As promised the nurses had Natureman up and marching in place post op and then out for his first walk after his first night. It was a welcomed sight but an unusual one to see one’s strong spouse needing an extra hand on each side in case he faltered.

I felt both of us had aged a great deal in 24 hours.

One of you reminded me about taking it ‘one day at a time.’ With each time he walks the hospital hallways he will grow stronger and more confident as his sea legs disappear… Poco a poco…

Last week’s FOTO FRIDAY which seems ages ago : Who Wears the Bun in the the Family…


It’s 5 am and the sound of Rock a Bye Baby is echoeing through the hallway. You see every time a baby is born the hospital where I spent the night that tune is played. What a wonderful way to celebrate a new life.  It’s difficult to believe how many emotions one can experience when mortality is on one’s heart. 

I’ve been sleep deprived for the last month (all self imposed I add) by my incessant making of mental lists whether they were for me/us/ the honey do ones. We joked that I had to get all I could get out of the patient before he was laid up for the month of restrictions of lifting, etc… The healing would take a while…

In fact one of those tasks was to replace some roof shingles that had blown off with one of the severe gusty 50 mile an hour winds we recently endured. Who wants a roof to leak on top of everything else going on?

My Natureman, of course, had insisted at first he’d do the re-shingling. Unbelievably when he eyed those missing at the edge of a second story deck peak he admitted maybe it would be a good idea to avoid a fall before his operation. We looked for the extra shingles saved from 18 years ago.

I couldn’t find them in the garage until I spotted them a couple of days ago as I stood at the kitchen sink window. There they were patching up the chicken coop’s little roof. Never did get those shingles ordered/ the Amish lined up to come do the job… The day of the operation was yesterday. 

At this time yesterday I had driven us down our dark country snowy driveway and slippery county highway. It was our first real winter snow during which I as a Southerner would usually stay home/ await the plows to clear the roads but I didn’t have a choice yesterday.

Even the patient wanted me to relinquish driving but the man had enough on his mind and was coffee deprived. As you know we made it as did Simon and Sam. We overheard waiting room conversations of folks who left home at 2 am traveling from their Iowa/Minnesota/ Wisconsin homes much farther away. We all were anxious. We who sat and awaited operations that lasted from a couple hours to much more.

Irv’s operation was shorter than the predicted 5-6 hours. His surgery was done in 3. Recovery room stays normally run an 1 1/2 to 2 hours and we certainly were ready to see the patient after the consult.  

What held things up in the recovery room was that his room was not available. He spent from 11 until almost 3:30 in the recovery room. I was allowed to go in to see him alone  where he asked me how scary he looked. I told him he didn’t look so bad. He knew the kidney, mass and adrenal gland had been removed . Then he added that a nurse told him he had stopped breathing and a couple of chest compressions were necessary to revive him. I thought he must be hallucinating you know still groggy from the drugs. His floor nurse later concurred his story. Indeed the space in between drug dosage had him a bit too relaxed. If I say that my heart lost a couple beats you’d understand, right?

Irv drifted in and out while we visited. He just wanted to hear us talking. Later in the evening he began talking, politics of course. The tears started and it was not a pretty cry. From not knowing how he’d fare the surgery to back to his normal political dialogue was just too much.

Irv’s post op night was filled with a lot of tossing and turning,  bed adjustments, pushing the call button, nurse visits every 2 hours but you know what? The man is here just like that newborn ready to face a new day and so am I…

Thank you to all the medical staff, friends and family.


When one goes in for a well check and feels good the last thing one expects is to get bad news. Almost 4 weeks have passed since the unexpected diagnosis and us filling each day while awaiting the operation.

Wednesday we’ll head to town leaving home at 5 am with 1-3 inches of snow predicted on Tuesday evening into Wednesday am.

A lot of unknowns but we’re going to have to get used to those. I’m assuming a reminder call and email will arrive on Tuesday. For the night before my notes read “patient should shower before bedtime using non fragrant soap, change bed sheets, only clear liquids in a.m.” Other than that the hospital hasn’t told us much else.

I have done some reading re: renal disease but not extensively as sometimes knowing too much can play with your head.

Below is some info on renal cell carcinoma :

What Is Kidney Cancer?
Kidney cancer — also called renal cancer — is a disease in which kidney cells become malignant (cancerous) and grow out of control, forming a tumor. Almost all kidney cancers first appear in the lining of tiny tubes (tubules) in the kidney. This type of kidney cancer is called renal cell carcinoma. The good news is that most of kidney cancers are found before they spread (metastasize) to distant organs. And cancers caught early are easier to treat successfully. However, these tumors can grow to be quite large before they are detected.” Fist small was alarming to us.

Symptoms can include:

1.Smoking . If you smoke cigarettes, your risk for kidney cancer is twice that of nonsmokers. Smoking cigars may also increase your risk.
2.Being male. Men are about twice as likely as women to get kidney cancer.
3.Being obese. Extra weight may cause changes to hormones that increase your risk.
4.Using certain pain medications for a long time. This includes over-the-counter drugs in addition to prescription drugs.
5.Having advanced kidney disease or being on long-term dialysis, a treatment for people with kidneys that have stopped working
6. Having certain genetic conditions, such as von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) disease or inherited papillary renal cell carcinoma
7.Having a family history of kidney cancer. The risk is especially high in siblings.
8. Being exposed to certain chemicals, such as asbestos, cadmium, benzene, organic solvents, or certain herbicides
9. Having high blood pressure. Doctors don’t know whether high blood pressure or medication used to treat it is the source of the increased risk.
10Being black. The risk in blacks is slightly higher than in whites. No one knows why.
11.Having lymphoma. For an unknown reason, there is an increased risk of kidney cancer in patients with lymphoma.

Natureman can check off most of the list as not being applicable but what he does share are numbers 2 being male and more importantly number 8 Being exposed to certain chemicals, such as asbestos, cadmium, benzene, organic solvents, or certain herbicides

When Natureman was in college he had part time jobs to help pay for his education. Didn’t we all? But perhaps not as lethal as Natureman’s…

Due to his small frame he had to climb through and clean air ducts, lab hoods besides stripping asbestos from pipes without a mask / proper clothing which I would assume lead to this operation Wednesday.

We’ve learned a lot since then about these chemicals since then…

Anyhow, we ‘re ready to fight the beast.

Thanks for all your notes and positive thoughts.


One great feature about our stay in a California VRBO ( Vacation Rental by Owner) in Pacifica besides being close to the wedding venue was its walking distance to the Pedro Point Beach.

Our first morning included the 2 block walk to the beach where surfers dotted the waves, a dog chased a thrown stick into the cold water and folks sat mesmerized by the waves/ walking the shoreline.

Below is one of my favorite beach scenes of a young family. Both parents had their hair up in a bun. And the man bun wearer had their baby wrapped in an orange k’tan on his broad chest. Somehow this hit me as so California…

It’s not about who wears the pants anymore as it’s who’s man enough to wear that man bun and the baby.

Last week’s FOTO FRIDAY:


Wedding venue choices and their size certainly cover the gamete nowadays as our October three weddings attest. Two of which we were the grooms’s parents.

Our youngest wedding couple were married 2 weekends ago and just missed having their wedding venue in Shelldance Orchid Garden cancelled.

I actually had edited out those power lines…

Why? Those California fires and an antiquated electrical grid system necessitated shutting down power to many neighborhoods in the Bay area the following weekend. Pacifica was one of them without power. Whew. That would have been a challenging ‘dark’ beginning to a betrothal with the orchids in the greenhouse.

It turns out that particular Saturday of October is the most common date to be married. About 33,000 couples chose that date. Whoa!

The 60+ guests enjoyed eating au fresco with the aid of heaters as it does get chilly when that sun goes down.

In the foreground Cousins from Boston,Dallas, Denver, Conway and Madison at this table…
View from Shelldance Orchid Gardens , Pacifica. CA

The weather gods did provide beautiful skies and sunsets for all 3.

The first family wedding took place outside of Madison, Wisconsin at Century Barn in Mt. Horeb. A back drop of expansive farmland with rolling hills lent itself for the outdoor ceremony,

Century Barn Mt Horeb WI

a large tent dining area for the 2oo guests…

and historic barn for enjoying live music, cocktail hour and dancing into the night.

And the third wedding was more old school… the smallest (~50) in a house of worship.

Dancing on the sidewalk…

and eating in the social hall downstairs.

No matter the size nor the venue our wishes are the same.

In order of weddings a humongous Mazal Tov to Leah and Simon, Karen and Steven and Maggie and Ed… May all three couples share a beautiful life together.


At many of the lectures I’m attending regarding ‘race,’ colonization is always part of the discourse. Today I’m borrowing a chart and words from WE are the Seeds post’s contributor Rupa Marya who gave a talk at Bioneers about how the macro connects to the micro. It’s a clear and succinct explanation of colonization.

“To understand the root causes of the pathologies we see today which impact all of us but affect Brown, Black and Poor people more intensely, we have to examine the foundations of this society which began with COLONIZATION.

To me, to be colonized means to be disconnected and disintegrated—from our ancestry, from the earth, from our indigeneity, our earth-connected selves. We all come from earth-connected people, people who once lived in deep connection to the rhythms of nature. I believe it is not a coincidence that the colonization of this land happened at the same time that Europeans were burning hundreds of thousands of witches, those women who carried the traditional indigenous knowledge of the tribes of Europe.

Colonization was the way the extractive economic system of Capitalism came to this land, supported by systems of supremacy and domination which are a necessary part to keep wealth and power accumulated in the hands of the colonizers and ultimately their financiers.

In what is now known at the US, this system of supremacy is expressed in many ways with many outcomes but we will focus on specific ones for the sake of time. First white supremacy, which created a framework that legitimized slavery and genocide. Slavery created cheap labor which is necessary for a functioning capitalist system. And genocide created unlimited access to resources, in the form of land, animal parts, minerals and raw materials which are also necessary for a functioning capitalist economy. And as capitalism functions, it further entrenches systems of supremacy.

We all know that white supremacy looks like scary people with swastikas in hoods. But it can also look like any place where there’s an abundance of white people in exclusive contexts, where power and access is not readily ceded to others.

There’s white supremacy and then there’s male supremacy, AKA patriarchy, which leads to the invisibilizing of women’s labor (you know, like creating the entire human race out of our bodies) or in this context, reproducing the work force and suppressing our wages, which further supports capitalism. Patriarchy also leads to femicide, domestic violence and child abuse, which we see across all groups here.

We also see human supremacy, where people feel superior to the rest of living entities, thereby subjecting living soils, seeds, animals, plants and water to horrific treatment in the name of exploiting resources, which in turn feeds the capitalist need for ever-increasing profits.

While this wheel of domination, exploitation, generation and sequestration of wealth continues, we experience as a byproduct and common pathway TRAUMA and many studies have shown us that chronic stress and trauma create chronic inflammation.”


So why’s this entry coming in a day late? Well, to tell the truth I was preoccupied trying to get my ducks in order and also writing an entry into Caring Bridge.

If you’re not familiar with Caring Bridge it’s a website to keep others informed about health issues about oneself/ a loved one. It’s been an outlet for many friends over the years and I have understood its importance to both its writers and also me as an interested party. Now I’m on the opposite end and it is my loved one, Natureman, who feels fine but was diagnosed with Renal (that’s kidney ) Cancer as of 3 weeks ago…

After being long overdue for a well check, Natureman had finally went in to see his primary physician. One test led to another as all the organs were checked off as normal. Heart stress test was not an issue but a urine test came back with some microscopic blood cells. More tests were ordered and an ultrasound followed by a cat scan confirmed a mass the size of one’s fist next to his left kidney with growth involving the adrenal glands, all of which will be removed next week. Another cat scan revealed two small nodules (11mm) one in each lung which will be dealt with at a later time.

Cancer can change a peaceful valley into a mountain of hurdles which need to be tackled one by one as it’s Natureman who does all of the ‘real’ labor here in the End of the Rainbow Valley.

Fortunately we have other backup heating sources besides wood because he’s not going to be allowed to split, haul/ pick up any thing more than 10 pounds. A new cart was ordered and one of the kids will assemble it for us so I can keep the back porch filled. It’ll probably be a good stress releaser for me and for the days I can’t get a fire going, the floor heat can take over as well as the furnace.

The goats have been farmed out to a neighbor but we already miss seeing them out in the pasture… I can feed the barn cats and haul water for the chickens. Balto, our dog can be let out by another neighbor…

A lot going of both mental and physical prep going one and also a clarification of why I was so upset about that dang car towing the week we found out about the cancer diagnosis.

Writing has been a good outlet for me over the years so bare with me as I continue to jump around with varied topics as the mood strikes me. Fall, weddings… Who knows I might even throw in some comfort food recipes besides ranting about injustices in our country including our health care system … Stay tuned and if you have some extra positive thoughts/good jokes send them our way.