Thursday, May 18, 2006

Worry and a Request

My brother and sister-in-law found out yesterday that their one month old son - my nephew - Daniel - has severe cataracts in both of his eyes.

The condition is rare, but treatable. They'll perform a surgery to remove the faulty lenses, but will be unable to replace them with the artificial lenses as happens with cataract surgery in adults. Apparently, infants have a greater tendency to reject the articial lenses. For the first several years of his life, he'll wear some sort of corrective lenses and he'll face surgery to remove scar tissue and replace the lens somewhere along the way. The first surgeries are scheduled for next Monday -- and if all goes well, the following Tuesday.

I have a great deal of respect for my younger brother - he is handling the situation, and his concern, with his usual calm, controlled, and positive attitude. This is of great help to his wife, her parents, and my parents who are all, understandably, beside themselves with worry.

I am asking for your help in sending some good energy our family's way. If you pray, we'd appreciate your prayers, if you don't, we're grateful for your positive thoughts and meditations.

Friday, May 12, 2006

More interview answers

Ack! I've fallen into the trap... Again, if you'd like to be interviewed, let me know. But, my new rule is that I shall not reinterview.

Kerri's questions:

1. Name two things you could do as a child but you can’t do now. Why don’t you do those things as an adult?

When I was a kid, I fully enjoyed running around naked. I have sort of funny proof, a recording which, my father, in his efforts to document my most embarrassing moments, transferred from Super 8 to DVD for everyone's viewing pleasure. The DVD shows a few hundred people at a family pig roast. The BBQ pit is flaming, there are kids playing ball in a field, moms and dads eating and drinking beer... And then you see me -- a little girl of maybe 4 running, stark naked, through the frame. Next, the camera shudders and shakes and you see my father in plaid shorts and a white t-shirt take off me, clearly displeased. Finally, you see my mother -- doing everything she can to stifle her grin, stepping into the frame carrying my sundress. My father does finally catch up with me and my parents dress me again. It's not the only documentation of my nudist habits. To be honest, I'd be happy to live my life naked. Alas, if I did the same thing at a cook out today people would be horrified and I'd get arrested.

I was also incredibly flexible and bouncy when I was younger. I could perform front and back handsprings, front flips with no hands, and I could do all three splits. I can still manage one split. The rest has been lost to my age -- and injuries. A broken wrist robbed me of the ability to do any kind of handspring. Last but not least, my fear of hurting something else makes it impossible for me to even attempt a handless front flip.

2. Martians have invaded your house and are demanding to be taken to your leader. Who would you take them to and why?

I'd take them next door to my neighbor Gertrude.

She's 95 years old. She's the oldest person that I know -- as a result, she has the most experience. She's lived through two World Wars, Viet Nam, Korea, the Depression, countless presidencies. She has voted in every election, including local elections, since the early 1940s.

She's been dirt poor. She worked until she was 75 and her husband got sick. She has faced and beaten cancer twice. She's had a child stillborn. She lost her father to suicide, her mother to a heart attack and all of her four sisters and brothers. She has known joy, love, pain, grief. She is also incredibly honest and not shy about sharing her point of view.

I believe that our world's true leaders are people like Gertrude -- people who have worked for everything they have, who've weathered the best and the worst of times, who remember what it was like to do without, to sacrifice, to fight, and who are candid in expressing their opinions and their emotions.

3. Fast Forward: You’re 82 years old. Someone asks you what life was like when you were 32. What do you tell them?

The World was scary when I was 32, but it was also wonderful. I lived with the love of my life, Bob, in a little house in Seekonk; we had a great cat named Rosie who talked and drank water from the sink. Bob played in a rock-n-roll band called The McGunks. I worked raising money for various organizations -- changing the world a little bit at a time. I felt pretty strongly the world needed changing.

In America, we'd weathered some rough times. Our president was completely ineffective, we were in the midst of one of the wars in Iraq, and at home, the Congress and President seemed to propose or pass frightening legislation everyday -- making cuts in programs that couldn't afford it, trying to take the easy way out of problems like the lack of healthcare and insurance and the depleting of social security funds and pushing policies that further marginalized communities who were already getting the short end of the stick.

Here and overseas, the potential of terrorist attacks loomed in the minds of everyone.

Oh, and I lived with diabetes back then. Of course, you know they cured that a long time ago. But then, I wore an insulin pump -- the latest in a line of new technologies that helped people to get good control of the disease and delay or prevent the onset of complications. I still test my bloodsugar occassionally, but that certainly beats the eight to fourteen times that were required when I relied on synthetic insulin.

I'll tell you more some other time. Right now, I'm going to have some tea and sit out on the porch in the sunlight.

4. What scares you to the very core?

Failure and the possiblity of losing my eyesight.

Failure covers a number of areas. My diabetes, my job, my relationships... I hate the idea that I might screw something up. I hate the idea of growing old and having nothing to show for it or having only a pile of regret to show for it.

The eyesight business stems mostly from the diabetes. This possible complication scares the crap out of me, because I consider sight my most important sense.

5. Why do you blog?

I blog to be heard. I blog because I think my perspective might help someone, might be valuable. I blog because I love to write and I think I'm pretty good at it. And, I blog because I value the community that comes along with blogging.

Kassie's questions:

1. You have $1000, 1 hour shopping spree. Where would you go, and what would you buy?

At the moment, I am obsessed with redecorating the house Bob and I are moving into this summer. So, I would first go to Home Depot and buy the paint we need, the supplies to paint with, and the hardware for the cabinets we're refinishing.

Then, I'd head to Linens and Things or another place for bedding/curtains and buy all new sheets, comforters, pillows, duvets and covers -- oh, and curtains and curtain rods and shower curtains and shower curtain rod.

Last, I'd head to Ikea and spend whatever was left on odds and ends and possibly furniture (it's cheap there.)

2. How would you describe a low in 10 words or less?

Drowning in confusion, my body numbs, later I don't remember.

3. Where would you most like to visit?

I would very much love to visit Ireland and Scotland again. There are no more welcoming places in the world for me. The people, the land, the castles and buildings, the history, the artwork, the wind and the rain and the shady sunlight. I miss them, even though I've only known them for a short time.

4. If you had 2 uninterrupted minutes to speak with the President, what would you say?

To be honest, I'd be reluctant to meet with the current President. I think it would be a complete waste of my time. It's not just that the man is not very bright (I mean, he is the "decider" right?), it's that I think his mind is as closed to new ideas, differing perspectives and opinions, and alternative ways of thinking as a human's mind can be. I would probably ask for two interrupted minutes with someone in power who might actually listen and care.

Having said that, if there was no other option, I'd take the two minutes to share as much as I could of my perspective on stem cell research and the importance of medical care for all people (I'd do everything I could to make him *hear* that people's lives are affected by his decisions and that these issues are of vital importance.)

5. You're in charge at Ben & Jerry's for the day: what flavor ice cream do you invent?

Chocoalmondzilla. That is, vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce and both white and milk chocolate covered almonds.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Score One for the Team

Senate bill #1955 died today on a procedural vote.

In no small part, I'm sure, because of the efforts of the ADA, the JDRF, Planned Parenthood and other advocacy non-profits across the United States. Not to mention Kassie, Kerri, Sandra, Shannon, Julia, and others around the OC and outside of it.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

s 1955 Today!

Please head over to Kassie's blog today for information about s 1955, it is vital that our community -- and others -- oppose this Bill in every way possible!

It's going to be close and the consequences of its passing would be dire.

Noncompliant on s 1955 May 3, 2006