were both amazed that, as of the last couple of months, emails from blogger friends, this growing circle of amazing folks, now outpace the number of corporate emails we receive each day. And, both of us have day jobs. (you know, the time you spend on the computer that you actually get paid for?)

Gary explained Chalk Chalking to me, at which point I was hysterical. I also learned that Gary's wife and the growing little Turner-to-be are doing well.

It was appropriate that Gary be my first caller, since I was the first blogger to adopt and use one of his blogstickers way back when. Gary was also the first to invite callers to leave VM's on his phone, an invitation I couldn't refuse.

My dime next time, Gary.

David Sits In with the Band

I'm still laughing out loud over David Weinberger's transcription of a sax solo um, let's say, aided by technology. major giggles! (David, are you *sure* you didn't stop off at the Grand Hyatt HK while you were in China?)

If Not Then

what, if not to rush the edge
of love and reel it back.

what, if not to feel sadness with you,
to ache in solitude, engaging the clouds?

what, if not to rage and break silence,
to fill deaf ears with my whispers?

what, if not to endure separation
to accept/embrace an end?

what, if not to sacrifice in love,
then to never know sky, light, flame, burning embers:

to live and die without you.

July 07, 2002

Goodbye Ray

George reports this morning that bassist Ray Brown is dead at 75.

Original Beauty

Outside a household powered by secrets and anger, I had someone who loved me *just because* and *even though,* someone who herself had to learn how to "be" against tremendous odds and challenges, who taught me it was okay to "be," to be "myself," to acknowledge, ease and forgive my own pain, to love, laugh, cry, to accept, to understand I can't fix what isn't mine, to be open and present, not just a reflection. More than anyone else, she shaped the healthy me. And as I grow older, my husband says, "You are more like her every day." I smile. I know. It's that kind of connection, even though we live 1,000 miles apart. Our hearts live in tandem.

Aunt Penny, my dead father's baby sister, is special. She is a wonder. She took care of me, kept me with her during those days when everything around me was crumbling, kept me laughing, showed me hidden joy, how to access that joy in the worst of times. She is the one who greeted me, coming home from kindergarten that day, took me upstairs, and told me my father was dead.

She is in me.

I'm five, in the back seat with Auntie at the wheel, crawling down Westfall Road, the car ahead of us dawdling along. She says:

"Wouldn't you know I'd get behind Farmer Jones and his Wife."

In my wonder of her, I say: "Aunt Penny, you know everyone!"

We laugh, the 20 years age difference between us erased. She is my friend.

I'm 35, driving down the six-lane Atlanta interstate for the first time, cars flying by me on all sides doing 80. I call her on my cell phone:

"Aunt Penny, It's so disorienting. Overwhelming. I'm driving in six lanes of traffic!"

She knows me, says: "You're only driving in one lane at a time."

We laugh, the 20 years age difference between us erased. She is my friend.

When she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 30 years ago, I was 10. This former nun who left the convent, married a Jewish man, moruned the loss of two brothers, one of them my father, was the strongest person I knew. I told her, "Auntie you can get through this. You know I know." In her mind, there was never any other option. The disease that gradually took away her ability to walk, cost her any number of surgeries and a career she loved at the University of Rochester, confined her to a wheel chair, challenged her to keep her own home even though she has lived alone since divorcing my Uncle 20 years ago, this disease has not changed or disfigured her--only brought her beauty more intensely to the surface.

She is original beauty. She is the most amazing person I know.

She is also, I just learned from a call to her this morning, having open heart surgery next week. Difficult enough for a healthy 60-year-old, the procedure and recovery will be especially challenging because of her MS. It's a biggie. About the biggest thing she's faced yet. And still, as we talked about it, she was chasing her companion, Sammy the cat, around the downstairs of her home, wheeling after him, "Sammy, get over here!" and I'm laughing with her, telling her, "Auntie, you've faced things this big--I know you will make it."

And this time, I'm hearing something different in her voice, if I'm not mistaken: she's tired. The shere length and suprise sideroads of her personal journey have made her weary. And I'm worried. Not now, Auntie. Not now.

All this is to say, if you find room in your thoughts, meditation, prayers, and whatever else you do to get in touch with positive energy, the creator, empathy for your fellow earth travellers, then please send some prayers and good thoughts Aunt Penny's way.

And thank you.