Tuesday, September 23, 2008


We knew that she could do it! And indeed she did. Dr. Kate O successfully completed the Lotoja (Logan to Jackson) secured the yellow jacket, dethroned Lance Armstrong, and won “Rider Cup.” By our calculations (with the aid of an abacus and severely impaired maniacal mathematics), it works out to be a distance of exactly 10,000square miles and approximately 2,347,986 pedal rotations, not counting the occasional downhill coast. This was done over treacherous terrain where the official set of guide books cite the possibility of unimaginable peril that belies the tranquil beauty of the wilderness. She was able to successfully fend off plagues of flying locusts, infectious insects, grizzlies, swollen knees, fatigue, a husband who questioned her sanity, and young children who repeatedly asked the age-old query first uttered byAdam,…”Are we there yet?”

Actually, our version of this remarkable accomplishment is not exactly the unvarnished truth. In fact, the truth was not only varnished…it was shellacked. But the point is, Kathy O’Mara, with guts, perseverance, and determination, completed a grueling ride…and dedicated her efforts to raising funds for the Huntsman Cancer Center. That feat needs no embellishment. In the end, she delivered a check for $4,200 on behalf of Dennis and all who suffer from this unspeakable affliction. What accolades could be extended except deep and sincere appreciation, and the pleasant thought that one of those dollars might just be the one that tips the scales in favor of discovering a cure. I know that day will come, an answer will be found, and we can delete the expletive, expunge “The Great Obscenity” from our vocabulary, and only hear it referred to when we are researching the plagues of ancient antiquity for a history class.

To all who made a financial contribution to the cause, we sincerely thank you. And for all who have made emotional contributions and supported morale, we are indebted. May you all be blessed for your generosity. And to Kathy, our love.

And now for an up-date on Dennis’ current condition. He’s terrific. He is getting stronger every day because he works out like an insane gym addict. Well, in point of truth, that is a monumental exaggeration! However, he does amazing things with his gigantic, inflated work-out ball. As his lovely assistant, my duties are to retrieve the capricious little sphere when it rolls with wild abandon down the hall, and mock and jeer as he’s going through his regimen of stretching and building exercises to the point of such exasperation that he chases me through the neighborhood, and we both get a cardiac work-out. He is still shy a “hunka,” but he is at least “one hunka and holding.” (Actually he looks like he’s just gone 15 rounds with Jenny Craig!) He has ponderous pectorals, but it is a daunting task to accumulate body mass on a steady diet of pablum and rain water. However, he is sensibly proportioned and less acutely angled. His bowels are unbound, and so is his enthusiasm. (Call me later if you feel the need for greater clarification.)

I have taken a solemn oath to “blog lite,” but that vow will not be implemented until a later date. My apologies. But I have been seized by “keyboard purge,” and I fully intend to empty the contents of my final firing neuron into cyberspace. So, fair warning: fasten your seat belt, or proceed with caution. Viewer discretion is advised.

I love September. And I love autumn. It is that interim time that gives ample opportunity for reflection…and birth. I have heard that most people have September as a birth date. That is certainly the case in our family. We have a cluster of birthdays, including both our daughters. I guess that is due in part to the wondrous biological consequence of cold Utah winters.

Erin was born on September 11th. I can legitimately claim rights to having given birth to the original terrorist. Osama has nothing up on this Mama!
Brodi was born exactly three years and one week later…in spite of my vociferous proclamations of “never again!”

To say that Erin was colicky is profoundly understated. We actually financed Dennis’ medical school education from funds accrued on winnings from ill-advised friends willing to wager that no baby could cry that loud for that long. We emerged with a medical degree and minimal debt. Happily, the colic eventually subsided…upon acquisition of her driver’s license. And there was a merciful if momentary decibel lull in our household. One of Dennis’ most endearing attributes as a pediatrician is his empathy for parents of colicky babies. But she came trailing streams of laughter, that we fondly refer to as “The Comedy of Erin.”

Brodi, although she could pass for Erin’s stunt double, was an entirely different phenomenon. I remember taking my new-born for her six-week check-up with our pediatrician, and pouring out all my worries concerning this baby. I explained that she only cried when she was hungry, and when I fed her, she stopped. In addition, she would actually sleep for four to six hours at a stretch, and then wake up happy. What could possibly be ailing her? Dr. Lloyd listened very carefully, and then asked me if I had ever considered the possibility that her behavior was normal? The thought hadn’t entered my head.

There is no question that this year’s birthday celebration was singular. We celebrated not just the birth of our daughters, but the joy of who they are, their vibrancy, their radiant personalities, their humor, and our bonds. I saw these young women of inestimable consequence shoulder burdens of epic proportion in times so trying if defies description. They could shed their tears, bind my wounds, invent nonsensical limericks, and simultaneously breach hospital etiquette by vociferously celebrating the wholesome restorative occasion of flatulence. Now, that is my definition of multi-tasking! And that’s my definition of “normal.”

I sometimes wonder where the time has gone. And yet I can account for every minute…especially of this past 11 months. I sometimes wonder where the time is going. That, I’m not sure. But I am going along for the ride, and I rejoice in my traveling companions.

Finally, autumn’s quiet does stimulate reverie. Part of extracting wisdom from experience is reflection. At the risk of stating the obvious, it seems to me that adversity has purpose not readily identifiable at the moment of its descension. One cannot philosophize as one is being ground to fine powder. But it also occurs to me that tribulation generates a plethora of “ities.” A particular by-product is unity. Prosperity does not seem to possess the unifying properties of hard times. When mortality becomes reality, we seem to reorder our priorities to reflect the people, the relationships and the kindred spirits we hold most sacred and value most deeply. Perhaps the need to gather, unite, huddle, circle the wagons, comes from our primal understanding that there is strength in numbers, and that we were never intended to negotiate this mortal existence alone. When life proceeds without hindrance, as we busily raise our families and establish our kingdoms, we tend to allow the tyranny of busyness to postpone our attention to other vital things. But adversity, calamity, catastrophe, wake us up, shake us up, and gather us together, even as we maintain individual distinctions, under a common canopy, like many people under the same umbrella. This is the highest form of “herd mentality.” This is a good thing.

As you can tell, full hearts are our harvest. We are so grateful for your love, your friendships, your portion of our joy. We are grateful for off-spring whose comedy has been an essential element of endurance. Collective clothood is good.

We love you all,
The Clot


A & M Ras said...

We are right there with you hating that horrible C word. We are just grateful for an in tune dr. that discovered it early on. We will forever be indebted to Dr. Ashton for that miracle.
It is great to see our prayers on his behalf have been answered and health is returning.
What an odd connection we share.

melissa said...

I took my Jack in for a check up. I complained to Dr. Ashton that Jack cried ALL the time and did not sleep through the night (I think I was crying at the time). Dr Ashton very calmly said, "well, he is what we refer to as a "Mother Killer".

Happy to hear you are feeling better:)