Monday, March 2, 2009
accept my apologies for not posting a report sooner, but the last month
has been very hectic indeed! Pantheacon right in the middle of Feb. was
an enormous undertaking for our whole Family. Not only did we have our
usual Mythic Images booth (which we seem to make more-and-more elaborate
each year); we also hosted a hospitality suite for the Church of All
Worlds, with several events scheduled there. These included a big book
release gala and contributor-signing party for my latest book, Green Egg
Omelette, on Sunday evening. This was followed by our dear Wynter’s
30th birthday party, at which, upon the stroke of midnight, Morgan, her
beloved partner of the past several years, got down on one knee and
formally proposed to her! No one had a clue. Morgan’s mother Erif was
there as well, and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. We are all so
happy for them both!
also put together a Grey School panel presentation with a number of
faculty members. This was videotaped and can be seen on U-tube at
www.youtube.com/duir1177. But the biggest thing for MG and me was the
major ritual on Saturday night, which was Valentine’s Day. Kiara videoed
it, but she hasn’t put it up yet. Eric Silverbear had made the
arrangements and conceived the basic theme: “Phoenix Rising.” And he
served as Priest. But actually composing the script for the entire
ritual, including all the stage directions, etc., fell pretty much to
me. Fortunately, each of the participants wrote most of their own parts,
so this wasn’t as hard as it could have been. And we had a number of
rehearsals to get it all down.
then there were all the props, costumes, and special effects, which
pretty much fell to me to create. Fortunately, Julie was able to help
out with a lot of the sewing, so I didn’t have to do it all. But I did
create an amazing Phoenix costume and headpiece, as well as reproducing
exactly the entire leafy “hair” of my Millennial Gaia figurine—including
the “tree of life” on the back with all the tiny animals—as a full-size
wig for Morning Glory, who took the role of Gaia in the ritual. Then
there were tabards for the Elemental dancers, and matching altar cloths
for the four quarter altars. And an electric “hearth” that could display
glowing “coals” and then burst into “flame” under my control. Making
all that stuff took weeks, and it was only finished just in time for us
to pack and leave at dawn on Friday morning for the 2-hour drive to San
Jose. Morning Glory never even went to bed the night before, and I
wasn’t at my very best either, as just a few days earlier had been my
bi-weekly chemo treatments.
I am writing this only a few days after my latest treatment, which is
really kicking my butt! But this is a week off for me, and I don’t have
to go back for more until next Tuesday (March 10). The best news is that
I have only 3 more treatments! I’ll be done with this for good after
the final treatment on April Fool’s Day!
of these treatments, however, gets harder and harder for me to take, as
the effects are cumulative. The numbness and temperature sensitivity in
my fingers and toes has now become so acute that I have to wear warm
wooly gloves to take anything out of the refrigerator, or to drive.
Grocery shopping (a task that has fallen almost entirely to me, as the
grocery store is next to the Post Office, and I go there nearly every
day to send packages and pick up the mail) has become very difficult. I
have to really bundle up against the cold in the store, and again, I
have to wear thick gloves to handle anything, even veggies.
the worst part for me is the smells. By now, there is pretty much no
lining at all in my nasal passages, and my olfactory nerves are just raw
and open. In an attempt to keep the missing lining moist, my mucus
glands are working overtime, so I have a constant runny and bloody nose.
I’m going through Kleenex by the case! When I go into the grocery
store, I am nearly sickened by the once-pleasant aroma of baking, fresh
veggies, and all the other good smells which now seem foul and
nauseating to me.
same is true, of course, for tastes. All the lining of my mouth and
throat is now pretty much gone, as well as my taste buds, and I am
coughing a lot as my digestive and mouth mucus glands are trying to
compensate. I have a perpetual foul taste in my mouth which I won’t
disgust you by trying to describe. Food of any kind not only doesn’t
taste good, but the very thought of it is revolting.
has its good side—with no appetite, I’ve lost 40 pounds since I started
on this, and I hope to lose another 20 or 30 before I’m done. This
weight loss will allow me to have surgery to correct the umbilical
hernia which has really gotten out of hand since my operation for colon
cancer last July. The lump protruding from my belly is now the size of
my fist. But my doctor says it’s OK, and I’m in no danger.
of what the doctor says, however, I seem to be in excellent health in
all ways other than the chemo side-effects. All my blood tests continue
to be excellent, and I recently underwent a complete cardiology
evaluation—including treadmill and ultrasound. My cardiologist said
everything was normal. I asked him, “Do you mean normal for a
66-year-old guy with cancer?”
And he said, “No, normal for a 40-year-old man in good health.” So that’s encouraging.
for my hair and beard (which everyone asks about), it keeps getting
thinner and wispier, but I’m not gonna shave it—I want to see just how
far it goes, and what I’ll look like at the most extreme. It’s like
watching myself age 30 years over six months, which is fascinating in a
macabre sort of way. I have this big portrait of me up over our
fireplace, and it’s not aging, while I am. Sorta like “The Portrait of
Dorian Grey” in reverse. At Pantheacon, Glenn Turner, Selena Fox, and
Starhawk all told MG that if I’d shave my head at the con as a statement
(of what, I don’t know), they’d pay to have some nifty pattern hennaed
onto my scalp. But I turned them down. The oddest thing there was that
people kept coming up to me and telling me enthusiastically, “You look
I’d say, “No I don’t. I look like hell.” I mean, back when I
actually did look pretty good, people weren’t coming up and telling me
so, so what’s this about? I thought of how people viewing an embalmed
corpse at a funeral will say, “Doesn’t he look good?” No he doesn’t—he’s
MG explained that folks were just trying to be encouraging, and that I
should say politely, “Thank you for the vote of confidence.” So this is
what I did after that.
now we’ve been asked to do reprise the Phoenix Rising ritual for our
own Church of Worlds Walpugisnacht (May Eve) at Annwfn. That’s cool—at
least I don’t have to make all that stuff again!
I think this is enough about me for now. Bright Blessings,