Who Left the Stove on?

 

I left the stove on.  “Just don’t leave the kitchen when the stove is on..” my friend says.

Duh.

Embarrassed, humiliated … defensive.

My outside self consoles my inside self. “From now on, I will be more careful, it won’t happen again.”

“Cancer does not define you,” the higher self prompts, but my mind wonders out to the place that protects people that leave the stove on. These days they call it “the memory unit.”

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A woman with an Albert Einstein hairstyle tears down the hall looking for Elvis, wearing only the silky-pink bedroom slippers she got for Christmas.

The stove is off.

For now.

~Anne Carlson~

 

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Meet Batia, the King of Mischief

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Meet Batia, formerly known as Brat. for a good reason.  He is a Polish cat, so his loving human servant, Anne Elizabeth, found him a more refined, polish name. You have not likely heard this name before, as it ranks 49,597 in the common list of  names. In Hebrew it means “Daughter of God”.  Batia pays no attention to all that.  He is quite happy with the name, and when its time for dinner, he answers to it.

I have begun a series, Adventures of Batia with my friend.  We are writing it for a boy she coaches that has to work extra hard  to hold his attention as he learns to read. We think Batia is just the thing that can get him launched.

I met Batia a few weeks ago when I returned to my hometown to visit my forever friend.  She warned me that anything I put on any surface he would find a way to get at it. Batia is pictured here, stuck inside an oversized cone belonging to his house mate, Luca, the Labrador.

Behind Batia is  a very precious red velvet chair.  I remember this chair because at 8 years old, sitting on it was a privilege.  This chair was once the feature decor-piece in her grandmother’s down stair’s apartment.  It now has a rip in it.

The stories wait to be told, and I’m just itching to tell them, maybe 2 or 3 in this picture alone. I have been delightedly surprised that writing for beginning readers is like writing poetry.  You have a story to tell and a very limited pool of words to say it in, which is great for me, because lately, I am vocabulary-challenged.

Last night we began The Adventures of Batia, or maybe we’ll call it The King of Cat Michief.  We haven’t decided yet, but  we’ll see where this goes.  I promise, more Batia posts in the future.

~Anne Carlson~

 

 

Chemo. How to keep your dignity while losing your mind?

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Can’t spell catalog, or is it catalogue? Spelling was never a problem but today I have no idea so I guess.  I remember to turn my phone on at 2 pm. It rings.  “Did you see the golden globes last night?”  My conversation runs aground as Maryland patiently waits for me to remember the names of 2 of the famous actresses that weren’t wearing any make up.   I know them, I can see them in my mind.  The names never come.   Maryland gently moves on and we talk about immediate things. 

“How’s the book going?” she asks.   After 25 minutes of conversation, I ask, “Did you hear about Cliven Bundy’s case today?”  Before I finish the sentence,  I realize we already spent 5 minutes talking about it. 

While I type this, It comes again. What was that word?  Cliven Bundy got ____, what?  “I know that word, I’ve been using it all day.  My inner voice yells back, scolding the stubborn neurons that still refuse to fire. Panic, anger and frustration pulse through my consciousness.

I dance around the word fueling the fire with as many available words my creative mind can conjure:  Bundy got released, excused, pardoned, let go out of jail, not blamed?  No.  Close, but not it. It doesn’t come.  God bless google.  The word I was looking for was “dismissed,”  Specifically, Cliven Bundy was “dismissed with prejudice,” by Judge Navarro today.

Friends who are not on chemo tell me, they too, are having trouble remembering. This does not comfort me.  I think, “Why aren’t you doing something about it?  How can you be so passive about your mind being stolen from you?”  I feel like I’m paying out hush money to the mafia under lords. But the payment isn’t in money, its in brain cells.

I thank God for a lot of things. By golly ts good to be here. It’s good to be able to close a car door, pick up a mug of tea and put my shoes on without fear of breaking bones. It’s good to be alive one more day.  Yes, I am grateful.

But as I start another round of  chemo, I wrestle down my resistance and submit.  I take it, but am left to wonder how many memories, words and mental skills will I lose this round?

Living with end-stage Cancer.

~ Anne Carlson ~