Monday, August 19, 2019

Truth, Beauty, Freedom and Love

It’s interesting how sharply into focus the really important life stuff becomes. Truth is what we strive for in most interactions. Commitment, another form of truth, at a time when everything else is wobbly is extremely valuable to us (so if you are visiting, please try to be on time).  Beauty brings joy, so surrounding ourselves with fresh flowers, Doug’s mom’s antique sterling tea set, lit candles day and night and cute cats tends to set the right stage for being in the house a lot of the time. The Freedom that comes with living in the present and not worrying much at all about the future really is starting to happen and really helps strip out some of the crazy. And Love surrounds us constantly and all the friends and family continue to really buoy us. People are demonstrating how much they care in the most amazing ways and we are forever grateful.

These are the four tenets that take the spotlight in the Moulin Rouge film by Baz Luhrmann. When Doug and I went to see it 18 years ago, I remember these words flashing up in large letters and taking up the whole screen right at the end. I stood up and squealed the words along with the crazed characters and the full meaning of them hit me hard just then. It was a perfectly exciting denouement to a psychedelic movie about the infamous, decadent nightclub in Paris. Taken together, what more pure way to live life? So, it's obvious to reference these words, and think back to that time plus the passion we shared- especially knowing we are living with the clock incessantly going off in the background. (Yes, Doug’s various antique clocks are still bonging at slightly varied intervals in the living room.)

That movie is worth a re-watch (even Nicole Kidman is amusing and hella sexy) and if the closing scene hits you like it hit me, please call and let’s talk about it. 

Doug joins in on The Office build party pre-playa

This is a massively delayed yet really good update! 

It’s wild. The radiation + chemo pill cocktail really has TOTALLY WORKED to reduce that damn tumor. In the past week, Doug has:
  • started texting people again on his phone (thank you voice-to text-tech)
  • cooked up breakfast for the family 
  • made a rich short rib sugo in his brand new Instapot (handily using the Google Home Hub to give him step-by-step recipe directions)
  • jumped in the pool to swim laps for exercise
  • attended his business cult networking breakfast meeting to say Hi to everyone
  • helped drill The Office together to be shipped out to the playa AND AND AND
  • closed two deals for his buyers, including a legendary place that his best man and old friend Scout just sold

(NB: Doug’s real estate firm Highland Partners is really helping us out. The founders, Heidi Marchesotti and Adam Betta, are continuing to rep him so PLEASE send any leads for buyers or sellers in the East Bay our way. It can make a big difference for us financially.)

Doug and best man Scout after signing all the papers for Graceland
Doug is down to his last week of radiation- so expecting his abilities to improve even more! Yes, he is taking deep naps and that rest is important, but he is cruising right along with more independence and certitude since all this shit happened.

Interestingly, the docs say the effects of radiation aren’t truly known till two months AFTER it ends, so really thinking Doug will just keep getting better for a while. And that is super exciting! We are planning fun trips because the psych we are seeing at UCSF says to just start building memories NOW and we are taking that advice full-fucking-stop. 

We have had lots of weekend visitors which keeps Doug engaged and serves to be really helpful for me. The visit from one of Doug’s oldest college friends Cindy was so touching to them both. Having the time to talk and laugh and recall good times from ages past has really lifted everyone up and Clara likes hearing tales of yore about her Dad, too. Just yesterday Robbie Parrish- another college friend- was in town from D.C. and we spent seriously quality time on the deck, watching all the bees and hummingbirds and sharing stories. And Yomi comes tonight! This is something like his 15th visit from London en route to Burning Man. It is a ritual we all anticipate and he has become a family member because of it.

Speaking of Clara, she has started a new school- a charter called Millennium that is attached to the Piedmont High School campus and shares its curriculum & programming. Fingers crossed that this place gets her/and vice versa and she takes more of an interest in academic life. So far, she isn’t complaining and said nice things about her teachers so i take that to be an incredibly good sign! Also, the administration is being extremely sensitive and accommodating, even allowing her to skip the first two periods to spend morning time with Doug- which is sacred, quiet time together. We are seeking tutors that could ideally pick her up from school around 3:30pm and drive her home (10 mins) for an hour of structured homework time, 3 times per week. We have a few feelers out, but if anyone knows someone who is patient and kind and digs teenagers, please let me know and will pay them more than they would normally get with such a gig. Overall, she is busy with friends, and a new boyfriend!! who seems really sweet to her at an important time. We check in and hang out quite a bit these days with lots of pets and hugs and snuggles, to that all feels really, really good and well balanced given the grave situation.

Clara & Mr. Benson on first day of 10th grade at new school

Now that we are in the swing of a schedule, a few tips to make visits easier are worth mentioning:
- Thank you for sending an email to to get scheduled. Catherine Lake continues to rock this so hard for us (NOT a simple task), so thanks for being patient with her, too.
- I am back to work in SF at Mighty on Tues/Thurs and WFH on Wednesdays. Trying to not work to be with Doug and Clara on Monday/Friday. 
- We have hired on in-home aides for when we need it, too so that is super great and a big fat relief.
- It’s totally cool to text Doug! He is really getting the hang of his new Pixel phone and doing lots of voice-to-texting so if you wanna reach out, please do. Email, not so much.
- On the flip side, if either of us are not texting/emailing/calling you back in 48 hours or so for something that deserves a response, **do not be afraid** to hit us up again. That shit actually helps keep us on track.
- Please take a moment to say Hi to Clara and engage her lightly if she seems in the mood. She is in her room a lot, and I can help facilitate these interactions, but its easy for her to get a bit shuffled and hanging/chatting with her will help normalize some of this.
- Seeing either of us stare off into the distance with an empty gaze or sit their with tears welling in our eyes in the middle of conversation can happen so just go with it and join in on the crazy emotion train. We are trying to feel our feelings more than normal.
- If you come over, extremely helpful to just go ahead and make yourself a glass of water/beer/wine/coffee and then empty the damn trash or the dishwasher or fold the ever present pile of laundry on our bed or take out the recycling- don’t need to ask me- can always use the help with mini-tasks like that because it never fucking stops.
- #RealTalk Yes, I am having a really difficult time turning off my deeply instilled Southern proclivity for instantly being in hostess mode when people come over. It’s insincere some of the time (not all the time, tho) so trying to get a grip on that. So, if I disappear when you come over its because I have 1,000 other things I can attend to while you visit with Doug AND I’ll skip the cycle of small talk, etc.

Hope to have more treatment related updates next time around. 

Thanks for reading this long-ass update and will do another one sooner promise mean it

Dashing with the silver tipped toad cane- Thx, DD!


  1. Great update, thanks! Woohoo and yeehaw on the treatment results! Glad to hear how priorities have come into focus for you all, that's truly a silver lining. Thinking of you, and all my best to you all. ♥️ James M.

  2. Thinking of you all - you're amazing, Candace! XO

  3. What a great update to read. And I swear if you give me an enthusiastic "Hey, how are YOU doing!" next time I'm there...I will shut down that Southern hospitality and just ask where the recycling is so I can take it out on my way out. Much love to all of you.

  4. Love the update! I’ve been following but I haven’t been able to comment because I’m incompetent! Hugs to all! Laura

    1. Thanks for figuring it out. Which Laura is this?

  5. Thank you so much for writing. I welled up at the making memories now part. We should all remember to do that, it's so important. Much love to you, your family, and the community who also love you. I'm struggling to find ways to show I care without being a burden since we don't know one another well. But, please, keep showing us how you're doing when you can. Laura Casey (not the Laura above).

  6. Thanks for these kind words, Laura. Making that comment is just the thing that works- easy as that.