Exploring Roots

Yesterday I was at the Legion of honor for the Guo Pei exhibit, a “Couture Fantasy” and a fantasy it was.  Guo Pei was raised during the Cultural Revolution in China when everyone wore the same outfit in gray or brown.  There was no display of creativity or uniqueness.  She listened to stories from her grandmother of beautiful clothes and jewelry.  From that her imagination grew and flowed and she says “Working to create something is like a religion to me.”  

Guo Pei: “There is a Chinese saying: “One flower, one world: one leaf and one awakening.”  For me, flowers express happiness, joy, and pleasure. When I was little, my maternal grandmother told me, “The bigger the tree, the more luxurious its roots.” What this means to me is that the parts of someone you see, like their successes, are due to really good development of their roots. The roots of a plant can sometimes be even more beautiful than what is visible. Many flowers fruit at the root or bloom underground. I tell my children that if you want to be very successful in the future, you have to cultivate, and you must cultivate downward and not upward. What people ultimately see of you – for example, my work – is only a tiny part of everything.”

Outside the Legion of Honor yesterday

Inside the Museum

Beauty – Inside and Out


In 2005/2006, I went through treatment for breast cancer, or as Molly Ivins put it, I was poisoned, and burned.  She added that she was mutilated, but I ‘just” had a lumpectomy so didn’t feel as violated as those who had more.

I finished treatment in June and went through horse therapy to “re-empower” me.  I’m not sure I was re-empowered but I loved the horses, and the time with them, and learning how they responded to my energy.  It was a lesson in how we respond to the energy of others, and our own, and how we interact.

That September, I was invited to participate in a fashion show, a gift to the oncologists and doctors who had contributed to the survival of a group of women, and one man. Yes, men can get breast cancer, and he was quite a dapper soul.

We each had three outfits to wear down the runway.  I wore pink lingerie, brown sportswear, and a beautiful black outfit with the risk of very high heels.  Everyone wore formal dress for the runway and grand finale.

It was a beautiful, fund-raising event.  It comes to me now when I read that Desiree Anzalone, the great-granddaughter of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz Sr., has died from breast cancer. She was just 31.

We are reading of her because she is famous, but my understanding is that all the young women in that show passed away rather quickly afterwards.  I was the oldest in the show at 56.  There was a woman in her 20’s and others in their 30’s and 40’s, and a few in their young 50’s.

Cells multiply more quickly in the young so when they get cancer, they are more at risk.  My family is gathering today, socially distanced, of course, to celebrate my son’s birthday.  I give thanks for all the scientists and doctors and dedicated people who mean I’m here.  The young man who handed us a gown for radiation always made sure each gown was warm, and he said a prayer over each one.  Tears come.  We live in a world of care.