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The First Time – A Talk With My Daughter

March 1, 2016

snowdrops - signs of spring“Sweetie,” I said to my daughter, “I know it’s your first time, and I’m sure you’ve talked with your friends – each generation has their own ideas and I understand that, but still, there are some basic things that I want to be sure you know.”

“You need to be careful that you’re not choosing a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Money and flash can be distracting allures. But honesty and integrity are far more important.”

To my surprise, my daughter seemed to be content to continue listening to me.

“Once you’re alone and the moment has come, please be prepared. You can get caught up in the newness of it all and lose track of your thoughts. So please, for the wellbeing of yourself and all of us, be prepared. Know how you are going to proceed. The decision you make can effect your health and wellbeing for the rest of your life.”

“When the sheet is drawn and you have only your wits to guide you, please keep your head and don’t vote for Trump!”

10 Classic Shakespeare Plays Everyone Should Read

January 26, 2016

I’ve been following Interesting Literature for some time now. Sometimes the site introduces new (to me) writers and their works. Other times, like today, I’m reminded of reading I did many years ago – some in this article, when I was in high school. Reading this post tempts me to do a study of Shakespeare’s works again. Macbeth was my fav.

Interesting Literature

The best of the Bard’s plays, with some interesting facts about them

Every Shakespeare play is a classic, of course. But William Shakespeare left behind nearly forty plays, including his collaborations with John Fletcher and others, and it would be disingenuous to claim that they all have equal ‘classic’ status among the Bard’s work. What we’ve compiled here, then, is less a definitive list of ‘best Shakespeare plays’ and more a small selection of some of his most talked-about, reread, performed, and adapted plays. We’ve included some facts about them as we go. We’ve not attempted to place them in any preferential order: that would be a step too far. But what, if you had to choose, would be the greatest of Shakespeare’s plays?

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In Honor of Sprite – a poem by Mary McAvoy

July 19, 2015



In Honor of Sprite
    by Mary McAvoy

Tonight I washed the kitchen floor and there went the last traces of your paw prints.
When I shower now, the water will rinse from my legs the residue left by your wet nose
when it came up against me, the last sense able to find your home base.

Down the drain will go the flecks of dirt from your fur and paws as you sat at my feet for the last time
and I stroked your warm body.

I know you are lingering here.
Either you can’t let go of me,
your source of safety –
or I can’t let go of you,
my constant.

Soon, after 16 years of 64 seasons, we’ll drift fully apart
and you will remain only a memory to me.
How odd that seems, when you are so freshly real.

Run now! You are free to go!
Enjoy the others who are happy to have you among them!
You are a sprite – delight them!

And I will miss you, till we meet again.

Poem: Good Friday Indulgence by Mary McAvoy

April 3, 2015

happpy child running in nature setting
Good Friday Indulgence

by Mary McAvoy

People are at church tonight
while I, at home, clean up the spills from my drink, like Gangy.

The Lord has suffered on the Cross today
while she has cried the afternoon away,
fearful of her fate.

Who are the believers? The squeaky clean and pristine?
Or the down and dirty living in the trenches
on the razor’s edge between life and death –
and who are not in a structured church of any kind?

Who takes the punch from me for her suffering?
Where do I aim my rage?
At a punishing god?
Or a God who has a plan in which she plays a critical part?

Open my eyes and let me see why –
if she is to suffer in my sight.
Show me the divine plan
that I might lift this cup from her, and take her part.

Living Deliberately

March 9, 2015
Liv and me 2

Liv and me

Often now, since my daughter’s diagnosis of cancer, through some part or several parts of nearly every day, I am in lock-down, trapped in a spell of anxiety that cripples my brain function to one degree or another. Often the anxiety comes out of nowhere when I’m not thinking particularly about any aspect of this new journey we’re on and yet a cyclone begins to whirl within me, heating me from the inside to the out, stopping me in my tracks and making my brain buzz with a noise that blocks out sense and reason till a glimmer of thought reminds me to breathe – just breathe – to appease what I soon perceive to be gripping fear.

Olivia’s surgery has been rescheduled and will now happen in mid April, which is a blessing. It has allowed us to pause, to catch our breath, to stop the break-neck speed at which our lives had been traveling since mid-November when she was diagnosed. At this slower pace I’ve worked diligently to find ways to care for myself so that I remain strong for her. I walk nearly every day, I’m taking my vitamins and magnesium faithfully each day, I am eating my usual diet of leafy dark greens, seasonal squashes, nuts, tofu and fish, with occasional lean chicken. I’m conscious of hydrating. In the early evening I turn off the computer and lower the lights throughout the house. After a time of “humming down” the day, I read in bed for an hour before I shut off my light and sleep. This deliberate routine seems to help keep the anxiety attacks at bay. At least they are less frequent and less severe, most of the time.

It’s important for me to study about this cancer – malignant peritoneal mesothelioma. I knew nothing about it before Olivia was diagnosed. So I watch videos from the 2014 international symposium sponsored by the National Cancer Institute and to learn all I can about research and treatment. Soon the 2015 videos from this year’s symposium will be online and I’ll watch them too. It fills me with a sense of greater confidence as I watch Olivia’s surgical oncologist, Dr. H. Richard Alexander – University of Maryland Medical Center, speak at these conferences. It’s clear that he has a career-long accumulation of knowledge which informs his best approach to treating her.

When Olivia was first diagnosed, I felt like a rag doll being flip-flopped around, at the mercy of fate. But the tincture of time now has me feeling a bit more in control. I’ve got hold of the reins of those things I can control, like how I live each day, and I’m helping Liv choose the best medical people to handle the stuff over which we have no control but they have some. The rest is in the hands of the great, mysterious power and the impact prayer has to influence that power.

So, as always, your prayers and healing thoughts are much appreciated. Thanks. ❤

My Daughter (age 24) Has Peritoneal Mesothelioma, A Rare Cancer

January 13, 2015

Today I took down my Christmas tree and decorations. I’m guessing that this is the latest I’ve ever left the tree and Christmas ornaments lingering in the living room. I played my Johnny Mathis Christmas CD throughout the packing up of the tree ornaments, the nativity and the sentimental things that adorned the mantle.

Even with the time-consuming job finished, I’m bummed that it’s all packed away. I’m not sure if my attachment to the season this year is because I put it all out so late (days before Christmas) or because of life circumstances. My perspective on everything changed in November when I sat with my daughter, Olivia, as she was told that she has a rare cancer.

Olivia’s 24. Only a handful of women her age are diagnosed with malignant peritoneal epithelial mesothelioma each year in the U.S. I’d never heard of the cancer, which was stumbled upon during a surgery for another purpose altogether. It’s so rare that there are really only five doctors in the U.S. who are considered the “go to” people for this cancer. We’ve chosen one in Baltimore who specializes in women Olivia’s age who have peritoneal mesothelioma, and we’re grateful he’s on the east coast, as we are, though he’s 300 miles from us.

Within the layers of accumulated experience that is Olivia, there is an astounding amount of wisdom. And, as I’ve told her all her life, I don’t know another person with her strength. Nothing for her has come easily and yet she’s persevered and found her way. In this latest development she will too.

I feel that I am alone. Despite having numerous friends who are mothers and who are so loving and supportive of us, not one has experienced a child with cancer. I feel isolated, adrift on my own maternal raft. Disconnected entirely from them, despite their care, concern and contact with me.

Whatever my feelings are, Olivia’s must be magnified a hundred-fold.

I put my faith in prayers, in whatever form they take. I ask everyone, friends and strangers, to please pray for my daughter.

Except that I think it would mortify her, I’d like to make a button I can wear that has a picture of her and says, “Please pray for my daughter, Olivia. She’s 24 and she has cancer.”

I want everyone praying for her. I want everyone to call upon and to ask their God to look on Olivia with love and healing.

Ironically, this Christmas was the absolute best Christmas I’ve had in my adult life – in spite of or because of this new skewed view on life. I focused only on my children and prayer.

Through the wonder of Christmastime I always feel that there is an opening, a more direct portal for our supplications and expressions of gratitude to God. So, this year, I often sat quietly, alone with the nativity and the soft glow of the tree, and I prayed my heart out.

If it weren’t for the fact that I’ll be moving soon to a place that Liv and I will share for the next year so that I can care for her through a surgery, HIPEC treatment and recovery, I think I would have let Christmas stay in my home through the year. But it’s packed up until December when, if my heart’s greatest desire is realized, I’ll be before the nativity expressing joyous gratitude.

Please pray for Olivia. Thank you.

Snippet #2 2014

October 24, 2014

128px-Ambox_blue_question.svgHere’s my second post in the snippets category, which I’ve identified in an earlier post as:
Sometimes I really don’t have the time or energy to create a whole post, so snippets will suffice when I have a burning thought around which I don’t really want to build a whole post.

2014 Snippet #2 – a burning question:

Which came first, the garbage disposal or the food processor?

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