Friday, June 1, 2012

Down by the River

There is much I haven't shared with you over the past few weeks. Some of it makes me sound bitchy or wimpy. Some of it is silly. All of it is important to me.

Did you know there is a rare orchid that resembles a monkey? It is called Orchis Simia and it grows in the forests of Ecuador. It is known for its pungent odor, which some say is similar to that of feces.

(Thank you Sam Bailey for the share!)

I had another surgery last week. It was an unscheduled surgery. My left tissue expander sprung a leak and needed to be removed immediately. I was pretty calm about it. One of the surgical nurses recognized me from my April 24th surgery and said, "I remember you, you begged us all not to let another Kennedy die." And then she laughed. They all laughed. I thought I was going to save that line for my final, expander to implant surgery. Damn, I'm running out of material.

This time, as they strapped me onto the operating table I remarked, "I thought this room of pain was red?" (a reference to 50 Shades of Grey). Everyone but the (male) anesthesiologist laughed.

My doctor, whom I still love, informed me that in 35 years of practice, she'd never seen it happen. There was a small leak towards the bottom of my expander, directly over my heart. She jokingly asked if anyone I knew might have a voodoo doll intended for me. Nervously, I laughed.

When I got home I quickly emailed Jesse and Julie - the keepers of Mike, my giant voodude doll. I made Mike for Burning Man last year.  We were going to burn him along with the Man but he was so much fun dragging around that he survived and Jesse and Julie offered to take him home with them to Portland.

(thats a merkin he's wearing incase you were wondering)

The full story of Mike is an important one. If you'd like to read it, its called WHATS RIGHT WITH ME.

My deck is in full bloom. I am micromanaging the flowers and spying on the birds. Last week a crowd of children gathered for a birthday party. They hired a magician who, along with a bag of tricks, had a joke or two to tell. I heard one as I was walking by with Miss Lucy. It went like this...

Bobby's mother had three children. One's name was April. The others name was June. What was the third childs name?

No one guessed correctly. Not even me. Later, during drinks on the deck with my husband and Jay (aka Boris), I retold the joke. Jay got it immediately.

You know, don't you? You're all so clever that you, just like Jay, got it right away.

The other childs name is Bobby.

I found an injured chipmunk in our driveway, brought him inside and named him Chippy. I took care of him for almost a week before he died. I cried harder then a sane women should when Chippy died. I held him in my hands and he looked up at me with his sweet little brown eyes. He took two deep gasps of air and then he was gone. We had a private service for him. He is buried beneath a glorious Japanese maple tree.

Our cat-dog, Miss Phoebe, has learned a new trick. She waits until Centro's, the restaurant across the river, has a full dinner crowd on its outdoor deck and then she climbs our roof and waits for someone to spot her.  She'll cross the top of the roof line - back and forth, back and forth - crouch down, ears back, meowing "HELP ME, HELP ME" louder then you'd think a house cat could. It's an academy award winning performance, I'll give her that. Most animal loving patrons will stop eating and peer in worry. When she thinks she's got everyones attention, she's tip-toe her way back down to safety. Twice she's received a standing ovation. She has no front claws, so it's NOT a wise choice on her part but she insists on living on the edge.

For the past 10 years, I have been actively working on releasing the guilt of my sons death but clearly, there is still more work to be done. Part of the problem is that I don't want to let it go. I'm not sure why.  On the anniversary of his death I went to a local art supply store to purchase fabric dye. My plan is to dye my fathers t-shirts in a multitude of colors.V-neck, white fruit of the loom t-shirts were his favorite.  I have over 25 of them, each of them are priceless to me.

While I was there I ran into Mr. and Mrs. Smith. I have not seen them since my son's death. They owned a liquor store near our old apartment in Cos Cob, Connecticut. Their son George worked with them at the store. George and Kerry were the same age and they both went to Greenwich High School. George disappeared on July 5, 2005, while on his honeymoon in the Mediterranean on a cruise ship.

I don't know if the Smith's recognized me. I don't know if they know that I too lost a son. I wanted so badly to embrace them, cry with them, but there was something about the injured look in their eyes that told me to walk away. Still, it was a sad yet comforting reminder that I am not the only parent forever mourning their son.

It is almost my birthday. I miss my father. I love my deck. Polo starts this weekend. I love Polo. Jackson (grandson) is playing baseball. Mary (Jackson's mom) broke her foot. I want a puppy.

This morning, we spotted a blue whale floating down the river. A sign to me that it's going to be a glorious day.

XO, MonKEYme

There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening, that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique.    Martha Graham

A beautiful reminder from my dear friend Em at 35 Jupiter Drive.


  1. Hey, Snuggle Cakes...

    I think any time a Green Monkey spots a Blue Whale, that HAS to be good luck...

    Greetings from Aachen, Germany, sweetie...

    Thinking of you...

    ~Herr Shoes~

    1. Germany! how great is that Herr Shoes!!!! Meet you in Amsterdam :)

  2. Wow, you've been a busy gal! I hope there are no more surgeries in your future. Thank you for education me about what a merkin is. Who knew?

    1. I have at the very least, one more surgery. But it will be a fun one - expanders out, implants in, nipples on!

  3. That Martha Graham quote describes you perfectly! Your blog, your writing, your story are all unique — keep writing, GM! I always enjoy stopping by. Heal well from the TE surgery my dear.

  4. Holy Mole-y. That's a whole lot of update. Here's to a better week with less ups and downs. ((HUGS))

    1. you know what they say... the downs make the ups sweeter! xo

  5. It sprung a leak? Really??
    Your photos of your flowers, cat, husband and blue whale just make me believe that there are so many good things in life, even though it is hard.

    1. that whale really was a treat. so silly, but to see it in the river made me smile. some of our neighbors even came out on their decks to look at it. For some odd reason we are the only people that spend a big chunk of our time on our deck.

  6. you get me high on your amazingness

    Enjoy your weekend!
    Aloha from Waikiki
    Comfort Spiral
    > < } } ( ° >

  7. I had been wondering where you're writing had got to, GM. I really look forward to your new posts, and this one has such uplift, although some things are sad, you said it perfectly, the downs make the ups sweeter!!!


    Your friend,

    MG ;)

    BTW, I didn't get the joke either....only Jay's sharp attention to detail!!!

  8. I was trimming bushes the other day when, what did I find? A rubber snake in a tree! After I went inside and put on new pants, I asked my wife why there was a snake in the tree? "It's to keep squirrels away" she answered, as if it was the stupidest question I'd ever asked. I went out to take it down and the mail man (actually it was a mail woman, or person) was picking up letters on my porch, next to the snake, giving me a dirty look.
    Well it wasn't a blue whale, but it had a plastic animal and a squirrel.

  9. Well...the guilt thing. I heard that the reason we hang onto guilt, is because if it is our fault, then that means that we can fix it, we can heal it, we can DO SOMETHING. It fits for me. May not for you. But guilt is a hard outfit from which to unrobe. You got spunk. I like it :)

  10. Stopped by to see how you're doing. I know, there are ups and downs, but you write about them so beautifully. Nice to read you again Shannon. Think of you often.


Thank you for encouraging my JOY of writing. By reading and commenting you are feeding my soul, stroking my heart, and in the end...making me a better writer.

Thank You For Encouraging My Joy of Writing

Thank You For Encouraging My Joy of Writing

Shannon E. Kennedy


Photo by Joan Harrison