Custom Search

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Down the Drain

I've always preferred having diarrhea over puking.

Diarrhea never forces you to desperately hope for air. Sure, it may inspire clamoring for a match or a window, but you never really are *forced* to stop breathing like puking does as it fights for full command of your throat. Diarrhea may force you to inhale some horrific odors rivaling the Bog of Eternal Stench, but puking forces you to taste it.

Over 10 years ago, I decided to never puke again regardless of whatever sewage threatened to break the dam in my throat. I've been sick, I've been food poisoned, but in those 10 years, I never allowed my body the choice to expel waste material from my mouth. For instances when my resolve has been contested, I simply lied down and visualized the toxin moving through my intestines and heading for the Southern exit. (It works!)

Last Thursday, my husband decided to stay home and spend time with his lovely pregnant wife. (That would be me.) For lunch, we went to a lovely nearby deli where we occasionally enjoy gourmet sandwiches, salads, and desserts. To split betwixt us, we ordered an egg salad sandwich, a chicken breast with ham sandwich, and a chicken pesto salad. I was well into my portion of the egg salad sandwich when I got an overwhelming prompting that I shouldn't be eating that or any of the order. I mentioned this to my husband. I even called my sister to get an all-clear from her. (She has been pregnant before.) But eventually, my hunger and my tastebuds won out. I rationalized that this small portion of food couldn't hurt. Surely.

Fast-forward to 3 a.m. that night.

I woke up with a painful weight in my stomach and knew right away I had food poisoning. Just above my stomach was the taunting presence of vomit desiring to "just take a peek" from my tonsils. I writhed in pain and visualized the offending poison heading south. I smiled when I heard my intestines creak and groan. I fell asleep. For a couple minutes.

I woke up, went to the bathroom, and "released" some rerouted poison; I was disappointed to find that the amounts were negligible.

3:46 a.m.

I had just returned to bed feeling worse than ever. My husband, half-asleep, reached up to comfort me by rubbing my back. Ut-oh. "Don't touch me please! It's making me want to puke! OH NO! OH NO!" [gag]

I sprinted into the bathroom and leaned over one of the two sinks at the vanity. I knew then my 10+ year record was over.

I learned two things in the following few seconds. (1) The sink I had chosen was in desperate need of some Drano. (2) I did not chew my dinner very well that evening.

I cried between spewings, hovering my face inches above the brown stew filling the sink and watching string beans still completely intact float like splintered beams of an old wooden ship after a pirate attack. I felt my husband's hand gather my hair into a pony tail.

Upon sensing a break in the volcanic show, I moved over to the second sink and tested its draining power. Success. I decided right then that the best place to vomit is in the sink. The stuff routinely leaves your sight as it slides towards the drain, and there's clean running water right there to help swish out the acid residue in your mouth.


The rest of the night involved much whining, crying, and pleading ("I don't want to again…I don't want to again…) so I'll spare you the details.

Anyhoo… It turns out that I had ingested in my lunch some undesirable toxins to my baby and puking was the best way to protect her, so now I at least have something to hang over her head when she's a teenager. "I PUKED MYGUTS OUT FOR YOOOOUUU!"

I'm starting on my no-puking record again. This time, I'm aiming for eternity.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Three-Month Mark

I'd like to write about various things events and thoughts I've had, but this pregnancy has been keeping me under its power, so I can only speak in regards to it at this time. Let's see what actually makes it to the keyboard.

I am still very tired mostly from bedrest-induced insomnia. I have been sleeping two hours a night for at least a month now. (Oh, yeah. Did I mention I've been on and off bedrest since September?) We purchased a TempurPedic bed that should be delivered here in an hour or two. I am putting a lot of hope on that bed to help me sleep better.

For as much as that bed costs, I'm expecting AT LEAST three midgets to hop out of the memory foam tonight to massage my scalp, neck and back!





I am three months along in this pregnancy. Woohoo! That's the furthest I have ever been. While it will be fun to find out in a month or so what gender this baby is, I am most excited by the hope of having more energy as I enter the second trimester. Energy = good.

I always thought I'd be the cute little pregnant woman running around continuing her normal routine as her belly expanded. Guess not. Instead, I'm the chunky haggard pregnant woman grunting whenever she gets up out of a chair... and that's before the baby belly kicks in! Due to aforementioned exhaustion, I have quit work, dropped guitar lessons and have requested "holds" on my university courses. Currently, my goals for each day are to sleep longer, eat better, drink more water, and walk outside.

Another thing on my mind is the taming of our cairn terrier Indy. That sucker has 6 months to get his freakin' act together, specifically, not barking loudly at passing delivery trucks and kids biking around the neighborhood, not squealing and yelping at approaching dogs minding their own business and guests entering our home, not slamming himself against window sills when going berzerk, and not pulling me on our walks. I use much of my small daily reserve of energy on training him since we have only a few months to ready him for a baby in the house.

Boy, this entry is boring me. Fortunately, the bed just arrived, and it's calling my name. Little midgets, here I come!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Pregnant

Oh yeah, y'all.
I'm pregnant.
That is all.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Sick

I'm sick. Not in the I-like-kicking-puppies kinda way. Like somebody-got-their-crappy-germs-on-me-and-now-I-feel-like-crap sick.

A carpenter jumped into my mouth and sanded the back of my throat with the roughest grittiest sandpaper and then didn't clean up his mess; he just left all the powder and crumpled paper scattered upon my tonsils. A band of Germ Gypsies are dancing around the bonfire they have built under my uvula. Fire and uvula don't mix.

My nose is swollen, and I'm sure I resemble one of the enthusiastic Honkers on Sesame Street except I possess less enthus. I'm going through tons of lotion-kissed tissue. (Bless the person who invented lotion-kissed tissue!) Blagh. I'm finished with drawn-out descriptions. My ears hurt. My body aches. Poo.

I rarely get sick and, obviously, hate becoming so because of the discomfort. Even truer, I realized today, is that me getting sick makes me… one… of you. You= you mere careless mortals down there who don't know how to protect yourselves from microscopic little germs. You= you simpletons down there with your stuffy noses and wadded up tissues and your whininess about being sick. For a short miserable throat-burning nose-honking time, I am one of you.

A few people have mentioned that I have a superiority complex. I call it Reality. Now, pass the tissue.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Juggling

In high school, I once did a presentation involving circles for Algebra class. I tried juggling three oranges and dropped them on the floor and some kid's desk. I apologized, explained that I am better with different types of objects, and then proceeded to pull out three kitchen knives. The kid whose desk I had hit with an orange immediately objected. I laughed. Juggling has never been one of my talents.

I still don't know how to juggle. Instead of oranges and knives, I'm trying out full-time school, part-time work, weekly guitar lessons and an infinite marriage. I occasionally try to slip dog-tending, house-keeping and meal-cooking in the rotation. I just end up with dog hair and salsa all over everything. I laugh. Juggling has never been one of my talents.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Where’s the funny?

When I joined MySpace last winter, I uploaded 15 funny videos of some of my favorite stand-up comedy routines.

Nine months later, MySpace decided that my little comedy corner was infringing copyrights and people in Copyright Land were losing pennies, even nickels, over my hosting Conan O'Brien's lost MC Hammer back-up dancer, Mitch Hedberg's mobile home repo-man, and Dhanny Boy's Scottish orchestra bagpiper.

I didn't post those videos for profit or popularity. I posted them to avoid becoming a SPAM-pimp by forwarding videos to my friends' emailboxes. Essentially, I was saying to my friends, "Hey, take a look at my file folder of funny videos!" MySpace didn't like me sharing the funny. People should pay for funny! Instead, MySpace would like me to join their ranks of OMG-U-so-craZ-LOL members and use my page for posting self-indulgent surveys telling you just what percentage of "HOT" I am and what Disney character I am most like.

Tell me it's not screwed up when I can't even share my collection for the fun and amusement of the 10 people who regularly come visit my MySpace. (No, I didn't just stutter.)

MySpace first began raiding my stash by removing the Saturday Night Live "Taco Time" clip. They then removed three videos of various stand-up acts by Jim Gaffigan and Pablo Francisco. Two days ago, I voluntarily removed the other 11 videos before I was thrown into the NoSpace clinker. Here I am now, videoless.

Well… here YOU are at my MySpace page, videoless. I still have videos in some other space of mine.






(BTW, I hate internet forwards, but I do love the kind of mail that I have to go outside to get. If you have to forward me a lame kitty joke or a fake sob story, please use pen, paper, and a stamp.)

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Winter

Ok, ok!

… Let's see…

It's Sunday. I'm sitting at my computer letting the breeze of a pre-storm pour from the window and wash over me. The sky is a beautiful contrast of gray streaking towards the ground and a bit of white fluffiness waving from the distance. The mountains are a brown-gray now and relaxing during this respite from the harsh sun beat upon them earlier in the week. Due to the Labor Day weekend, many of the county's residents have escaped the area and left the valley quiet.

My eyes and body are exhausted and fighting sleep. I must speak.

You may have noticed the drained words and photos I have shared in the last few weeks (month?). Situations around here sucked and triple-sucked. The things that didn't suck were the things that sucked less. There are still woods to travel through and roads to travel on, but I'm regaining strength, energy, and faith.

No one likes to dangle by a thread, do they? The truth I've recently remembered is that life is a cycle of cycles. I don't know of a sane person who, in the middle of winter blanketed with snow and dotted with leafless trees, runs through the streets screaming that all has died and the world has come to an end. We know that wait a few months and shoots will appear on the trees, birds will begin their morning choir, and life will emerge and stir about the earth again.

So, I'll share with you now: I am in winter, but I now carry on understanding that things will again bloom and life will stir about the earth again as surely as the sun rises and sets.

Thank you for the love and concern that has been expressed by many of you. I will be fine.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Unlovable

With the exception of random tokens, each day I'm faced with evidence that I'm unlovable.


It's hard being unlovable because even the unlovable desire love.

Friday, August 24, 2007

The Anvil

I'm in such a weird place.

I started college after so many years of not being able to go. I'm excited! It's big! It's a huge thing! It's great. It's!!

Sometimes, I can't believe I'm there. Sometimes, I wonder if I can keep up. Sometimes, I wonder why I didn't fight harder to go sooner. It's still exciting!

But when I'm not at school… when I'm driving to or from there… when I'm trying to go to sleep… when I'm trying to get up… when I'm supposed to be focusing on a task…

my mind wanders…


There are painful things going on here. They're as heavy as the anvil Wile. E Coyote clutches to on his fall over the cliff before it flips upside-down to crash him deep into the desert ground. I try to hide this anvil in my soul, not for forever, just for a while, because I just can't look at it right now. See it or not, it's still heavy. And painful. And constant. Still, I carry it.

My intellect and my emotions are holding grudges against each other. They want to see eye-to-eye but don't know how to possibly do that this year so, they fill a chamber in my heart with thick tension and steely stares. Occasionally, they tussle for a bit before each going back to their respective corners with fortified tension and stares.

Have you ever been so sad you feel like throwing up? (No? Oh—uh, never mind.)

I often feel like throwing up. It never comes. It's hard to fit an anvil through my esophagus. For now, it just sits in my soul with dust lightly gathering in the "ACME" indentations on its sides.

I'll find a use for it yet.

Monday, August 20, 2007

I feel very lonely

I feel very lonely traveling on this road.
I don't know my destination; I don't recognize this abode.
And things just aren't going well, and by things, I mean me.
And home is not what it used to be, and it's not where it used to be.

I uncorked my thirsty heart in hopes of having it be filled.
Instead, the little bit it used to hold has thoughtlessly been spilled.
And my heart sits on the table, a specimen of disease.
And it feels like a million jigsaws where there used to be one piece.

Here it sits empty. Here it sits still.
Here it lays gasping, losing its will
To live, to love, to hope, to go on.

And the rest of the world goes on.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Emptying of Bedrooms

A neighbor of mine is from Japan. She is married to an Indonesian man who was recently deployed to Afghanistan for a year. I visited the inside of her new home for the first time about a week ago after her 4-yr-old daughter pleaded for me to come over to lunch with them. The little girl, like most children, wanted to show me her bedroom right away. I noticed her bed consisted of a crib mattress that lay on the floor. I chuckled as she showed me the Hello Kitty clock her grandmother had sent for her birthday. I've been on this earth long enough to know that Japanese grandmothers LOOOOOOVE Hello Kitty!

Another neighbor of mine "adopted" a Somali refugee family a few months ago. She helps the parents become accustomed to life in the United States by showing them how to cook with American ingredients and appliances and how to navigate through their new environment. With rent eating most of the Somali father's $800/month income, they have little left for food, furniture, clothing, toiletries, diapers and other basics for their six children aged six months to 13 years. Last Sunday, this friend distributed a list to the women's group at church of needed items: clothing, deodorant, toilet paper, diapers. At the bottom of the list was the "Wishful Thinking" section: beds, books, dressers.

It is time.

It has been six months since the three foster children we had planned on adopting moved out and their rooms still stay as they were when they left. Hubby recently started using the dresser in The Boys' room as a desk. It's odd to come into the room and find the bunkbeds silently standing behind him as he works. The 5-year-old's name is still scribbled in crayon on the side of his 8-year-old brother's bedboard. A small smile stretches my lips every time I see that. I am the one who taught him how to write his name.

I wander into the 6-year-old girl's room. In it sits her bed with the gold headboard. A framed stitchwork of the word "LOVE" hangs overhead. My mind imprints pink furry boas and glittery necklaces hanging off the doorknob. I blink, and they're gone. It's time for the beds and dressers to follow suit. Ah, to be a genie.

I call my Japanese friend and tell her I have an extra twin bed lying around and would she be interested in it for her daughter. She is absolutely ecstatic that I am giving it to her for free. We set up a delivery time for the next day.

I am excited too to give these things new purpose… until I open the closet door to Baby Girl's room.

"Awww, my baby girl's comforter!"

I bought this bed set specifically for her. It made her feel special. I momentarily consider keeping it but rationalize that with all twin-size beds heading out of our home, this must go too.

Delivering the bed to my Japanese friend's house is an interesting experience. She is confused about the bed frame lifting the bed up off the floor. Hubby and I teach her the order of bed-making and how to use a comforter. It is good we are there to put on the bed skirt and sham. I see her face light up when she understands what to tuck in and what to fold over. The 4-yr-old announces she is tired and needs to take a nap in her new bed. Mom has no objections.

I call the friend mentoring the Somali family and ask if bunkbeds are acceptable. She is delighted at my question and adds "I was thinking bunkbeds would be perfect for the small bedroom!" She becomes even more excited when I tell her about the two dressers.

"I almost didn't put them on the list because I thought 'Who's going to have dressers lying around?'"

I decide to turn The Boys' room into the holding room for donations awaiting pick-up and spend the next two days traveling through my house looking for anything I can let go to the Somali family: clothes, toys, children's books, linens. I fill several boxes and line them up on the dresser in The Boys' room. I pull and push the dresser from Baby Girl's room into The Boys' room.

I return to Baby Girl's room. All that remains now are the peach curtains I made to match her bedding and the "LOVE" framed on the wall.

The room is empty. My heart is full.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Problem with Boredom

I've been bored a long time for the sake of others. First, I denied my interests so I could please others by doing what they expected and wanted of me. (Seeking approval.) Then, I spent the last couple years rebelling by purposely NOT doing what I had been groomed to do. (Seeking disapproval.)

The problem with boredom is that it is a product of self-denial and eventually leads to lunacy and to breakdowns and to choices ill. (I know firsthand.)

When I became a U.S. Citizen three weeks ago, I jokingly asked a friend if he noticed anything different about me. He said I seemed like someone who let nothing get in her way and could do anything. I was surprised and intrigued by his response. His comment kind of gave me license to do something different, anything different, even though I had been wanting different for quite some time. (Boy, what an understatement!)

Being a non-citizen was once, long ago, the reason I legitimately couldn't do some of the things I wanted to do (like accept scholarships, apply for certain jobs, etc.). Then I got used to uttering that reason and it became my excuse for not doing other things I had expressed interest in. With the non-citizenship excuse recently out of the way, it started becoming apparent to me that I have had no reasons stopping me all this time, only carefully-crafted excuses.

(Blah blah blah... skipping a long list of stories and examples…)

So this year, I decided to dip my toe in options motivated by ME and my well-being. (Seeking no reaction from anyone else.)

I've decided my old patterns no long serve me and it's time to trade up:

* Time to see myself differently.

* Time to enjoy the day I've been given rather than expecting the day to entertain me.

*Time to rise above the drama others create for their comfort.

*Time to forgive and accept myself.

*Time to step out of the box I obediently sat in to make others comfortable.

*Time to stand up and exclaim that there is no box big enough, polygonal enough, multi-sensory enough and mobile enough to fit me.


There is no reason for me to be bored.

But if in the future I decide to be bored again, I suppose I could make up new excuses...

"Now I've lived through my share of misfortunes
And I've wept to the blazing sun
But how long should it take somebody
before they can be someone

'
" 'Cause I know there's got to be another level
Somewhere closer to the other side
And I'm feeling like its now or never
Can I break the spell
Of the typical"

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Wrapped in Saran Wrap

Just feeling blue.

Sometimes it feels like I'm going through life wrapped in Saran Wrap. I'm living, experiencing, partaking, even enjoying at times, but only to a degree. I can *almost* feel things except for the thin barrier keeping me from doing so. Dumb static cling wrap.

You know the feeling?

The frustration and suffocation come after extended times of being denied full interaction. I'm tired of this disassociation. I crave full engagement, to feel, to be in the moment. Each moment comes only once and I'm sick of missing them.

I think that's why I take so many photos. I need proof that I was there, that it happened.

But eventually photos appear to me as illustrations in a fictional story.

AAAAAAAAAAGGGHHH!!

And even this scream seems already like a faint memory.


"Buried way beneath the sheets I think she's having a meltdown
Finding it hard to fall asleep she won't let anyone help her
The look on her face a waste of time she won't let go, gonna roll the dice
Loosing her grace, starts to cry. I feel her pain when I look in her eyes."

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

I’m officially red-white-and-blue!

Today, I took the Oath of Allegiance to the United States along with 183 other immigrants from Mexico, Bosnia, Vietnam, Tonga, Venezuela (of course), and everything in between and all over.

I felt "detached" for most of the pre-ceremony, sort of in denial about it finally happening after 25 FREAKING YEARS!

I was required to show up an hour early to in-process which included taking my green card away. That's the only card I've ever had that said I had a right to stay in this country and now they wanted me to surrender it . Even though I knew I was trading it in for citizenship, I felt uneasy. Not having that card in my possession made me nervous.

I was given a packet containing information on how to apply for a passport, requirements for traveling overseas, and a booklet containing information about U.S. history and government. I read through those as I sat in the theater waiting for the ceremony to begin.

The ceremony itself was basically what I imagined (except I hadn't anticipated sitting next to a bilingual chatterbox). Mid-ceremony, I realized what a special part of my history this is and how I've taken my personal history for granted. The story of an immigrant sacrificing to come to this country and pave a way for her posterity was the story my descendants would one day tell about me. I felt like I was graduating.

At one point, the presiding judge named some of the countries being represented in the room and asked for volunteers to speak briefly in regards to their feelings about becoming U.S. citizens. I thought about talking myself out of volunteering, but I knew I'd regret it later if I didn't speak what I felt, even if I had to say it betwixt tears.

"My name is Adhis and I am from Venezuela. I have been an American for a long long time. I have been American in my heart, in my soul, in my actions, in my duties and in my loyalties. And finally today, I am officially and on paper an American."

The ceremony concluded with a video from President George W. Bush welcoming new citizens and then a video montage set to Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA". Cheesy, yes. Tear-jerker, still.

"And I wont forget the men who died, who gave that right to me."

My mind returned to Dan's sacrifice in the name of defending freedom and I felt particularly thankful that my friend died to secure for me that blessed right. Always will Memorial Day, Dan Eggers and my U.S. citizenship be entwined.

Afterwards, I returned to the desk where I had turned in my green card to pick up my certificate of citizenship. I sighed as I noticed it had attached one of the many unflattering photos I have had taken in my immigration process, but then I relinquished my vanity and smiled at my certificate. On the way out, I was given a voter registration form before looking for my family in the lobby.

There I was met by a perfectly cliché-looking crew: a doting husband, a very pregnant sister and her darling 1-year-old, my mother wearing a U.S. flag pendant with flashing lights, and my father wearing a suit and a tie featuring the U.S. flag and the Statue of Liberty. Tons of grins all the way around.

Now, I sit reflecting on the day with a belly full of food from the local Venezuelan restaurant, looking at that silly photo of me saluting. Tomorrow, I will wake up to another day like yesterday. I will still have to brush my teeth, wash the dishes, and feed the dog. And I will do it happily in a country where I have the freedom to choose a mundane life.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day Blues

I'm surprised every time it hits me.

One year, it was in the middle of church during a Sunday School lesson. At another time, it was in the middle of the day when I was alone in a hotel room flipping channels. This year, it was as I lay hovering between wake and sleep last night.

I suddenly started crying, loud and wet. And I was confused as to why I was doing so in the first place. Only a few seconds later did the answer come. It hit me that it was Memorial Day weekend, the anniversary of the death of an old friend and rival.

Capt. Daniel William Eggers died supporting Operation Enduring Freedom on May 29, 2004 in Kandahar, Afghanistan when his vehicle hit a land mine. Killed with him were Sgt 1st Class Sgt. Robert J. Mogensen and Pfc Joseph A. Jeffries.

I've known Dan since 8th grade and got to know him best when we both enrolled in our high school's Army Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (Army JROTC). We were competitive in JROTC, sometimes friendly, sometimes not.

Through the years, we rose through the cadet ranks equally, and senior year, Dan became Battalion Commander (BN CO) and I Battalion Executive Officer (BN XO). Or in other words, Dan was first in command and I was second. Did that bug me? Heck yeah! But not as much as if I had been second in command to anyone else. Even as a teenager, I recognized Dan as a great leader full of grace and duty.

Dan was also a great teaser. He knew just how to push my buttons to get a reaction out of me. I'd fume and scowl at times until he just couldn't help but laugh. And I knew I'd been had. Again.

I learned of his death on Monday, May 31, 2004, the day of the US Department of Defense News Release, two days after Dan had passed. What a day of disbelief! I searched everywhere for information to verify this news because the DoD just wasn't "good enough." I searched for reports with photos just to make sure there weren't TWO Daniel William Eggers, age 28 from Cape Coral, Florida. I contacted mutual friends searching for the one that would say "oh, it's not true, just a rumor." My search only proved the rumor true.

As long as I've known Dan, he has always been determined to serve in the Army as an elite member. If it was worth doing, it was worth doing to the top. He risked his life doing what he loved and what he always felt was his mission: to serve God and Country.

His life and his death fuel my desire to live a rich and fulfilling life.

Still, it takes courage to say goodbye. Every time.

2 Timothy 4:7

"I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith."

(scripture on Dan's headstone)

Monday, March 26, 2007

My appointment with Immigration

I arrive at the immigration office at 7:45am. I show my appointment letter to the guards and have my bag scanned. I place my appointment letter in a wooden box in the corner of the room and sit down with my husband. That's when I first realize there is no waiting room music, no magazines, no television. It's just us sitting in a room full of airport-style chairs, a handful of Mexican immigrants, and two armed security guards (who I found out don't have any hand lotion with them).

My name is "called" (I say "called" because only once in the history of my life has my name been pronounced correctly by a stranger) and I meet an old man with a gruff accent. I am trying to figure out if he's of Italian or Jewish descent. At this time, he tells me he cannot interview me because I did not submit two passport photos with my application. A panic rises from my chest into my throat as I imagine my appointment being rescheduled for 3-6 months later. I explain that no one ever mentioned anything about photos and he calms me by telling me to go to Kinko's down the street, take some photos, and come right back. The word "Kinko's" sounds so sweet.

At the heavenly Kinko's, I sit for my passport photos and am instructed to pull my hair back behind my ears and take off my earrings. (The government doesn't like cheap jewelry in their photos.) The two women manning Kinko's this morning can't agree on whether or not I can show teeth in my passport photo, so I pass the time by making grotesque faces at the camera while they decide. The two finally "compromise" by telling me to, and I quote, "show teeth, a little".

To be safe, I decide to smile with no teeth but as the girl taking the photo is pressing down on the shutter release button, I for some reason panic and think I better show some teeth. The finished product ends up being a tired awkward half-smile. I sigh at the image and call it good enough. I've never taken good photos for Immigration, so why start now.

At the checkout, the camera woman asks "so what country are you going to?" "Hopefully, the U.S." is my reply. I can't tell if this fascinates her or disappoints her.

Back at Immigration, show the letter, scan the bag, sit in the quiet room. There are different people here now: a couple from Eastern Europe, a small family from Southeast Asia, and a mom and son from Central America.

My husband reads from my study book and drills me on U.S. history and civics. (Good thing U.S.-born citizens aren't deported for not knowing U.S. history or I might lose my husband.)

My name is called again and I meet with the same old man. He says his name is Frank and I notice now that he is kind but with a distinct air of "no messing around." I sit down in his office and become aware that my mind is having trouble remembering things-- specifically, anything. My head is littered with paranoia.

"Where's my passport? Is it in my hand? Yes, it is."

"When was I born?"

"Is that how my name is spelled? Am I sure?"

I'm asked six questions about the United States. The only one I can recall today is the one I stumbled over. "What is the White House?"

"The country's capital—I mean, where the President lives."

He corrects me even though I just corrected myself. "The White House is where the President lives. It is not the capital of our country."

I KNOW that. I was just thinking it's in Washington DC, the capital. Immigration is anal about wording. If only I had remembered this fact before the following happened.

Frank begins to slide a paper and pen across his desk over to me. As I reach for the paper, I think to make conversation and out I mindlessly spout "there was something I had a concern about on my application..." and Frank pulls the paper away. I snap out of my question and say "Where did you want me to sign?"

He prods. "Finish what you were going to say."

That's when I remember that conversation isn't just conversation at Immigration. "Oh crap" my mind repeats over and over and over as I realize that the statement I just started involves documentation I don't have with me.

"Um…" my confidence quivers, "there was a question on the application about military service and I joined the Army in 2000 and left 10 months later, but my lawyer told me not to write it down since I wasn't in long." I hold my breath.

"Were you discharged honorably?"

The "oh-crap-oh-crap-oh-crap" loop running through my head switches to the "please-don't-ask-me-for-my-discharge-papers" loop.

"Yes."

"Then, that's ok." He pauses. "Your lawyer should have written it down, by the way. But it will be ok."

I exhale.

He slides me the paper to sign. I look at it and see that it's a copy of the oath I will be taking later and that I'm signing my allegiance to the United States.

Frank briefs me on the last step to becoming a U.S. citizen and tells me that the United States will be happy to have me. I collect my things, shake his hand and smile my way out the door. I grab my husband and scurry out to the car before Immigration changes its mind about me.

All I have left to do now is swear in officially to receive my certificate of naturalization. I'll receive a letter in the mail telling me where and when to do that and then I will be a permanent fixture in the American landscape. :)

And I will throw the biggest fiesta ever!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Guitar Fingers & Insomnia

Is it time already for my monthly blog entry?

Well… I'm still sticking with the guitar though I'm still convinced my dwarf fingers qualify me to hang a blue handicap tag on my guitar neck. Still, I've given up some little vanities in pursuit of guitar skillz: long nails on my left hand and cute bracelets on my right hand. Had it been required to cut my hair short to learn the guitar, I would have picked up the drums instead.

I've been suffering from insomnia for the last month. I had previously heard of people dealing with insomnia but I just thought it was because they went to bed too late or didn't wind down before shutting the lights off. Boy- was I wrong. I hate this thing. I fall asleep 3 hours before it's time to get up and I wake up with my muscles aching, my chest feeling tight and my skin feeling like it's sunburned. I'm theorizing that this situation will resolve itself as soon as I'm back in the habit of working out. That's my hope, at least... Wear my body out, sleep through the night.

Alright, now you're caught up. ;)

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The Next Thing

After being go-go-go for a year, I am being swallowed up by it's complete opposite: Having nowhere to be and nothing specific to do.

Don't get me wrong; I've enjoyed, for a little while, sleeping in, lounging about, mourning our family's change, reading, surfing the web, playing with the dog, enjoying laid back time with the husband, taking up Pilates, and strumming the guitar, but I'm ready for more. I need something engaging: a thing that's Me-but-I-didn't-know-it-so-I-didn't-do-it-before Me.

Get a full-time job? Go to college? Work in real estate? Do charity work? Pursue a world record? Transform my body? Start a new business?

I feel that this is a time to begin something new. There are endless possibilities out there and I don't know What is "the thing" now. Or How. But more importantly What as the How always seems to unveil itself anyhow.

I recently took an online test to match up my interests with possible careers or occupations. After answering 71 questions, they listed the top 20 matches but, of course, only showed me 11 through 20 since I didn't pay for their program. Here they are:

11 Training Service: human resource development

12 Journalism and Editorial: write, edit, publish news

13 Creative Writing: author, imagination, vocabulary

14 Customer Services: clerical, duplicating, sending

15 Creative Entertainment: imagination; spontaneous

16 Instructive, Fine arts: drama, art, music

17 Demonstration sales: store contact with customers

18 Decorating and Art Work: desgin, arrange, consult

19 Secretarial: clerical; minor executive assignments

20 Specialty Entertainment: please others to make sales

I wonder what the top 10 matches were. Rock star? Queen? I'm sure it was cool stuff like that since I'd be really good at it. (Le'Sigh… I shall never know.) I'm especially curious because most of the suggestions they did let me see aren't very interesting to me. I dig the journalism and creative writing suggestions, but… Secretarial? Instructing in the fine arts? Demonstration sales? What???

I'm open to suggestions on reading material, ideas, occupations, and connections. I'll consider it all even if it's something that takes years to progress through. My calendar is currently open as is my mind.

So, what have you?

Monday, January 29, 2007

I guess it's getting worse.

I've altered the lives of many people and many of them don't even realize I am the cause of their pain. My initial thought is to destroy myself and take the guilt with me.

There is something wrong with me and should I choose to continue living, I fear I will be alone 'til the last day I feel the sun on my skin.

If you really knew me, you would spit on me.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Dirty Little Secrets

I am typically a pretty open person. I've announced my bra size to a room of 45 church ladies. I've shared honeymoon sexcapades with strangers. I've described my menstrual flow to people who have not asked about it. I've told people how much I paid for my home or my car when they asked. I have no qualms about stating my age and weight. I've even shared with people childhood memories of improper play.

But I've finally hit a level of privacy within me that is just too raw to share.

I've been carrying some painful secrets for the last few months. I want to tell my close friends and relatives. I want the burdens lightened, but the words cling to my tongue like new recruits at the door of a C-130 on their first jump day.

In my mind, my secrets are so terrible they would sway the listener's opinion of me to disgust and perpetual disappointment. I am ashamed and afraid.

But- I also feel the crushing weight of bearing the words in silence. I guess this is why I've been so open in regards to the miscarriage and losing our foster children. I had to unleash something for fear of being pulverized by an emotional weight equal to atmospheric pressure times 15.

I've shared my Dirty Little Secrets with only three people:

My husband. Telling him promoted the secrets to Our Family's Dirty Secrets. It did not, however, provide the relief I seek. My husband retreats within himself when things are too painful.

My former therapist. She used that information in such a way to nearly destroy my marriage. Thus, the "former" in her title.

My bishop. He heard, he counseled, but I did not feel like I could share the emotional aspect of my burdens without being interrupted by scriptural references. Sometimes, I just need to feel understood.

I feel I need to share my D.L.S. with someone who meets these two requirements:

1) Is a woman. A woman in tune can hear between the pauses, read between the lines, feel between the heartaches.

2) Knows me well. Someone who knows me so well, she can fall back on my other attributes to compensate for my sins. She can see my secrets as mistakes and not as my identity.

But maybe, even with these met, I will also need more chronological distance from my actions. Then, maybe my fear of the consequences will be insignificant compared to the peace of talking. Then, I will be free.

When will I share? How do I share? In whom do I confide?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

FAQ's: Miscarriage / Losing our kids

I've been asked many questions this past week

In regards to my miscarriage:
1. "Are you ok?" Yes.
2. "How far along were you?" No more than one and a half months. We don't know exactly because by the time I found out I was pregnant, I was already in the middle of a miscarriage.
3. "How are you feeling?" Tired. I still have elevated levels of the pregnancy hormone so I have pregnancy symptoms: nausea, fatigue, sore breasts, etc.
4. "How are you emotionally?" Fine. Really I am. My self-value isn't based on my ability to get pregnant or have babies. When I found out that I was having a miscarriage, I cried for about 3 minutes, and then that got boring so I moved on.

In regards to losing the three foster kids we've had in our home for a year:
1. "How are you feeling?" At first, I was stunned, then angry, then sad. Now I feel peace, joy, and a bit of excitement as we become empty-nesters. My very sweet and very sensitive husband is another story. He is mourning longer, deeper.
2. "Did you get attached?" Yes, we were a family for an entire year. We celebrated all the holidays and birthdays together. We did family things. We were "Mom and Dad" and they were "our kids".
3. "Why are the kids going away?" We cannot talk about the case due to confidentiality. Basically, their caseworker decided that I wasn't a stable enough mom for these kids and she could find them a more "compatible" family. Honestly, being a foster parent to three children with issues is hard. We told the caseworker whenever things were difficult and were honest about the cycles our family went through. It turns out the foster care system doesn't really want one to be honest all the time, just some of the time. They want someone to report what they want to hear.
4. "Are you going to take in more kids?" Probably. Eventually. But right now, my husband and I are going to take a big ol' break and enjoy each other. Hawaii, here we come!

Friday, January 12, 2007

You're OK; I'm just protecting myself.

I always thought I was a people-watcher. I wonder now if I'm actually a people-avoider. I observe primarily not to entertain myself but to protect myself.

When I was single and dating, I was often told I had a "poker face": no one knew if I was interested or not. At the time, I kept my emotions hidden so that I could judge if a fellow was worthy of my openness. I see now how frustrating that would have been to the men I later revealed interest in.

I'm realizing I was blessed to be pretty as this helped men be extra patient with my privateness. I see also why I had only a handful of female friends since my appearance would not have really inspired them to hang in there during my hesitancy to open up.

I was also blessed with wit... Just enough to keep people hanging around a little longer to buy me some more "judging time."

What was I evaluating? I was making sure the person in question was (1) perfectly flawless and unable to hurt me or (2) so obviously inferior that I would not hesitate to drop them should they cross me.

Right or Wrong. It seemed easier to live in a black-and-white world. However, that world is awfully small, short-lived, and lonely.

Why have I been evaluating people for so long? I was judging people as I assumed they were judging me, except... I'm finding they weren't the ones judging me. It was me harshly judging me.

I've been a woman of extremes, and I'm in search of balance and contentment.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

I laughed! I guffawed! For only $75!



I bought tickets for last night's Brian Regan's "You Too" show 3 months ago because I heard it was selling out. Man, they weren't kidding! There was not an empty seat in the house.

"Happy Arbor Day. Enjoy the bubbly."

If you don't know already, Brian Regan is an ambassador in the United Nations of Hilarity. He clunkily traipses the line between funny and insane without sloshing through annoying.

I have watched or listened to about everything he has put out, so I wondered last night if I'd be disappointed about watching a "live re-run." I was pleased to find that for as much Brian Regan as I have taken in, there were only two segments I recognized; The rest of his material was newer.

"They're just dumb ol' donkeys!"

I couldn't believe I forgot my camera! I know a few people for whom that qualifies as a cardinal sin. Always have your camera with you! (Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!) Upon my realization, I gave up all plans to track Brian Regan down after the show. (Oh, yes, I would have.)

What's Brian Regan like on stage? Same as on video.
He does that intense open leg stance and that weird lanky stroll when he's coming out of a joke, like he's shaking something off.

"'Brian, how do you make a word a plural?' Um, you say to it 'YOU BETTER BE PLURAL!!'"

One of my favorite experiences at the show was when he came out for an encore and did 'classic' bits (Peanut Butter & Jelly; Stupid in School; Pop-Tarts) and the audience said the punchlines at the same time as he did. ("Can life get better? I submit that it cannot!")

It was fun watching him realize that the audience had seen and memorized his crap ("crap" used affectionately here): "I'm flattered that you know this already. Really." ... and then amusing to watch him try to set the jokes up anyway as he reached for his water bottle: "There really is no way for me to go into this smoothly. I will just take a long strategy-thinking drink here."

"So, I was in the doctor's office. No- I wasn't in his office. I was in the examimanation room... the examinamation room... I just screwed that set-up."

I have always known I hate sitting next to 2 types of people at comedy shows.

Type 1:
has to explain the jokes to their companion even if the companion did not ask for an explanation.

Type 2: giggles at everything a comedian says even if it's not meant to be funny. ["It's hot in here." (Teeheeheehee) "Can we check on the temperature?" (Hee hee hee , snort); "I was standing in line today..." (BWAHAHAHA!)]

I discovered last night that I am also annoyed by a 3rd Type.
Type 3: thinks HE'S the comedian. This guy would echo any new "material" or sound Brian made. Brian (yes, we're on a first name basis) clicked his tongue, Type 3 clicked his tongue. Brian grunted, Type 3 grunted. He was programming new soundwaves and vocabulary into his persona! I can quote Muhammad Ali but it doesn't make me a boxer.

I sat in the row in front of Type 1 and Type 3, and two seats to the left of Type 2. Ocassionally, I had the urge to get up and move to a different part of the party.

It's difficult being surrounded by morons.

"My doctor said something really eye-opening to me... He said... 'Why are your eyes closed?'"

In a I'm-not-alone-moment, I was ever so surprised to find that Brian has also put two contacts in one eye. Me and Brian! Eye contact morons! W00t!

Surely, THAT makes me as funny (tongue click) as Brian Regan.