Sunday, September 5, 2010

Food fall

Story to share... A few days ago I asked Gus if he remembered any funny stories about Danielle. He remembered a story that I told him many years ago. The incident occurred in July of 2001 while visiting New York City... we spent five days walking and photographing Coney Island to Harlem.

Coffee stops were pretty regular and Starbucks seemed to be all that was available. So... Danielle had just purchased some sort of $5 coffee and we were walking around NYU or Cooper Union I can't remember exactly. I do remember the visual of the street - it ran East to West and there was a bicycle with a super heavy chain latched to a lamp post. The bike had no seat or handlebars.

Danielle started to cross the street...J-walking... and somehow snagged her foot on the street and stumbled. The stumble grew into a spin and some kind of a slow jog trying to counter the impending fall to the pavement.

As she fell to the street backwards, butt hitting and rolling her head to the road - while legs flew straight into the air, finally coming to rest flat on her back in the middle of the street.

The coffee drink never lost a drop and remained in her right hand pointing straight to the heavens... saved.

This memory sparked and earlier from 1999 when Dan was pregnant with Gus. It was a rough nine months because she couldn't even stand the smell of boiled rice without throwing up. Every month or so she would have a good day and get to eat what she wanted without worry.

O.K... so we prepared some kick ass meal and plates were full... I was sitting in the living room with plate in lap - as was the custom before children - Danielle walked into the room plate in right hand and drink in the left. She headed for the rocking chair (8 months pregnant).

She couldn't sit to easily so she would back up to the chair and fall backwards. With plate and drink in hand. The chair couldn't take the gravity of the situation and fell completely backwards. It seemed to happen in slow-motion... from across the room I watched helpless as she slowly dropped. Feet flew into the air and I thought for a moment that she would slam her head on the fireplace.

I jumped up and ran to her aid and found an 8th month pregnant woman flat on her back with a full plate of food plus drink un-spilled hovering in the air above her with magic arms.

She could save food like nobody's business.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Sometime between March 3rd, 1990 and August 17, 2010... around 3:30am
Danielle smashed the lock with an old hammer that came from the mountains.

She opened the shed doors and stole it!

It was a necessary crime, kind of like a protest.
I was lucky enough to be an accomplice.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


Haven’t posted in a few days… not sure how to keep the blog going. I have Danielle thoughts all day every day and want to tell story after story. I am compelled to keep people interested in her life - she meant so much to so many.

I have many people writing me that they don’t have the words… that they do not exist. I think they do exist. They are hard and confusing… like algebra.

Gus and I could not have made it this far without words, friends and safety.

Our relationship was 50% humor and 50% unexplained phenomenon.

All I can think to do is recall our lives together as it comes.

At the moment I cannot stop thinking about 1991 around 12:30AM down at the Memphis Queen Line River Boats. She showed up around that time to help sell Photos and load up the gear.

We had sold photos to people leaving a late night cruise on the Mississippi river. There were display boards and extension cords to put away. I did the heavy work and Danielle would roll up the power cords.

I was on the dock when she yelled out “ SOME IDIOT PARKED ON THE EXTENSION CORD”… I looked over at her just as she said “NEVERMIND!!!”

It was she that had parked on the cord.

That moment stayed with us for 19 years.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

An odd memory

I remembered this story earlier today and wanted to share it.

Back in the late 1990’s Danielle and I were apartment sitting for some friends here in Memphis. While lying in bed one night in someone else’s room we started discussing the TV show “MASH”.

After talking about the characters Winchester and Frank Burns… we got into a friendly argument about which came first and if they ever met one another on screen.

Danielle was adamant that they were on the program at the same time and acted in scenes together. I, on the other hand, was positive that they never met and one replaced the other. I argued that Frank Burns was the original and Winchester replaced him.

The discussion went on for 45 minutes… lying in bed in Mid-town Memphis around 1 in the morning.

Finally I got up and looked it up on the Internet… could not find any answers but did email some web-site that would get back to us the next day.

We received an email the next day that said… Winchester and Frank never met on the show but did talk on the phone in one scene.

I was right about MASH but she was right about everything else.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I have no idea how to extend her words so I’m gonna flop around like a fish out of water. I know Danielle wanted to communicate with all of you during her last nine days or so. August 3rd was her last post and Aug. 7th her last comment. Those last ten days were spent visiting with family and sleeping a lot. We constantly talked with the doctors thinking the meds were causing the fatigue and sleep. Truth was her brain was constantly swelling and creating pressure… we were clueless. Before she and I knew what was happening she could no longer speak or communicate. August 14th was the day communication became very simple and possibly incorrect response at times.

The lesions in the brain just did not respond to the radiation and continued to expand. Despite how the treatment effected the body the brain was not working out.

Danielle remained determined and positive throughout this entire ordeal… to the point that we never had any conversation about… what if ? Sure… we knew this was not going to disappear but had no idea it was so vicious. She never realized what was happening.

In a way it was a blessing… she just fell asleep… but for me it was heartbreaking not to communicate one last time. For twenty years I talked to her about everything… who pissed me off… what I found on the side of the road… daily experiences or adventures… odd conversations… strange hobos or hitch-hikers… artistic collaboration…EVERYTHING.

This summer blurred across time. Doctors offices… treatments, paperwork, crying, dreams of time machines and magic. We left for summer vacation and never returned.

The last 10 days were spent with her mother and Dad, me and the boys when possible. We would trek to the cafeteria and get food she would nibble on. I would lie in the bed with her and try not to move for hours.

Trying not to rant in several directions so bear with me… I was getting pretty frustrated at times but she would still calm me down and teach me to kill with kindness… she became zen.

I miss her so much it does not match a human scale.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Danielle and Jamie

I intend to tell the rest of the story. Soon

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

I'm gonna attempt to get back to a normal blogging schedule I've missed you guys!

Seems like the past week has been really foggy, time in my brain is moving like a snails pace, but time outside it is flying by. Pretty sure the reason is because of the pain meds. Finally I got to talk to a pain management doctor and nurse last and he;s once again lowered my MScontin (long acting Morphine from 45mg twice a day to 30mg), is keeping me on a dalauidid pump that I can push every 15 minutes, I still have the "break-through" Dalauidid push if needed, and he added a new medicine last night, Neurontin, which is an anti-seizure med, that is also used to control muscle spasms which he believes will help control the muscle area in my back that in intermingling with some nerves back there and causing me pain. It does seem to have worked OK, becuse I woke up at 5 am with pain but not as much. I did ask the nurse about some of the side effects o this new drug, because I didn't have the typical "normal" pain that I normally had, I'm much better, just a little goofy foggy feeling. She said it takes a while to get used to it, but I should have this feeling for about another week or so. Picture eyes rolling back...geeez! Well what's another week right!!

The Radiation Oncologist, Dr. Lee said he's gonna reevaluate the MRI they did of that area and see if hey can also shoot it with radiation beam and that would also help with the pain.

My regular Onclogist has sent my "samples to The little Rock clinic and we have a scheduled appointment on August 13. So I gotta get the hell outta dodge soon and halve some visiting time at HOME with my family, so if you all don't mind sending a little extra push of prayers, love and light my way, that would be wonderful!

Momma and I have been going through her old photos, I’ve posted a lot of them on FaceBook, and now I’m in the the process of adding captions, which has been really funny, because I haven’t heard a lot of the stories, I it’s very interesting to know how the Belgian family was just as hilarious and dysfunctional as every other family!

My BoBonne was a spitfire! SO check them out periodically because it'll take me a little while to add all the captions and I'm also working on a blog and book for the project.

Bon Courage!