Roller Coaster Day!

You ever have a morning when you wake up and you really don’t want to get out of bed because you’re afraid the day isn’t going to get better?

That was me this morning.  I didn’t fall asleep until 5am, so I was exhausted when I woke up at 10.  But then surprise! I got asked to lunch by a friend I hadn’t seen in a few months and we had a delightful few hours checking up.  Then I went to the gym and swam not one but TWO miles.  Yay me.  (Side note: I realize it’s Purim, but it really is just plain EVIL to be selling Hamantaschen in the main hall.  Pastries in the gym? SO difficult to pass by!)  Then I met a former coworker and good friend for drinks, with plans to pick up another friend for our weekly TV night later.

But then the phone rang.  It was my someone who rarely calls me.  And as I had seen I had one missed call from him earlier this evening, I answered and asked if I could call back since I was still with my friend, but there was something in his voice that made me pause.  Something was not right.  Something was very, very wrong.  And he wanted me on the phone even if he couldn’t talk about it.  So I made my hasty apologies to my very understanding friend and spent the next hour on the phone.  My heart is now breaking for him, as I don’t know what I can do to help other than be here, and he is out of town.

I still picked up my friend, and still went to TV night (yay Lost!) but my head wasn’t there so much as it was with him.  And yes, it was a roller coaster day.  I guess at the end of the day all I can say is I love you, and if you need to call again I’m here.

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Fat Tuesday Eve

Let’s make something clear.

I am not a Catholic.

This is something that my mother tries to force down my throat every year around this time, when I start talking about what I might give up for Lent.  “You’re not Catholic!” she says.  “You were raised Baptist! You’re not supposed to give up anything!”

I was in college when I first encountered people close to me that observed Lent.  Sheltered as I was, I had a lot of questions.  It was a few years, but after much deliberation I started giving up things for Lent as well.  At first it was the more popular sacrifices: chocolate, alcohol, salt, swearing.  Not too difficult, seeing as how I don’t go to chocolate first, don’t drink much (I was the permanent Designated Driver in college), I don’t add salt to my food, and at the time I was on a righteous kick so I rarely swore.  Plus there was always Sunday, which as a feast day was the day where you could indulge.  I made up for the prior week with mimosas and horrid food at brunch! 🙂

As I grew older, there were years where I halfheartedly made Lenten sacrifices.  Candy.  (Don’t really eat it.)  Sex.  (Wasn’t having it anyway.)  Smoking.  (Never smoked in my life.) Going out and partying.  (Never partied–I was working three jobs, so when I had free time all I wanted to do was sleep.)  Then, about five years ago, I finally got serious.  What is the point of sacrificing something if it wasn’t something that was difficult?  Continue reading

The Curse of Family Blessings

Longevity runs in my family.  It is something that I know I should be thankful for, although I didn’t see it that way all the time when I was a kid.  I grew up with all four of my grandparents living and within an hour’s drive of my childhood home.  I even had three great-grandparents on my father’s side, with the great-grandmothers passing away when I was 13 (she was 100 1/2) and 20 (she was 88).  After my parents divorced, we spent a lot of time with my mother’s parents who lived on the opposite side of town.  I saw my father’s parents, who live in Charlottesville, several times a year as well.  It was the status quo.  I was in college before I truly recognized that some people are not as fortunate–a friend of mine had spent the summer with his grandmother in California and had a miserable time because it was the first time he’d seen her in ten years.  I thought that was odd.  Didn’t everyone have a close family that got on each other’s nerves like we did?  And not just grandparents–there was a whole slew of great-aunts and great-uncles as well that were surrogate grandparents as well. Continue reading

When health care gets personal

Two things have happened in the last week that make me wonder how we got here.  I’m sitting here, typing away, and retyping every few keystrokes as my persistent, hacking cough overwhelms me and causes me to type on the wrong keys while I quickly try and cover my mouth.  Sounds attractive, right? Yet I can’t go to the doctor.  I am unemployed, and while I have health insurance it’s not the greatest plan in the world.  I only get to go to the doctor three times a year before I start paying out the wazoo for my visits.  I’ve already been to the dentist, have to have an annual checkup later in the year, which leaves me exactly one doctor’s visit to use at my discretion–in the next 48 weeks.

So is my hacking cough bad enough to go to the doctor now?  What if I get appendicitis? What if I break my wrist?  Then I’m up a creek later in the year because I don’t have the finances to cover a visit.  Sure, I could go to someplace like the Fan Free Clinic, which is a cause I support financially when I am able.  Or I could go to a Doc-in-a-Box where they are required to give you a prescription regardless of condition when you walk in, thereby incurring additional costs that I can’t cover.  It’s a vicious circle.

How did we get here?  Continue reading

Who knew that John’s Hopkins was in the Ghetto?

Two weeks ago today at this time I was in the backseat of a car, trying desperately not to get carsick, on my way to John’s Hopkins Hospital with my mother and younger brother.  My mom had finally gotten word that a skilled pediatric oncologist who specializes in tumor development was available to see her.  This is the only guy that we know of who has seen multiple cases of her disease, and he is a forerunner in the race to find a way to shrink or eliminate the microphages/tumors growing throughout the body of ECD sufferers.

This is a good thing.  We had waited for this appointment since around the first of the year, and I had been trying to convince  my mother to go for it seems like ages.  While I totally appreciate her perspective of not wanting to be a guinea pig or on display for a classroom, this guy merely wanted a consultation.  He got copies of her tests for the last ten years and then just gave a cursory physical (listen to the chest wall, the heart, look at eyes and ears, etc.).  When word had come a scant week before that he was available we made the arrangements to go quickly, my brother took some time off work, I found a dogsitter, and on a train we rode the day before.

It’s interesting, traveling with your parents as an adult. Continue reading

Thoughts on Father’s Day

Sunday was Father’s Day.

In the past, my family has not made a big deal out of Father’s Day or Mother’s Day. Both of my parents have birthdays within a week of their respective holidays so we always celebrated the birthdays and went about our usual Sunday business on the parental holiday. We gave cards, but that was about all. It was never a big deal.

This year, my father mentioned that he would be going to Charlottesville to see his parents. I thought it might be nice if I joined them as well, and we could spend a few hours visiting together.

I went to church as usual that morning, then was a leader in kids church, getting out around 1 o’clock. I then hit the road. And on the way up there I was trying to remember the last time I saw my father on Father’s Day proper. As a kid I would spend summers with him, but would usually get there a day or two after Father’s Day. As an adult I usually tried to see him between his birthday and the holiday, killing two birds with one stone so to speak. And then I remembered the last time I saw my father on Father’s Day. Continue reading

The Youngest Of Us Gets Hitched

Tonight I attended a wedding. There was a time about ten or so years ago when they were common. My friend C and I used to go to them together–he was my regular wedding date. Every two or three weeksP1020848 there was another, and we just had a blast. It’s amazing what can happen when there is no obligation to your date . . . you relax, have fun, and enjoy yourself.

In the last several years, though, the weddings have changed. They’re still fun, though I usually attend alone. Much easier. But they’re bigger hooplahs now. Not quite as easy and breezy but still very fun, and usually more personal. Best friends, family, etc.

Tonight was the wedding of my youngest cousin. She has been with the guy since she was about 15, and is almost 23. She looked absolutely beautiful, but it cracked me up because they were already acting like a couple that had been married for years. In essence, of course, they have–she’s been with him longer than I’ve lived in any singular location.

It’s a weird thing with my cousin. I love her dearly, but when she was about 10 their family moved about two hours away. Her family didn’t visit often, so I really don’t know her like I did when she was a kid and lived close by. Therefore the wedding reception was spent with the immediate family–parents, brother/girlfriend, other aunt/uncle, and the bride’s father/stepmother. They now live in Texas, so I haven’t seen him since my grandfather’s funeral three years ago.

I think that was the best part. I’m thrilled for my cousin, pleased for her mother/stepfather who were happy, and so on, but it was spending a few seconds with my uncle that made it memorable. Continue reading