Just for a While

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Photographer: Rene Sunberg


I ran away from home for a few hours with a friend and took a vacation.

We got lost in a fake movie about fake problems with fake solutions.

We talked about the wonders of the fake world and what it was like to live in the fake world for a while.

Now I’m home and time to get lost in the world of my own mind and

maybe even work on a few of  my own fake stories.

Wishes really do come true sometimes.

Anne Carlson


Take a Brain Vacation

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I’d like to run away from home for a few hours with a friend and take a brain vacation.

Maybe get lost in a fake movie about fake problems with fake solutions.

Then spend an hour sipping a guilt-free beverage engaged in lively conversation over the hows and whys of the fake movie and what we would have done if we had have written it, and if we had have written it how it would have been so much better.

Then come home and get lost in the world of my own mind and

maybe even work on a few of  my own fake stories.

Maybe I will.

Anne Carlson


Don’t take my Blankie

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Ran across a study {http://www.uchospitals.edu/news/2012/20120321-opioid.html}  that suggests that the pain killers that are given to cancer patients could make cancer spread faster.

This seems like a very mean trick.  I’m no scientist, and reading between the lines of research is not my expertise, but this has  really been bugging me today.

Its like someone took away my blankie.

Anne Carlson

Sorting Things

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Material things are not the goal.  Material things are a means to help obtain a goal.

Step 1.  Put everything I own and make a big pile in the middle of the living room.  (figuratively)

Step 2.  Decide – for the rest of my life

A. What do I want to do?

B.  What do I want to get?

C.  What do I want to contribute?

Step 3.  Take out of that pile only the things that apply to Step 2.

Step 4. Leave behind the rest.

Material things are not the goal.

Anne Carlson


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Getting through chemo, was it.  All other goals and objectives dropped to the bottom of the list. I had a lot of ideas of how this would go; all stories in my mind. It has not gone according to those stories.

What was I thinking? Writing scripts with multiple choice options trying to force order into the unpredictable.  Grabbing for something stable, an anchor of safety to make the”what ifs,” be quiet.

My script says there will be another storm, it will be darker, harsher and more resistant to treatment.  Before that 2nd storm,  I’m going to get better, bone medicine will work, I’ll go into remission and have my chance to live again.

That’s a nice story.

What if, what if, what if? What if this is as good as it gets?  What if next month I’m flat out? What if all I can do is stare at the patterns of the ceiling and think of all the things I wish I had done?

That’s a not so nice story.  Time to rethink the bottom of that list.

Anne Carlson

Florence Nightingale

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Her hair carefully pinned up, under her a white vest-like apron, a full skirt flared out to the floor.  Her long teal-green cuffed pleated sleeves ironed to perfection. “Hello, I’m from home-health.”  She was in her 20s.

I recognized her dress conforming to a nearby religious community. I felt I was visited by a a nurse from the civil war and expected her to be stern, probably a bias I picked up from an old movie.  She was friendly and fun.  Her confidence and focus brought a feeling of safety and trust restoring a respect for the formalities my generation is responsible for expelling out of our culture.

She offered to play her flute for me.  So I had a private Sunday morning concert in my bedroom of beautiful music. It took me to all the many times I have performed for others. I have been the giver of music, but not so much the receiver.  It made me cry.

Anne Carlson


Handicap Bathroom

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“Capitol Crawl” 3/12/90 Photo Credit: Tom Olin/Disability History Museum

“Is there anything I can do for you?”  The warmth in her voice was more motherly than that of an emergency room doctor.  It was October 9, 2016.  I was alone by choice.  The limp was not arthritis. The cancer had spread to the hip, a lot of it. For the rest of my life I would be a cancer patient.

“No,  I’m okay,”  I gave her eye contact. We spoke without words.

I didn’t feel like crying, didn’t feel like wailing into a pillow, or even calling anybody.  “But,” I added,  “could you tell me where the lady’s room is?”

The big stall had a handicapped sign on it.  That’s me.  I thought. I have a handicap, a disability, I am part of this group now.  I opened the big wide door. For the first time I used the handicapped bathroom without feeling guilty, and relished the convenience of it’s spaciousness.

I remembered March 12, 1990. Disabled people of all shapes and sizes, traveled from around the country to Washington DC, a few miles from where I lived, to demand access to public facilities. Forfeiting their dignity, they left their wheelchairs and walkers behind and crawled 83 steps up the nation’s capitol building before national T.V. to make their point.

It was because of them, I have an accessible bathroom, a ramp on the sidewalk, and an elevator when I need it. I am very grateful for a community of people I will never meet.

Anne Carlson


Partying in the Healthfood store

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Pardon me for staring,” I said to a woman standing between the potatoes and avocados, ” I’m into scarves lately and I’ve been studying yours.” 

Her shopping face immediately turned into  light-hearted laughter .  “Is your scarf a square of fabric or is it a long narrow piece?” I asked her.

“It’s long and narrow.” She said, and began to tell me her secret.  “First, I start by folding it into thirds…”. She, her friend and I had a grand old time over my rookie scarf skills and her expertise.

Its amazing where you can find a party,  even in even in the produce section of the health food store.

Anne Carlson

Chased by a Cloud

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How odd to give so much to a living being that you are responsible for bringing into this world.  Hard work of studying, analyzing, mind reading, negotiating education, scrounging for provisions, wondering if you will ever hear the word, “Mommy.”   Years go by and you wonder if you will ever know what goes on inside that little head, and then you see a little off-kilter misshapen awkward smile and your world lights up.

Your heart breaks when the bullies come and the rage boils within you, as you have become a mother bear in restraints. You turn around and, oh my gosh, he’s greying at the temples.  You are still wondering how long would he go without a bath if no one reminded him?

You find yourself vulnerable, back in the secret corners of your mind the dark cloud of the poor-people’s nursing home is chasing you.  You have a need, a small thing, a request that is really no big deal.


He says no, only capable of being concerned of that which matters to him.

That’s Autism

Anne Carlson



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