Thursday, June 23, 2011


Eva just gave her sister, Ariel,  an unsupervised hair chop--no bangs!  Rachel, my beautiful daughter,  is due soon, I am relaxing at the condo pool, but still feel a little squeezed, and my grand daughter, Eva, is in her diva pose.  I am painting whenever I need money and hanging out with my kids and their kids.  Janey is into her second round of chemo, and life is sweet.  Her lack of fear or negativity freaks me out sometimes,  and its strange how our love has grown through these times--these really are good days for us.  I am actually getting some momentum in the oil painting arena.  I love my tiny studio and all of the beautiful amenities at the Vintner's Association Condos in Yountville, CA--which is the true center of Napa Valley.  I am three blocks from the golf course and practice range, 50 yards from a beautiful lap pool/hot tub complex, two blocks from downtown Yountville with its cluster of world class dining and tasting rooms.  The little market supplies all of my ice cream and tobacco.  I still have to drive into Napa proper for a good buy on paper towels--dammit.  I am ten miles from my gym which is two gallons of gas round trip which equals $250.00/month.  I can walk to a gym in Yountville so I am thinking about making the adjustment.

I get ten requests a month for art work, but I have two collectors who buy everything I can paint, so that is a blessing.  Art is a great friend in your old age.  If you have to make a six figure income to stay afloat, then art stops and production begins--those days are gone forever--thank you Jesus.  The American representational art scene with its magazines, books, tapes, workshops, seminars, associations, paint outs, paints ins, societies, gatherings, and web articles seems very distant and unimportant now as we await the total collapse of our economy and culture.  Thought I would share this feeling with you all--just in case.  Most of you know by now that I am a true prophet--right?  I am seldom right about anything,  but a dear friend said to me the other day,  ".....Don,  you seem to have the ability to see around the corner."  I like that guy--very perceptive!  Anyway, have a nice day.

Have a nice day.  I hate that phrase and all of the sub text it implies.  But I am going to stop here before this rant turns really weird.  So.....who still loves ya--how do ya like me now?  Don

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Reflections on Cancer

I just read Siddhartha Mukherjee's "Emperor of All Maladies",  a biography of cancer from ancient times to the present.  He calls his book a biography instead of a history since cancer is this immortal thing with a personality that lives within all of us, and when this entity gets pissed off--it just goes crazy and kills you from the inside out--thank you Hollywood for all of the images!  This reading was quite an effort for a hypochondriac who could not even say the word "cancer" without a queasy sence of dread.  Mukerjee was no help--he is a Pulitzer Prize winning stylist who is a real phrase getter and whose literary oddities and crudities magnify cancer in all of its creepiness.  Who needs sex scenes for page turners when you get to peer through the lens of medical science straight into your own mortality--or the mortality of those you love the most?  Anyway,  I just returned the book to the in house library at Martin-O'Nielle Cancer Center where Janey, my sweet wife,  is in her second round of chemotherepy. 

I have cancelled workshops and classes so that I can stay home and fulfill my assignment as a 24/7 care giver.  I finally wake up each day knowing exactly what I am supposed to do--care for somebody besides myself.  I call it structured giving, love in a template, or automatic holiness--anyway it has simplified my life. 

Janey's fight against cancer is all about me.  I am freaked out, panicked, scared shitless, and a few other things.  Janey, meanwhile, has not missed a beat.  She loves her cancer center with its boutique shop, beauty salon, massage therepists, volunteers, chaplins, pharmicists, chemothepists, sugeons, and patients.  From her custom chemo infusion lounge chair she looks out to the mountains surrounding beautiful St. Helena ("...aren't they pretty...")  or blabs with new and old friends who are likewise conjoined in the battle of the ages.

Janey has a big life and a big fan base.  I get to direct traffic as phone calls, meals, gifts, and condolences pour in.  I have learned that many well wishers check in on Janey to see how they are doing.   She was wiped out for a few days after her first infusion because I failed to administer the correct drug protocol--my bad--my really bad.  But she is doing very well--faith is alive, miracles are happening, and love is prevailing.   Talk to ya later, Don