Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Where Are You From?

Cape Town, South Africa

Dear Mr. Self Righteous:

It was a pleasure to meet you at my favorite brewery this evening, my son and I enjoyed speaking with you and your friend about beers, it was when you asked me where I was from because of my accent that things went downhill quicker than a bowling ball down Mt. Everest.

When I told you I was from South Africa and that I had been in the States since 1990 your response of "So you got out just in time" took me a little by surprise. I wasn't quite sure by what you meant. You must have gathered that by my what the fuck was that question look on my face, the need to clarify that I left just before apartheid ended insinuating that as a white person I was getting out before the ANC took over. I gathered that from your further condescending remarks that you littered the air with.

Please allow me now to tell you my story. I was born and raised in a small village outside Cape Town. My family is Portuguese, not from Portugal, but from the island of Madeira. Google it. My grandparents immigrated to South Africa. I was born in 1966 and for my entire life in South Africa I was raised during the apartheid era. Let me quickly go back to the Portuguese part and tell you how we were treated by the same people who treated the blacks in South Africa so despicably. Pretty much the same a few Americans treat the people from Mexico, like shit.

You didn't need to be self righteous and opinionated about apartheid, I lived it. I saw what it did. I saw the hate it created. You see Mr. SR because of that hate once apartheid ended that hate turned to violent crime. My father was a victim to that violent crime. It didn't matter that my father was the most kind, giving, generous person in the community, that his employee's had been with him for many years, and yes 90% were black. What the people saw who kidnapped my father and violently murdered him, was that he was white.

South Africa is in absolute turmoil since apartheid ended. The daily murder rate would boggle your little mind. When I had mentioned this fact your response with "I haven't seen anything on the news" just showed how unaware you are with what is going on in the rest of the world.

It took me a long time to become a US Citizen, the process is long, drawn out and at some times quite humiliating oh and let's not forget the cost, close to $10,000 because I had to get an attorney during the Green Card process. I bet you thought that just because I married an American I automatically became a citizen. I chose to become a citizen so that I could have a voice at every single election and not just the big one, my city and state elections included.

Did it make you feel better to be so self righteous? Did you Facebook post how you told some South African woman your thoughts on her country and apartheid? Did I tell you my thoughts on your countries current situation? Did I mention the Native Americans?

I did not Mr. SR because I know you didn't have anything to do with that, my assumption was that you were a funny guy having a beer with your friend who was visiting from Europe.

As my mother always said, you know what they say about assuming, although in this case the ass is all yours.



Sunday, July 10, 2016

On Your Phone Again.

Recently when we were in Yakima we not only went wine tasting we went beer tasting as well.  Our phones have the beer app Untappd. This app allows you to post the beer you are drinking, rate it, take a picture and hopefully get a badge. *side note* It is all about the badges for me.

When we first get our flight of tasters we get on our phones and start putting in the information. Last weekend as we were doing this at a brewery I looked up and noticed a couple looking at us and I thought they were probably thinking "Look at those people, on their phones, not talking to each other.", but they couldn't have been further from the truth.

Logging onto Untappd has actually become quite the family event, the beer olympics so to speak. We have to see who is going to earn a badge and who is leading in check-ins and distinct beers. I am not leading in check-ins and distinct beers, I know you're all shocked, but I do hold the honor in most badges collected.

Some people may think it a silly thing to do, and that is okay, but for us it is something we do and our interaction is just as much as it would be without our phones.

So when you next see a party of 3 on their phone at a brewery, tasting beers, typing quickly, laughing and pumping their fist in the air when a badge is downloaded, don't assume they are not connecting with each other, they very much are.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Being Kind to Yourself.

Today I was asked a rather strange question by my therapist, but one that really has had me pondering, hence here I am writing a blog post at 11:00 pm.  I was asked as to when was the last time I felt beautiful?

The question was asked after I had made a self derogatory comment about myself and how I compared myself to someone else who currently haunts my life. I had to think about the question and the answer was in 2009. 2009 When we lived in Utah, when I weighed a lot less, when life was so much simpler and happier, when I was so secure in what I had, I felt so beautiful. I was told I was beautiful.

Then life happened and Hashimoto's disease became the bane of my existence. Everything in my life spiraled. I gave away the majority of my shoes that made me feel beautiful. I placed my clothes that made me feel beautiful in storage because they no longer fit. I was no longer told I was beautiful.

This evening I scrolled through posts on Facebook and Twitter and read about shootings, political ramblings, how to be thinner, how to be richer, people celebrating 40 years of marriage, people getting ready to be married and the range of emotions were like riding on a roller coaster. I hate roller coasters.

Today was not a good day. I was not kind to someone who has been a part of my life for many years. We all have those days where words come out and our brain is back peddling, but they are out and...

I know many of you personally that read my blog and I have followed all your ups and downs and I know you can all relate. Yesterday a friend came over with wine. I love friends who bring wine.

Tonight I took out my watercolors and attempted to paint lavender as a reminder of our wonderful weekend in Yakima. I am watching reruns (again for the kajillionith time) of Murder she Wrote. My endocrinologist has me on another new medication. I got on the scale and have lost a whole pound. I had a friend text me from work letting me know she is thinking of me.

But what made me feel the most loved tonight was when my 24 year old son came up to me this evening, put his arm around me and made me laugh through my tears.

We are all going through something and I want you all to know that I think you all are wonderful, kind, funny, lovable, huggable, and most of all some of the most beautiful people in my life and being surrounded by you all, makes me feel beautiful.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Inner Peace.

In 1990 I left my home country, my family and friends. My adventures started in Seattle, I met people, belonged for a while and then moved. San Diego was my next stop, a Navy wife, people flitting in and out of my life and then we moved. For the next 17 years my stop was Utah and as always I came in on the tail end of other people's circle.

What I have struggled the most with is that I have never felt as though I really belonged, I was never a part of a circle. In 2010 we moved to Oregon. Another move. Another circle.

My family and closest friends are spread out over 3 continents, and sometimes when I remember it feels as though I have been hit with that wave. Whenever I miss them, I go for a long walk on the beach and the connection to home is what brings me inner peace.

The sea air fills my lungs and takes me back to those summer days spent on the beach with our Morey Boogie Boards, my Black Widow paddle ski, Duran Duran and midnight movies. Picnics on the beach, tanning with baby oil and vinegar and being connected.

I hear laughter and I am transported back to my mothers home, my sisters, mother, aunt, brother, best friend all having tea, or enjoying another marvelous meal my mother prepared, sharing stories, laughing, and me never failing to remind my younger sister that she is adopted. The room is filled with peace and love.

Somedays when I walk along the beach I see people flying kites and I watch as they gently glide them through the air, the wind guiding, dipping, twisting and turning, absolute serenity and I am mesmerized. When practicing mindfulness this is where I go when my head goes dark.

Through this journey I have learned that when you are at one with the universe and what is before you, that is when your own personal circle is complete and that is what should matter.

Friday, February 5, 2016

24 Years Ago.

Dr. Donna Johnson and T.
Previously I had written a blogpost about spending more time focusing on reaching out to the people who made a difference in my life and let them know, rather than focus on what I considered the pity portion pig swill of my brain. I was recently going through photographs of T when he was first born and I was thinking about my OB/Gyn, Dr. Donna Johnson and what a true life saver, in every sense of the word, she was to me and to T.

It was in the middle of February 1992, 25 weeks pregnant, husband (T-ex) was in the Persian Gulf, I was a young Navy wife alone in San Diego and one afternoon I started having contractions. I thought these were the Braxton Hicks contractions that everyone spoke of so I called my Doctor, he suggested I go to the hospital. I called a friend to take me to Alvarado hospital, but it wasn't any urgency. I took a shower and about a half hour later we left. By the time we got to the hospital my contractions were a little more intense and the nurses just slightly worried.  I was dilating and was quickly hooked up to an awful IV cocktail which would become a semi-permanent attachment to whatever vein would co-operate for many weeks to follow. T-ex was in the Navy and my pregnancy care was through Balboa hospital, but because I was now in preterm labor and at risk I was transferred to the care of Dr. Donna Johnson.

When I met Dr. Johnson I was a mess. I wasn't clear on what was going on, my family lived on another continent and T-ex was in the Persian Gulf. I was a little overwhelmed and I was hooked up to this IV cocktail medication that made me feel awful. Dr. Johnson sat on my bed, held my hand and in her beautiful southern accent let me know what was going on and what the game plan was. She answered all my questions, never once looking at her watch or rushing through the conversation. I asked her to please try and get a hold of the Red Cross to get a message to the ship to let T-ex know. The saga of the Red Cross debacle will be kept for my book, but I have to share that they did ask Dr. Johnson that instead of flying T-ex home would me just speaking to him get the contractions to stop. The Navy flew T-ex back to the States and the men on the ship took up a collection to purchase an airline ticket to get him to San Diego.

My stay in the hospital was so long that the nurses would move me to different rooms for a different view. Dr. Johnson was in contact with me all the time. Late at night Dr. Johnson would come into my room with the ultra sound machine declaring "Let's see how your boy is doing today." I don't know if this was of the norm, but Dr. Johnson did this often and it gave me hope. Every time I heard T's heart beat and saw him moving I knew that however much I despised that IV, having blood drawn so often that my arms were the topic of a few interesting conversations, how much I despised being in that hospital bed, that this little person was worth all of it. There were evenings that Dr. Johnson would just stop in and visit, no matter what day of the week. Those visits kept me sane.

4 lbs, 9 ozs - 18 inches
At 36 weeks, 22 April 1992 I was allowed to go home. No more IV's, horrible meds and blood draws. I was elated and I remember Dr. Johnson saying "We will probably end up inducing you at 40 weeks." We left the hospital at 11:00am. It was wonderful to be home, walking was a little challenging, but it was so great to be up and about.  At 4:00pm I went into labor and it was back to the hospital. After 12 hours of labor at 4:19am, 23 April 1992, T was born - and the Landers earthquake aka Joshua Tree foreshocks began.

I believe that my guardian angels decided that February day in 1992 that if I was going to go through this hell, I was going to need my very own earthly angel to make sure I got through it. Sometimes saying thank you feels so inadequate or just not enough because when I look at T I know that he wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for the care, tenacity, compassion, kindness and southern attitude of Dr. Johnson. After all these years I am once again in contact with Dr. Johnson and I am hoping that someday soon T and I will make it to South Carolina so that T can finally meet the Doctor that he has always heard so much about, the Doctor that saved his life.

So tiny.
T's NICU nurse
My miracle boy