Friday, March 26, 2010


It's been a week since Lynn passed away, and she has seldom been far from my thoughts. I've taken time just to reflect back on all the happy memories - isn't that the best possible way to pay tribute to someone you love?

The core of our little group (the posse) consisted of Peg, Lynn, Kura and I. We all lived in Manhattan so spur-of-the-moment dinners were a weekly occurrence. Of course, these dinners were usually preceded by "smart cocktails." We were, after all, single women living in the greatest city in the world - is there a better reason to have smart cocktails?

Every birthday was cause for celebration, and we marked each birthday with much fanfare. Breakups, auditions, new jobs, and Fridays were all good reasons to gather. Actually, we really didn't need any reasons, come to think of it!

Lynn had a beautiful singing voice and had made her living in her early days in New York singing, dancing and acting. One of my fondest memories is of her singing "Santa Baby" every holiday season - she would always manage to inject just the right amount of naughtiness into the lyrics, and always with a twinkle in her eye. She also sang at our wedding - actually, all of the NY posse sang. Turns out that I am the only want who just totally sucks at singing. However, I'm a very appreciative listener!

After Willie and I got married and moved to "the country", we created new events and reasons to get together. One of the favorite events was our annual "apple pickin' weekend" which usually coincided with Lynn's birthday. Lynn never cooked much during the time I knew her, with the exception of a splendid apple crisp made with freshly picked apples. I'll never eat apple crisp without thinking of her and smiling.

Ah, yes, so many wonderful memories. Here's to you, Lynn.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Rest in Peace, My Friend

Last night, a little after midnight on the west coast, my friend Lynn passed away. She fought a long and valiant battle with cancer and outlived every prediction her doctors made. In the end, though it was a fight she couldn’t win. Her sister, Karen, was with her when she died, as she has been with her every step along this journey. Lynn has been surrounded by family and friends in these recent difficult weeks.

So what do you say about losing a beloved friend? First and most, I would say that my life has been richer for having had her in it. She was caring, kind, wickedly smart and oh so funny! She was the quiet one in our group, but then she’d just shock you with the wittiest, funniest observation at the least expected moment. So many times she made me – made us all – laugh until tears ran down our faces.

Even when she was in pain and foggy from all the drugs, she always wanted to know how everyone else was doing. In these last months, we’ve had many hours of phone calls, sometimes talking about important things, but usually just talking about silly things and funny memories. Sometimes she was too fuzzy from the drugs to talk, but other times she had much to say. We had some laughs, and we certainly had some tears, too. I wouldn't trade a single one of those phone calls for anything.

She faced death with a courage and strength that awed me. Today I am grieving the loss of my friend. Tomorrow I will focus on the many, many happy times we had together. That is what she'd want.

Rest in Peace, Lynn. You are missed and loved.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Both Sides Now

A Joni Mitchell song, and also the state of my morning. Why, you ask? Well, I had an appointment this morning with the dentist to get teeth cleaned and checked. The dentist informed me that I had a filling that needed to be replaced and that he could do it this morning - well, no use waiting, is there. So, he numbed me up and proceeded to do his dental thing. Now, I should mention that the work took place on the LEFT side of my mouth, which happens to be the only side that works properly.

So loaded with Novocain, I toddled home and fixed myself a cup of tea. Bad move - hot water all over the front of me, gushing from both sides of my mouth. Not good dating behavior.

Unrelated bit of humor: a few nights ago, as we were getting ready for bed, Willie summoned me over to the window, where he was furtively peeking out the blinds. Now, it's pitch black out here, no street lights. However, there was a car in the middle of our road with headlights on, easing forward and then easing backward. It seemed odd until we noticed the possum in the middle of the road in front of the car. Every time the car would creep forward, the poor possum would panic and turn around. And if you are unfamiliar with possums, they move very s-l-o-w-l-y. The car/possum dance went on for several minutes before the possum got safely off the road (and into our yard...yay) and the car was able to proceed down Tallyho. Ah, moments in nature. A huge metal object brought to a standstill by a small furry creature with a big long nose...

Monday, March 8, 2010

Every Now and Then

... something unexplained and welcome happens. Today, for whatever odd reason, I have only had to use the gel drops (eyes) a couple of times. I have no idea why, but am delighted not to be dropping goop in my eye every 20 minutes. This has happened a few times before and it has never been the signal of any permanent change (like having being able to actually produce my own tears, for example!) but one can always hope. And, even if it means nothing, it is still a nice break!

Now, I am going to tackle my second-ever boule of No Knead Bread! (Thank you, Lorenzo, for introducing me to this method!)

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Eye See You

One of the isometric exercises Jackie has me doing is to slowly close me eyes and keep them closed for a minute. The idea is not to have anything else on my face moving while I do this (the chin and cheek are really anxious to join in on the action.) Also, I need to try to make sure my right eye is all the way closed. (For a couple of months it hasn't been consistently closing completely - leaving a little sliver of white.)

Now, as you might imagine, it is pretty hard to know if your face is completely at rest and your eye is all the way closed when you have your eyes closed. You see the problem? So, the other night while we were laying in bed, I asked Willie to check me while I maintained the eye closure. His job was to make sure there were no inappropriate dimples or and to see if my eye closed all the way. So, I lay there, eyes closed, waiting. And, waiting.

Finally I opened my eyes only to find Willie's eye about an inch from mine! I had no idea he was that close and it really startled me, to say the least. It was just hilarious. We both started giggling and couldn't stop. Which abruptly ended my eye-closure exercise since I couldn't stop laughing long enough to close my eyes. What would we do without these little moments of levity?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Well, I just got around to taking a couple of pictures of the old face. I want to take pictures every week or so to enable me to see changes. The problem with facial recovery is that it is so SLOW! Changes are subtle, and when you look at yourself every day, the changes aren't always noticeable. So, this is a my little reality check for myself! I will take the same two shots each week - the smile and the eye closure.

I also recorded a short video, which I won't subject you to, so that I can see how my face is moving when I talk. Right now, my face is moving ... oddly. The corner of my mouth, both upper and lower lip just don't move very well, which causes the side of my mouth to sort of drag. I think it will be interesting to see how this changes over the next few months.

Meanwhile, under the category of funny... I was talking with one of my brain tumor buddies last week (a woman who had surgery about 3 weeks before me, and who has also had a slow facial recovery.) We were comparing notes (and, yes, commiserating just a tiny bit) and got on the subject of eyelashes. Yes, eyelashes. When you have bells palsy or facial paralysis it causes the muscles around your eye to sag and droop. Which causes the eye to look king of weird. And, it causes the eyelashes to stick out at odd angles! I had totally forgotten about this until Hope brought it up.

I remember visiting the ophthalmologist about 3 months post op to get a blinkeze eye weight. As he was examining me, he said, "oh, those little lashes on your lower lid are going to get caught in your eye and scratch it, let's just get them out!" And, before I knew what was happening, he had grabbed a pair of tweezers and yanked the disobedient little suckers right out! I was shocked! (However, I didn't feel a thing - the upside of recalcitrant nerves!)

Anyway, hadn't thought about that since it happened, but it sure does make me laugh now!