Wednesday, July 23, 2014

everything in threes

Listening to Elvis love songs in the car, California skyscape and Ever's bright face in the rearview mirror, wind in my hair and dark blue chipped nail polished nails gripping the wheel. I recognize the joy in my life like you recognize beautiful artwork. I am not in it. I stand outside of it chewing the inside of my mouth, waiting to be taken in by my own life again.

The doctor turned the vaginal ultrasound and turned her old yellowed machine my way so I could see: one thickened uterus, one missing ovary, one ovary with a 3 centimeter endometrioma hanging off it like a boil, and another almost as large 'normal' cyst, simply filled with blood, instead of tissue and blood, like the endometrioma. The doctor pressed firmly above my pelvic bone, willing that other ovary to be seen, but she could not find it. What is more concerning, the ill ovary we can see, or the mystery ovary?

Next month, come back, she said. For free, this time. I'll look again during a different part of your cycle, and surely your uterine lining will be thinner, and surely this cyst- the 'normal' one- will be gone. As for the rest, well, you're fucked dear.

She didn't say that, but the doctor in my head did.

Endometriosis. Such a bizarre word, like octopus. Fitting for a bizarre disease that grows willy nilly all over your organs, leaving behind hot pulsing buttons, lesions that bleed like water dripping off of pipes, and scar tissue that builds thick and balky like the tissue of nails, twining guts together, piercing the lining of tissues so tender they never see the light of day until the body gives up the ghost. It hurts. It really, really hurts.

My old doctor, decade ago, thought I was a freak. When my cysts grew, I could feel them. I could feel the blood pumping into them. He would say, no- you can't possibly. But then he would do the ultrasound, and there they were, baby octupi, spitting out blood and swelling their bulbous heads into my pelvic cavity. Where it hurts most, you can feel the heat radiating from my body. If you press your hand there, you will feel it. It feels good to have a hand pressed on my swollen abdomen. I ask Lola, sometimes, to knead my belly like dough while we watch Ally McBeal. Just avoid the cysts. What an awful word, cyst. Fitting.

In the morning I wake to my right side throbbing and swollen, and Ever jumps on me, three years old, three, the number of centimeters my cyst is. Everkins is in a fantastic mood because I remembered that I hadn't been paying enough attention to her, which as a mother has never been my failing, but lately, with my job and this insane moving from house to house... after I realized her zipping crazy making was due to attention grabbing, I scooped her up after work and we spent three hours together, just her and I. Eating, ice cream, the park. She was glowing the way only the very young and healthy glow, like a sunflower, like the sun off of water. She was full.

Now that we live nowhere, the car feels like a home. We are in the car so often, and it is more familiar than the beds we are sleeping in. I slide Elvis in the CD player and the girls and I take off. The wind is dry and crisp, the sky is blue and my thoughts are simple. It is just the three of us. For the moment, I move my hand from my side and in the air, waving to the girls in the back. We slide down the street. I know what I have. I don't know how to make it real again, but I am good at not giving up.

Monday, July 21, 2014

cloud cover

Depression is to the _ as the cloudcover is to the field.

Standing in a Starbucks I hear an old man respond angrily to an inquiring barista. She is a heavily bracketed, peppy woman in her late fifties with salty hair and a grim, relentless smile. ' How is your wife, ' she asked. ' Dead! ' he barked. The grim smiling barista took a step back with her shaker. ' Oh, ' she said.'  I was feeding her. She didn't look good. They told me she had more time! I left the room and she died! ' he cried out, shaking his head to the floor. His hands were so tightly clenched they looked like tree stumps. He repeated ' They told me she had more time. ' The barista had replenished her grim smile and tossed the shaker determinedly. ' I'm so sorry, ' she replied. ' Was it a sarcoma? '
The old man stared across the room, one leg crossed over the other at the ankle, his arm bent over the barista partition. He looked like he was talking about taxes. Or his last vacation.

I paid for his coffee without saying anything to him and he said nothing to me about it in return.

Our eyes met. I felt a terrible and infantile sadness that I might, forever- now almost 40, close to eternity in our culture- be the kind of woman who when in the company of men, wonders if any of them has ever raped or molested a female. Even old men who have just lost their wives to a possible sarcoma.

My mind can see, in a moment, the endless possibilities of the circumstances these molestations could have come about. He was drunk, and had been rejected by his girlfriend for the millionth time, and this girl- she was a nobody, a mouse, and his father had always talked this way about women, and even though he was going to be different, this one time- well, no one would know. She was nobody. Or he was in his late thirties, and found himself with a Lolita on his lap at the slumber party of his youngest daughter, and his business was failing and his wife was skin and bones and he was alone on this planet, as alone as a moth, or a lizard, or a rock thrown into a field, and he had been hiding the idea his entire life that it was socially unacceptable but true that young girls liked the sexual attentions of older men, that it gave them confidence and esteem. Or maybe he was a teenage boy and his father always emasculated him and his girlfriend said 'not in my underwear' for the thousandth time and he had every image of every man taking what he wants from a woman- so many images- stored in his brain, just enough- more than enough- to reassure his subconscious that somehow in the scheme of things this was, how it goes.

The list is long.

I can't feel my fingers, I can't feel my toes, this is the song, you know how it goes... depression isn't an essay that ends with a period or even, an ellipse. Depression is not a book, nor can its shadowy form be captured in oil, photo, or art, however great. For me, the only true expression of depression is in the face of mammals. Human beings, monkeys, tigers, lions, sea lions, their trembling whiskers turned downward.

Depression is to _ as sea lions are to _

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

red wine, sleep

if you don't have an image are you really a blog post?

the louder my life is roaring around me the quieter i am. i have little to say. 

here in la jolla the ocean is blocks away. i hear it roaring and it fills the empty place where my thoughts were tangled like a briar bush. we are fading like roses from the sunburns of a long afternoon on the shore.

my autoimmune diseases are blooming. too much staying on top of things brings the body under.

my side hurts and hurts like the persistent crying of an infant. no soothing stops it. it wakes me at night, drags me from the edge of sleep, pulses under the ocean sounds. under. i have an appointment, expensive. they will look deep inside of my body and see what is there to be seen. ovaries that hang like buds waiting to burst or be dead headed. i might be angry at them. they might kill me one day. they are diseased already. but they brought me my children. and the last, Ever, they allowed me after two white coats said she was impossible, that i was done carrying children. 

i am ready for red wine, and sleep.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

People In Your Neighborhood

take a seat and read!!

Shebooks hasn't only published my memoir ( which has 18 reviews on Amazon, each and every one I am so appreciative of. Reviews are very important for sales! ) OBVIOUSLY, but they have published many amazing short story collections, journalism, other memoir and fiction. For the monthly price ( under 6$ ) you can't beat it.

I've watched all of Season 2 of OITNB, and this brief write up articulates clearly the kind of real life situations prisoners are living with in the jail the series uses as its model.  “Why are they there? By and large, they’re there because they couldn’t make bail, because they’re poor. And if they had five hundred dollars or fifteen hundred dollars to post bond, they wouldn’t have to be there.”

I'm a big fan of Roxane Gay- her writing, but also her general presence online, which is formidable, intellectual, passionate, stubborn yet searching, engaged and transparent. Here are her 6 favorite books

The newest breakthroughs in cancer research are truly thrilling

A blogger writes a powerful blog post that goes from being flippant to political, on women dying because they have to defecate and urinate in fields, exposing them to murderers.

This mother of a 13 year old boy who died at his best friends house wants us to ask ' Do you keep unsecured guns in your home? ' My two cents: I have asked, but not 'unsecured' just: Do you keep guns in your home? It's awkward and not received well, every time. 

A very engrossing write up on the author of The Fault In Our Stars

This boy has been in a terrible car accident, hit by a drunk driver. Help his family during his hospitalization and rehab.

This is one of the best blog posts I've ever read.  Corbyn Hightower writes.

A woman finds a note in an airport that says READ ME. Find out what it's all about. So moving.

Ever heard a noise that drove you nuts. Read this fascinating piece on the mysterious Hum.

Monday, June 16, 2014

thank you, house

we are leaving this grass and shadow ground in two weeks. 

two years of memories and years 1-3 for Ever, years that i as her mother will remember as some of the most precious of my life and that she will not remember, but will bear, in her heart, her mind. years that shaped her underlying structural beliefs of relationships and the very basic truths of life: am i safe? am i worthwhile? am i happy? am i ok if i am sad? am i capable? yes, yes, yes, yes, yes Everkins. 

this house was an important part of that foundation. the bold, cheerful colonial style shutters, the wide wrap round porch spilling with toys, the bright white kitchen with potted plants, the dogs panting from the back porch to the front yard grass, the big master bedroom with our bed overflowing with pillows and comforters and mommy's computer, desk and quotes and pictures taped to the wall. the bathroom where daddy gave her a bath every night, often joining her to have his hair washed. lola's bedroom, every year with more personality, this year with The Breakfast Club poster hanging over her bed. the boys room, messy and under vacuumed, the place where Ever appears with handfuls of change. the living room: tv time, reading curled into the couch, rolling on the floor with siblings for Family Night. 

thank you, house, for every sheltered night, for every air conditioned summer afternoon, for every crackling fireplace, for the cool pretty wood floor the dogs pressed themselves against. thank you house, for the shadows across the wall, for the blue light at evening tide. thank you house, for the raccoons on the porch i have made friends with, their bandit eyes gleaming, watching me as they eat the dog food. thank you house, for being strong, warm, safe and true. thank you for providing sanctuary.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Happy Father's Day, Mr. Curry

I killed the monsters. That's what fathers do. ~F.K. Wallace

to the monster killer in our house
we love you
happy father's day!!!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

sand storm

We got the house we wanted
to get,
yay! for all that.
Now the hard(er) part: we can't move in until August 1, but can't live here past June. So for the month of July, we will be living with my sister-in-law and her husband and their two kiddos, my nephews. They live in fancy La Jolla five minutes from the beach, so we aren't exactly slumming it. We'll be living a vacation, basically. I'm half terrified and half thrilled. I think these kinds of adventures in life are really good for a person. Shake things up. Get out of your comfort zone. I think it will be important for my kids, they'll bond with their cousins on a whole new level that includes supreme irritation, I'm sure, but that's family, that's important. Irritation is the sand in between the toe that binds, or something. Mr. Curry will be living mostly with his uncle, because there is only one teensy weency room for all of us to squeeze into, and Mr. Curry has very strict sleep needs, including the fact that he wakes at 5:10 or abouts every morning, an ungodly hour that you won't catch me waking up at unless there is an earthquake or fire or a three year old toddler named Mini-Kinny who wakes up with a start and says WHAT IS HAPPENING? which she did the other night. Nothing is HAPPENING, it's three in the freaking morning!!! Go back to bed! But no, she wanted a glass of water. Which I got. Then she had to pee, and I carry her to the bathroom and hold her tiny butt over the toilet while she pees, a nightly ritual which I cherish. I'm not kidding. I love it. I can't fully explain why, because it wakes me, and I'm exhausted, and sometimes I feel profoundly irritated having to wake up and do it, but the fact remains that every time I do it, I am filled with a loving devotion that is so tender I often find my eyes filling with tears. I love, love, love being a mommy.


Saturday, June 7, 2014

People In Your Neighborhood

Bustle magazine covered my publisher Shebooks Kickstarter campaign, still going strong and very successful. 

Really can't wait to read Young God by Katherine Faw Morris, a writer I've just excitedly discovered

Jane Devin is an old online friend of mine and a furiously devoted writer. Her book Bright Lines is getting rave reviews and in buying this sweeping story of a young boy moving through foster care and pain, loneliness and loss toward a self realized future. I bought it and drank it down in two sittings!

I loved these absolutely helpful and true reminders of what to do when your child won't listen, by Andrea Nair

There is a reason I have this bookmarked, and her name is LOLA. Like a smurf exploded in our bathroom. That is all I will say.

A 19 year old Texas kid is facing possible life in prison because he made and sold pot brownies. What a nightmare our laws have become. This is so outrageous and barbaric, it's hard to really wrap the mind around it. These kinds of injustices are why I joined Amnesty International and continue to write letters and sign petitions for the things that infuriate and horrify me.

Incredible photojournalism of the aftermath of a chemical disaster in Phopal in Mother Jones

Tannis Miller writes about the loss of a friend to drugs and mental illness in Blue Eyes

This story of a 19 year old college girl and her boyfriend who murdered her is so deeply sad. I couldn't stop reading it, partly because I always think maybe I'll learn something to protect my daughters, and partly because I'm always trying to face and absorb how random and unpredictable life can be- two opposing goals in reading. See what you think.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Helping is the Only Helping