Update 92

August 24 - Well, I finished my Russian Santa and am very happy with the way he turned out. I called him Jeweled Rose Santa as I painted white roses all over his coat and then gussied him up with jewels and charms and fancy trims.  When I get the okay I will post him but for now he needs to be photographed for the upcoming book. I spoke about that awhile ago but I will recap. Last year fifty international artists were asked to paint a hand-carved Santa from Russia for a book to be created to benefit the Decorative Arts Collection Museum.  All fifty will be in the book and twenty-five of the Santas will have instructions on how to paint them.  We won’t know who that will be until they get all the Santas in and see what they have. The book will be sold through the museum but also will be available at major US book retailers. How fun this is! Artist Annie is very happy!

August 27 – Finished up the CURE Cancer Forum yesterday and it was wonderful. If one ever comes even close to your city, try and attend. The strides they are making in research are so very promising it gives strong HOPE. I also learned new things which I will pass on.  There were keynote speakers in the mornings and then there were a lot of breakout sessions you could attend. There were so many good ones it was hard to choose. My favorites were the ones on Lymphedema: Risk Reduction and Treatment and Fear of Recurrence. I learned the most I think in the Lymphedema session. It was run by Leslie Waltke, a Physical Therapist who runs her own clinic. After the session I checked with the CURE staff about her credentials as what she told us was very contradictory to all I have ever heard. They have had her speak at their forums for years and back her 100%. I love CURE magazine www.curetoday.com and their new one HEAL and have always found their information to be accurate and on top of what is happening with cancer and treatments. Having said all that here is what I learned. I will be incorporating all this in my own life and am not telling anyone else they should do it but I am telling you to check it out for yourself. The first thing she spoke about was the myths surrounding lymphedema. I almost fell over when I read one of them. It said “Wearing a compression sleeve while flying.”  WHAT! WHAT! There were a lot of us who jumped right in on that one. She said she always starts off with that because it is a biggie.

They gave me thirteen CD’s with a lot of the forum info on them and I will be happy to send one to you if you email me with your address. I only have thirteen so when they are gone they are gone. CURE magazine is free to cancer patients and survivors and it is one of my favorite magazines for cancer info.

August 28 – My friend died today. She lost her battle with her cancer. She was a fighter and she gave it everything she could. I am so sad. My heart hurts whenever I try and think of her. It also makes me very afraid.

September 5 – Read something great. It is from a Toyota ad – “Scars are just tattoos with a better story.”  So all my “battle” scars are now story telling tattoos! Just call me Battle Tattoo Betty!

September 11 – Well, I am officially sixty years old! Yesterday was my birthday and what a day it was. I have not been looking forward to turning sixty, probably because I feel like forty-five and cannot believe I can be sixty!  So I was planning on just getting through it and getting used to the fact and then yesterday morning I got a great email from my oldest daughter. Jaime, where she pointed out that turning sixty for someone who has had breast cancer is a milestone, but turning sixty for someone who has had it twice is even more of a milestone and that really, just turning sixty is a great milestone in anyone’s life.  Hmmmmnnnnnn………………..that certainly puts a different light on the whole thing! I got tons of well wishes from friends, that in itself is a wonderful thing – to have lots of really good friends. I spent the day just puttering around doing things I enjoy and then Jen came over and cooked me the most fantastic dinner (she is so good that I requested her cooking over a restaurant!) of salad, Spaghetti alla Carbonara and Strawberries soaked in Amaretto with crunchy almond topping and a dollop of sour cream for dessert!  It was wonderful!  And then………………….my wonderful family conspired to make this the best birthday ever!  In October I am meeting Jaime in New York City, we are staying at the Hilton at Times Square and then going to see Phantom of the Opera on Broadway!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Jen made up a miniature old fashioned looking suitcase with travel stickers with separate envelopes inside so the story unfolded with each numbered envelope.  Jen and I do a lot of things together because she lives close but I rarely get to see Jaime as she lives in Dallas and Harold thinks it is great for me to go to see a play but he is not the least bit interested in doing that whether here or in New York so they all decided this would be how they would plan this whole thing. I had no earthly idea! I am amazed they pulled this off without my getting just a hint. So upon reflection – I think that SIXTY might just be the very best birthday I have ever had!  I am alive, I feel great and I have love in my life. I mean really, what more can you ask for? So, Traveling Tracy, Delighted Deena and Anticipating Anita are joining me and I really like those personas!

Speaking of personas, that Evil Leg and Foot Cramp Lucinda Faye has not been around for some time. Hurray! I am still taking the Quinine Sulfate but am down to one capsule at bedtime. I will start to cut back a bit more and see if maybe she is gone for good.  I would like to get back to just drinking my Diet Tonic Water (contains quinine) to control the leg cramps. I saw a friend recently that thanked me for telling her about the Tonic Water and that finally she has relief from her own version of Lucinda Faye. It may not work for everyone but it is worth a try if you are having leg and foot cramps. My primary care doctor told me to drink four ounces before bed and that used to work before Taxol Tanya joined me during chemo. I really suffered with those things until another friend told me about the Quinine Sulfate.

I wrote that I attended the CURE Patient and Survivor Forum a couple of weeks ago and I have some extra CD’s of the Forum that I will gladly send to the first thirteen people who want them.  When they learned of my Journals they gave me a handful to give away. There is a ton of great info on them covering a wide variety of subjects of interest to cancer patients and survivors along with more resource info. If you would like one just send me your name and address and I will pop it in the mail for you. My email is margot@margotclark.com

October 3 – Good grief, where has the time gone?  It has been almost a month since I entered anything in here!  Since it is officially Breast Cancer Awareness month I figured I should get this out.

I have been going back and forth between delight in my artwork and fear for my life. Fun stuff!  It was two years ago in October that I had my recurrence. I go next week for my four month check-up with my Oncologist and then a week or so later go for my check-up with the Radiation Oncologist and don’t expect bad news but I also am well aware that that dreadful stuff can be around for awhile and no one knows it. I freely admit that I am afraid. I go on about my business though, as I will acknowledge the fear, agree with myself that there is good reason for the fear but I will not allow the fear to cripple me and interrupt my life. I cannot go around saying, “I will be fine” since I don’t know that and neither do the doctors but I can say “I am fine right now so this is what I am going to do now.” That I can do!

I have added a new category to my regular website and if you would care to see what artwork I have been submitting to art galleries go to www.margotclark.com, go over to the left of the screen and click on Gallery and then on Art Gallery.  I am on a roll with all of this. I have two friends who are doing it with me and we are all having a ball!  Last Saturday I took a class with my friend Patte and she reintroduced me to the world of watercolor batik on rice paper and I loved it!  I will most definitely be doing more of that I can tell you!  When I get it matted and framed I will post it here or show it in the Gallery on my website. Also, when you go to my website you see right away the pieces that were auctioned off at the Houston DAC Art Benefit. SJ ad I are working on large fired glass panels so between the two of them and my regular art stuff I am flying high.

I also came across a great quote from Edward Rickenbacker about courage. “Courage is doing what you are afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you are scared.”

One more quote, this time from Brain Andreas of www.storypeople.com, titled Perfectly Anxious, “Missing a perfectly good day because she’s sure that she should be anxious about something.”

And the last quote for this time, again Brian Andreas – Words of Comfort, “There are days I drop words of comfort on myself like falling rain & remember it is enough to be taken care of by myself.”

Dolly is behaving but alas, she is a bit droopy. So she is now Droopy Dolly of the Perky Twins. She is still perkier than my real boobs ever were but she is lower that Polly so when I go out I have to wear the dreaded sports bra to haul her up to be even with Polly so they look like twins!  This latest implant was the smooth variety and didn’t seem to adhere as well as the textured one did but…………………I have no fluid building up so that is my tradeoff. I will take Droopy Dolly over Drippy Expanding Dolly anytime!  I had to counsel the “girls” on getting used to the sports bra and making them realize it was not a “real” bra and that they need to “conform” for me and not complain. I think Polly is rebelling as she gets pulled in by the sports bra and by the end of the day she is a bit sore and cranky!

I walk at the end of this month to raise money for breast cancer through the Making Strides against Breast Cancer walk and if you want to know more about it go to http://main.acsevents.org/goto/MargotClark to see my Personal Page. I have raised 430.00 so far and am part of Jennifer’s team from CNA Insurance where she works and they are sponsors of the walk.

I read something the other day that really hit home. It was about people who have had cancer and what kind of changes it brought into their lives. I know for a fact that it makes you really look at your life and what you are doing with it for yourself and for others. They are talking about healing and said that healing your life was not the same thing as curing your cancer, that there was a huge difference. Treating cancer was for the doctors but healing your life was up to you. To realize you can heal your life even if you cancer. To move in the direction of your dreams. I really liked that and could relate to that since I feel I am indeed, following my dreams. Not all of them will be realized of course, but I can keep on trying. You know, this is not a bad philosophy for people who don’t have cancer but I know it is harder to do until LIFE comes along and gives you a good shaking up!

I came across this list just yesterday and thought it would be a good thing to post here.

Cancer Awareness Ribbon Colors

Pink - Breast
Teal - Ovarian
Clear - Lung
Purple - Pancreatic and Leiomyosarcoma
Orange - Leukemia
Black - Melanoma
Dark Blue - Colon
Burgundy - Multiple Myeloma
Gray - Brain
Blue - Prostate
Gold - Childhood Cancers
Lavender - General Cancer Awareness
Lime Green - Lymphoma
Peach - Uterine
Kelly Green - Kidney
Yellow - Sarcoma/Bone
Yellow - Bladder
Teal/White - Cervical
Burgundy/Ivory - Head/Neck
Emerald Green - Liver
Periwinkle Blue - Esophageal
Black-and-White - Carcinoid and Neuroendocrine

We are finally tiling the den and kitchen!  It has only taken us a year to decide on what to do there. We chose an old brick patterned tile that gives continuity to the courtyards on either side of the den area. Had to first scrape all the old flooring off the kitchen area and then level the den area.  That scraping is no fun at all! I am now Tilly the Tile Cutting Tiler!  I know how to cut tile with the tile saw and make all those fancy cuts to fit in around stuff. Well mostly I do – Harold has to do the really hard ones like circles to fit the floor plugs but I can do the rest. He lays down the mastic and the tiles, my job is to hand him the tiles going in the right direction and then spacers. Next morning I get to clean the grout lines and sponge off the tiles. More fun! This is the photo of the week, too.  After we finish the floor we can finally do all the woodwork trim and then we can say we are really done!  Good thing, we are getting a bit “creaky” in our old age! Tiling is hard on the knees! 

I go on my final teaching trip of the year tomorrow and when I get back it will be Fall gardening time, my favorite time of the year to garden. It will also be time to decorate for one of my favorite holidays – Halloween! I have been steadily adding to my huge stash of Halloween stuff! If you go to my regular website, www.margotclark.com, click on Magazines and scroll down just a bit you will see my Halloween article “Miss Pumpkin’s Portrait” and also my “HOPE Box” for Breast Cancer Awareness month in PaintWorks magazine.

So, to end this update I will say that in The Grand Scheme of Things I am doing fine and hope to stay that way forever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Photo of the Week – Here is our progress so far. What a lot of tile!  One photo is looking from the hallway across the kitchen across the den and all the way to the studio. The other one is from the studio all the way to the hall. Click on the images for a larger view.

Till next time,

Margot a.k.a. Artist Annie, Battle Tattoo Betty, Traveling Tracy, Delighted Deena, Anticipating Anita, Evil Leg and Foot Cramp Lucinda Faye, Droopy Dolly, Dripping Expanding Dolly and Tilly the Tile Cutting Tiler.

If you have any questions please email me


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