Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

It isn’t my fault

For the past six years I’ve been scared. Afraid to speak out. Frightened to admit that I Love My Life.

Six years ago, as I was writing about how amazing my life is, Uncle C shot himself on his front porch. iDad told me the next morning and I flew home that night. It happened on Good Friday. I arrived Easter morning. Uncle C did not rise from the dead like Jesus Christ. I wrote A Luthier’s Poem a week later.

And since that day, I’ve been afraid to admit I’m happy. Afraid that if I say those words, the world will balance itself by taking another life. I know that isn’t how it works, but I’ve felt responsible. Like my happiness meant someone else in the world would have to be miserable to balance the scales.

It wasn’t my fault.

I tell myself that. I imagine myself lying on a green, fuzzy lounge chair and the shrink telling me to repeat the words, “It is not your fault.”

I think to myself, “No, it wasn’t your fault, it was mine. Karma.” Then I say it out loud, “It’s not my fault,” but I don’t mean it. The words are as empty as the twenty-seven calories in each of the pink Peeps I ate today. Since when are Peeps pink? Not that I’m really complaining. I licked the sugar seductively from my fingertips as I walked through the parking lot to catch the shuttle.

I envision you all watching this on your big screen televisions while sipping wine and tweeting. Felicia Day is playing my character, although she’d need to put on some weight for the role. There is ominous music playing in the background. An older gentleman appears as the antagonist.

It wasn’t my fault.

I feel guilt. It has lessened over six years, but it is still there. A little twinge when I smile at the wispy clouds on a beautiful afternoon walk. A facial tick when I laugh at the cat clawing the dog in slow motion. A slight prick as I sit on the couch eating cheese and crackers and sipping a fine wine.

I know I wasn’t my fault, just like a kid knows that it isn’t her fault when her parents divorce. Rationally, she had nothing to do with it, but irrationally it is because she refused to eat her peas one night.

When I was a kid, I would curl up in a ball in the far corner of my bed and cry until my eyes were raw because at age ten, I was not doing enough to save the whales or the starving kids in Africa. Never mind the fact that we were poor and my parents were doing their best to save me. I’ve blamed myself for things that were out of my control for a very long time.

It wasn’t my fault.

I don’t believe in God, I don’t believe in an afterlife, but I do have an irrational belief in karma—that there is balance in the world. That what goes around comes around. I’m always trying to preload karma points for the next time I screw up so that I’m always in the black.

I believe in fate. I keep looking for it in my life. It used to be everywhere when I was younger. Coincidences. Happenstance. Fate appeared in relationships. Fate appeared in job interviews. Fate is comforting. I immediately accept it when I see it. And I’ve missed it over the last few years.

But fate had to always battle my belief in free will. I have it, and I’m not afraid to wield it. My free will is my wild side. The side that defies convention.

I believe that everyone has free will, but they can choose whether or not to use the Free Will card. Maybe there are a finite number of them like the Get Out Of Jail Free card in Monopoly.

Uncle C had free will. My loving my life did not create an imbalance in the world and force him to do what he did.

It wasn’t my fault.

It is okay for me to be happy.

I have an amazing life. Family and friends I love. A roof over my head. Pets who at least pretend to like me. Incredible food to eat and wine to drink. I may not be “lucky in love”, but we all know that is of my own doing. It is hard for someone to break into this.

And my saying this does not mean a family member will die tonight.

It isn’t my fault.

Why religion should stay out of my contraception

Recently, the Obama administration has been getting heat for part of the health bill that requires employers to provide contraception at no cost. Religious groups have been fighting back saying that they shouldn’t have to do this because it is against their beliefs. The bill states that they must if they serve women of any faith. I fully support the Obama administration in their efforts to improve womens’ health.

I have been on the pill for eighteen years. But it isn’t why you think.

Yes, originally it was to prevent pregnancy. Yes, I had sex outside of marriage. It happened. I’m not ashamed. But it isn’t the reason I’ve been using the pill this whole time.

One warm, summer morning in Connecticut, I was feeling perfectly fine, except for the dread that I was going to be in a lot of pain in a few hours after surgery. Twelve years later, I still have a five-inch scar, and a lot of money spent on birth control to remind me.

Since age seventeen, every other month for a day, I’d be in excruciating pain. The first time it happened was my chemistry midterm. I wrote my name on my paper, I tried to read the question through the searing sensation in my abdomen, but I couldn’t. I was a shy, quiet kid, not one who would ever disrupt a classroom. That day I stood up without saying a word and walked out the door, letting it slam as I hobbled to the bathroom.

A while later, I managed to get to the nurse’s office. I’m forever grateful for my mother picking me up. She stopped by the chemistry class and picked up my calculator and books. And she took me home to comfort me, while I felt shame for having disrupted the test, and embarrassment that I’d have to retake it at another time. But teenage girls and their cramps will happen. At least that is what I thought it was.

For the next eight years, every other month, I would writhe in pain for a day. My cats would stare at me, wondering who would feed them when I was dead. And I would curl up in a ball hoping to pass out and praying that the cats wouldn’t start feeding on me while I slept.

Two months is a long time. By the time it happened again, I’d forgotten about the last time. It went undiagnosed by my college OBGYN who gave me an exam and filled my first prescription for the pill.

Five years later, I had an exam. The doctor asked if I was pregnant. I told her I was certain that I was not. Then she said, “You did say that you have male partners, right?”

My doctor just questioned if I am a lesbian. Could this get any worse?

Yes it can. She made me take a test I hadn’t studied for. It was negative for pregnancy. So I had an ultrasound a couple days later. The results came in. I had a ten-centimeter cyst encasing an ovary.

The morning of surgery, I signed papers that I was an organ donor and asked that they not take anything I needed or was still using. They made me sign papers that said if they found the cyst to be cancerous, they could take out whatever they wanted. It was a lot to ask of a twenty-five year old.

The doctor removed the cyst and an ovary. There was no cancer. I was thankful for that. And I was grateful that my mother quit her temp job to care for me the first week. Meine Schwester moved in the next. I couldn’t have done it without them.

So what does this have to do with the pill and Obamacare? Well, it turns out that one of the best treatments for preventing ovarian cysts is the pill. So regardless of my need to use the pill for contraception, the real reason I use it, even when I don’t seemingly need it, is because it keeps me from doubling over in pain for a day every other month. Or possibly dying.

I’ve had to pay hundreds of dollars a year for a drug to prevent ovarian cysts that the Catholic Church and other religious organizations don’t want to provide to anyone.

I’m grateful that I’ve had doctors and hospitals willing to prescribe it to me. I know I am in the minority of women using the pill, but I’m grateful to the Obama administration that other women will be able to access the drugs they need and that it won’t cost them what it has cost me.

The wait

20111001-232051.jpgThe wait begins. I’ve found myself some Irish cheese and merlot. Living in the Bay Area means I have access to all this great food all the time, so I just found something in the UK that I could eat while waiting. I figured I need the calcium.

Speaking of my fracture, as I was sitting on the park bench waiting for the park to reopen, an attractive couple approached; she in the wheelchair, he pushing. I asked what had happened and she explained. Then they asked me. That stopped him in his tracks. He had the same fracture. On one foot it took four months to heal. The other took six.

Four months? Are you kidding?

He told me that the fifth metatarsal and another bone in your wrist are the two slowest to heal because they get the least blood flow.


We all moved on. The bartender has been very friendly. I was walking with both crutches in one hand and carrying the cheese in another. So he put the wine on a table next to him and we’ve been chatting. But now it is time for me to move on. He is getting busy and the first round should be getting here.

Oh, and yes, this is a night race. It started at 10pm. I was not waiting on a park bench until the park opened in the morning.

Where there’s one

…there’s three. As I was wandering aimlessly in the time between park closing and park reopening, a cleaning guy stopped me and pointed out the rabbit. You can see the shadow.

20111001-215115.jpgThen he pointed to a second one. I pointed and said “When there’s two, there’s three,” when I saw a third by the bush. He says they come out when the park closes, hoping to get scraps before everything is cleaned up.

Luckily, Nemi isn’t here since she would probably try to kill it. Earlier today we found this interesting big red bug crawling around in Animal Kingdom. As soon as we pointed it out, she stomped to kill it. When we all yelled, “No,” she said to me, “but it was out of its cage.” We’d just been visiting a display of insects and arachnids. Luckily, she missed.

On another note, I watched the fireworks with a lovely pregnant lady from outside Atlanta. She was supposed to run the race but is due next month. Her husband sprained an ankle in sympathy, so he couldn’t run either. She said I could join them, but I’m rather enjoying my independence.

The park closed after the fireworks. Now I’m hanging out on a bench hoping they don’t make me go back out of the park before it reopens at 10:30.

It seems unlikely.

First beer down

20111001-202946.jpgI was going to be a good girl. I was going to stay home and do my work tonight because I can’t run.

But why waste a good party?

Here I am at Epcot Center. Biding my time. We arrived around 7:30 and I am to meet them in the UK at quarter to midnight. I’m writing it here so I remember.

It has been an hour and this was the first moment I’ve had alone.

In the parking lot, as I hobbled with my crutches in to the park, a woman saw me, saw a park wheelchair, grabbed it and told me to get in. I did as she said.

Turns out she is a non-disgruntled postal worker who grew up not far from where I live in Cali and lives down the street here in FL. She was meeting her sister and friends in the park. And she wanted to wheel me in.


When we got to the gate, she didn’t have the right ticket for the evening activities so they couldn’t give her a wristband, but finally allowed her to go find her sister to get it. I was her ticket in since I looked so pathetic.

For an hour, she pushed me around while we waited for her sister to text back. We tried Canada because she is friends with the band.

We stopped at the pub in the UK where I’m to meet Sparkles and Life Partner and Princess M (who is playing me in the relay tonight). The bouncer at the pub hugged her and waved to me.

Her friends weren’t there, so we went on to the biergarten in Deutschland where we are to meet up with Meine Schwester.

That is where we found her sister. And she really did have tickets.

It is also where I left them with the wheelchair for their own entertainment.

Now I’m drinking a Schaffengaffensomething Weisen and sitting on a park bench waiting for the fireworks. And my next story.

Scaling up

I’m in a Publix supermarket with Meine Schwester und Sparkles. But no one knows because I came here hungry, so I bought a sandwich and have been sitting in the front of the store eating it. The bagger felt bad for me and fetched me some mayo and mustard. The cashier keeps chatting because I look lonely and pathetic with my boot and crutches, sitting alone, eating a sandwich and watching the people pass.

My favorite part is this old scale next to me. At least three guys have stopped to try it while I’ve sat here.



My job, whether or not I chose to accept it, was to organize the entertainment center.



And, as a bonus, I made a recommendation for the kitty oasis closet. No before picture for this. The litter box was originally in the front closet next to the tv.

To restore our energy from all this cleaning—cheese steaks!

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Sashimi Monster

I’ve created a monster. Before tonight, Nemi ate California and Kappa rolls. Then I ordered a plate of sashimi and nigiri. She didn’t even touch her rolls. Poor Sparkles got stuck cleaning up crab and cucumber.

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SF Zoo

We met up with KFJ and his mom for some fun at the SF Zoo today. My favorites were the Lion and Snow Leopard. I wonder why.

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The kid actually liked dinner. Lemon chicken, rosemary roasted potatoes, caprese salad.

We picked the rosemary, oregano, basil, and tomatoes from my deck garden. Nemi helped by washing everything and layering the caprese salad. We ate most of it before the picture. Turns out, Nemi likes basil. She got bored of the tomatoes though.

I realized a little too late that I was missing green stuff.

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