Monday, June 30, 2008


I was tagged for this meme by Lori, the fabby voice behind Do You Realize? As you know, I’m not a big meme fan, but when the well is dry at least they give me something to post.

I keep thinking one of these things will blast some creativity back into me.

Here are the rules:

1. The rules of the game get posted at the beginning of the post.
2. Players answer the questions about themselves in their posts.
3. At the end of the post, the players then tag 5-6 people, post their names, then go to their blogs and leave them comments, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read their site.
4. Finally, new players must let the person who tagged them know when they’ve posted their answers.

And Now, The Questions:

What was I doing ten years ago?
 Trying to get pregnant. And, no, it wasn’t particularly fun. A diagnosis of “unexplained infertility” (i.e. you’ve waited too damn long to breed) means tests. Lots of them. My favorite? The one designed to prove that The Man’s sperm could actually penetrate eggs. How do they determine this? Turn ‘em loose in a Petri dish with a mess ‘o hamster eggs. FYI: the boys performed with flying colors. That test is at least worth a giggle. Driving up I5 for an insemination with a specimen cup of jiz in your bra? Not so much.

What are five things on my to do list for today? 
 Take my mother to chemotherapy. De-clutter the downstairs (I can dream, right?). Cook real food for dinner. Maintain composure when Small Child complains of boredom. Be exceedingly firm with washing machine repair people about the new motor that should have been here by now.

Snacks I enjoy? 
Hummus. Donuts. Fresh berries, peaches, cherries, and pineapple. Sno-cones.

Things I would do if I were a billionaire? 
I know I should go all noble and say I’d save the world (and if I were going to do that I would do whatever it took to insure that the next six folks appointed to the Supreme Court would be chosen by Democratic presidents, but that might take a bit more cash). Since we’re indulging in total fantasy here I’m going to be selfish. Without a doubt, the first thing I would do would be dump my cursed minivan. I hate that thing. Ever practical, I’d also pay off debt, set aside college money, and hire a trainer and a cook. Then I’d buy a house in Ashland and a cottage in the San Juans. With the next billion (no one said how many, after all), I’d pick up something in New Mexico and in rural Scotland. Then I’d do some serious traveling.

Three of my bad habits? 
 I’m messy. I have little self-discipline. I bite my nails.

Five places I have lived? 
 In a Texas suburban 50s tract house; in a turn-of-the century parsonage that became a hay barn and then became our house for the first 11 years I was married; in a 3 BR 60s ranch-style attached to a very large house , both overlooking a beautiful Oregon lake; in a cabin at 11,000 feet in the Colorado Rockies; in a too-big colonial with a funky little basement and a gorgeous yard (except for the fire ants).

Five jobs I have had? Cashier at a T.G.& Y., cocktail waitress, public relations writer, literature and writing professor, student affairs administrator.

How did you name your blog? After a phrase in a Frank O’Hara poem I read for the first time on the day I decided to start a blog.

Okay. Tagging. Does it say how many we have to tag? I fail. I’m at a real disadvantage here, as two of the folks I’d normally tag have already posted this meme. I am far too shy to tag a stranger, and I hate to bother people when I’ve never seen memes on their blogs. So I’m backed into a corner. I’ll tag What I Saw Today and Old Roman Symbol. As always, I’d love to hear from anyone!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Into the Wild Blue Yonder

Those of you who have been reading this blog from the beginning know of my extreme commitment to anonymity, for me and for those whose stories I tell. This post is no exception.

The summer after my college graduation, my boyfriend and I broke up. It wasn't an easy parting. I still remember the feeling of total helplessness when I realized that there was nothing I could do to change the situation. I cried, "These years, all we've been though, do they count for nothing? How can it just end? How can it just stop?" And he just looked at me, with a face full of the kind of pity I hope no one else will ever see.

We were eating Chinese food. I opened my fortune cookie, and through my tears I read: He loves you as much as he can, but not as much as you want.

I swear I'm not making that up.

I'm sure many of you have similar memories, gut-wrenching stories of young hearts ripped apart. Summoned by songs, smells, or very bad days, ghosts of lovers who were once essential to your existence, but whom you will never ever see again, drift through your thoughts.  Such is young love.

Older love goes wrong, too. But divorces or the severing of any long term loving ties are usually not so clean cut. With children or property involved, former partners - if they have been together any length of time - usually remain in some kind of contact...hopefully civil.

It is rare that - absent a death - romantic partners fly suddenly, irrevocably, completely out of our adult hearts, never to return.

So why did the story of the just-too-perfect fortune cookie resurface all these years later?

A far away friend - we'll call her Far Away Friend (FAF) to keep it simple - has been whacked by just such a thing. Nothing - not experience, planning, intellect, resignation, or expectation - prepared her for how much it hurts.

FAF had a boyfriend. And then she didn't. 

The whole boyfriend-girlfriend thing was complicated in this case by (you guessed it on the first try) a spouse.  Who found out.

So, an emergency text. Then a sad return call. And then nothing.

FAF is sensible and mature and has no desire to ruin anyone's life, so she complied with the terms of the deal, terms they'd agreed on going in (after all, this wasn't true love and never claimed to be). She has not and will not contact the boyfriend again.

She told me that she thought her heart was far too scarred to feel such pain after so many years of feeling so little.  She wondered, "Am I as insignificant as a gnat?"

The truth? 

The fortune cookie reveals a single word: yes.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Kennedy v. Louisiana Reversed and Remanded

I haven't yet had time to read or process the complete opinion (much less the dissent - all by the usual suspects), but I wanted to post in case you haven't heard. Today the Supreme Court ruled, 5-4,  that imposing the death penalty for the rape of a child was unconstitutional. You may recall that I wrote about this case earlier this year.

If you would like to read the full opinion, written by Justice Kennedy, please click here.

What follows is the content of an email I received from an attorney friend, who cut and pasted it from a summary bulletin sent out by the Court; thanks, F.G.


Web-accessible at:

Argued: April 16, 2008 -- Decided: June 25, 2008
Opinion author: Kennedy

Louisiana charged petitioner with the aggravated rape of
his then-8-year-old stepdaughter. He was convicted and
sentenced to death under a state statute authorizing capital
punishment for the rape of a child under 12. The State
Supreme Court affirmed, rejecting petitioner's reliance
on Coker v. Georgia, 433 U. S. 584 , which barred the use
of the death penalty as punishment for the rape of an adult
woman but left open the question which, if any, other nonhomicide
crimes can be punished by death consistent with the Eighth
Amendment. Reasoning that children are a class in need
of special protection, the state court held child rape
to be unique in terms of the harm it inflicts upon the
victim and society and concluded that, short of first-degree
murder, there is no crime more deserving of death. The
court acknowledged that petitioner would be the first person
executed since the state law was amended to authorize the
death penalty for child rape in 1995, and that Louisiana
is in the minority of jurisdictions authorizing death for
that crime. However, emphasizing that four more States
had capitalized child rape since 1995 and at least eight
others had authorized death for other nonhomicide crimes,
as well as that, under Roper v. Simmons, 543 U. S. 551
, and Atkins v. Virginia, 536 U. S. 304 , it is the direction
of change rather than the numerical count that is significant,
the court held petitioner's death sentence to be constitutional.

Held: The Eighth Amendment bars Louisiana from imposing
the death penalty for the rape of a child where the crime
did not result, and was not intended to result, in the
victim's death. Pp. 8-36.

1. The Amendment's Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause
"draw[s] its meaning from the evolving standards of decency
that mark the progress of a maturing society." Trop v.
Dulles, 356 U. S. 86 . The standard for extreme cruelty
"itself remains the same, but its applicability must change
as the basic mores of society change." Furman v. Georgia,
408 U. S. 238 . Under the precept of justice that punishment
is to be graduated and proportioned to the crime, informed
by evolving standards, capital punishment must "be limited
to those offenders who commit 'a narrow category of the
most serious crimes' and whose extreme culpability makes
them 'the most deserving of execution.' " Roper, supra,
at 568. Applying this principle, the Court held in Roper
and Atkins that the execution of juveniles and mentally
retarded persons violates the Eighth Amendment because
the offender has a diminished personal responsibility for
the crime. The Court also has found the death penalty disproportionate
to the crime itself where the crime did not result, or
was not intended to result, in the victim's death. See,
e.g., Coker, supra; Enmund v. Florida, 458 U. S. 782 .
In making its determination, the Court is guided by "objective
indicia of society's standards, as expressed in legislative
enactments and state practice with respect to executions."
Roper, supra, at 563. Consensus is not dispositive, however.
Whether the death penalty is disproportionate to the crime
also depends on the standards elaborated by controlling
precedents and on the Court's own understanding and interpretation
of the Eighth Amendment's text, history, meaning, and purpose.
Pp. 8-10.

2. A review of the authorities informed by contemporary
norms, including the history of the death penalty for this
and other nonhomicide crimes, current state statutes and
new enactments, and the number of executions since 1964,
demonstrates a national consensus against capital punishment
for the crime of child rape. Pp. 11-23.

(a) The Court follows the approach of cases in which objective
indicia of consensus demonstrated an opinion against the
death penalty for juveniles, see Roper, supra, mentally
retarded offenders, see Atkins, supra, and vicarious felony
murderers, see Enmund, supra. Thirty-seven jurisdictions--36
States plus the Federal Government--currently impose capital
punishment, but only six States authorize it for child
rape. In 45 jurisdictions, by contrast, petitioner could
not be executed for child rape of any kind. That number
surpasses the 30 States in Atkins and Roper and the 42
in Enmund that prohibited the death penalty under the circumstances
those cases considered. Pp. 11-15.

(b) Respondent's argument that Coker's general discussion
contrasting murder and rape, 433 U. S., at 598, has been
interpreted too expansively, leading some States to conclude
that Coker applies to child rape when in fact it does not,
is unsound. Coker's holding was narrower than some of its
language read in isolation indicates. The Coker plurality
framed the question as whether, "with respect to rape of
an adult woman," the death penalty is disproportionate
punishment, id., at 592, and it repeated the phrase "adult
woman" or "adult female" eight times in discussing the
crime or the victim. The distinction between adult and
child rape was not merely rhetorical; it was central to
Coker's reasoning, including its analysis of legislative
consensus. See, e.g., id., at 595-596. There is little
evidence to support respondent's contention that state
legislatures have understood Coker to state a broad rule
that covers minor victims, and state courts have uniformly
concluded that Coker did not address that crime. Accordingly,
the small number of States that have enacted the death
penalty for child rape is relevant to determining whether
there is a consensus against capital punishment for the
rape of a child. Pp. 15-20.

(c) A consistent direction of change in support of the
death penalty for child rape might counterbalance an otherwise
weak demonstration of consensus, see, e.g., Atkins, 536
U. S., at 315, but no showing of consistent change has
been made here. That five States may have had pending legislation
authorizing death for child rape is not dispositive because
it is not this Court's practice, nor is it sound, to find
contemporary norms based on legislation proposed but not
yet enacted. Indeed, since the parties submitted their
briefs, the legislation in at least two of the five States
has failed. Further, evidence that, in the last 13 years,
six new death penalty statutes have been enacted, three
in the last two years, is not as significant as the data
in Atkins, where 18 States between 1986 and 2001 had enacted
legislation prohibiting the execution of mentally retarded
persons. See id., at 314-315. Respondent argues that this
case is like Roper because, there, only five States had
shifted their positions between 1989 and 2005, one less
State than here. See 543 U. S., at 565. But the Roper Court
emphasized that the slow pace of abolition was counterbalanced
by the total number of States that had recognized the impropriety
of executing juvenile offenders. See id., at 566-567. Here,
the fact that only six States have made child rape a capital
offense is not an indication of a trend or change in direction
comparable to the one in Roper. The evidence bears a closer
resemblance to that in Enmund, where the Court found a
national consensus against death for vicarious felony murder
despite eight jurisdictions having authorized it. See458
U. S., at 789, 792. Pp. 20-22.

(d) Execution statistics also confirm that there is a social
consensus against the death penalty for child rape. Nine
States have permitted capital punishment for adult or child
rape for some length of time between the Court's 1972 Furman
decision and today; yet no individual has been executed
for the rape of an adult or child since 1964, and no execution
for any other nonhomicide offense has been conducted since
1963. Louisiana is the only State since 1964 that has sentenced
an individual to death for child rape, and petitioner and
another man so sentenced are the only individuals now on
death row in the United States for nonhomicide offenses.
Pp. 22-23.

3. Informed by its own precedents and its understanding
of the Constitution and the rights it secures, the Court
concludes, in its independent judgment, that the death
penalty is not a proportional punishment for the crime
of child rape. Pp. 23-35.

(a) The Court's own judgment should be brought to bear
on the death penalty's acceptability under the Eighth Amendment.
See, e.g., Coker, supra, at 597. Rape's permanent and devastating
impact on a child suggests moral grounds for questioning
a rule barring capital punishment simply because the crime
did not result in the victim's death, but it does not follow
that death is a proportionate penalty for child rape. The
constitutional prohibition against excessive or cruel and
unusual punishments mandates that punishment "be exercised
within the limits of civilized standards." Trop, 356 U.
S., at 99-100. Evolving standards of decency counsel the
Court to be most hesitant before allowing extension of
the death penalty, especially where no life was taken in
the commission of the crime. See, e.g., Coker, 433 U. S.,
at 597-598; Enmund, 458 U. S., at 797. Consistent with
those evolving standards and the teachings of its precedents,
the Court concludes that there is a distinction between
intentional first-degree murder on the one hand and nonhomicide
crimes against individuals, even including child rape,
on the other. The latter crimes may be devastating in their
harm, as here, but "in terms of moral depravity and of
the injury to the person and to the public," they cannot
compare to murder in their "severity and irrevocability,"
id, at 598.The Court finds significant the substantial
number of executions that would be allowed for child rape
under respondent's approach. Although narrowing aggravators
might be used to ensure the death penalty's restrained
application in this context, as they are in the context
of capital murder, all such standards have the potential
to result in some inconsistency of application. The Court,
for example, has acknowledged that the requirement of general
rules to ensure consistency of treatment, see, e.g., Godfrey
v. Georgia, 446 U. S. 420 , and the insistence that capital
sentencing be individualized, see, e.g., Woodson v. North
Carolina, 428 U. S. 280 , have resulted in tension and
imprecision. This approach might be sound with respect
to capital murder but it should not be introduced into
the justice system where death has not occurred. The Court
has spent more than 32 years developing a foundational
jurisprudence for capital murder to guide the States and
juries in imposing the death penalty. Beginning the same
process for crimes for which no one has been executed in
more than 40 years would require experimentation in an
area where a failed experiment would result in the execution
of individuals undeserving of death. Pp. 24-30.

(b) The Court's decision is consistent with the justifications
offered for the death penalty, retribution and deterrence,
see, e.g., Gregg v. Georgia, 428 U. S. 153 . Among the
factors for determining whether retribution is served,
the Court must look to whether the death penalty balances
the wrong to the victim in nonhomicide cases. Cf. Roper,
supra, at 571. It is not at all evident that the child
rape victim's hurt is lessened when the law permits the
perpetrator's death, given that capital cases require a
long-term commitment by those testifying for the prosecution.
Society's desire to inflict death for child rape by enlisting
the child victim to assist it over the course of years
in asking for capital punishment forces a moral choice
on the child, who is not of mature age to make that choice.
There are also relevant systemic concerns in prosecuting
child rape, including the documented problem of unreliable,
induced, and even imagined child testimony, which creates
a "special risk of wrongful execution" in some cases. Cf.
Atkins, supra, at 321. As to deterrence, the evidence suggests
that the death penalty may not result in more effective
enforcement, but may add to the risk of nonreporting of
child rape out of fear of negative consequences for the
perpetrator, especially if he is a family member. And,
by in effect making the punishment for child rape and murder
equivalent, a State may remove a strong incentive for the
rapist not to kill his victim. Pp. 30-35.

4. The concern that the Court's holding will effectively
block further development of a consensus favoring the death
penalty for child rape overlooks the principle that the
Eighth Amendment is defined by "the evolving standards
of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society,"
Trop, 356 U. S., at 101. Confirmed by the Court's repeated,
consistent rulings, this principle requires that resort
to capital punishment be restrained, limited in its instances
of application, and reserved for the worst of crimes, those
that, in the case of crimes against individuals, take the
victim's life. P. 36.

957 So. 2d 757, reversed and remanded.

Kennedy, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which
Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg, and Breyer, JJ., joined. Alito,
J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which Roberts, C. J.,
and Scalia and Thomas, JJ., joined.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Ideas, please?

I'm hoping that someone out there can give me some ideas about what might be going on with my home network so that I will know which tech support to call and won't look like a total goofus when I do. 

First, you must promise not to laugh at my lack of tech-savvy. Yeah, I have a blog. That means nothing thanks to the Blogger wizards. And I use a Mac, which means I really don't have a "need to know."

I have a DSL/broadband modem, courtesy of Verizon and use an Airport Extreme base station for wireless. 

My computer shows that I am connected with a lovely signal.  All the lights shine correctly on both modem and router.  

But I can't connect to the 'net.  Random sessions of restarting, fidgeting, unplugging/replugging everything will reestablish connection for a few hours, then nothing.

I've been crouching in the corner of the upstairs guest room swiping my neighbor's signal for weeks now. Tonight I finally dug out the Sprint USB modem I use in Oregon and installed it on the new Miss Mac so I can roam freely 'round the abode.

So, my technical superiors, do you think the problem lies in the modem or the router? Do I call Verizon or Apple? Do I disconnect with Verizon altogether and  just use the USB modem since I'm paying through the wazoo for it, anyway? But if I do that, then I can't buy the groovy new Time Machine I have my eye on.

I'm hoping for a veritable storm of comments.

Friday, June 20, 2008

I Don't Sleep, I Dream

As promised, here’s a meme to tide you over during my paralytic hiatus. I resist memes, because I worry that readers will consider me the bloggic version of an email chain letter about angels or something. I stole this one from Molly, though, because her version was so damned entertaining; mine isn't, so much.

I’ve tried to complete it about five times, most recently a week ago. It was oh so hard not to cheat and move things around and redo it five or six times like a monkey in a room with a typewriter trying to replicate Faulkner's novels. Nothing like a procrastinating writer.   Yesterday, I forced myself to work with the most recent version, painstakingly looking up lyrics and excerpting the most poignant snippets. Then I thought, "What a barf-worthy load of crap."

F*uck it, it’s a meme, what?

I have happy music on my iPod, too! I am not suicidal, nor am I on the brink of divorce (that I know of). But it was kind of a glum day when I created that list. And the songs reinforced my moody blues, although none of them were by that band. Who needs that?

So I switched from my iPod to “Party Shuffle” in iTunes and decided to leave the analysis up to you. You’ll find some odd stuff here, at least one song I haven’t ever heard, covers by odd singers, and more Elvis Costello than you might expect. And returning readers know that I am married and have a child, rendering those questions ambiguous, at best.

Wanna play? Here are the rules... Please let me know if you decide to participate. I am tagging Lori, What I Saw Today, and Old Roman Symbol. You’re It! Or should it be “You All Are Them”?

1. Put your music player on shuffle. 

2. Press forward with each question. 

3. Use the song title as the answer to the question - EVEN if it doesn't make any sense whatsoever - NO CHEATING!!!

For each question, I’ve included the song title and artist that iTunes belched up as a "response." Make of this what you will.

 “Burned” Neil Young

 “Fallen” k.d. lang



 “Your Smilin’ Face” James Taylor

 “Like an Angel Passing Through” Anne Sofie von Otter and Elvis Costello

HOW IS YOUR LOVE LIFE? “The Sire of Sorrow (Job’s Sad Song)” Joni Mitchell

 “Shower the People” James Taylor

WILL YOU GET MARRIED? “Coming Back to You” Jennifer Warnes

”Lonely Girls” Lucinda Williams

ARE YOU GOOD AT SCHOOL? “I Wanna Be Loved” Elvis Costello and the Attractions

WILL YOU BE SUCCESSFUL IN LIFE? “On Your Shore” Charlotte Martin

 “Whatever It Is” Drew Phelps



YOU AND YOUR BEST FRIEND ARE ...? “Heart Full of Holes” Mark Knopfler

”She” Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians

SAD TIMES? “Compensation” Nina Simone

EVERYDAY? “Mommy Daddy You and I” Talking Heads

FOR TOMORROW? “Flutter and Wow” Elvis Costello

FOR YOU? “Getting to Know You” James Taylor

WHAT DOES NEXT YEAR HAVE IN STORE FOR ME?  “So Long Marianne” Leonard Cohen

WHAT DO I SAY WHEN LIFE GETS HARD? “L.A. Freeway” Jerry Jeff Walker


 “Tragedy” Emmylou Harris

 “Peace in Our Time” Elvis Costello and the Attractions

THE SONG YOU WILL PUT AS YOUR SUBJECT? “I Don’t Sleep, I Dream” R.E.M. (Full disclosure: this is the only place I cheated. “Pieces of April” by Three Dog Night came up, but who would read a post with that title?)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Paralytic Hiatus

Stick with me, pals.

I've been smacked upside the head with the moody blues. Glum, foggy-headed funk.  Hot, humid, lethargic word-cement.

Inspired by Christy of Juvenescence and Lithia Writers' Collective, I'm going to attack the block from a different direction and attempt to put together a room of my own, physically and emotionally. One with a door I can close.  Click here for some excellent examples.

I may post a meme or two in the next few days, just to keep my fingers busy.  If you need things to read, do check out my blog links, as I've added a couple. Her Other Evil Twin is a true mystery woman. While I've never met the author of RedMolly Picayune-Democrat face-to-face, I figure -  in the blogosphere - one degree of separation qualifies. I attended public school with Old Roman Symbol from second through twelfth grade, but haven't seen him since 1977 (same with  What I Saw Today....maybe a reunion would shake things up?).

I think this is probably Texas' version of Seasonal Affective Disorder.  I once read an article about summer sufferers, including one woman who went to bed each night with two-liter Pepsi-bottles full of water she'd frozen to keep the night sweats at bay.  Not a bad plan at all.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Removing my Rose Colored Glasses Glasses

A year or so ago, Nora Ephron published a book of essays titled I Feel Bad About My Neck. Mildly intrigued and acutely aware of my own advancing age, I ordered it and began to read. After the first few pieces I put it aside, as I'd grown tired of what I perceived as an obsessive self-focus.

"I am glad I'm not so concerned about my appearance. No, maybe it's that I'm glad I seem to be holding up fairly well. Good genes. Luck. Sunscreen. Anyway, enough with the 'woe over wrinkles' stuff!" I semi-gloated as I poured a glass of red wine and settled in with some other reading material.

Things have changed. I feel bad about my eyes.

Understand. My eyes are my one vanity, the single feature on my entire body I, without reservation, know are beautiful. I realize this sounds flippant, but I would be kickass hot in a chador

For several years, I've been using clics when I read. They are the greatest thing since sliced bread. But over the last 18 months or so I've noticed problems with ever-larger print and a need for help in the middle distance.

Yesterday, I endured a long postponed eye exam. Some folks dread the dentist's chair. Me? The optometrist's dim room. For a perfectionist, the simple question, "Which is clearer? This or this?" induces crippling anxiety.  I tend to answer, "Well, in the first one, the two letters on the far right are clearer, but in the second one, those two letters suck but the one in the center is much better and the two on the left are about 25% clearer."  It's a damned good thing this guy has known me for a long time.

Frame selection was its own fresh hell.

I purchased up a pair of prescription readers and the first thing I saw was not the crisp features of type on a page but the truly aged appearance of the skin on my forearm. Gasp. I will be using these over contact lenses, which I hope I will tolerate better than I did the last time I tried them a few years ago. Back then I could just give the lenses up. Now I'm not so sure.

It gets worse. If the contacts don't work, or during those periods when I choose not to wear them, I must sport that signal indicator of advancing age: bifocals.  I'm picking them up this afternoon, after I wake up from the depressed nap I'm about to take.

I feel bad about my eyes, Nora Ephron. Maybe now I'll feel better about your book.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Gift Night

I just returned from walking Large Dog. A line of thunderstorms moved through this afternoon and left things freakishly cool.  It's 63 degrees outside. 

Thank you, universe, for sending me a little bit of what I'm missing so much.

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Dark. The Wall.

The trip is off. I will be blogging from the hell that is Texas summer.  More about this when I cool off from the news.

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Light. The Tunnel.

I am now officially able to plot my departure for Oregon. At the oncologist's today, my mother received the bad news/good news talk that we've heard before. The tumors are growing again, and her tumor marker continues to rise. But two drugs remain in the arsenal, and she started one today. I was assured that the disease would make no radical downturns in the next two months, even if she did not respond to the first drug. 

As I told Mother today, "Don't forget: you had ten times this much cancer in you before you even knew you were sick."

The house is in high gear, what with route planning, Small Child's summer camp/activities selection (this all had to wait until we knew which state we'd be in), gear collection (where is my bike helmet?), and wardrobe organization. I'm paring down this year as there's a chance I'll be driving home in something less bulky than the Silver Minivan. If so, my cries of joy will ring from the redwood forests to the Gulf stream waters.

My big decision? Dare I drive with Large Dog and Small Child? Or do I repeat last year's plan and find someone to fly out with her? Fuel prices are, alas, impacting the decision. I've been waiting all year long for those five or six days of solitary road bliss, with my dog's sweet sleeping head on my lap and the westbound road ahead.  Am I selfish because I don't want to spoil it with whining, even from the lips of one so dear?