Saturday, October 1, 2016

gratitudes and pleasures of today

writing Christmas lists; electronically making Christmas lists: Amazon

Mr. Curry pulling me onto the bed with him to snuggle; smelling his armpits.

Lola and friend jumping from behind pillar and screaming BAZINGA at Mr. Curry, Ever and I 

my body, strong despite disease, still able to exercise, have sex, run, dance, pee and poop

getting published at The Development Set  my first long form piece, very proud

starbucks doubleshot

my dog Katie, Katalini, Tortellini, Torta, Space-Bat

talking to Dakota on the phone for an hour

Ever putting makeup on only one eyebrow


Rubios salmon tacos, guacamole and chips

my bookshelves full of books

when people say 'oh sweet baby jesus'

the feeling of getting to lay down and sleep when i am exhausted, which is often

the weather today, pointedly, that it was not 98 degrees again

the feeling when i've submitted a story or an article that i worked hard on, which i did today

face peels

facial serums that 'drench' and 'quench' and 'renew'

oils: coconut, avocado, olive

flea combing Katie and washing the fleas off the comb down the drain, every night. sometimes i do Wolfie too, but he doesn't sleep in the bed. they still have a scattering of fleas, even though i bathe them, comb them, and vacuum every day.

Ever, Lola, Ian, Dakota

my husband is my best friend and my person and we continue to be so lucky to be hot as hell between the sheets, such luck, and i am still, even more, in love with him than ever, so in love, butterfly in stomach when i see him unexpectedly in love, and he with i, and luck, luck, and hard work and endurance and courage on both our parts, and love, love, love

Friday, September 23, 2016

Body Works

long ago in girlhood
i found my body could be a place
of escape

my home.

my body, a place where i could make marks
divine, worship, leave scar, adore. until i learned, loathe
the gathering of fat on side of thigh
saddlebag, a word for horses
the shame i was supposed to accept
infuriated me:

i saw something beautiful
and i was pleased that it was mine.

in eighth grade i read
dr. ruth's book of good sex

in ninth grade i wrote
my own erotica

in tenth grade i cut my arms
and slept with a boy

starved myself, vomited food
gave head.

a very American story.

long ago in womanhood
i found my body could be a place 
of escape

my home.

my body, a place where i could make marks
divine, worship, leave scar, adore, be adored,
create babies, cum

slice through the great Pacific with the sharks
jellyfish dangling from my hair
move into the mouth of my lover
my husband
feel myself as divine underneath his gaze
his hands
his body.

feel myself as divine four times,
babies pushed from my sliced sex
three alive, one dead.

swim naked in the hotel pool, a thousand tongues.
walk naked through my house like a goddamn queen,
for this pleases my daughters,
i can see their proud chins. 

scars of surgery, chicken pox, motorcycle pipes,
the cut of cesarian 
a plethora of living 
blooming across my skin
cellulite rippling the wind on top of waves,

the white ghost on my wrist where once
a young girl lit a cigarette and grabbed her blue jeans
to cut into the thin, white skin 
couldn't cut deep enough.

run, run, run.
my feet pound the pavement, i feel
bounce of my ass, gravity tug up and down
my tits,

banging against their bindings.

i love to be a woman, 
i love this woman's body,
i will allow my husband to grab my stomach from behind
though it rolls soft and loose in his workman's hands,
though it doesn't please the cultural eye
though it doesn't work for Playboy
it works, it works, it works,

it works; my body works just right.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

If Anyone Recommends Reading Pema Chodron, I Will Cut A Bitch

When your feelings match up with your expectations of your feelings, or others expectations of your feelings, life is much easier.

The amount of stress I feel daily, moment to moment, is overwhelming, and I cannot seem to get it under control.

Ever is overwhelming. I love her beyond what I can express. She is interesting, hilarious, one of the smartest little people I've ever met, quirky, kind. She smells delicious. I cuddle her constantly. We laugh together every day. I tell her I love her over and over. I play games with her, take her to the park, draw with her, play out back. She is lovable and one of the cutest kids I've ever seen, and relentless. Of all our children, the most relentless.

The facts are that Ed is bipolar depressed right now and doing 100% everything, every single thing he can do to get better, and I have enormous respect and love and devotion to him for that. But he can't really help right now. And Lola, Lola is in freshman year. And my mom works sometimes six days a week and is tired. And that's it folks. That leaves me and one five year old that never, ever EVER STOPS TALKING AND NEEDING INTERACTION and a puppy that I didn't ask for that poops and begs and cries and a shitload of work I adore and want to do and a messy house and a messy kitchen and endless papers to sign and meetings for school to attend and older boys that I miss so very much and who always call during the three hours that I am working and of COURSE i take their call because DUH but yes, so many THINGS THAT MUST BE DONE.

Right now this is  my schedule

7am wake
7:45 walk Ever to school
8:20 arrive home, clean up stupid dog poop from puppy that I love but never meant to be responsible for-this was Dakota's dog. Begin working.
11:45 Leave to get Ever
12:30 After feeding Ever lunch and putting her in front of a movie, work.
2: Leave to get Lola, Ever in tow. Sit in a ridiculous, never-ending row of traffic that barely moves, in 100 degree heat, with a air conditioner that barely works, and a rowdy five year old, and often the puppy, who guilts me tremendously every.single.time. I leave the house if I don't bring her. She has a language she speaks when she can see I'm leaving. It's half dog half human and horrible. She begs and whines and jumps and talks in her language. Guilt, guilt.
3:15 arrive home after dropping off the carpool. Hang out with kids, feel incredibly stressed out realizing how much work I have to do still.
4:00 Ed arrives home, takes over sometime later after he's had much needed time to relax, just a half hour or so. The man wakes at 4:30 every morning and has been working 50 hour work weeks.
6:00 Dinner as a family
I try to work after this. Every single time I work I am interrupted an average of ten billion times. There is nothing inherently awful about this schedule expect I have six to eight hours of work a day to do and about four hours that I can actually do so. Ever told me 'all you like to do is sleep and work' on the phone and I burst into sobbing tears and hung up.

My nerves are so frayed that my arms actually hum, the hairs quiver.

I hate everything.

I am pleasing no one, doing nothing well.

I stay up late to finish work and then cannot function the next day.

I don't stay up late, my work gets behind, and my stress gets off the charts.

Even writing this, which normally relaxes me, is making me furious.

I have no breaks.

I love my children AND Lola is fourteen and in high school and actually walks into walls she is so absent minded so you can imagine how well she does the things I ask her to. I typically have to remind her of things four times. If I give her a consequence I feel badly because she's a great kid. Besides consequences seem silly for things like bring in the underwear from the dryer, I asked you four times, except for that the second time I have to ask her, I feel like I'm going to start screaming and never stop.

I hate everyone's underwear. I never want to see another fucking sock as long as I live. We can all eat crusty GMO pizza and dead animal patties for the rest of our lives for dinner every night for all I care. I'd rather eat a lizard tail than yell up those goddamn stairs one more time for Lola to get off her phone. If the puppy barks hysterically out back at 10pm when I take her outside to pee I will leave her out there for the coyotes. She barks, wakes my husband, who then can't go back to sleep AND then the neighbors can complain. Everyone wants something. If I ever have to stand in a school and talk about the merits of walking x way to school vs. x way I will chop my hair off and hold it in the air with a war cry. If I ever have to have aggressively cheerful conversations outside school gates again it will be too soon. I hate everyone's cups. We don't have cups! they cry. THAT IS BECAUSE THEY ARE ALL IN YOUR ROOM GROWING MOLD OR IN THE BACKYARD WHERE EVER HAS USED THEM FOR HER RECIPES. I hate toilet paper. Everyone can wipe themselves with their bare, puritan hands and then wash them in microbial, gut imbalancing, brain killing soap. If I ever see another school paper I have to sign again it will be tomorrow. I hate everyone's hair. I'm shaving the girls heads. They can have dreads, or a shaved head, that's it.

Ever asks for a snack an average of four times per hour.

Ever is not happy to be listened to. She must be ENGAGED. If you happen to say 'hmmm' in response to something she's said, she actually says, 'Mom, could you please use words when you answer me? When you say hmmm, I feel like you aren't listening.' SHE IS FIVE YEARS OLD. She talks approximately 98% of her waking hours.

When I go to the bathroom I am followed, every time, by Robert B. Parker, the cat, Katie, the puppy, and usually Ever. Ever is five. I thought she would be over this. But no. She stands there and wants to know what I'm doing.

What am I doing?

I am running. I am breathing. I am taking gratitude lists. I THINK gratitude, but I cannot FEEL it right now. I see it all around me. I see my children, my husband, I'm not stupid! I know how lucky I am!

Interrupt, interrupt, interrupt. My entire life is one long interrupted stutter. When my kids were very small I expected this, I relished it. I did not think I would be here with a five year old and fourteen year old. This schedule is killing me. I never want to touch another human being as long as I live. I can't work, I can't relax, I'm not working well or mothering well and I'm supposed to do this for another six weeks until Ever's kindergarten gets out at 2 and I can actually get some work done in one long stretch and not have to work off and on all day feeling guilty and being guilted and hating everything.

everything will be fine when the schedule changes. 
everything will be fine when the schedule changes.
everything will be fine when the schedule changes.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Some Things I've Had Published Lately

The Guardian- I finally got in The Guardian and then it went a little roughly. I had to comment in the comment section to explain why the story didn't end up making a lot of sense. Still, there it is, and I'm happy it's there. It's the short story of my medical debt.

TOGETHER- I'm proud of this piece on contempt in relationships. A huge topic that I was able to say something real about.

The Fix- I am SO proud of this one. The incredible life story of my good friend, Lacey. Redemption.

Monday, July 4, 2016

On The Fourth of July

When the thing happened, I was filled with the realization of all my wanting. I want, I want, I want. I am not enlightened although I was much closer, once. I lost the work. I stopped working. Light, is work. Directing your energy, over and over, toward the pathway, is work. I was busy. I had four children. I stopped working so hard on enlightenment. I worked on important things, my marriage, my mothering, my job, my writing. But the state of my soul, I let rest in the flash of sunset in my eyes, I let-in other words-something enormous rest in tiny increments, where it could not be kept alive. Expansion requires more space than moments of recognized beauty and awe. It requires work. Reading, prayers, meditation, journaling, time, hours, daily. 

When the thing happened, I was filled with wanting. I want so many things for you, I want so badly that it consumes me, it trills through me like warning bells, it hums through my neurons and I am so devastated with wanting for you that the bottoms of my feet hurt. The doctor would, If I asked her, surely name it something for me, and provide the malfunction of my body with a physical source. But I know that this is simply my emotions blackening the physical workings of my body. 

I'd give up 25% of my current happiness for you. I think I could survive there. I think that's a fair amputation that will allow me to remain functional, afterward. 

When the thing happened, I wanted many things at once. Some of them are:

for you to be free of fear.

for God to trade my arm, even my good arm, my right arm, my writing arm, in for your healing. i would give it in a painful way. i would cut if off myself. 

for you to accept your particular ill. we all have one.

for you to accept that you are killing yourself.

for you to accept that you are worth everything.

for you to accept that you are unconditionally loved and worth being so.

for you to understand how being a person who makes horrible mistakes but rectifies is possible and different than being a bad person.

for you to know, know, know, that you are not a bad person.

for you to know peace.

for you to know grace.

for you to accept help.

for you to accept help.

for you to accept help.

When the thing happened, I felt nothing all day. The fireworks happened, the screaming children at the fountain, sweat pouring down their faces, balloons bright red, blue, silver, gold, enormous salted pretzels, baby's yowling in strollers, large dogs on leashes, small dogs in sparkly outfits, banjos, guitar, fiddle, stomping, dancing, the American way, 
I felt nothing all day.

Until around the time when I did.

The feeling then was a terrible, tsunami panic, and a small death. A quick smothering and snapped neck. I am old enough to feel when a part of me dies.

When the thing happened, I thought many useless thoughts, and some helpful ones. Some of the things I thought were:

I hate myself for not being better.

I don't hate myself.

I might hate some part of myself, I"m not sure.

I hate that I notice all my thoughts.

This isn't about me. 

This is about me.

This isn't mostly about me.

My thoughts are self-absorbed and insufferable.

Why is life full of so much suffering?

Why do horrible things happen to good people?

Why do horrible things happen to anyone?

Why can't I stop this?

Why didn't I stop this?

What should I do?

Is this my fault?

The next step is to talk to X and then Y.

I'll do anything I have to do.

I will be strong for my family.

I can do anything I have to do.

Did I do enough?

What is the meaning of life when there is so much pain?

Why can't I stop this?


When the thing happened, I saw everyone I loved in highlighter, like the sun rubbed it's juicy face all over them. Bright and bold and beautiful. 

I saw every person in the crowd on the Fourth of July, their faces lit up like fireworks, their eyes full of pain and love and joy, black, brown, white, tall, short, thin, large, medium, nice, rude, sick, healthy, all the people, and I saw their faces alive and moving and the worth of each life passing on to the next life and how each person shone from the same source as the next and how much I loved them each and every one, because when the thing happened, I took the love I have for you and grabbed sit hard and shone it outward to the crowd in spotlight and screamed over their busy beautiful heads that I love you, I love you, I'd do anything, I'd do anything to find your unhurt face in that goddamn crowd.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Endometriosis: Naps

Lola snapped this of me during my now daily afternoon nap. I am in pain all day, and the fatigue goes from being manageable to being bone-deep and grinding. You can see here the swelling in my hands, my veins, my facial tissue and under my eyes. I also get intense, hot swelling in my abdomen and legs and arms. The worse the swelling is, the worse my fatigue. It's nice to have these guys around for company.

I am eating the healthiest diet of my life. I am pescetarian now, as is Mr. Curry. I intend to do a blog post about our transition to a plant-based diet. I know from being this ill before that my diet, while it cannot cure me, can and does absolutely make this less awful than it could be. Eating this way ensures that I do have some good days, and that my overall brain fog is not as pervasive. When I eat to live, I can feel a clear separation between my healthy body and this illness living inside of me, vs it completely overtaking my system. It's empowering and helps keep the depression and anxiety that comes with all this at bay. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Grandpa John Nash's Obituary/Eulogy

I was honored to write the remembrance for Ed's Grandpa Nash, a lovely man married 67 years to his sweetheart, Grandma Donna Nash.

John Robert Nash

John Robert Nash was born November 2, 1924 in Cleveland, Ohio. Some of John’s great family left behind include his beloved wife of 67 years, Mary Donna Nash, his three children, Scott Nash, Trenna Curry, and the much loved daughter Cindy Jan Fitzmaurice, who died young, leaving behind the legacy of her beautiful spirit and gorgeous laugh, as well as her cherished son, John and Donna’s grandson, Scotty Fitzmaurice, and her husband Greg.

Other grandchildren include Kari Gagne, Lori McDowell, Johnny Curry, and Kristi Christenson. John was blessed with many great-grandchildren, including Julia, James, Kayleen, Dakota, Ian, Lola, Ever, Christan, Reef, Jacob, Austin, and baby Carson.

John joined the Navy at age 18, and he left as Seaman First Class, E6, USNR. He worked and traveled for General Dynamics, putting in missile sites. He went to night school to obtain a diploma, while working during the day. Everytime his family was moved for work, John took his children’s hands in his own and found a new church. A devoted Christian, John found great solace in the church fellowships that anchored his family to each new town. Regardless of life circumstances–his own or yours–John was always happy to see you, and had that knack of making a person feel that he was specifically glad you were there. He is deeply missed by family and friends.

As a young man, John met his wife-to-be, Donna, where she was working at a movie theatre. They had a little bit of a romantic entendre, where Donna thought maybe John didn’t really fancy her, and John thought maybe she didn’t fancy him. John finally came up to Donna and said, “Would you go out with me?”, and Donna said yes. It was soon after that John proposed. Donna wasn’t sure, but John was, and “thank God he was” says Donna, because they were married in a loving partnership for 67 years. John and Donna were not only romantic partners, not only parents and grandparents, but they were best friends. They truly enjoyed each other’s company, and spent most of their free time together traveling, camping, attending church, going to lunch or dinner with family and friends, and enjoying their other family–their Boston terriers. Sparky was the dog left behind at John’s death, and Sparky joins Donna at home in grieving the loss of their beloved John.

John was an active, engaged, smart, brave, and hard working man of faith. He could be a snazzy dresser, as well, and often wore a smart cap and cardigan to family gatherings. He took great pride in providing for his family and  He loved camping with his beloved wife and grandchildren. From the time they were old enough to hold a marshmallow on stick, John took the grandkids desert and mountain camping. Not only were these times special to John and Donna, but they also created irreplaceable, life long happy memories for the youngest of the generation.

Thanksgiving and Christmas were also particularly special times in John’s life. After John’s children were grown and had children of their own, the family celebrated Christmas Eve with a “progressive dinner” which included the entire family going to two or three different houses, eating at each house and looking at Christmas lights on the way. Eventually they’d all end up at John and Donnas where the grandkids would usually act out skits or read from Christmas stories or sing songs. The house would be decorated to the nines, and John loved all of it: the stockings, the photos, the candy dishes, the tree, the joyful noise of a large and loving family.

John’s grandchildren were blessed to have a involved, fun loving grandpa who was a steady, dependable presence of love in their life. John had a mischevious grin and a love for a great laugh.The grandchildren were all delighted with his turqoiuse Toyota pickup truck that was outfitted with a special horn, a horn he’d be sure to honk every chance he could.

John loved to cook and was the main cook for the sweet twosome of he and his wife in all their later years. Waking in the morning, Donna would be greeted with John’s cheerful smile, asking, “What will we be having this morning?” meaning, what can I make you for breakfast? His omelets were especially delicious. On the holidays he would cook an entire feast for the family, refusing offers of help as he prepared each dish.

John and Donna loved to visit Laughlin, California and gamble, and John seemed to have an extremely lucky hand, because he usually won! Some trips would be John and Donna alone, and other times they’d be accompanied by one or more of their children and their spouses. Those trips hold many special memories for John’s family.

In the last years of his life as he grew ill, John was quieter, but he maintained the twinkle in his eye, and his playful spirit would shine through. He continued attending family events with Donna, and would often sit silently as the party transitioned, with a smile and a contented look on his face. The last family gathering at Easter, Donna asked John if he had anything he wanted to say. It is telling of the man and his spirit that he simply placed a kiss to his hand and waved it outward to the circle of his family, and said only, “Love.” John loved deeply and is deeply loved, and deeply missed. His life was a testament to faith, family, hard work and love.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Something Is Wrong With The Body

Over the last six months I've grown progressively sicker. It really started two years ago, but didn't kick into high gear until the last six months. And even then, I didn't see what was happening. I was doing what we patients often complain about doctors doing, and treating my symptoms individually as they popped up. And I'm great at that. Researching, refining my nutritional intake, my exercise plan, my stress coping mechanisms. Adding a supplement. More sleep. Less sugar. No sugar. No caffeine? No. Add the caffeine back in. Yet I continued to feel worse.

The anxiety got better- much better- but the symptoms started burning in hot patches around my body, little fires: pain in my arms and legs, waxing and waning. (Magnesium, B and D, dehydrated? Too much running? More leg support.)

Fatigue. Slowly creeping, drowsy, not enough sleep, can't sleep well, sleeping, sleeping...tired. So tired, all day, Suddenly I realized a week has gone by where I've napped for TWO HOURS every afternoon, and wake still tired. Always tired. Bone tired, so tired that holding my eyes open is difficult, and I close them standing in line at the grocery, or at a red light, for a moment's relief. (Anemic? Ferritin low? B, D, low? Too much sugar? Hashimotos acting up?)

Swelling. My eyes, hands, legs, swell. My eyes swell so much that I wear sunglasses on overcast days indoors at the store or Starbucks, picking Ever up from school. I don't want people to think I'm a bad person. Why would they think that? I don't know. It's my first instinct, fear. They will think I am a bad mother who stays up all night, or an alcoholic, not taking care of my child. This bothers me so much that I worry about what the cash register thinks, ringing up my grocery. I feel like he or she is wondering "What is WRONG with this woman?" Why do I feel so guilty for being sick? I really don't know. 

Abdominal pain. My abdomen swells. I look eight months pregnant. Ever asks me if I am pregnant. It hurts. Bright spots of pain light like a brand pressed into one spot: here, on my left side, there, on my right side- pain so bad I think I might have appendicitis, until it stops. Then pain over my belly button, hard deep pain that radiates to my back like a tendril snaking through the muscle and then leaking poison through the open mouth of an endometriomal lesion. I imagine the tissue hissing and smoking slightly as it turns brown. My last surgery, the doctor said I had lesions all up rib cage, my uterus, my ovaries, the tubes. And between my organs, long bands of hot pink or white scar tissue, adhesions, tugging things not meant to be tugged.

image from endofacts

Pain pain: pain my arms, legs, back, abdomen, coming and going. 

My insurance 'lapsed'. Such a benign word, easy in the mouth. We couldn't afford it, so it lapsed. Of course, immediately after I needed to see the doctor. I have a hardness, if you press deep enough, you can feel it under my aorta, which pulsing happily on top of whatever this is. The doctor felt it. "Well," she said, "if you had insurance I'd have you do an MRI. Or colonoscopy." We both sat for a moment. "What about an ultrasound?" she said. Although we both knew that was mostly futile, I did it. An ultrasound cannot see in the bowel, as it is filled with air, and an ultrasound cannot pick up endometriosis, if that is what is growing there, or scar tissue, unless it was thick enough, which it rarely is.

Ultrasound came back all good. And that is something. All the organs it could peer into pulsed back happily, working fine. Gallbladder, liver, all those juicy things lying inside of me, and the aorta itself gushed blood back and forth as it should. My bloodwork looks good. That is something.

And then the last two months, where I've gotten worse, it seems, every passing day. Some days are all right, meaning I feel OK and only take one nap and feel relatively awake otherwise. Some days are terrible, and I can barely wake up, I sleep off and on all day, and slosh in nausea and dizziness. So many options for what can go wrong with the human body, so many guesses! Could be my gallbladder and endometriosis. Could be just endometriosis, infiltrated to bowel. Could be intense perimenopause. Could be pancreatitis! So exciting. It could be the worst thing. I can't go there, because what the fuck am I supposed to do? Freak out? I already have that covered. Smothered.

My last excision surgery for endometriosis was around 9 years ago. 5 years ago, I had a C-section, my first, with Ever's birth. C-sections can spread endometriosis- a fact I didn't know at the time. The cells get washed with the waves of tugging internal tissues and blood, pulled into foreign shores, like my guts. 

So that is possible.

All I know for sure right now about my body is that I am very sick, getting sicker, and something is wrong. We plan on getting insurance next month. No one is qualified for CA Covered Care anymore unless there was an emergency to explain your lapse. We didn't have an emergency. No tornado ripped through our roof, no one was injured on the job or knocked up. Just poor, sometimes more so, sometimes less. 

I am eating vegetables, fruit, beans, nuts, and a small amount of fish or chicken. I take the vitamins. I do the exercises. I breath the infuser's essential oils. 

I am in a period of anger right now. I am deeply sad and angry that I am incapable of writing for five hours straight. Finally, my life is in a place where things are lining up. My book is almost done with my final edits, ready to be read by the agent. Writing jobs are happening, I am being published every week, and paid for it. Ever is in school all morning. And the last month, I often spend that time blinking like a fish in front of the computer until I give in and go back to sleep.

And yet I'm so excited about life: so many things fascinate and propel me! There is so much to do, so much to learn, and I love my family, I love being with them. When I feel well, there's almost NOTHING I cannot have a good attitude about. I have worked damn hard over my life to have a good attitude. I won't lose it because of this. But right now, it's temporarily winning.

Just for a little bit, I'm going to cry a lot in the bathroom, and feel angry. 

When I lie down, I often have a hard time falling asleep because despite how exhausted my body is, my mind is so awake. I think of all the essays I want to write and get excited. I think of the yard work I want to do, how cute I want to make my backyard, and I get excited. I think of the things I want to do with Lola and Ever and feel excited. I think of running and feel excited. I think of Mayan ruins, and studying their ancient culture more- the books I'm reading, the documentaries I watch at bedtime- and get, you guessed it, excited. So much to DO! I don't want to be SLEEPING. 

So for now I lie with my eyelids flickering and struggling against the weight of my own body, waiting for what is next. Patience, grasshopper.