Happy Halloween!

I cannot believe we are at the end of October. It has long been my favorite month, with its chill breezes and gorgeous leaves in all their finery. Not to mention the pumpkins and apples abounding, and the pies, oh my! There is that sweet tooth, again!

I am expecting about 100 trick or treaters. That is what we had last year; although, I think with the economy the way it is, there will be more than usual!

I laid in the candy, and honestly, I only have eaten one tiny Snickers bar. Alas, I must confess that I have birthday chocolate stashed away. My friends were too generous!

A little trick or treating can be such fun! I enjoy all of the little ghosts, goblins, wrestlers, etc. My dog started hating the door bell after our first Halloween in central Florida. Now she barks at door bells on the TV, also.

I wanted to share my lovely corpse with you. “What!”, you say? I know; it is a little complicated. It started as an idea for my next book, which I call Waiting for the Rest of Your Life. I wanted a photo to show how long I had been waiting for it–the rest of my life that is. So there it is! The only problem is it is a little macabre, O.K. a lot macabre, perhaps. I still like the idea; I’m not sure I can put it into the book. People may not think this is funny.

What do you think? Let me know!

Women Warriors Part Two

Greetings to all! A splendid Sunday to everyone!
It is only 87.8 degrees here in East Central Florida, at 10:11 AM. Whew! It has been a hot spell! Where is the cool air?
Fortunately, we live in AC here; what a blessing! I think Florida would be pretty deserted much of the year accept for that!
Now, getting down to serious stuff, we all are aware that it is National Breast Cancer Awareness month. I don’t think that we should overlook the people who are battling other types of cancers, though. Why don’t we have other months, or dates, to pay tribute to our other warriors?
I have the pleasure of knowing a woman warrior who battled lymph cancer last year, and into early this year. Sheryl is a member of eWomen Network, and a talented musician.
Friends of Sheryl’s, including friends from church, and eWomen network created a schedule of volunteers to help her. These friends took Sheryl to chemo, stayed with her during chemo, helped with pet care, and stayed with Sheryl when her husband, Leon, had to be out of the home/office.
I had the privilege of taking Sheryl to chemo and staying with her for one session. I was glad for the opportunity, as I had no real experience with cancer treatment. I have heard many stories from friends, co-workers, and patients, so this gave me more insight into their journeys.
I have a new poem that I wrote last week, and I would like to dedicate it to Sheryl, and many others who have battled cancers. Here it is:

The Invader Within

Was the cause environmental,
Or was it family genetics?
How did this happen?
Perhaps, it was just karma
Bringing me this dark, unwanted gift
This cancer

The alien DNA
Hidden in the structure
Of the genome
Its time bomb releasing
Microscopic invaders burrowing
Into tissue, my tissue

Facing myself in the mirror,
Today, chopping long dark hair
Shorter and shorter still
Wondering who is this stranger
Who stares back
Stone-faced and resolute?

I begin this deeply personal
Uphill battle, or is it downhill?
Warrior stance—I am ready
“Let’s do this!” to my husband
We travel silently to chemo
Unspoken words blowing through
Our minds like autumn leaves

He holds my hand as we begin
IV dripping, we watch morning TV
Oblivious to the screen, thoughts
Still flowing, overflowing, synchronized
With the IV releasing the drug/poison
I will it to find the interloper
“Seek out the alien intruder, now!”

Many weeks have passed, now
Time has slowed to a turtle’s pace
I have sat in that recliner
Many hours, with IV piercing my flesh,
Chemo flowing, a soft cap covering the baby fuzz
Where my hair used to be
I turn my mind inward, pray and give thanks

Liquid ninja’s course through my veins

“Finish it”, I pray, “amen”.

You can access Sheryl’s music and story at:

Women Warriors

It is the month of October, which is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Today’s blog is dedicated to the women warriors who have battled breast cancer.

I have met many of these women over the years, so I know how prevalent breast cancer is, particularly with older women. Statistically, about 182,000 women get breast cancer each year, about 46,000 of whom die from the disease–about 1/4th of women.
The photo is of Theresa, a survivor going on her second year. She is a very special lady; and I salute her!

Only about 5 percent of breast cancers occur in women under age 40.
About 25 percent occur in women under age 50. About 1 in 40 women die from breast cancer before age 75.

Here are some links for information, or to make a donation. Make sure you check out the Army of Women. org. This is a site where you can sign up to be a study participant (depending on the area the study is in).

I enclose a poem from my book Water Running Downhill, which is a tribute to women with breast cancer.


What is a breast?
It is, by design, in its simplest form
A source of nourishment
A literal ‘fountain of youth’

A breast is an ornament
Of the flesh, ascetically varied
Rounded, pillowed, or arched-
An achingly, beautiful sculpture of nature

A breast is a haven
For comforting small humans
Or sheltering family or friends
With arms and bodies enfolded tightly, as in prayer

A breast can also give or receive
Pleasure, with our partners
As active participants
In the mating dance of life

A breast is the epitome, of the heart
Of womankind- with our breasts
We nurture, comfort, and love
That is why we hold them so dear

Through breast cancer, women may
Lose these deeply personal pieces
Of their flesh, that share so much
And give succor to life

But, we must remember that
Women are the origin of strength
In this world, and with or
Without breasts, we are the same!

We will still nurture,
We will still comfort,
And we will still love!
We will do this, by design

By Joan Ellen Gage

(Dedicated to Tina and to all of her sisters)