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the music began...

in a dusk of 1994 when this obsessive compulsive virgin from buffalo county had the inkling of getting frisky with a fast rower inside the rusty hull of a 1979 striped orange california-plated international scout. their love rolled to the rhythm of tiny wipers whisking away loud pebbles of rain. she was wild with a voice and strong parts…and he, the oxen-blooded boob guy with incomparable hand-eye coordination. those two rolled in it for seven some years. day and night; night and day. then set up shop, made babies on a cozy little terrace just off the willamette river…and had a few balls. LOVE only got bigger for the millers. their world was huge.

came another September 11th eleven years later…falling leaves effortlessly reminded the happy people that everything must change. the family had just sat down to eat when a criminal (dressed in black crap) waltzed straight through their front door and hissed his own name: "CANCER." He pointed at each child, the mother, then father…and with cracked rotten teeth dangling from his blackened gums, laughed loudly at them all.

holy shit. this is what I get leaving the front door open? a bloody prick with big intentions instantaneously owned our home. my husband scott, usually a fast-thinking fighter with instincts of a king beast, fell into his chair and couldn’t get up. the kids and i stood as close to each other as possible, not sure how to NOT piss off the intruder. i held their bodies close to mine. there was no obvious escape route...but it wouldn't have mattered. we couldn't move. cancer tied scott to his chair, then proceeded to rearrange our heads. at one point i called denny, my neighbor, when I was really desperate and scared of what the beast would do next. denny raced to our house. but there was a barrier between us. i choked, hyperventilated and things spewed out of my nose for the 3 minutes that I stood standing horrified behind the gate, longing for his help. cancer called for me from the kitchen nook. (OUR nook!) i whispered goodbye to denny. i knew he wanted to help and needed to help. but there was nothing he could do except pass me a lasagna through the iron bars. i took the pan and said thank you.

i checked on scott getting thin in his chair. he was fighting...i could tell. his focus looked the same as when he used to pull 2000m erg pieces in the impossible sub six minutes. that was the man i fell in love with: the ox. just looking at scott's face...I could tell. then i ran upstairs. the kids were not at school...instead screaming in their rooms, hitting walls and throwing their favorite toys at each other. all the while, master of hell sprawled at our table...eating our food, stuffing his pockets with OUR hard-earned money and keeping the barrel of a gun pointed at my heart. he seemed to not mind so much (even laid the gun down) when I seemed busy. so…I wrote songs…in my head, at the table (across from him), using the piano (quietly), via email…on alphabetically organized key pads.

this trilogy of albums was my vehicle to safety. even though he left our home months ago, I still see cancer’s muzzle pointing at my face, pointing at my husband and children and my friends' faces…between curtains, through a window, in a reflection, or even at a party.  broad daylight or pitch dark…he haunts me when he needs the hit. like any WANTED mother f*cking rapist, cancer left me wondering if somehow we deserved it. i wondered if the shame i felt was valid. i bought a vitamix blender and signed up for a membership at the local food co-op. maybe that was the right thing to do.

it took one year, a legion of battling angels, several sweating surgeons, oncologists, dentists, acupuncturists, herbalists and law enforcement to finally slam the door on this putrid, irritant, blood-sucking stage 4A devil. there was a record-breaking flash flood in all of portland, oregon. it was the fifth of September, scott’s 39th birthday. cancer finally washed away. down the drain. gone with the shit. denny and the angels were there to witness. we stood together in the rain, hundreds of us…hugging, singing, drinking, eating…and laughing our asses off. sweet billy said "life is like a garden. dig it." he cried, holding his little brother and sister tight. across the party, he saw mama flow in her fancy white dress and dado smile once again. the party shone loud, bucket drumming love and happiness. over the course of a 3-disc collection, these songs are a cathartic maneuver about LOVE, a real force to reckon with. for without it, we wouldn’t be here.