Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Illusions

DECLARATION: We all live under the illusion that if we just work hard enough and want it bad enough, that life will become easier. That's a bunch of bull shit and the sooner we realize it, the sooner we will not feel so horribly when things go wrong. They always go wrong.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Don't Ask/ Don't Tell

The military's Don't Ask/Don't Tell policy is discrimination sanctioned by a law -- a law that doesn't make sense.

"Since don't ask, don't tell was introduced, the military has discharged more than 13,000 lesbians, gays and bisexuals, according to the Service members Legal Defense Network. A 2005 government report found that about 800 of them had skills deemed 'critical,' such as engineering and linguistics, and that it cost the military about $200 million to recruit and train their replacements."

According to Wikipedia, "Don't ask, Don't Tell" is the policy regarding gays and lesbians serving openly in the U.S. military. The policy prohibits anyone who "demonstrate(s) a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts" from serving in the armed forces of the United States, because "it would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability."

The act prohibits any homosexual or bisexual person from disclosing his or her sexual orientation or from speaking about any homosexual relationships, including marriages or other familial attributes, while serving in the United States armed forces. The "don't ask" part of the policy indicates that superiors should not initiate investigation of a service member's orientation in the absence of disallowed behaviors, though mere suspicion of homosexual behavior can cause an investigation.

Darren Manzella served two years with all his unit knowing he was gay. Did he rape the other men? No. Did he make unwanted advances? No. He was just a homosexual man who served his country and dared to speak about it publicly.

President Obama has vowed to end the Don't Ask/Don't Tell policy during his administration. During his speech to the Human Rights Campaign annual dinner in October 2009, President Obama said,

"We should not be punishing patriotic Americans who have stepped forward to serve the country. We should be celebrating their willingness to step forward and show such courage ... especially when we are fighting two wars. . .

We cannot afford to cut from our ranks people with the critical skills we need to fight any more than we can afford -- for our military's integrity -- to force those willing to do so into careers encumbered and compromised by having to live a lie. So I'm working with the Pentagon, its leadership, and the members of the House and Senate on ending this policy. Legislation has been introduced in the House to make this happen. I will end Don't Ask, Don't Tell. That's my commitment to you."


Please find the full text of his speech here: Human Rights Campaign Dinner, October 10, 2009, Speech of President Barack Obama.

Please sign these petitions to show your support for the repeal of the Don't Ask/Don't Tell policy:

End Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Sponsored by: Gillibrand for Senate

Courage Campaign | Sign the petition to President Obama

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Time Travel - A Poem

for my sons

If I were given the chance to live again
To feel the pure love of a mother and father
To revel with the friends I never had
To run where my heart wished to
And meet a true love

If I were given an elixir
To make the past disappear
To remove the pains of my youth
To erase the sorrows that destroyed my faith
And look at life with a smooth brow

If I were granted the power
To change one moment of my story
To alter the course of my existence
To explore new universes
And all that it would entail

I would refuse the gift
I would refuse it every time
I would slam the door on the salesman
I would stub the toe of the scientist
I would curse the witch
And free the genie

Because in choosing a new past
I would lose my future
I would lose you
I would lose the happiest days of my life
And the reason I felt it was worth living

Your love shines through me like the piercing rays of the morning
Your smile envelops me like a coat on a cold day
Every second of your existence fills my consciousness with awareness
Every moment in your presence makes my heart burst with love
And your every word is engraved more indelibly than sacred text

How could I love you so much?
How could I not?
And how could I ever wish away
Anything
Everything
that led to your creation?

Friday, October 23, 2009

October 23, 2009

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
and though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love, but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward, nor tarries with yesterday.
--Kahlil Gibran

I love my sons at every moment, but there are moments when I am looking at them and I overflow with emotion. Love is such a wonderful thing.

Monday, October 19, 2009

I have my very own time machine



I was walking through the grocery store the other day, and I was struck by the red apples that were on display. They were larger than the apples I have seen earlier this season. I picked up one of those luscious looking red apples, and inhaled deeply. I was instantly transported to a different time.

When I was four and five years old, I lived in a rural part of Washington State near the border of Canada on an apple orchard. While my parents were working in the orchard, us children stayed in the car or played amongst the trees that bordered their working area. I wasn't afraid of those cheery trees. There is something magical about that time as we ran through the neat rows. And every act was accompanied by the smell of apples permeating the air.

I have had other smells bring me back to Washington, and to a small ranch house in Tepusquet on the outskirts of Santa Maria, to the backyard of my home on Alvin Avenue, and into the arms of my love when I was first a doe-eyed innocent. Closing my eyes and taking in the smell at those rarified times is like being a child again and reliving something I never wanted to forget.

I found this quote in an article called "Smell and Memory" by Shigeyuki Ito that perfectly describes how I feel my memory and smell are intertwined.

When nothing else subsists from the past, after the people are dead, after the things are broken and scattered· the smell and taste of things remain poised a long time, like souls bearing resiliently, on tiny and almost impalpable drops of their essence, the immense edifice of memory" -Marcel Proust "The Remembrance of Things Past"


The article gives a few scientific reasons why smell triggers memory. It is worth a read.

Friday, October 9, 2009

On Hope

We are not rainmen in the persuit of hope. We cannot dance around and wait for some of it to fall on us -- however parched we are for it. We must ride up into the clouds and seize it, force it down our gullets, and let it infuse our hungry cells. Hope is not for the helpless. Hope is for those brave enough to fight for it.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

On thrift stores, books, and Phantoms

Thrift store

DEFINITION: A non-profit or for-profit retail establishment selling previously owned, second-hand items ranging from clothes, housewares, appliances, books, electronics, and miscellanea. Donations to thrift stores are usually tax-deductible. Here Wikipedia's international description of a thrift store, also known as a charity shop.

The thrift store was always an exciting place to go growing up. We didn’t have a lot of money, so every couple of months, we’d hit the local thrift store for clothing and other supplies. This is a picture of the thrift store I remember the most. It’s the RAD Thrift Store, located at 215 West Main Street, Santa Maria, California.




There is a smell to thrift stores (at least all the thrift stores that I have ever visited). It smells like body odor, mildew, disinfectant, perhaps ages of perfumes, cigarette smoke, dank attics, danker basements, and lastly, I suppose it smells like poverty. I can remember running through the aisles of this thrift store with my siblings and playing with the toys for sale. My mother was always looking at the clothes and linens. After an indeterminate amount of time, she would call out and all four of us would make our way to the cashier’s stand.

We always wore what my mother chose, and I can’t remember ever hating anything she made me wear. In fact, the only clothes I truly hated were brand new ruffle dresses with poofy sleeves. There was nothing inherently wrong with them, except I would have to wear them to school with little shiny shoes while the other girls had tennis shoes and sneakers, jeans, and a t-shirt. When I was a bit older, I remember buying old dresses to cut up and make into skirts from this very thrift store.

As an adult, I have gone to the thrift store for many reasons. As I have two boys roughly the same build and height and who are growing quickly, I find I need to constantly buy clothes that fit them. It is cost-prohibitive to buy them new clothes all the time, but I can go the thrift store and buy them five or six pairs of jeans for under $20. I have also gone for cheap and sometimes very interesting artwork to decorate my home with. But most importantly, I go to thrift stores to buy inexpensive books.

Going to the local thrift store to pick out my latest batch of used books is always exciting. The pleasure I get from looking at the worn and not-so-worn spines is only topped by actually picking the books and getting to read them. During my last visit, I found a few gems: Tolkein’s The Hobbit and Rudolfo Anaya’s Bless Me, Ultima. I also picked a rather meaty, but altogether random romance novel, a suspense novel and Dean Koontz’s Phantoms.

I loved Phantoms. Not because it is extremely well-written or impressed me terribly. It is classically Koontz. What I loved about this book was the previous owner’s notes. On several of the book’s pages, the previous owner had written her impressions, predictions, sarcastic comments, and references to other books. At least I think it is a woman from the handwriting, but I cannot be sure. Where else could I have picked up such a book if not from the thrift store? I can’t decide whether I will follow this woman’s example and mark up my books with my thoughts. There is an ingrained distaste for defacing books. But I will think about it.

TheThriftShopper.com is an excellent resource on thrift store shopping.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

First Day of School - Goodbye Summer

Even though the Southern California sun is scorching the land and wildfires are raging throughout parts of Los Angeles and Riverside counties, the summer is officially ending for me and my sons. We have been lazing around, watching television, playing, spending time with each other, going to the beach, the park, and just enjoying ourselves. Sure, I have had to go to work almost every day, but having my sons at home (and not having to whisk them about for child care and other activities) has been great.

Today marked their first day as 4th and 3rd graders. They were a bit nervous, but they appeared to be looking forward to their first day. I was rushing about this morning trying to find the school morning groove, but couldn’t seem to find it. The first day of school just seemed to sneak up on us.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Pluto - Keep it a Planet

The Planets


As children, most of us grew up with the belief that there are nine planets in our solar system. I was taught a very cute mnemonic device (My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pickles) to remember the names of the planets in the correct order (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto) . Millions of solar system models have been made -- giving easy A's to kids around the world. Every primary science textbook and hard-bound encyclopedia shows these 9 planets surrounding our resplendent sun.

But in 2006, the dillweeds at the International Astronomical Union (IAU) voted that Pluto was not a planet. Only 4% of its members voted. In what other galaxy can only 4% of eligible voting members pass such a momentous decision. The world would be in utter ruin if only 4% of any given governing body could vote and pass their agenda. Granted, we'd all probably have a public health care option in the United States if this were the case, but there's a lot of bad stuff that could happen. (Don't want to speculate more on that scary possibility - i.e., a heck of a lot of reactionary bombs bursting in air scenarios.) But I digress.

According to A. Pawlowski at CNN, the Debate over the classification of Pluto as a Planet rages on. Kudos! There has been an online petition created so that we can all voice our opinions on the subject (which of course should be like my opinion).

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Karaoke Bar - A poem

While souls sing of
Their dreams once forgotten
Eyes flash across the throngs
And alight on desire
Music cascades down
Mounds of flesh
And pools in the thighs
Parted in dance
Smiles are illuminated
By the red lights overhead
Flaws erased by the darkness
And the burning of spirits
The echo of billiards
Landing in pockets
Empty of tithing money
Reverberates in the lulls
Hymns to the gods of leisure
While discordant voices
Sing away the night
Not mother's lullaby
But comforting nonetheless

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Did I Ever Say I Giggled Like A Loon?

Kitty Foreman

There was a character on the show, "That 70's Show," named Kitty Foreman [Debra Jo Rupp]. I will just assume you don't know who she is. She was the "matriarch" that watched over a group of teens that hung out with her son. Whenever she was happy, nervous, worried, extremely uncomfortable, or speechless, she would let out a high-pitched laugh. I can't help but relate her laughs to my bouts of laughter. I can't quite convey how it happens. I find the weirdest things funny. I find the placement of newspaper articles funny, I find color choices funny, I find bad jokes funny.

At my old job, I went out to lunch with five of my coworkers, and there were some really funny comments made. I laughed and giggled really loudly. While they all smiled and laughed briefly, I noticed that they did not find it as funny as I did. Instead of shutting up or fading off gracefully, I kept right on laughing till I turned red and was slightly gasping for breath. Granted, I am a weird enough character that they were pretty equanimous with my excessive laughing. Even so, I felt strange and out of place when it was done. I felt like a freak next to them.

Sometimes people will say, "Vanessa, you're funny" during a conversation or when I'm telling a story. They say it at times when I'm not trying to be funny and it's a bit unnerving because I'm not sure what they find amusing. During phone calls it's slightly different, a few friends ask why I just laughed or if I was laughing at them, and I try hard to explain that sometimes I just laugh and giggle to fill the silence. Sometimes they understand, but it has been the root of some hurt feelings.

Last night, while watching Rat Race with my sons, sister and her daughter, I laughed till I snorted and made the same high-pitched hyenaesque laugh that only happens when I find something EXTREMELY funny. I was with family, so it was okay. But my laughter actually made my sister laugh harder. *sighs*

It could be worse. When I was in high school I didn't laugh or smile at all. Perhaps do to my shyness, but mainly because I was depressed and withdrawn. I had no friends, and I did not have a chance to share my humorous and fun-loving side. But I enjoy myself at karaoke and have made a lot of very nice acquaintances at least. I'm pleased to call a lot of them my friends. I sometimes think they will find out one day that I am fraud. They will realize I'm really this shy awkward person and stop saying hi. I feel like they know I don't truly belong but they can't quite put their finger on why.

Then again, I think way too much on these things. They probably don't give a rat's ass what I do. They probably just think I am funny and "cute," and leave it at that.

Friday, August 14, 2009

At War Forever and Ever - A poem

We wrestle on the bed
For a few moments
Tongues invading and retreating
Arms twisting
Embracing
Caressing

We attack and surrender
Willingly disarmed
Hips thrusting and accepting
Legs entwined
Pressing
Convulsing

I would give up my territory
If you only wanted it forever

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Pregnancy and Preeclampsia - My Story

I had preeclampsia and eclampsia during both my pregnancies. A friend of mine shared a story about her pregnancy with preeclampsia. I wanted to share mine. This is Preeclampsia.org's description of what preeclampsia is.

"Preeclampsia is a disorder that occurs only during pregnancy and the postpartum period and affects both the mother and the unborn baby. Affecting at least 5-8% of all pregnancies, it is a rapidly progressive condition characterized by high blood pressure and the presence of protein in the urine. Swelling, sudden weight gain, headaches and changes in vision are important symptoms; however, some women with rapidly advancing disease report few symptoms.

Typically, preeclampsia occurs after 20 weeks gestation (in the late 2nd or 3rd trimesters or middle to late pregnancy), though it can occur earlier. Proper prenatal care is essential to diagnose and manage preeclampsia. Preeclampsia, Pregnancy Induced Hypertension (PIH) and toxemia are closely related conditions. HELLP Syndrome and eclampsia are other manifestations of the same syndrome. It is important to note that research shows that more women die from preeclampsia than eclampsia and one is not necessarily more serious than the other.

Preeclampsia and other hypertensive disorders of pregnancy are a leading global cause of maternal and infant illness and death. By conservative estimates, these disorders are responsible for 76,000 deaths each year."


Pregnancy

I got pregnant in 1999. I had a normal pregnancy and was gaining a "normal" amount of weight. All my blood tests were turning out normal. I keep saying normal because everything that followed wasn't normal.

In the last two months of pregnancy, my feet started swelling. I was told that swollen feet are normal during pregnancy. But the swelling would not go down by the next morning. It is hard to describe the feeling of looking down at your feet and having no ankles. This swelling is called edema. I was swollen around my stomach and my arms. I was told that is normal. (bah!) I was gaining 6-10 lbs a week when previously I had been gaining 0-.5lbs a week -- all water weight. When the nurse checked my blood pressure on one of my weekly visits, she noticed my blood pressure was getting high. I was tested for protein in my urine, which is a symptom of preeclampsia. When that came back positive, I was told I had preeclampsia. I was 37 weeks along. I was instructed to have my labor induced. After going home to get some clothes, I went to the hospital.

I was given pitocin to induce my labor. I was in so much pain. They gave me an IUD, which is like a "lite" version of an epidural. Random memories of that day include a woman in another room was screaming her head off. I remember apologizing to everyone. As if it were my fault that I was delivering my baby early. I didn't want to cause a fuss or scream, and I kept trying to cover my privates. My ex was tired and was given a cot to sleep next to my bed. Strange to be thinking these things.

I had a beautiful boy. He was small. They had used a pump to help me delivery on his head, so it was all cone-looking. I remember thinking how fragile he was. I was so tired and sore. I never really processed the fact that I had preeclampsia. I read later on that it could have been deadly to both me and Micael.

My second pregnancy came on very quickly. Again, everything was "normal." Then, at about 34 weeks, my feet started swelling feet again. My blood pressure was supposedly normal and I was told I was fine.

My ob/gyn's exact words were: "Preeclampsia doesn't usually occur in second pregnancies."

I told my ob/gyn that I wasn't feel good and that I was having a lot of headaches. She said I was fine. At 36 weeks, I woke up and my vision was blurred and I only had my peripheral vision. I called the doctor and she told me to come in. She said I probably had a cold and gave me a prescription for Robitussin. She said me to get blood work too, but again I was told I was "fine, and preeclampsia doesn't usually occur in second pregnancies."

The pharmacy was two blocks away. While sitting there waiting for my prescription, my I lost my tunnel vision. My father-in-law and sister-in-law, who accompanied me to the ob/gyn, said that I started having seizures. I don't remember most things after that. I was sent to a hospital in another city because it had a neo-natal intensive care unit.

I remember waking up in the ambulance. Shifting in and out of consciousness. I felt them use the scissors on my maternity dress to take off my clothes. I remember thinking, "I really liked that dress." It was white with bright blue flowers on it and thin straps. I remembering thinking: What was happening to me? Where was I going? I should have been in my local hospital. I was being driven a full 45 minutes away. I opened my eyes to see an oxygen mask being applied, and the fear at seeing such a strange thing and having these people, whether they were men or women I am not sure, touching me and putting stuff on me was a scary experience.

I slipped in and out of consciousness, but I gave birth naturally a few hours later. I am so thankful I survived and that my baby survived. We were in the hospital for two weeks. He was there a week longer than I was. He was put on an apnea monitor for three months because his breathing would stop.

My post-birth ob/gyn visit revealed that my ob/gyn would not have been able to deliver my baby in the hospital in my home town anyway because they took away her right to deliver babies there. I felt and still feel so betrayed that this information was never given to me. I feel so angry that my son could have died because "preeclampsia" was not supposed to happen again, at least according to her. She was patently false. If you have preeclampsia during your pregnancy, you will most likely get it again.

Please, check out your ob/gyn/midwives, etc. If you feel bad, don't let them say nothing is wrong. It's not normal to exhibit these symptoms. Even swelling feet. If the swelling does not go down while you sleep and they are elevated, that is NOT normal. If your vision is affected and your head hurts more than usual, it is not normal.

My sons are now 8 and 9 years old, and I am grateful we all survived these experiences.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Hands

Hands


"Here," she said, "in this here place, we flesh; flesh that weeps, laughs; flesh that dances on bare feet in grass. Love it. Love it hard. Yonder they do not love your flesh. They despise it. They don't love your eyes; they'd just as soon pick em out. No more do they love the skin on your back. Yonder they flay it. And O my people they do not love your hands. Those they only use, tie, bind, chop off and leave empty. Love your hands! Love them. Raise them up and kiss them. Touch others with them, pat them together, stroke them on your face 'cause they don't love that either. You got to love it, You! ... This is flesh I'm talking about here. Flesh that needs to be loved." -- Toni Morrison


"The fragrance always remains in the hand that gives the rose." -- Heda Bejar

"The hand is the cutting edge of the mind." -- Jacob Bronowski

"You can't shake hands with a clenched fist." -- Indira Gandhi

"Hold a true friend with both hands." -- Nigerian Proverb

"The ultimate test of a relationship is to disagree but hold hands." -- Alexander Penney


I am watching my hands move over the keys of my keyboard. They are following the almost instantaneous commands from my brain to press the appropriate key. They are forming these very words with the speed that I have acquired through constant typing, legal dictation, and of course, chatting with my beloved friends. My hands are not incredibly beautiful; I do not have a manicure; there are scars from when I used to cut myself; finger marks from when my sister used to pinch me till I bled; and I have a touch of eczema on the top of my hands, which is slowly disappearing, but despite these imperfections, I love my hands. I love the callous that is on the middle finger of my right hand. They are expressive, and it is not a true conversation with me if my hands are not waving around, accentuating a point with an air chop.

I have said in another journal that I believe the hands are some of the most attractive parts of the body for me. They convey so many things about a person-- whether they work a lot with their hands, their strength (conversely their weakness), their level of nervousness, their sensitivity, how hygenic they are, and myriad more things. When meeting someone for the first time, their handshake is such a vital part of the exchange and how we perceive them whether we are aware of it or not. Hank Hill, from the cartoon series King of the Hill, once lost all faith in his political candidate because when he shook his hand, it was limp and clammy.

What do we do with hands? With these hands I can draw and write; I apply pressure to a wound; I check my children's temperature; I cook meals; I check bath water; and I tie the errant shoe lace. My hands are very important to how I share my emotions with other people. What can be perceived with just one touch is incredible. Being a tactile person, I love the feel of different textures and fabrics. Whether I am caressing the skin of my lover or petting my guinea pigs, the information I receive from the tips of my fingers are invaluable to how I perceive the situation. They are a gift.

I could probably write a lot more, but I think this adequately describes my love of hands.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Star-Crossed - A Poem

In concentric circles we moved
Never touching in our self-centered orbits
The inertial gaze of our eyes focused on opposing wants
Oblivious of the other's existence

Then the Fates erred in cruel neglect
Crossed our lines and thrust our destinies together
We were never meant to travel life as one
Our stars were far too volatile to share this gravity

Inexorably and inevitably we clashed
As the Titans against the Olympians
Our Golden Age was headed for the end
And we were helpless to stymie the fall

In supernova splendor our joining had been heralded
The universe reeled when our auras entwined
But just as awesome was our implosion
And the black hole that left our union in tatters

Monday, July 20, 2009

One of those Questionnaire Things

What do you drink with dinner?
Usually a diet soda or some water.

What do you dip a chicken nugget in?
Ranch

What is your favorite type of food/cuisine?
My favorite type of food is Mexican food. (real Mexican food as opposed to Taco Bell, El Pollo Loco, The Green Burrito, & Chipotle [can't think of other chains])

What movies could you watch over and over and still love?
Old romantic movies

Were you in sports in high school?
No

Were you a boy/girl scout?
No

When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper and mailed it?
Last week.

Ever gotten a speeding ticket?
Once, but it was for going 40 mph between a school and a park on a weekend. ugh

Ran out of gas?
Yes...on a very hot day, on a dirt road.

Favorite kind of sandwich?
Avocado lover with Turkey

Best thing to eat for breakfast?
Chilaquiles

What is your usual bedtime?
12pm-2am

Are you lazy?
I can be. I usually have too much to do to be lazy

Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
Middling. Sometimes introvert, sometimes extrovert -- but always friendly and giggly

What's your favorite mixed drink?
Margarita.

When you were a kid what did you dress up as for halloween?
We never really bought costumes. Cost issues. But I dressed up like a bum, hippie, and a clown.

Do you read the newspaper?
All online news sources. I'm a newsjunkie

How many languages can you speak?
Two. English and spanish. A smattering of french.

Do you have any magazine subscriptions?
No.

Is Fabio ugly?
Yes (far too muscley)

Which are better Legos or Lincoln Logs?
LEGOS

Red wine or white wine?
I have never liked the taste of wine.

Are you stubborn?
Sometimes, what's it to you?

Who is better...Leno or Letterman?
Leno.

Watch a soap opera?
I used to

Afraid of heights?
Very

Sing in the car?
Like a crazy woman

Dance in the shower?
Oh yeah.

Dance in the car?
As much as I possibly can.

Ever used a gun?
My step-dad let us practice with his gun.

Last time you got a portrait taken by a photographer?
Family portrait in 2009

Are musicals cheesy?
No. They are idealized life.

Is Christmas stressful?
Yes and sad.

Ever eat a pierogie?
No.

Favorite type of fruit pie?
Banana cream

Ever have a Dejavu feeling?
In the past

Ever have a Dejavu feeling?
Weird

Ever have a Dejavu feeling?
oh my goodness, get out of my brain

Take a vitamin daily?
When I was pregnant

Wear slippers?
No (Barefoot rocks unless, of course, there are rocks)

Wear a bath robe?
No.

What do you wear to bed?
Tank and undies

Wal-Mart, Target or K-Mart?
All of the above on occasion

Nike or Adidas?
Neither

Fritos or Cheetos?
Cheetos with chile and lemon

Ever heard of "gorp?"
No.

Ever take dance lessons?
Yes

Is there a profession that you picture your perfect future spouse to have?
No.

Ever won a spelling bee?
Yes, at the school level.

Hot tea or iced tea?
Raspberry and Pomogranate iced tea

Favorite kind of cookie?
Almond Cookie

Can you swim well?
Is drowning a talent?

Can you hold your breath w/o manually holding your nose?
Yes

Ever had braces or a mouth piece?
No

Are you artistic?
Yes

Are you patient?
Yes

DJ or band, at a wedding?
DJ

Ever won a contest?
Yes

Ever have plastic surgery?
No

Ever have a Dejavu feeling?
They are coming to get me

Which are better, black or green olives?
Black

Can you knit or crochet?
No

Best room for a fireplace?
Living room

Want to get married?
I have been married and it was not a good thing. Not sure if I want to go through the pain again.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me!

I'm 27 years old today! I went to karaoke last night, and when the clock struck midnight, Ronn the KJ called me up to the stage, and Mama Jean brought out a birthday cake just for me. It was such a pleasant surprise. I love it.

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Rock -

He was like bedrock
Firm and compacted
Unmoving and unyielding

I had no desire to weather
This man of long-held views
And entrenched ways

I merely wished to stream
Along his edges
And touch his borders

And to chip away
Some of his solidity
Into my fluidity

Friday, June 5, 2009

Remember there are always worse things . . . .

Just when I think that my life is bad or my sadness is too great, I read the news and realize I'm just a whiney baby who has no cause to feel so depressed. I was going through a crying spell and decided to do what I do when I get upset: I read the news. The world is such a curious place that I'm usually wrapped up for a block of time reading a story, researching tidbits I learned, or reading further clarifications. It's not that I am specifically looking for stories that make my life seem better, but as all you perusers of the news know, the articles are rife with negativity.

This evening, I read an article about 29 children dying in a fire at a daycare in Sonora, Mexico.

They also confirmed today that the body of the little girl found on the banks of a river in Michigan was the 5-year-old girl, Nevaeh Buchanan, who went missing on May 24, 2009.

I also read the uplifting and heart-wrenching story of Betty Makoni, who is a survivor of rape as a child in Zimbabwe.

So many parents out there lost their beloved children...the Mexican parents, the mother in Michigan, and the children who were robbed of their innocence in Zimbabwe, and here I am sitting, crying, with my two healthy beautiful boys sound asleep in their beds, my relative health, my prosperity. I have no right to be depressed. I have to seize each day with joy, zeal, and gratitude. I will no doubt still feel sad, but I do realize that I have so much to be happy for.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Product Going National!


In August 2008, I designed the logo and packaging for a golf tee named the SmarTee. The inventor just called me to let me know that my logo would be used in a national spot television commercial. It is a very satisfying feeling.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Power to the Snail!


Slowly millimetering itself along the walkway to my apartment is the everyday garden snail. The snail is not an attractive creature. It does have an interesting shell, but its earth-toned body is slimy and not particularly endearing, and yet, I have such empathy for the snail. Perhaps my empathy stems from its very slowness. That must be it.

One day, my sons and I made a quick trip to the local grocery store. Since it is close by my apartment, we walked. On the way down the walkway, we saw a snail had just started to cross the walkway. I advised my sons not to squish the creature, though they didn’t know why. My general answer is that it is a living thing and deserves to live and die naturally. When we returned about 40 minutes later, the snail had gone ¾ of the way across the walkway. My sons were shocked! It had taken the snail so very long to cross and it still had a ways to go.

I used the opportunity to convince my boys they shouldn’t kill the snails we see. After all, they had such hard lives. They are now completely convinced that snails should be protected.

I can hear you gardeners out there with your snail-killing solutions grumbling and feeling defensive over your snailicide (made that up). This particular comment is from an article on methods to kill snails:

“I was reading your article about controlling/killing slugs and snails in the garden. The article was very informative and I thank you for providing this information and this wonderful gardening site for our use. One method of slug/snail control that I did not see mentioned but have found very useful is 1 part ammonia to 4 parts water in a spray bottle. I found this information in several different garden forums I belong to. I have read that the ammonia is not harmful to the plants and have found no ill effect in using it on plants. It literally dissolves the slug or snail when sprayed on the critter. There is some satisfaction in this method when you discover a precious plant chewed to pieces and the culprit is dissolving before your eyes. It is very easy to carry a spray bottle with the rest of your garden supplies and I have found it to be effective. Last year I was quite diligent in using this method and this year despite the incredibly damp spring we have had here in Eastern Maine, my snail/slug population seems to be diminished.”


The author of the article takes pleasure in killing the poor snail. Am I a strange one for thinking it wrong to kill a living creature because they happened to eat part of a plant? I suppose gardeners want their gardens to be perfect. They could not deal with a spot or two where a hungry snail had a little bite. So they kill the snails and toss them away like garbage. It's perverse how many cruel and painful ways they have to kill snails and slugs.

The only snailicide I condone is that for you strange people who actually like to eat snails. I find it bizarre and stomach churning, but if the death serves such a purpose, I will accept it.

The slithering snail shall always have an ally in me.

Friday, May 29, 2009

A quote - Isaac Asimov

If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn't brood. I'd type a little faster. - Isaac Asimov

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Swim in My Universe


We all live in parallel dimensions. It is as though there are multiple universes. My universe is different from the universe of the cubicle mate who sits around the corner. His universe is different from the universe of my boss. No one of us has the same perspective as another. The seconds of our lives tick by without ever truly knowing what another is thinking or feeling in that particular second. We can only read or learn about said thought after the fact, and by that time, that particular thought in that unknown second has already been filtered, distilled, or expanded and expounded upon.

Is it the pure thought that is more valuable, or is it the revised thought? This is not a question anyone can truly answer. You can make arguments for both. The pure thought is raw, closer to what you really think, and probably closer to what you feel. The revised thought has been refined, weighed and is closer to what you want to think or want to evoke.

In high school, I took a creative writing class. Every day, we had a few minutes of free writing. We were supposed to write down anything and everything we were thinking until the time had finished. I came up with my best story ideas in those few minutes. In life, our minds are always free writing, but we never jot it down. When I started this blog, I did not know what I was going to write about. All I knew was that I wanted to get something down. I wanted my thoughts to flow and to think of something that was not in the monotonous flow of my daily life. I wanted to write about something that had nothing to do with the regular flow of my universe.

Sometimes I am so dramatic.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Unrequited Love

I felt I had to document this for my sake. There is no edification in my words nor some new insight into unrequited love. It is merely the recordation of an end.

A few months ago, I fell in love for the second time in my life. I had been seeing him socially for more than a year. It was as though one day, I greeted him as a friend; a friend I viewed affectionately, but a friend nonetheless. Then, almost from one day to the next, overwhelming feelings of anticipation, joy, longing, comfort, desire, and passion consumed me. Every time I saw him, I wanted to be with him; to be near him; to smell him; to feel my hands on his skin; to kiss his lips, his eyes, his ears, his neck, well, his everything; and I wanted to be able to love him openly. I felt like my heart had never been broken because this love was pushing all the pain out.

He’s everything I wanted in a man, except that he does not love me, and I know he never will. Of that, there is not a shred of doubt. So I finally buried my love. My heart bears a fresh wound. He never meant to cause it, so in that I have some comfort.

The end.

Monday, May 4, 2009

A reflection


My sons just turned 8 and 9 years old, and I feel as though I was changing their diapers a few months ago. I marvel that I am raising two boys with their own personalities, whims, desires, and needs. I feel inadequate to the task and self-centered at times. I have been taking them out more often to birthday parties and family functions so they can socialize more outside of school.

At the same time, I have been spoiling them and buying them things I never had. They both have hand-held game systems, with more than one game. I take them out to eat far more than I ever did as a child. It is no longer a special occasion to them, so I feel I robbed them the feeling of surprise and joy it used to give me as a child. I tell them that they do not realize how lucky they are, but it is solely my fault that they view their possessions as commonplace. I have decided to start taking away their treasured toys for a week every month just so that they can appreciate them more.

They impress me every day with their ideas and they sheer joy in life. I watch their faces as they tell me of their day. One part of me responding with required oohs and awws of conversation, the other cataloging the tones in their skin, a leftover milk mustache from their noon-day meals, and perhaps a new grass stain on their pants. I wish I knew those little stories, but I never will. It is the way of life, just as my mother does not know even 5% of what I do with my days.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Letter to the President

I wrote a letter to the President today in response to an article I read, "Picking Letters, 10 a Day, That Reach Obama." I am not sure if he will get it and I don't really want to post it here, but I thought it was worth mentioning.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Too Much



I think too much, my darling
Every second is consumed
With musings and conjecture
Every hour passes a sentence
On my lascivious heart

I feel too much, my darling
The ups and downs of your every smile
Move my emotions as deftly as a puppeteer
Anesthetize my soul with a kiss
Quiet my conscience with sweet whispers

Reach your arms around me, darling
Hold me close for I fear so many things
Only the warmth of your embrace keeps me sane
Only the power of your eyes makes me forget
All the reasons why this shouldn't be

Reach your arms around me, darling
Patch the holes of my psyche
Don't let go, love,
I don't know how long I have
before I crack again

On Living On My Own

Monday, March 16, 2009

It has been a year . . .

since I moved in with my aunt and grandmother. My time there has alternated between being the best times of my life to ones filled with stress and worry.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Friendship - Dinah Maria Mulock Craik

Oh, the comfort —
the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person —
having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words,
but pouring them all right out,
just as they are,
chaff and grain together;
certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them,
keep what is worth keeping,
and then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away.

The Best Loved Poems of the American People (1936)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Thornburg

I had every step of Thornburg memorized from my house on Alvin all the way past Fesler, down to Cypress. I'd go down this street to go to junior high, to church, to my beloved library. I'd fallen on it (and scraped my knee pretty badly), hit a truck while riding my bike, gazed at cute, unattainable neighbor boys, and made friends with its inhabitants. As I grew older, Thornburg was where I strolled with my first love and where he stole his first kiss on my cheek. It was a street that featured in my dreams and nightmares long after I moved away from my hometown. And though I wasn't much of an adventurer, this was a street that I could travel with complete ease because I knew what was around every corner.

But this post isn't necessarily about Thornburg. Thornburg was the way that I went to another hallowed part of my child hood: Veteran's Memorial Park. I have a lot of stories to say about that place from my childhood to my teenage days. When I was 5, my brother broke a bottle over my head there; I discovered that I had not invented the word carnation inside the Veteran's Memorial Hall; and later on, I made out with my boyfriend behind the bushes at the back of the hall. But this is more about the playground at the park.

Veteran's Memorial Park had a sand playground in the shape of a large oval. The playground had a merry-go-ring, a slide shaped like a rocket, balancing rails, and monkey bars. I would hold my breath every time as I rounded the corner on El Camino, wondering if I would see children playing at the park. This thrill of anticipation was sometimes too much to bear. When I would see them, I would get so happy. They were usually kids I didn't know, so there was no fear that they would think I was strange or reject me. I was the most outgoing child you could imagine on these days. I don't remember a single name of the children I played with on those days. But they validated my existence. They made me feel like in an alternate reality, I could be a normal person and have friends just like everyone else. Their happiness in my presence was as narcissistic as any mirror, but more innocent than that. THEY were my first social experiments, and for that I write about them and thank these anonymous beings.

Having friends now reminded me of those days, and about the park, and about Thornburg. I looked up the area on Google Maps and realized that I had so much history within one square mile of this area. My cousin and best friend Evelyn lived on Lincoln, the next street parallel to Thornburg on the east. My friend Terry Villapondo lived three houses down from her, and I once lived in an apartment on El Camino and Lincoln with my stepdad Bill, mom, and siblings. Parallel to Lincoln on the east was Broadway, where I got hit by a car when I was 5, which is also where Bill's Takeout was (best fries ever).

For now, the reminiscing ends.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Health


Tonight I undergo a sleep study for sleep apnea. According to the literature, a technician will attach a multitude of electrodes to various parts of my body. During the first 3-4 hours, they will record my normal sleep patterns. The technologist will tally how many "events" occur. Then if I meet the criteria, I will be placed on a CPAP device, which is a mask that goes over my nose and around my head. It is a device that acts like a splint to keep my airways open. I am apprehensive, but it seems like an interesting experience.

Overall, my health has been improving and I feel like things are changing inside my body. I've lost a total of 21 lbs from my heaviest weight, and a total of 11 lbs since the beginning of this year. It is not rapid weight loss, but I think it is an enduring loss, so I have cause to be proud. I am using a website to track my daily calories. I eat what I like, but I am more conscious of portion size and variety.

My diabetes has not returned. All my blood glucose (A1C) tests have come back in the normal range. My thyroid levels are great with medication. Things on looking good.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Friendship, Friendship, Such a Perfect Blendship


Spanning back to my first diaries, there are countless references in my writing regarding friends and my lack thereof. From gradeschool, I yearned to have more friends but never quite knew how to get them or what to do when I had them. Every new school year I would vow to make more friends; I would be more outgoing and more enjoyable to be around. And every year the first days of school would pass and I would again retreat into my world of books. As I got older and more isolated, I found that most of my friends were made online, which I considered a very safe environment, or they were coworkers. I would second-guess my ability to deal with other human beings.

Things are so different now. I have friends in the tangible world. When I go to karaoke, people greet me by name, give me hugs, rave about my singing, and ask me if I will be there again. Do you know how long I have waited for people to say those things to me? It is so amazing. Last night I was invited to join a group of women on their weekly "Night Out." They go to each others homes, bring an appetizer and wines, and just talk and relax. It is a dream come true!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Self-Image

I have had a problem with my weight for years now. By eliminating the weight problem, I hope to reduce my health problems as well. At the end of last year, I started taking small steps to lose weight. I ate less of what I loved and started walking more. The results were encouraging, but I felt I had to do more. I joined a site that allows me to enter a goal-weight and gives me the number of calories I should eat in a day to reach that goal. So I have been tracking my calories. I don't truly restrict myself from something, but I am conscious of how many calories it is and if I am under my limit. This site has the nutritional information for almost anything imaginable.