Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Hypocrite, or, I Hate Hospitals

Nobody likes hospitals. They're depressing places full of sick people, rude CNA's and doctors in too big a hurry to answer your questions in a satisfying manner. They're also full of sad, anxious, praying family members who want nothing more than for their loved ones to get better, and for the staff to at least fake like they give a rat's ass about the fact that they're suffering. If the staff can't manage a good caring facade, i'd settle for her not acting as if a request for past-due medication is the inconvenience of a life time.

It's the praying family members that make me a little distraught. I do my best not to burden my extended family with the specifics of my beliefs and lack of beliefs, though i'm sure they're all aware i'm not a Jesus person. Several times over the course of yesterday and today, though, i've been joined hands with for prayer. These aren't your supper-time hurry-up-and-pray-so-we-can-eat kind of prayers; they're long, specific entreaties to the lord Jesus to fill the OR with his presence and guide the surgeons' instruments, and for his healing energy to course through her, focusing on where she needs it most, and if it please you, lord Jesus, to bring about a miracle to rescue her colon that she may live a complete life with her family, Amen.

As a non-Jesus person, to say that this was awkward would be a colossal understatement. I stood there uncertainly clutching a strange man's hand, looking down with my eyes open, trying to decide if this was an appropriate display of respect for another person's religious support of a sick person they care about, or if my involvement in the whole business was a high form of hypocrisy. I was conflicted over it for some time after it happened, and the more prayers i joined in on, the more conflicted i became. I didn't want to decline the invitation to pray with them, as that would've been uncomfortable and the last thing Nana needed before her surgery was distress.

By the last prayer i participated in, i decided my nonJesusness didn't matter; this was about Nana and the bolstering of her spirit, not my awkward feelings. I was truly touched that so many people had taken the time and energy to come to my Nana's room to pray over her and show love and concern for her. After all, my hopes were reflected in their prayers: that she be healed swiftly and that the surgeons find that small chance that her colon could be salvaged so that she could dwell as an intact person with us for many more years. I think sometimes hope is just another less specific form of prayer, with different (if any) intended recipients and i think that's okay. I don't think the Jesus people would've minded too much.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


The night air was close and warm, the shore not far off, though i couldn't see it in the starlit darkness. She swam a bit further out than me while i stayed back, hesitant and a bit afraid with one foot buried up to the toes in the security of the sand beneath me. I heard her swim back to me, felt her take my hand.

"It's okay, i won't let you drown," i heard her say with laughter in her voice. She didn't need to say that, i knew she wouldn't let me drown. Nevertheless, i couldn't help being afraid.

"We can stay here near the bottom, if you like."

"I like."

She laughed at my silly fear and drew me a little more firmly on the sand. I could now stand with both feet flat on the ground, and the water barely cleared my shoulders. I heaved a gentle sigh of relief. I wanted to learn to swim, i really did! But the initial plunge was terrifying to me. I knew that one foot farther, and the sand would only be inches away from my feet, but the sea might as well be bottomless if i couldn't touch the ground and keep my head above the waterline.

I felt her gently probing fingers on my chest, pushing me gently back as she swept my legs out from underneath me. I lie just at the surface of the water, not really floating because of her hand on my back keeping me up. I could hear her soothing voice telling me to relax, and i did my best. Really, it wasn't so bad, this laying at the water's surface. The sea rocked me gently on its bosom, stroking the length of my body gently with its lapping waves, urging me to let go and be one with it.

I looked up at her and she smiled.

"Stay relaxed. My hand has not been supporting you for at least five minutes, and you're staying up just fine. I'm going to step back and float next to you."

Panic threatened to seize me, and i felt myself sinking. I closed my eyes and forced myself to breathe calmly. "Not yet," i said, thrusting the tremor from my voice. She nodded, but did not return her hand to support me. Gradually, i eased the tension in my shoulders and back, and let the sea carry me once again. I felt her move away from my side and down toward my feet.

She took my feet in her hands and pushed them together, closing my slightly parted legs. She began rubbing my feet gently. As she worked her way from my toes to my heels, she trailed her fingers up to my ankles, running the palms of her hands along my closed legs. Back and forth, she rubbed my legs gently, concentrating at the areas where my legs met. I held my breath, my heart quivering in anticipation as she worked her way up my calves and toward my thighs, always gently, brushing her palms over me.

My skin flared with heat where her hands touched me. I could feel the sea around me growing warm with the heat her hands left in my skin. She was halfway up my thighs when i could no longer contain my excitement.

"It's happening, isn't it?" She only smiled at me, her gentle touching the affirmation i was looking for. She ran her hands across my buttocks and over my nethers, up to the middle of my belly and back. The sea warmed me, helping my legs forget, helping me forget. She withdrew her hands from me and let the sea finish the job she started. I felt the gentle caresses of the water, molding me, reshaping me, every change a pleasure building towards ecstasy. She lay back in the arms of the sea next to me, her reassuring presence keeping me still as the changes she wrought in me came to their climax.

"It's done," she told me unnecessarily. I could feel the warmth subsiding, and the pleasure bleeding out of me into the sea. The sea accepted my emotion, taking its due payment for its help in my becoming.

"Can i look now?"


I flexed my knees, feeling the power of them. The water was too shallow, but i didn't move just yet. I looked down at what used to be my legs. In their place, scales glittered so brilliantly back at me that at first i could not discern the colour. I moved slightly below the waterline and saw that from my navel down had become a deep ochre, with crimson tips. It was the most beautiful fish i'd ever seen, and it was me. I touched my scales, and they were tough like armour, but smooth and supple. I would become nothing's dinner.

My heart sang with joy, but my joy was fettered by the shallowness of the water. Where i once felt safety and security, i now felt hemmed in and trapped. I felt her take my hand and guide me toward deeper waters. I left my fear upon the sand.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Confessions of a Bad Communicator

I'm a terrible communicator. I'll be the first to admit it, though it's something most people in my life already know about me. Some take it better than others, but there it is. I could really stand some improvement in this area of my life.

In this day and age, there's really very little excuse to be out of touch with friends and family.
Busy signals are practically a thing of the past, as i don't know of any mobile plan that comes without call waiting. With the advent email, instant messenger and the proliferation of cell phones, getting in touch with someone is easier than ever.

So what's my problem, you ask? (Okay, maybe you didn't ask, but since it's the point of the blog i'm going to tell you anyway.) My problem is most people in my life don't communicate the way i prefer to communicate. I have three prefered methods of talking to people. Number one is unequivocably face-to face. I'm one of those people you have a hard time getting away from when talking to me in person. My second and third runners-up methods are instant messenger programs (like AIM) and text messaging. For friends, neither of these are particularly problematic as most of them use one or the other and a couple of them (bless them!) use both. It's awesome! It allows me to give and receive information without having to talk about the damn weather or traffic or a whole plethora of other small-talk topics i generally don't care about. IM has the added bonus of freeing me up to do other things while i'm using it. Check email, read blogs, surf the net, cook dinner. . . IM is great!

My family, on the other hand, prefers to use the telephone and email. I'm decentish with email. It may take me a couple of days, but if someone emails me a question, i will usually answer it. I'm awful with the phone. I don't know what it is about the phone, but i absolutely HATE talking on it. Whenever it rings, i cringe and groan at it as though it's going to stop ringing and apologize with a little "Maybe some other time, then?" as it retreats quietly back into my purse.

I don't know why i hate talking on the phone. I've never had a job that required me to be on the phone for extended periods of time or anything like that. In fact, i used to love talking on the phone. I could be on it for hours. I'm not sure when that changed. I think it's awkward silences and small-talk i'm afraid of. I feel like i have to have something new and interesting to say when i call people (or when they call me, which is usually the case). Unless the weather is unusual, i just don't like to carry on about it. My mother in law (i love her very much) is the worst about calling with absolutely nothing to say, so she just talks endlessly about the weather. Meanwhile, i'm on the other end numbly uttering a string of "Uh-huh's", feeling guilty about desperately wanting to pass the phone off onto someone else.

I know people call because it's the only way they can spend time together sometimes. I understand and respect that. I really wish i were one of those people who could call and talk for hours, but i'm just not good at it. I know small talk doesn't bother others like it bothers me, so i know they wouldn't mind hearing from me even if i didn't have anything in particular to talk about. So i guess to those of you in my life i don't communicate much with, i'm very sorry. The flaw is with me.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Acai Berry, My Ass!

You know what's really pissing me off right now?

The Acai berry diet. Not the diet specifically, but the ads being used here on Myspace to promote it. They throw up a Before picture of Star Jones next to a current After picture of Star Jones with a little caption underneath that says lose 25 pounds in 30 days or some crap like that.

Hello?! Do the Acai berry people think we've forgotten that Star Jones lost her weight via bariatric surgery?! And let's face it: she lost a HELL of a lot more than 25 lbs.

On another occasion i saw a current picture of Kirstie Alley being passed off as a 'before' picture, and a picture of Kirstie from the late 80's/early 90's being passed off as an 'after' picture. Same caption, Lose up to 25 lbs in 30 days.

Again, that's way more than a 25 lb difference, and i highly doubt Kirstie's found a way to start life older and become younger as time progresses. Her weight loss roller coaster is a famous one, and last i checked, she was using Jenny Craig, not South American fruit pills.

Then there's the ones where they just throw up pictures of random celebrities: Jennifer Anniston, Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Jessica Simpson, Kate Winslet. . . All with a simple caption: Lose 25 lbs. Like ANY of these women need to lose 25 lbs! And i seriously doubt that the Acai berry is making up any of their diet or supplements.

I mean, isn't it false advertising to throw up a skinny picture of Angelina Jolie and a Lose 25 lbs caption? Doesn't that kind of insinuate that Angelina endorses or uses their product?
How do the makers of the ads get away with blatantly lying to hundreds of thousands of young, impressionble teenage girls?

Edit (from
Açaí has an exceptional content of fats, including oleic acid (56.2% of total), palmitic acid (24.1% of total), and linoleic acid (12.5% of total),[2] and also contains a high amount of beta-sitosterol (78–91% of total sterols).

Doesn't sound like it'd make a good dietary supplement at all.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

What Do These Things Have In Common?

What does this fish


and this bag of seed


and this brick of cheese have in common?


How about. . .this pumpkin


and this hand weight


and 5 of these?


Or this?


You got it! All 50 pounds! Which is exactly what is now missing from my ass as of 10.9.2008! I don't know how to say Thank You to Weight Watchers without sounding like a testimonial, so i'll just thank my leader, Jen, and my sister San for getting me up off my ass in the first place.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


We were in one of those radio station dead zones as we drove through the middle of the New Mexico desert. I had my choice between Spanish channels (which all sounded the same to my monolingual ears), country stations (which all sounded the same to my alternative-oriented ears), static and the very occasional classic rock station.




John McCain: "Me gustaría mencionarles sólo un par de cosas, y en primer lugar, un poco de franqueza. Como bien saben, estamos.....

Great, you can't even get away from politics in the middle of the desert, i muttered to myself as i changed the station.


Well I'm goin' back as soon as I can raise the cash
Cause Canada is not a place that I wanna had in my past
Canadian women Canadian clubs...

Ugh! Somehow i just couldn't believe there was country music in Canada. Especially Tom T. Hall. I petulantly decided i was never going there as i turned the dial again.


I want you smothered want you covered like my Waffle House hashbrowns
Come quicker than FedEx never reach an apex like Coca-Cola stock you are inclined
To make me rise an hour early just like Daylight Savings Time

Yay, Bloodhound Gang! This station couldn't be bad! I decided to leave it here for a while. I noted my mother in the driver's seat next to me shifting uncomfortably as the sexual innuendo poured out of the speakers thick as molasses in the Arctic circle. Good. That's what she gets for dragging me to this Hell-hole in the first place, i thought spitefully. I could be attending the birthday party of the most popular girl in school, but NO! Instead, we're driving out to the middle of nowhere for a stupid retreat. What the hell are we retreating FROM, anyway? HE'S the one who retreated from US with that slut who was only three years older than me. I glared at my mother, silently blaming her. You don't need a spiritual retreat, you NEED a face lift. . .then maybe you could keep your man, i thought venomously at her. Somehow she always drove the ones i liked away.

Instant karma paid me a visit and ruined the sanctuary i'd found on the radio dial, punishing me for my unfair thoughts. I cringed when
i heard the familiar chorus from that awful Argent song.

Hold your head up. . WOAAAH! Hold your head high. . .

"Who chooses this crap, anyway?! How do you go from Bloodhound Gang to THIS", i burst out, shattering the silence of the last six hours. My mother arched her eyebrow at me and turned the radio off.

"We could always just talk, you know," she pointed out.

I cursed my forgetfulness as i pined for the CD collection i left sitting on the couch out in plain view, positive if i left it there i would remember it as i walked out the door. I sat there, not even looking at her. The minutes ticked by, and she shrugged her shoulders.

"Have it your way," she sighed, trying to sound indifferent. She switched the radio back on.

. . . results may vary.

I heaved a great huff of teenage frustration as i redoubled my efforts to find something tolerable to listen to. We still had another two hours to go.

Week 32 Topic:
Results may vary...
bonus points
(hard, 2 points): Incorporate a trip to Canada.
(easy, 1 point): Include a Blood Hound.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Up The Beach

The day was beautiful and clear, and we sat in the shade of the building i lived in on the beach. He sat there with his arms around her. He was so important to her, and i could see it written in her eyes and all across her face like a book left open in hopes the world would read it and understand. He was telling me of his woes. He had worn a tux, but not at the right time, he was telling me. He was wearing the tux now, but he wished he'd worn it last night. I told him that if i was her, i wouldn't have cared what he was wearing. . . i would simply have been happy he was there. He looked at me as though i didn't understand, but it was he who did not understand. I looked at her to see if she understood, but the book had closed. She was now afraid the world would read and misunderstand. Four tears rolled down my face, the only indication of my sorrow for her, but he didn't notice. He was trying, again, to explain how things would be different today, right now, if he'd only worn the tux last night. I looked at her, infinitely sad that he couldn't understand what his explanations were doing to her. She now wore a mask of her own face. I couldn't bear it. I got up and walked up the beach. I could hear his explanations perfectly, though i walked farther and farther from him. He had been wearing jeans and a white tee shirt, you see. White! he exclaimed to me, the heavy emotion written in his eyes and all over his face like a book left open in hopes i would read and understand. I understood. My heart was breaking that he couldn't understand. I looked at her, and i could see a pool of tears collecting under her. She was now wearing a mask of someone else's face. She doesn't care about the white teeshirt, i pleaded with him at the top of my lungs. He couldn't hear me because i was now so far away. I could hear him perfectly, but he could not hear me. I sighed and continued my walk. They were specks behind me, and i could hear his heart breaking in his voice. She was drowning in the tears shed by eyes that were no longer hers, eyes that she'd changed in the desperate hope to escape the pain he couldn't help inflicting on her with his own pain. I couldn't walk any farther.