Category Archives: heart - Page 2

Sushi Circuit Round 1

My friend T and I have decided to make the rounds of the sushi joints in Fairbanks. I figured I’d make note of our dinners here, should I forget details later, as I’m quite prone to do.

We started tonight with Ajimi, an unassuming little place on 3rd. Not much to it from the outside, but well lit and full of ambience inside. I mentioned that they must use Time Lord technology. I suspect she thinks I’m even more of a dweeb after that comment.

We were seated right away, and just as quickly as we’d gotten off our coats we had miso, eggs, and potatoes. The miso was alright, the eggs were fun, but the potatoes were odd and covered in honey. Not for me.

The menu was massive. There were too many choices and I was tempted to get one of everything. T ordered us the Tom & Jerry appetizer — a spicy salmon paste with avocado and masago on a deep fried sushi rice patty, drizzled with a lovely thickened soy-based sauce. She got a Boss roll, and I got a spicy Alaskan King roll. We were quite indelicate in eating them just for their sheer diameter, and I found myself relieved that I’d gotten just the one roll since it was massive. Eating it may have been a tad problematic but so worth the fumbling. Tasty food, prompt, courteous service, reasonable prices … I will definitely be back!

We finished our evening at Airport Way Family Restaurant, with too much bad coffee, too much nicotine, too warm a room, but lots of laughter.

I can’t wait for Sushi Circuit Round 2! I’ll have to do better at taking pictures. Being around T is such great fun. You should be jealous. 😛

There’s the door…

I am a thirty-something woman.  I am a queer woman of color, married to a caucasian man.  I am mother to three beautiful, intelligent, precious, mixed race children.  I am a liberal.  Not long ago in our country’s history, my marriage would have been illegal, my children illegitimate, my voice meaningless and unwelcome.  I wonder sometimes if things truly are so different today.

I have a voice.  I have the right to vote.  I exercise that right every election I am privy to because our political/governmental system is flawed, yet is the only one in place, so I use it.  Governmental regulations of a person’s rights have a direct impact on the quality of life said person/groups of persons can achieve.  Electing people to office who want to limit or deny a person’s rights is tantamount to saying that said persons are lesser individuals.

Come tell me personally that I shouldn’t be allowed to speak my mind.  Come tell me that I’m not as important of a person as you.  Come tell me that a corporation has more rights to personhood than I do.  Stand here, face to face with me, and tell me that you want to officially strip me of my potential, that you want to limit opportunities for my children, or that you want to legalize and standardize your hatred and bigotry.

I am not a second-class citizen because of my race, gender/gender identification, sexual orientation, creed, weight, height, taste in music, or sense of humor.  Except, socially speaking, I kind of am.  I’ve been marginalized and/or stigmatized all my life — because of my gender, my heritage, my childhood neighborhood, my intelligence level, my weight, my appearance, my religion, my lack thereof, my sexual orientation/experiences/history, my right to say no, my right to choose, my belief in evolution, my battles with depression and anxiety, my battles with addiction and alcoholism, my ever-ailing health.

So far, I’ve survived everything people have thrown at me and, more amazingly, everything I’ve done to my own damn self.  I’m still standing (with a cane, but still fucking standing).  I am just as much a person as you are.

If you don’t think so, we can stop being friends.  A while back, I had to face losing “friends” over beliefs.  I’m prepared to lose more.  This tends to happen every election season.  I’ve been bracing for a thinning of the ranks.

I have to lay some groundwork here, I suppose.  For example, if you believe in hell and you believe that I am going to burn eternally in it for who I am and/or what I’ve done, but you want to pretend that you can get past that, we pretty much can’t be friends.  Also, if you believe that I am less of a person, entitled to fewer rights than you, because of who I am and/or what I’ve done, yet you want to pretend that you can breeze over that, we pretty much can’t be friends.

I am not less than you.  And I am not going away.

There’s the door… Please feel free to see yourself the fuck out if you don’t like it.

Tired

I wake up to throbbing, burning pain.  I’m stiff when I wake up; every joint feels swollen, every limb feels made of lead, and I’m not always steady on my feet.  I fumble for my cane, put on my bifocals, grab my water bottle and cell phone.  I try to carry as much as I can when I head upstairs since I don’t care to make multiple trips.  Heading up the stairs, I wonder if my legs will obey me and if I can avoid near-syncope.  One of my greatest fears is fainting while I’m on the staircase.  I lose my footing on the stairs often enough as it is. . .

I coffee up, trying to chase away the mental cobwebs that are never fully gone.  I take muscle relaxants, arthritis pills, pain meds.  I chase my three young children around the house, cleaning up their various shenanigans.  I wince every time I lift my 2-year-old onto the changing table.  I can’t lift my arms above my head without excruciating pain.  Come to think of it, I can’t do much of anything without wanting to cry.

I have fibromyalgia and a suspected autoimmune disease.  I’m weak, I tire easily, I’m light/sun-sensitive, and I am always in pain.  If I had to pinpoint its origin, it’s as though there’s a layer between muscle and bone, and that layer constantly feels like it’s on fire.

Sometimes it feels as though people don’t believe my pain exists.  Maybe it’s because they can’t see the problem, or that they just can’t understand the kind of chronic pain I have.  Truth is, sometimes I think I’m just crazy.  If I hadn’t seen the blood test results myself, many times, I might wonder too if what I have is really real.  I’m waiting on more blood tests to come back to see if they can pinpoint what makes me like this.

I fight so hard, take so many measures, take so many pills, just to feel the tiniest bit of relief.  When I do feel better, I often break down sobbing because it’s depressing to fight this hard to still feel so shitty, and think that that’s the best I can hope for most days.  There are more things I can’t do than I can, especially with my kids, and it makes me feel broken.  I feel broken, disabled, less than, unfixable.  I might feel better if I had a diagnosis, if I could point at something and say, “THIS is what’s wrong with me.”  Not knowing makes things worse.

I worry that I’m a burden: to my husband, for having someone so broken to take care of, that I can’t do more; to my children, like I’m cheating them out of having the kind of mother they deserve; even to my doctors, for being so difficult to diagnose.

I’ve seen a neurologist, who felt that my neurological symptoms are secondary to an underlying condition.  I’ve been to a rheumatologist, who believes my underlying condition is most probably an autoimmune disease, but doesn’t know which one.  My urologist, gynecologist, dermatologist, ophthalmologist, internist, and primary feel the same way.  Now, I’ve been referred to another rheumatologist.  If he comes to a dead-end with me too, I’ll be referred out of state.

For the most part, they’ve all said that one of two things could happen: I could get miraculously better, which they all agree is unlikely, or I could get worse enough for something to show up in my blood tests.  This leaves me praying every day that I either get the most unlikely miracle of good health, or that I get worse enough and raise the right antibodies to nail down which disease I have.  In the meantime, I bear the burden of depression, anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, and constant, disabling, debilitating pain.

I know there are people who have conditions worse than mine, and I don’t want to take anything away from their own ordeals.  I write this because I need an outlet, because people have asked me to share, because it’s one of the only things I can still do.

Many of you are tired of hearing me complain.  Trust me when I say I’m more tired of it than you are.

Marking time

It’s been four years since my Mama died.

Four years ago, my mama spoke her last words to me on Mother’s Day.  I called her hospital room to wish her a happy mother’s day, to tell her how much I loved her, to give her the slightest idea of what she meant to me.  Three weeks before, she wanted me to come see her.  When I got there, she was ill, and I made her go to the hospital.  I didn’t know how bad things were going to get.  She had congestive heart failure, then had a stroke, so she couldn’t speak very long.  She did manage to tell me, “I love you.  Thanks for calling.”

Two days later, she was gone.  I was just a couple hours outside of town.  I didn’t make it there fast enough.  I didn’t know how hard it was going to be.  I just didn’t get there fast enough.

Every single day since then, I’ve missed my mama.  She was my rock.  She was a force of nature.

She knew everything about me, was my closest friend, and loved me more than I can convey.

It’s hard to believe that it’s already been four years since she died.  So very much has happened, but it doesn’t feel any easier accepting that she’s really gone.  As a mother, Mother’s Day should be magical for me but, this year, it’s just heartbreaking.  This year, it seems like I’m just marking time.

I’ll do something special with my kids today, tell stories about my mama, try to hold down the fort until John comes home from a long hitch.  It’ll all be bittersweet, though, because I wish she could know my kids.  She got to spend time with JR, but she never got to meet Camilla or River.  I can’t talk to her late at night when neither of us can sleep, I can’t go play bingo with her, I can’t hear her laugh, I can’t hug her, I can’t lay my head in her lap, I can’t be hugged or kissed.  I can’t go back in time and make myself stay at her bedside.  I can’t tell her all the things I hope she knew — how much I miss her, how much she means to me, how much she amazed me, how much I love her.

I tell her these things every day, still, and just hope that she hears it all from wherever she’s resting now.

I love you, Mama.  Always.

Again

I’m posting a picture again, taken in September 2010. It’s that pretty.

(In other news, we’ve had mounds of fun out in the snowy backyard. Snowshoes are our next must-have. Stay tuned.)

Photo by Crystal S. McDonald, 2010.

 

What’s your major?

I’m going back to school. It’s been 50,000 years since I took a class. I’m not sure what mommy-brain has done to my ability to write essays and take exams. I’m a little scared.

Since I’m a full-time stay-at-home mommy of three young attention-grabbers, I’m going to start out light. I’ll probably only take one distance course in the spring semester. UAF is processing my admission deferment now, and I have an appointment with an academic advisor in a little over two weeks.

I majored in petroleum engineering once upon a time, 15 years ago, for about five minutes. At UAA, I was an English major, minoring in philosophy, and considering psychology as a secondary major. Then all manner of things happened, and my school days were over. The visions I had for myself then are vastly different than they are today. I have to take this into account when I look at the disciplinary concentrations offered by UAF, as I wonder what on earth I want to declare as my major.

I’m still completely drawn in by the idea of a dual degree in English and psychology. I’d love to have that as my foundation for the writing career of which I fantasize so often. The advent of ebooks combined with the decline in print media makes me question whether writing could ever be a profitable venture for me. So I ask myself, what else do I like to do?

I’ve looked at computer science/web design. I love anthropology, and as a child daydreamed of being an archaeologist on digs in exotic places, but that hardly seems like me now. I wanted to be a math major once, but even then didn’t know what I’d do with a math degree besides teach, which is something I have no interest in doing. Don’t get me wrong; I love teachers. I value the teachers I had so immensely, and consider many of them my friends today. I just know that teaching is not something I could do well, nor would I enjoy it.

How did you decide what to study?

Randomly on a Tuesday

I like Random Tuesdays.  Because they’re random.  Like me.

I’ve been in contact with one man I suspected of being my biological father.  His name isn’t quite the right match, but his age is, as well as his location at the time of my conception.

I’ve found a few other potential bio-dads.  One was a definite ‘no’, one was deceased, and one looks like me.  The one that looks like me lives in Lugoff, South Carolina.  He hasn’t responded to me yet.  Good thing I’m persistent.

My cousin Stephan committed suicide last week at age 26.  He left behind three young sons, and a lot of loving family and friends.  We drove to Anchorage last Friday for his memorial service, but didn’t quite make it.  We stopped for brunch at Rose’s Cafe in Healy, where Mia fell on her front teeth.  She bled a bit, chipping one top front tooth and loosening the other.  We debated whether we should continue to Anchorage or turn back to Fairbanks, and decided to keep on.  We hit up Alaska Native Medical Center as soon as we got to town, and good thing.  Poor Mia had fractured both top front teeth down to the nerve, and they had to be pulled.  She’s fine now, though she pronounces a few things differently, and won’t have any lasting damage to her adult teeth or rampant love of running.

We stopped at Stephan’s wake, where the place was teeming with my extended family and lots of good food.  I saw family members I haven’t seen in years, and learned that a couple of them live up my way.  We were all exhausted from the trip down so we didn’t stay long, but I was there just long enough to give my love and sympathy to Stephan’s mother, Aucha.  My most beautiful, smartest cousin, just like me.  May G-d bless you and keep you.

The kids got to hang out with a few of their cousins, Faith, Caleb, and Victoria, as well as Aunt Jessie and Grandpa.  Mia was completely captivated by all the mountains around Anchorage, poor little mountain-deprived Interior girl that she is.  We were going to take them to Beluga Point before we left town Saturday, but opted instead to take them to Valley of the Moon Park.

That’s where I got to finally catch up with an old friend, Amanda, and finally met her beau Todd and adorable son Mason.  River had fun on the swings, JR climbed on everything in sight (and has declared it his favorite park), and Mia was so taken by Amanda and Mason that she kept talking about them on the way home.  There are many, many more friends I want to see; I’ll be back in Anchorage before too long!

It was fantastic to come home after such a short trip.  My home stays messier than I want it to be, but it’s mine.  Mine, mine, mine!  The animals gave us a great greeting, as has the laundry pile.

John has a new-to-him motorcycle this summer — a 1991 Harley Davidson Sportster.  He got it late in the season, got it fixed up, and takes it out whenever he gets a chance.  I keep pushing for him to get chaps, but possibly not for the reason he wants them.  I picked up a helmet this weekend, so I’m ready just in case I get a chance to ride with him.  Hopefully he can take a long ride this coming weekend since there probably aren’t a lot of riding days left.

I’m still knitting — I have a lot of finished projects that I haven’t pictured because the kids got hold of my camera, leaving me unable to point-and-shoot at my leisure.  That’s also why there are decidedly fewer photos here on the blog.  I have a lot of knitting projects lined up, including a shawl for Amanda (because she admired the ruffly one I was wearing at the park), hats/scarves/mittens for the kids, hats for the nursery at Fairbanks Memorial, items for the upcoming homeless youth shelter, and items for various auctions like the Toys for Tots one held in Anchorage.

I’ve been reliving some drama from 15 years ago in my dreams several nights in a row.  Rather, I should call them nightmares, more appropriately.  I’m pretty much ready for that to stop.  Though last night I dreamed I was the star in a recital, and had all manner of dance training to undergo before the big show.  It was strange.

I’ve been reading about Kabbalah, Jewish mysticism, tarot, and the Torah.  When I’m not reading about spirituality, I’ve been lost in Kathy Reichs books with Margaret Atwood bringing up the rear.

My cholesterol has come down over 50 points, possibly 70, since the beginning of the year, and I’m thrilled about that.  I wasn’t sure if my approach was working.  It’s still not great, but I’m getting there.

Fibromyalgia pain comes and goes.  I feel like I’m finally on the tail end of a flare.  If I hadn’t had two root canals that need to be retouched, I’d probably feel pretty good.

I’m going to scrounge up some dinner now, then hopefully finish a sock I’ve been working on for what feels like forever.

Protected: Letter to my biological father

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Poetry!

I used to long to be a published poet.  I’ve been hoarding my writings for years, squirreling them away, waiting until I felt like I had enough for an anthology.  I decided that I want them out in the world, so they’re going up under the Creative Writings tab.  Please, check them out.  Let me know what you think of them.

Daddy dearest…

…or not.

I was adopted at birth by my biological great aunt, Rose, and her husband, Charlie.  I had a good life with them.  A better life than Joanne would have been able to give me.  I’m grateful to her for loving me enough to give me away.

I knew her growing up, but I knew her as my cousin.  I remember feeling connected to her, and seeing her at all the major holidays & family events.  She was there for every birthday.  She was married, had three kids, separated, then dead.  She died of liver failure, having drank herself to death at the age of 30.  I sobbed uncontrollably, and surprisingly, at her funeral.  I was inconsolable and couldn’t figure out why.  Mama and Daddy finally told me the truth about my parentage when I was 13 & 14.

Mama was the best mother I could have asked for.  We were close.  It’s been a little over three years since she died of heart failure, and I miss her immensely.  Daddy was a good provider.  We never had the best relationship, but we’ve definitely made great improvements to that since I married and had kids of my own.

I sought out my biological father, RN, once, several years back.  I corresponded with the man I suspected of DNA contribution.  He was married, with kids, and didn’t want to jeopardize his family life by introducing an adulterous love chlid, so he didn’t want anything to do with me.

I moved out of town, married, had kids.  I also had/have medical problems.  I want to know my parentage, and their medical histories.  I can’t ask Joanne anymore, though I might be able to get her records with my original birth certificate.  I want to ask RN.  Court records show he has since divorced, among other less pedestrian things.

A friend of mine suggested that I list three things I demand to know of him.  I plan on emailing/messaging him when I have something written out.  I want a medical history.  I want pictures of him.  I want to know what he remembers of Joanne.  I have a million other vague questions, but no idea which ones are most pertinent.  I’m curious about any biological siblings that are out there.  I’m not looking for a relationship with him.  I already have a dad.

How do I phrase such a random, awkward letter to him?

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