Friday, February 27, 2015

Trying to Make Dinner Ahead During Nap Time

I'm sitting here with a dumb look on my face, my mouth slightly open and my eyes at half-mast though it's 4:11 in the afternoon. By now, I should have made it past that moment in the afternoon during which I want to snuggle deep into my fuzzy blanket and go comatose for a couple of hours.

What causes that desperate urge? Why can't all of society work the way Spain does? I wouldn't mind eating dinner at 10:00 pm. I might not mind getting up at 10:00 in the morning either. I've read that Spain is joining the rest of the world instead of the other way around.

What the crap?

And I don't have a day job, unless you count ministering to the every whim of a fourteen year old boy and his father a day job. So, a nap might not be out of bounds except that we have to leave in fifteen minutes for the boy's karate and I'm desperately trying not to over- or under-cook dinner in the oven that I'm making ahead of time since we are busy until well after eight tonight. There's meatloaf and I also sliced yams....

Damn the yams. Burned.

I quick put the fans on in the bathroom and the kitchen, but the air still has that sweet charcoal smell. Nick opened the sliding glass door, running through the smoke bent over so he could still breathe. How did it get so bad so fast?

And the damned meatloaf is black.

And my boy just passed gas as he walked by and apologized as if I could distinguish his particular notes among the acrid smell coming from the kitchen.

I want to tell Mike that I made his dinner, scorched like the remains of the earth after Putin let go of his resources to get our attention. No, they are not nuclear, but I wouldn't eat them just in case.

I'm awake now. Siesta is over.

Thank you for listening, jules

Monday, February 23, 2015

Garbage and the Modern Teenager

The first day back after a vacation is always hard. Nick forgot to take out the garbage and it seems to come early, so I set my alarm for earlier so I could tell him to take it out. Why can't he be the one to get up early when he forgets? Why does it have to be me?

And then I oh-so-nicely told him when I saw his bleary eyes that he needed to get it out to the road before they came and I wasn't sure exactly what time they came in the morning.

"Nope," he said. "I need to eat."

"So, if you miss it and garbage starts to pile up, you will end up losing video game time."

"How much time?"

"Until you've caught up with the backup of garbage." I paused. "It could be a week, maybe even two weeks until all that extra garbage is gone."

"That's not fair. You didn't remind me," he whined.

"It's perfectly fair. You've never said 'no' to doing it before and these are the consequences to 'no.'"

"But you didn't remind me."

"The reminder was a courtesy."

It took me a while, but I finally remembered telling him yesterday morning that it was also a recyclables week. I did remind him. I did. It sucks to be losing my ability to remember the details just when my boy is at his peak of mental acuity and is also a teenager. Did I ask for this? Did I?

Oh, right. I signed up for this mom thing. I did. I was one of those people who really wanted to be a mom. I did. I worked to become a mom when it wasn't apparent that I could. I had surgery so I could become a mom. So, why am I complaining now?

I'm complaining because I can. When I hear women say that they had an easy baby, I want to slap them. I do.

So if Nick hasn't been exactly easy, does it mean that he's not worth it? He's no less valuable than their mousy little kids who slept when you snapped your fingers and said, "Sleep." He is no stepford-child. He is interesting and powerful and smart. I swear to you that you'll see it some day. You will.

I see it most days. I'm not entirely sure I could see it this morning.

Thank you for listening, jules

Monday, February 9, 2015

Cleaning Out the Pipes

All right, already. All week, I've been avoiding the elephant in the room. You know, there are things I really don't want to write about, but this is my week and I'm entitled to it.

It's 2:23 in the morning and I can't sleep for it all, so I'm going to write about it anyway. If you suffer when other people have bouts of TMI, stop reading now. Just close the page and you won't miss a thing that you wanted to hear. Just do it. Do it now. Bye-bye.

I'm getting a colonoscopy in the morning. Well, this morning. Later.

You wanted to know or you would have stopped reading. I warned you.

The other day, I told a geriatric nurse friend of mine that the preparation for a colonoscopy is worse than the procedure itself. She laughed and said that there's no way. My geriatric nurse friend is young. She's never had to drink that shit they give you to drink the night before. She's never downed half of it and gagged at the thought of drinking the rest. She's never spent an entire evening reading magazines in the bathroom. She's never gotten so cold because her colon was squeaky clean that layers don't do a thing to warm her.

Why is that? Why do people get so cold when their colon is clean? I know it's not just me. I asked the nurse about it. Mike got cold too when he was getting ready for his. He's due this year too. Isn't  that sweet? I told him we should go in at the same time and get dual colonoscopies, but he just laughed. He wants to be my designated driver. He wants me to be his driver.

I'm hungry. I couldn't fall asleep because I was hungry. And what's with all the stupid food commercials on TV? I couldn't even distract myself with a movie. Pizza, candy cereal, sweetened yoghurt, candy bars pretending to be fiber or healthy or crap. Don't you know that these people are selling you crap? Well, it's hard when you're hungry, when you haven't eaten much in the past forty eight hours.

I've gotten smart though. This is my fourth or fifth colonoscopy. Yes, I'm a frequent flier. I've had polyps. My dad also had colon cancer, so if some doctor or your mother is nagging you to get a colonoscopy, you can get away with procrastinating for a year but after that, you should listen. Nobody wants a tumor the size of a golf ball blocking their ass and bleeding all over the place. I'm telling you, I know. I might have been young when my dad got cancer, but I wasn't blind. Surgeries, radiation, chemotherapy, colostomy bags. It sucks and is so damned avoidable. You can skip the whole shebang by getting that routine screening. I've had two precancerous polyps taken out already. I even woke up early and watched one on the movie screen in front of me.

I do not want to see that screen again. My husband has little grabbers in the garage that extend tiny fingers out to grab screws that have fallen down into the engine compartment. Well, it reminded me of them going at a little pink mushroom that seemed to be growing out of the inside wall of my colon. I remember wondering why everything was so yellowed, but then I remember the flavor of jello I had eaten was yellow. Lemon? Hell, they all taste the same, but yellow jello, yellowed colon. Most of the time, colons are a bright pink. We're not allowed to eat red jello, so I couldn't exaggerate that pretty pink color. I guess they're looking for blood. Good. Look for blood, but I don't want to watch it on screen when I'm lying there. It's too immediate. Invasive. Totally invasive. You start thinking about it too much. It's like not watching when they draw blood only more so. So, I've lost count of the number of times I've been in for a routine screening. I've had two polyps, but neither of them has been cancerous. So, I'm in for another routine tomorrow. I keep saying that. Later this morning. Routine.

Yes, I know that a routine colonoscopy is anything but routine.

First of all, I had to give up nuts, seeds, berries, food with a lot of fiber, vitamins, and Aleve five days ago. Do you know what that means to someone who eats the way I do? It threw me off. I eat salads with nuts and berries every day. So, take that away and what am I supposed to eat?

I ate crap, that's what. I gained three pounds in three days. I ate junk. I even got a migraine on Saturday. I never get migraines any more. It was probably the cereal, the crescent rolls, the junk. I never eat that stuff any more. I don't even remember what all crap I ate this week. It was a free for all.

My sugar levels were all over the place. Don't tell Mike, but on Wednesday I left my house with a burner on the stove on and came back three hours later to a house that smelled like I'd burned dinner. And that cast iron skillet was burned clean! Since I'd burned dinner the night before, it smelled pretty normal once I ran the fan and opened the windows for a while. Then, on Friday when we were on our way to the movies, I thought I'd left a burner on and when we got home, it was off. Well, shit. I couldn't get my stories straight. Missed the movies though. My sugar levels were completely whacky. No salads. No berries. No nuts. No oats. No fibrous veggies. I was a mess.

Then, on Saturday, I knew I needed to eat light. There's nothing like having a loaded colon when you begin with that MoviPrep stuff. Cramping and all. You want to have eaten really light the day before. So I stuck with mostly protein shakes yesterday. And I got a migraine too, so I was a wreck, seeing pink spots with my eyes closed and sick to my stomach. It was a relief to wake up with a clear head today, but it was a long day of eating jello and broth. I never did break into that Gatorade. I know I should have, but jello was bad enough.

So, a routine screening. In about fifteen minutes, I have to take the second liter of the MoviPrep stuff. Yuck. Then, I'll spend the next hour or two in the bathroom, pretending I can focus on my magazine. My stomach is grumbling, just thinking about it. At least they've reduced the volume. When I first had a colonoscopy, I had to drink about a gallon of stuff. It was incredibly miserable. This is less miserable. And I think they've made it a little less sweet than it used to be. I'm not big into syrupy sweet drinks.They gag me.

I keep telling myself I can relax in a couple of hours. And the procedure will be over by 10:30am. I could be home asleep on the couch by 11:00am. And I'll be able to eat whatever I want, well, within reason. I'd like some cheesecake, but I'd hate to spike my sugar levels again. I don't want to burn down the house tomorrow.

Gotta go! I'm on schedule for the bathroom.

Thank you for listening, jules

Friday, February 6, 2015

Moath al-Kasasbeh

Some days are shit. I slept as much as I could to get over my cold. It didn't work. I ended up trying to cancel an appointment ...

I know you don't want to hear what I have to say about my day. A man was burned alive and it was displayed on the Internet. What could I possibly say that is worse than that? Mine are pedestrian woes, walking the dog in endless rain, waiting too long for my prescription, playing my little game on my phone at stop lights, loading laundry and dishes, laundry and dishes, and laundry.

So different for this man, burning against terror while someone planned his video.

I didn't watch the footage. Did you? Could you sit through the whole thing? I didn't even want to hear the description on the radio. Yet I paused in my car to listen before I went out through the rain to get mechanical pencils and sheet protectors for Nick's binder. My life, pedestrian, ordinary, monotone. I thought about this man. Did he have a family? Who was he? Why was he chosen for this barbaric act? What was the purpose of it? How could there be purpose in this?

Against my trivial existence, this man's story ends in chaos, Dante's Inferno, humanity's depravity? What was the reason? Could any reason justify this act? Will this act change my life?

Yes, hopefully it will. First of all, I want to know the man's name.

The man's name was Moath al-Kasasbeh. I want to try to remember his name.

Next, I want to know about this man's family. His father, Safi al-Kasasbeh pleaded for his return, not knowing that his son had already been executed. This father begged, saying that his boy was a modest and religious Muslim who prayed, a boy who memorized the Quran. His father said he was never harmful to anyone. Moath al-Kasasbeh was among eight children. He was from Jordan. He flew planes. He prayed. Moath al-Kasasbeh was only twenty-seven years old.

A man loves his son, calls him precious. That is what I want to change me, that voice, the voice of the father, Safi al-Kasasbeh, talking about his precious, precious son. That is worthy of my attention. That is worthy of change to my plain life.

Third, I must think about pain, evil, and why such a thing can ever happen. I can't imagine being so angry as to plucking someone out of the sky, torturing him this way, and boasting about it by putting footage of it on the Internet. How do you grow from being an innocent child to being capable of this heinous act? These are inconceivable acts that humanity does to humanity, sometimes in the name of righteousness or religion. There is nothing righteous about this act, nothing sacred or religious or justified. Nothing.

There is such evil in our human souls. Could any depth of fury would make me do something like this? Is every human capable of such an act? What would it take? That knowledge should change me.

It's important to ask what could cure this kind of fury? Could anything? Or are we all so fucked as to forever repeat our violence, one generation after another, one culture clashing with another, all the hatred of all the different types of people, women, men, Black, white, Asian, Hispanic, Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Native American, immigrant, gay, straight, Republican, Democrat. Why do we fear and revile the other? Contemplating that should change me.

And last, I need to change by standing with the father, Safi al-Kasasbeh in his grief. I am a mother. I can try to understand the pain that Safi al-Kasasbeh is enduring. He has a larger family now. We have all lost our beautiful, precious son.

I am Charlie. I am a teacher in Sandy Hook. I am a Jew in a concentration camp. I am a mother in a Japanese internment camp. I am a Cherokee on the Trail of Tears. I am a Chinese immigrant being used up to lay railroad. I am an Irish immigrant bringing my family away from the potato famine toward discrimination and hatred. I am a Muslim who lost her precious son.

Can we be this man's family? Can we stand with Safi al-Kasasbeh and mourn his loss? Can we celebrate his son's short life and the boy's peaceful nature? Can we pray for his family, for his soul?

Can we remember Moath al-Kasasbeh? Can we? I can at least pause for a moment in the sweetness of my life, and try.

Thank you for listening, jb