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I want a do-over

Saturday, July 23, 2016

tragedy befell

Well, it was 'only' a money tragedy. It's actually been a long, long, LONG, time since I had a, for me, large, unexpected expense. I am very careful with my money, virtually never run out, unless hacked. And I have been hacked, but banks refund stolen hacked funds.

Yesterday, I went out to a club in Oakland to hear some storytelling. Along the way, who knows where, my apartment key fell off my keychain. I retraced my steps in Berkeley, from home to BART but that key could have fallen off on who-knows-which BART car, in the BART stations in Oakland or in Berkeley, in the nightclub, in the restroom.

I had attached my keychain to a loop on my dayback, a practice I have fallen into later and will never do again. Going forward, my keys and security fob to get into my building, will go INSIDE whichever bag I am using.

Without the fob, I can usually get a neighbor to let me up the elevator but without a key, I can't get in.

At first, I phoned a friend and asked if I could spend the night. This friend jumped in the car and came to my rescue. By the time the friend arrived, however, I had remembered my insulin was in my apartment. I only have skipped my nighttime basal insulin once, doing so from curiosity, to see what would happen if my body did not have its life-saving insulin. I was sick for two days, even after I resumed insulin use. I could not keep anything down, not even water, and I barfed those two days.  It reminded me of the happy bliss of being pregnant. I was blissful while pregnant, eager to meet my baby, but I dry heaved and/or barfed up just about anything I put inside my body the entire pregnant.

When I was in labor, having been hospitalized three separate times, one for ten whole days, to be fed intravenously so my babys brain would get nutrition because I was not keeping anything nutrition-like in, I asked the nurse for the enemis cup. The enemis cup, or container, is what the hospital called a curved plastic bowl designed to be held while a person lays prone in bed and has to barf. You are expected to barf sidewise from mouth to the curved 'bowl' wrapped near your mouth.

the L&D nurse said "Oh, you won't need that, not now" and I said "You wanna bet?"

I was right and she was wrong. I vomited right through my labor. Once my beautiful daughter was born, the 8 months of vomiting and dry heaving ended. I am the only mom I know who lost over 30 pounds while pregnant.  I'm fat these days but I was not fat when I got pregnant. That weight loss was very noticeable.

Say, I wonder if my vomiting pregnancy influenced my daughter's eating disorder.  I'll never know.

So I called the locksmith back, agreed to pay the extortionate $160 for a two minute walk from his place to my place and the minute it took him to unlocked my door. Today I bought five new keys, placed one in each of the two bags I use when out and about, one to replace the lost one and two to give to two friends, with red keyrings on them with my name taped onto the ring.

When my friend arrived, for I was unable to reach him before he left to save me, I explained that I was going to spend what is a huge sum of money for me to get my insulin. Then I asked if I could get in the car and cry with company.

I cry regularly but virtually never while sitting with someone who cares about me. That cry felt pretty good.

And once I was back in my home, that felt really good.

I have not bought any new clothes in 7 years, since I moved to Berkeley. I have been saving for months to buy a new dress. I used to buy one new dress every summer. I am taking a long trip out of the country in August and I was watching my shekels accumulate to buy a new dress.

No new dress for me.

It is fascinating to have seen how the lock guy let me in. He never touched my locks.  He brought some long, thin metal strips that he slid under the door and ran those strips back and forth under the door and, presto, the locks unlocked. there must be some magnetization in the doors and locks.

He said my building is super secure, that it is almost impossible for someone to break into my locked front door.

I thought the lock guy was cute. I had a surprising urge to ask him to have dinner with me sometime. I didn't but the fact that I had such a thought reflects a shift in me. Whats up?!

And he gave me a $15 break on the price, which also felt good.

Thank goodness I had one back up door key. The locksmith said he could not make keys for me. If I had not had a back up key, I could not have locked my door and would have had to pay property management a fat fee for a new one.

Sigh. I had been looking forward to shopping for a new dress. And wearing a new dress on my travels.

At least I had the money to cover the locksmith.

two train wrecks, glass heart

When my long-ago ex and I were newly separated, people often offered sympathy.  I was unhappy that I had to deal with an expensive custody challenge but I never, not for one instant, doubted that he and I should part ways.

I used to thank people for their show of concern and then assure them that I was doing fine.  Such well-meaning friends and family seemed to need more from me so I sometimes added "He and I were two train wrecks looking for a track."

I seem to only be attracted to train wrecks. I want to change this.

I met a dating coach yesterday. I had never heard of that field. I am not considering a dating coach. Just mentioning it. The dating coach also mentioned she is very expensive. For real?  People pay good money for a dating coach?

I don't need a dating coach. I need surgery. I need to have my glass heart replaced with a flesh and blood one.

Monday, July 18, 2016

the unlovable within ourselves


my super power

My main super power, for I do have other super powers, is my ability to completely forgive and forget.

This super power was forged in an unhappy childhood.  While still a child, once I experienced grievous harm from my parents, I developed a gruff exterior but under that gruffness, I had already forgiven them. It was not until my late-twenties, maybe my early-thirties, that I learned to really let go of the past.

Now when someone I care about, perhaps unwittingly causes me harm, it flows over me like water flows over a riverbed. Flows over me and the pain washes away.

I am reminded, as I write, of the time I used grown-up fingernail clippers to clip my baby's fingers and toes. I had special scissors for trimming baby fingernails, and toenails. The baby scissors were flate on one side, to keep the scissors from inadvertently pinching the baby's tender skin. One time, weeks before my baby's father and I separated, during a miserable evening at home, he had noticed her fingernails needed trimming and he ordered me to take care of it. Note, he did not ever consider tending to her need. Now I know he was recording everything, hoping to, as he came to put it, develpiong evidence to prove I was unfit. I didn't know his loud, angry demand that I trim the baby's nails was being recorded but my being, now, in 2016, tenses up as I remember that evening, remember the tension I felt.  One never knew where his anger might go.

So I rushed upstairs, from the family room, and bathed the baby. I had a slanted sponge bed for the tub, in which to bath her. I could run water up to the two inch sponge, warm water, and play with her and bath her.  I believe I chose to bath her when he ordered the nail clipping so I could get away from him, be alone with her in the main bathroom.

I was very tense, on edge. I couldn't find the flat-sided scissors so, worried about my husband's anger, which sometimes resulted in physical violence, I used the adult nail clippers.

And I pinched a teeny tiny bit of skin on one of her teeny tiny fingers. She cried a little bit but not long, leading me to conclude there are not a lot of nerve endings near fingernails. She bled what seemed a profuse amount.   With her hand in the warm bathwater, it jst kept bleeding. I was afraid to take her out of the tub, dry her off and dress her, because then her father would inspect her trimmed nails. I felt such tension, such panic, over a trivial childhood injury.

I didn't actually do anything but sooth my baby, begin to drain the tub, dry her off, dress her but I waited in the bathroom until she stopped bleeding.

He had heared her crying and came up, pounding on the door. I had hoped he would never see the blood but he did see the tail end of that small cut, the end of the bleeding.

She was all smiles, cooing and giggles, having all-but-instantly forgotten the cut as soon as the pinch stopped hurting. She didn't even seem to notice the blood, which seemed to profuse to me. I was so fearful that he might see the blood and blame me, hurt me.

So I was happily surprised when he came in, began to criticize me but then her gurgling delight overcame him. He said "Look, she has already forgotten about it. She's not hurt and she doesn't seem to realize she is still bleeding a bit." He was able to enjoy her easy joy.

What a relief.

Babies come with the super power to let things go so I likely came with that super power. Then I lost it. Now I have found it again.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Children of Men

Alfonso Cuaron's new film, new in 2007, Children of Men, is excellent. I am going to talk about it so if you don't want to know what happens before you see it yourself, stop reading now. This blog post was originally published when the film came out. This review focusses on one aspect of the film but the film has been in my thoughts of late because I think the world portrayed in the film is unfolding, a world of perpetual war, fear and loathing of refugees, environental destruction that results in endless masses of humans moving around the planet hoping to find a place they can be alive.  I fear such a world is coming

The movie is set in a dystopian 2027. As the movie opens, we learn that the youngest human being in the world has just been killed, which is how we learn that women can no longer have babies. This means that as the film opens, we are looking at a world where the human race is thought to be extinct, that no more new humans will be born. This is a very interesting scenario to think about even if there were lots of logic holes in it that don't interest me.

The hero of the film used to be a change activist but he has given up. He initially resists his call to renew his quest to make a better world but, in the end, this is, after all, a movie, he agrees to help. He agrees to help even before he fully understands the task he has been entrusted to carry out, which is to save a young woman who is eight months' pregnant.

It's a great movie. There are plenty of reviews all over the internet. I want to talk about the moment in the movie that most haunts me.

The revolution begins just as the pregnant young woman goes into labor. Even though she is in labor and even though the birth of her child will be a fantastic miracle for no new humans have been born in eighteen years, people are fighting over her, wishing to control that baby. People, well, men, are literally fighting over her and all around her, dragging her through sprays of gunfire, pulling her into buildings that are being actively bombed. At first, the baby is kept hidden. It is not easy to hide a crying newborn. Gradually, she can't hide the wailing baby.

As people become aware that there is a baby, there are many beautiful moments of hushed reverence for the new life. All humans had truly believed the race was extinct, that no new humans would be born.  The fighting men call for a ceasefire because there is a baby. Angry crowds of people grow silent, stop fighting and part to let the mother and infant pass safely. These are holy, reverent moments. As she moves through the fighting, there are repeated calls for the fighting men to stop shooting. As she moves, gunfire ceases. There is a fantastic silence with the faces of soldiers radiating love for the miracle that is passing before them. "Stop shooting, stop shooting," one soldier after another calls out. The movie viewer can see in the faces of each soldier memories of loving babies and other humans. It is such a hopeful interlude. One begins to expect the sight of a baby to bring about a ceasefire.

Then the mother and child are past the space of battle. Almost instantly, the same men who had just moments before been silent, reverent beacons of love for the miracle of the baby resume their fighting without missing a beat.

Stop shooting, let the miracle pass, then let's get back to the fight. Instantly, the baby is forgotten, the miracle set aside. Rat-a-tat gunfire continues.

The resumption of the battle after such a miracle was the most interesting moment in the movie for me.

"I wouldn't have messed with you"

I met a former heroin addict, she's in recovery. She mentioned her history using heroin after I shared a story about waiting for a bus in the Oakland neighborhood we were in today. I had waited alone a couple weeks ago, for a bus, just a block away. Two men came up to me, separately, their tall bodies 'waving', which gave me the impression they were very high on serious drugs. These men each warned me about standing in that area alone, warned me that the area was full of drug addicts. But they were somewhat cordial. My new acquaintance said "I used to be addicted to heroin. Heroin addicts don't mess with someone like you. We just met, I know, but I get that you are powerful, not easily afraid, and you don't take much shit." She went on. "I would never have messed with you when I was a heroin addict.If those guys were heroin addicts, they wouldn't have messed with you. They were probably sincerely concerned for your wellbeing. They probably felt safe with you because, like me, they picked up on your power."

I like this gal, also a writer.


true love

True Love by Wislawa Szymborska
True love. Is it normal
is it serious, is it practical?
What does the world get from two people
who exist in a world of their own?

Placed on the same pedestal for no good reason,
drawn randomly from millions but convinced
it had to happen this way – in reward for what?
For nothing.
The light descends from nowhere.
Why on these two and not on others?
Doesn’t this outrage justice? Yes it does.
Doesn’t it disrupt our painstakingly erected principles,
and cast the moral from the peak? Yes on both accounts.

Look at the happy couple.
Couldn’t they at least try to hide it,
fake a little depression for their friends’ sake?
Listen to them laughing – it’s an insult.
The language they use – deceptively clear.
And their little celebrations, rituals,
the elaborate mutual routines –
it’s obviously a plot behind the human race’s back!

It’s hard even to guess how far things might go
if people start to follow their example.
What could religion and poetry count on?
What would be remembered? What renounced?
Who’d want to stay within bounds?

True love. Is it really necessary?
Tact and common sense tell us to pass over it in silence,
like a scandal in Life’s highest circles.
Perfectly good children are born without its help.
It couldn’t populate the planet in a million years,
it comes along so rarely.

Let the people who never find true love
keep saying that there’s no such thing.

Their faith will make it easier for them to live and die.

I get to want what I want

I might not get what I want but, as I told my daughter a thousand times as I raised her, we create our lives by wanting what we want, not what we think we can have.

Friday, July 15, 2016

there is a man

there is a man
just outside
playing with his son
the two of them are beautiful
lolling in the light
the little one clings to his dad
watching as folk pass
the father dotes so happily
upon his little boy
I long to take them both home
to watch them love each other
I don't know who is cuter
the father or the other
Both of them are plump, you see
and positively yum
How kind of them
How gracious
to share their love with me
just outside this window
dappled in the sun

happiness makes me happy

happiness makes me happy
This is true for one and all
happiness is so fine, so good
so right, so blue, so tall

joy now there's another thing
to make you want to sing
joy is also very fine
so easily it clings
to every single moment
to the all of everything

do not be too greedy
but do not be too good
take your fill with prudence
trust it if you could
be happy
as happy as you can

stop and kiss a baby
stop and kiss yourself
spread joy all around you
pretend you are an elf
pretend you are a wizard
pretend you are a fairy
incant joy and happiness
let this be your wish

pretend you have the power
to be happy all the time
see joy in every moment
you will soon feel fine
pretend you live in heaven
and heaven is your home

if I were more charming

if I were more charming
if I could just do cute
more people would love me
animals to boot
I need more than I'm getting
I'm as greedy as a pig
I want everyone to love me
To cherish me and dig
everything about me
all that isn't fine
all that isn't caring
all that isn't kind
if more people loved me
I'd have a happy mind

I deserve my daughter
I deserve to have her back
the word should reach her stony heart
and she come back to me
I can't say I won't hurt her
I can't say I won't cry
But i will love love love her
until the day I die
come back to me
my little one
how I love you so
I'd come for you
you know I would
just say the word
and I will go