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Bless me, Father, it’s been (more or less) a couple of years since my last confession. Not being Catholic, I can shrug off the guilt. But this blog had become a lot like a confessional, just me to tell the story and maybe one or two others to hear it. So rather than resent the lack of audience, I moved on to other exploits.

But now I’m embarking on a new story that demands to be told, weaving the old thread into an entirely new account. Music still plays a big part of it, because making music is the juice that animates this mind and body.

A bit of background: at a ridiculously late stage of life, I started singing with a series of bands, the latest of which is called Elba & The Cochrans, or ETC. Often known as RADIO KETC on those evenings when we set up and play two hours for an invisible audience. Last June we celebrated a year playing the same venue: an off-the-beaten-path restaurant by the beach. ETC is Elba Santiago (formerly a mariachi and well-known local diva), my husband the guitarist, and me, harmonizing with Elba in English, Spanish and Portuguese. Backing tracks provide our percussion and bass, since drummers and bassists are hard to come by here. That’s me in the middle.


Here being a suburb of Guaymas, Mexico, beloved for its beautiful beaches, an anchorage considered safe enough to be a “hurricane hole,” and two marinas. Lucky me, si? We arrived here as boaters, swallowed the anchor and never left.


And now for the Dark Side. A week ago I found what I thought might be a lump in my right breast and decided…what the heck?…I’d take advantage of my doctor’s half-price mammograms for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Christina was vastly more gentle than the last tech who mashed my girls in a mammogram machine five years ago (the memory of which probably contributed to my reluctance to do that again). So gentle was she, I wondered if she’d get accurate results. I waltzed out of Dr Mike’s office, mentally scratching that particular item off my ToDo list.

Then I got the call.

I had cysts in my thirties, due to too much coffee according to my Kaiser doctor. So when Dr Mike’s office called me back in I figured they wanted a retake. “Always something,” I grumbled to myself. Then he sat me down in his office and showed me on a screen what has been lurking in my left breast, not even the one I was wondering about. Caramba! This wasn’t just a suspicious spot, but a thing with tentacles! On scale of one to six, six being a sure thing, I rated a five. We did a biopsy in his office that afternoon and then I was advised we’d know more in a week.

And so it begins.

My horoscope today: You may look at your life today and feel immensely satisfied. Perhaps your relationships are thriving and you feel that your life is in order.”  Hah!

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