the music sounds sweeter these days…

The calm has set in.  I feel like I can breathe.  The past month or so has been a little jarring to my spirit, but it has not been without many of the sweetest moments.  Besides dealing with the Great Power Outage of 2011, which most of us in Connecticut are finally recovering from… I was sent in for a wee bit of surgery… again… just to make sure I am still paying attention I suppose.

Since October 2009, when my life was so rudely interrupted with the Breast Cancer diagnosis, there have been what seems to be an endless number of surgeries and medical challenges.   I had never had surgery before this time.  The thought of it made me shudder.  But I have been poked, sliced, stitched, injected and infused more in the past two years than I would like to admit.  Most of my treatments and surgeries had wrapped up earlier this year and I was moving on.

Life was getting better, but it was an adjustment.  I was feeling like one of Picasso’s lovely nudes…  my body felt so disjointed and awkward, but I knew I was of a new strength.  I knew I was somehow more beautiful, even with all my jagged scars, and without my long hair. It was a sad beauty… a beautiful sadness…  Yet I was a stronger, more powerful, more beautiful woman.  I became one of the women for whom all the pink fuss was about.

As things were returning to normal, I had no intention of dwelling on this pothole in the road.  Life was going good for us in 2011.  The economy still sucking… The weather still usually sucking… but I was all patched up, i had some peach fuzz on my head, i was alive, and life was going very good.

Then we get another shot of “Oh Jesus!” juice.  Early last month I found out I had a cyst on my ovary… which is typically not that alarming and very common apparently… but because of “my history” they immediately sent me back into the OR to get the whole ovary removed.   It is likely nothing… but if it is something… we will just remove your other ovary and your uterus… and if it is still something you will have some more chemo… and then you should be fine…  You are over 40 so you must have had your children already… (no, thanks for assuming though).

It was hard to keep the thoughts at bay… to not revisit my dark thoughts of pain and mortality…further departure from my femininity… but I managed to stay positive for the most part.

Today my new set of scars are starting to heal, I can sit up on my own again, and test results all came back good.  Now that storm Alfred, and my own personal little power outage, are over… I am back in the swing and all “lights” are back on!  Fist bumps all around.

I have made some interesting observations recently.  Each time I come out of this ever more familiar post-surgery storm… I seem to know myself a little better.  There seems to be a noticeable light shining upon my surroundings… a tangible sharpening of my senses.  The colors of the trees and the horizons are so much more vibrant.  The flavors of a home cooked meal are so much more delightful. The voice of a friend is so much more relished.  My dance music makes me feel so much more emotional.  Songs on the radio are so much more fun… I can’t stop car dancing!  I’ve seriously got moves like Jagger lately.

I am not taking these observations lightly.  It should not take being injected with toxic chemicals or winning a one-sided, unarmed fight with a scalpel-wielding professional to make me notice a sunset or make time for a friend.  I always notice sunsets, and i always love my friends,  but maybe this is why we must go through rough times.  Just to make sure we are still paying attention – really paying attention.

Are you there God?  It’s me, erica.  Please no more surgeries this year… I’m listening!!!  (-:

ejl x.o.

PabloPicasso-Girl-with-Mandolin-Fanny-Tellier-1910

Images: Les Demoiselles d’Avignon – Pablo Picasso, e.j.l.’s sketch book, Girl With a Mandolin – Pablo Picasso

This way to the castle…

Here we are, in last days of the Connecticut summer… trying to soak up the last warm rays of sun before the dreaded frost arrives.  I first thought i would stay home today to do laundry, bills, etc…  But I could not let this day be spent on chores.  I mean, did you see it outside today?

If you live around here, you know these types of perfect, sunny, not too humid, not to cold days are pretty rare.  I just had to grab my camera and my husband, and go out for some exercise and vitamin D.  Maybe we can go find that castle…

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The day’s not over yet.  Please get out there today!

e.j.l. xo

Secret Stone Garden – A Connecticut Treasure

i have always known i was an artsy city girl, yet I grew up in the suburbs, and I’ve somehow ended up in the suburbs.  While I wait for my exciting new life in Charlotte or Denver, I do not want to miss, or dismiss, the beauty, fun and excitement occurring right in my own back yard.

Just before the school year starts, we are home to the Wolcott Country Fair – just a quick walk and we can feed the cutest little goats and enjoy all the sticky fried greasy doughy treats we could ask for.  There is a freeky flock of grackles that lands in our yard once a year for about 5 or 10 minutes, and then swoosh.. they’re off.  In the lower yard there is a vernal pool (aka very special swampy wetland) that has been destination spot to hundreds of (probably very horny) orange spotted salamanders that come there on the first warm rainy night of the spring to perpetuate their species.  Once on a snowy morning before sunrise, I caught a mamma dear and her baby nibbling on the pine trees outside my studio.  The families of northern cardinals and woodpeckers that visit our garden can entertain me (and Stewie and Olive) for hours. I’ve seen rainbows from my porch, pink and purple sunsets through the trees. We share our home with bunnies, owls, butterflies, tiny frogs.  What could be more magical?

One day my husband brought me out on his atv for a bumpy, muddy ride into the woods behind our house.  We rode for about 15 minutes then we stopped, ignition off.  Shhh, so quiet, just the us, the woods,sunbeams… and stones.  Piles and stacks of stones.  Not in random, messy piles, but in lovely mystical gravity defying piles. Who put these here?  How old are they?  What do they mean?  Well, we’re still not entirely sure, and we may never know.  But for now, lets just look at them together, and enjoy this beautiful secret treasure in our own back yard.

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e.j.l. xo