Category Archives: Fun Stuff

Ringing the Bell


In March of 2013 I was hospitalized on the 7th floor of the University of Washington hospital. I will spare you a repeat of the details as there are several posts outlining my stay if you care to read about them (Where’s Loretta and Another night in Paradise.)  I did spend some time walking the halls as I only needed to be in my room for antibiotic infusions.  During one of my sorties, I found a bell that is behind the main desk.  It was donated John Charles and Gwedolyn Sowray to be rung when one is finished cancer treatments.  I thought about ringing that bell from the first time I read the plaque until yesterday, when I actually did ring that bell.

I had a doctor’s appointment (shocking, I  know) at UW so thought I would take a side trip to the 7th floor.  I felt a bit weird going and asking to ring the bell but the staff were thrilled.  They said they love when former patients come back and ring.  They also said that not many do come back.  I was asked if I wanted to ring it by myself or have some staff present.  I opted for staff.  The front desk person called around and soon there was a small but very enthusiastic group to celebrate the ring.  I asked if the bell was really loud and was told to just ring it as hard as I wanted.  So I did.  It was loud.  Loud in that deep, resonance that vibrates into your inner soul.  I rang it three times.

When I got home, I did a bit of research to see how and when the ringing of a bell to signify the end of cancer treatment started.    What I found was this poem written by Navy Rear Admiral Irve Le Moyne.

Ringing out

Ring this bell

Three times well

Its toll to clearly say,

My treatment’s done

This course is run

And I am on my way!

Admiral Le Moyne had head and neck cancer and was treated at MD Anderson Cancer Center. In 1996 he had a bell installed outside the main campus Radiation Treatment Center.  Ringing the bell three times symbolizes the restoration of balance, harmony and life energy.  So here’s to a life that has balance, harmony and lots of energy!


Mile 12

I am mile 12.  When I found out I was mile 12 I cried.  I was humbled to be asked to be mile 12. Being mile 12 was suppose to help my friend Nicki but instead I think it helped me even more than it helped her.

Last week Nicki sent an e-mail out to ask for some help from her friends. Nicki was going to run a 1/2 marathon in Victoria, BC on Sunday, October 13.  She has been dealing with some very serious health problems over the last year as well as other life issues.  As Nicki wrote in her e-mail :

” …I have stubbornly continued to run. It’s felt important to me to run and race because I’ve told myself that, if I can run, I can’t be “that” sick. And, even though my health has been challenging and frustrating, it hasn’t gotten the best of me.”

She was telling her coach how she thought  that she might not be able to complete that race. This is what her coach said:

“So this is what you need to do: Use this as a race to focus on the good in your life. Pick 13 positive things or people and dedicate a mile to each of them. Use the energy they will send or give you to get through that mile. Don’t worry or focus on the time, it is not important this time around. You are doing the race because you love running and the race atmosphere. It is a freedom different from other things in your life and brings out your strength and determination. You win by getting to the finish line. So clear your thoughts, focus on you and your loved ones. Make me one of your miles and I will send so much energy you will float to the next miles before you know it. Draw in energy from the greenery around you and there will be plenty of it along this beautiful route. Keep up, not down and know there are a lot of us supporting you.”

That is what Nicki did and she chose me as mile 12:

“Mile 12. Loretta. Because you are one of the strongest, most determined, bad-asses I know. When I need to feel strong, I think of you because you inspire me.”

Why you ask, am I writing about this?  I think this is a wonderful idea for anyone going through chemo and/or radiation.   A many of you know, before I started treatment I was given a beautiful gift of bracelets, flowers and words of encouragement. I have one bracelet for each week I was having chemo (20) and each radiation session (33).

53 bracelets to remind me of everyone sending me positive thoughts.  Well wishes written on slips of colorful paper helping me get through these difficult months.  I put the bracelets in a basket that also contains all the words of encouragement.  I like to randomly pull one out and read it.  The words and the bracelets give me strength.

Nicki completed her 1/2 marathon.  I am on the way to completing my treatment. Never underestimate the power of positive energy and the love of friends and family.  Never hesitate to ask for their help.



AAB Spinathon continued…

I want to personally thank all who gave to the Arms Around Bainbridge Spin a Thon.   AAB goal was to raise $10,000 and they raised over $17,000!  I was able to ride for a bit (as you saw from earlier pictures) and meet several of the current AAB recipients.  There were over 40 raffle items given away and I was lucky enough to have won one; a bottle of wine and a gift certificate to Black Bird Bakery.  It felt good to be back on the bike.  I hope to start teaching again in June.

Today starts the new chemo regime.  Here’s hoping I keep my fingernails and feeling in my fingers and toes!  We will keep you updated as the day progresses.

As always, thank you all for the love and support you have shown me and my family these past few months.

AAB Spinathon

Loretta and Team Loretta are at the Arms Around Bainbridge Spinathon where they helped to raise more than $16k!  They were hoping to raise $10k.  You can learn more about AAB here.  Team Loretta has awesome T-shirts featuring this blog’s logo art.  We’re so proud.  And proud of being part of this very worthwhile event.

Here are some of the team members:


And Loretta on one of the new bikes for the first time:


The Lorettatron 5000

Introducing the Lorettatron 5000, the latest and greatest Loretta What-If engine ever conceived.

To see the Lorettatron 5000 go here:  There is also a link in the menu of this blog so you can get there whenever you feel like taking a spin in the Lorettatron 5000.

It contains a big file so it might take a while for it to open.  Be patient.  I hope you enjoy it.  I certainly enjoyed* making it.

There is a help link in the lower right corner if you need some pointers.  Click “Reconfigure” to get it started.

Let us know what you think.


*I busted out laughing several times while making this.  Maybe I’m just not very stable.

Are we crazy?

Scott and I were just hanging out around between chemo sessions and thought “What more can we add to our lives.  Why, let’s buy a house, update it and move in at the end of July”.  So we did.  We bought a townhouse/condo in Harbor Square with the most amazing view of Mt Rainier, Eagle Harbor, and the Puget Sound.

It is an end unit with loads of beautiful light.  We love living at Harbor Square and were thrilled when this unit came on the market on Wednesday.  We made an offer on Thursday and signed the papers on Friday.  Are we a little bit crazy, probably.  But, we didn’t want to miss this opportunity to live in an ideal location with a fabulous view.


I’m Conflicted: Sans Cheveux ou Avec

Late last night Loretta decided that it was time to go sans cheveux*.  So, using a shaver for the first time, we buzzed through it.  She tried a couple of passes and I finished it off.  I hope this is the last big emotional hurdle in this set of chemo.  This morning we made it a lot better with my electric shaver.  Now she has a relatively smooth scalp.

I’m conflicted because she looks really great without hair and really great with hair.  She could easily pull this off as a style choice.  I think maybe 1/4″ of hair (when it comes back) would be a really great look.  (And cheap to maintain – a real bonus.)  I guess it was to be expected – she’s a beautiful person.

Here’s a little video of how it went.  It only took a little longer to do than this video takes to watch.

*This is French for “without cheveux” which might be “no rabbit” for all I know.  My French is limited to fries and dressing.