No More Empty Fortune Cookies!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Uncle Paul and Pluto

I look at these images of Pluto, full of awe and wonder. I get a little tickle in my chest, a quiver in my gut, that internal signal that something big is on the horizon. I remember when we first saw the images from the Rover on Mars, and my Great Uncle Paul, sitting at my Uncle Dave's house while we all had a family cookout, I think it was the 4th of of those beautiful summer days when everyone wanted to be outside and in the pool, everyone except Uncle Paul. He sat firmly planted in front of the tv watching the live coverage of those first images being sent back to earth. He kept exclaiming, "By golly, this amazing!" And, "Hey, kids, you should be watching this!"
I heeded the requests of the eldest gentleman in our family, my grandfather's brother, and sat with him to watch, even though that cool pool was calling out to me.
I wasn't born yet when we landed on the moon, but I figured that must have been much the same feeling to those watching that landing, as this was to Uncle Paul. He had witnessed the moon landing, and from the sounds of it, hadn't imagined he'd ever witness anything as fantastic as that again for the remainder of his life.
I remember being a little bit amused by Uncle Paul's amazement and wonder. I was that young one who was more concerned about sneaking off from the party to go light one up with my cousin. I was that young one who, after leaving the family cookout, was headed straight to the bar to party the rest of the night away, never thinking a second thought about what it meant that we had landed a Rover on Mars and were now seeing photos of it for the very first time. I had drinks to drink and lines to snort, and friends wanting to go clubbing.
I wish my Uncle Paul was here today to watch the NASA channel with me, and to talk with about Pluto.
Uncle Paul, I wonder how amazed he'd be at this?

Sunday, July 5, 2015

The Dichotomy of a Fortune Cookie

Every now and then I get curious and I check on traffic to this almost abandoned blog of mine. And when I do that, I look to see what posts drew attention to new visitors. Sometimes I read over the post and I think, "Oh no! They read that? Why was I writing about that? Bummer. They won't be back."

Not that it matters, because they may come back for months and not find a new post and give up on me altogether. And then sometimes I think, "Oh yeah! I remember that! What fun!" Sometimes as I read over them, I cry, sometimes I laugh. But I always think, "Hmm. I should  write more. I can do better than that." Besides which, I miss it. I miss writing like I miss my friends back home. It seems like forever since I've spent any real time dedicated to writing. Real writing, too. Like, I have two, no actually come to think of it, I actually have three half written books. Okay, so one is only about 1/4 of the way...still, I have ideas floating around, but I fail to commit myself to completing them. I go back and re-write, edit, re-edit, cut, scrap, re-think, second guess and start over so much that I think in doing so, I convince myself that I can't get it right, so I stop trying, at least for a period before I muster up whatever it is to make myself go back to it and get some more pages complete. Then the tearing it all apart comes again. I struggle. Isn't it just supposed to flow? Isn't it just supposed to be easy and natural?

Or does the struggle make it into what it is supposed to be?
I'm not really sure, and since I'm not sure, maybe that's my cue that a real writer I am not. Whatever a "real writer" is...
I don't really know these answers, and I'm not even sure if there are definitive answers to such questions. And if there are, do they matter? I mean, really, do they? I will never be a great writer, one who's works end up being studied and analyzed by students and recited and re-read for generations to come. And I'm okay with that. I just like to write and get shit off my mind. It's a real release, writing stuff down. It works great as a form of therapy, at least it does for me.

I remember struggling during my first few years in recovery because my counselors and my sponsor wanted me to write. Write my feelings down every day. Write my step work down. Write all about my faults and weaknesses, write about what amends I needed to make...
Write, write, write.
I kicked back every step of the way. I don't know why, either, other than still being in the mindset of, "If you tell me to do something, I won't, just because." Being a recovering addict can really be difficult. At least it was for me in the first few years. To all those counselors out there, to that sponsor who fired me as a sponsee (sp?), to the people in my life who tried to help me, even when I made it nearly impossible to like me in the least, THANK YOU! And I'm sorry.

I think I found my way through much of my life's biggest issues and difficulties through writing. Eventually, I realized how very much it had helped me. And I realized how very much I enjoyed it. Why, then, if I know it's good for me and I know how much I enjoy it, why do I become so complacent with it?

Sigh. I don't know. But I do know that today I'll write a bit, hell, look here, I already have. I don't know what tomorrow will bring, but for today, I can commit some time to writing again.

Now, which book in progress do I pick back up? Hmmmm....

Monday, February 9, 2015

Cancer, Life, and Friendship

One day you're just plugging away at life, paying bills, cooking dinner, folding laundry...The next you're making plans for what will likely be your final visit with a very, very dear friend. One who you'd never expect to be dealt such devastating news.
Life is crazy like that, with its twists and turns. And cancer has no social, moral, or ethical boundaries. It doesn't care that you're still young. So very young. It doesn't care how vivacious you are. It doesn't give one single fuck about your plans, your dreams, your desire to make those around you happy for all the days of your life. It will cut you down without a second thought about the contributions you make to society, and it won't even give you the chance to kick its ass. It just silently goes to work killing you without you knowing it's even there, until it's just too late.
I'm mourning my friend, M, right now, and she's not even gone yet. I'm mourning the fact that I moved away and haven't seen her since then. I'm mulling over the fact that I once saw her every single day and we shared laughter and tears, gardening tools and meals...We took walks and drives, we pampered our wives and commiserated with each other about how our houses needed cleaning...
We bonded, like fast friends do. We weren't just neighbors, but very close, very dear friends. And she always made me laugh, and always knew just how to brighten up a day.
I think about the situation she has been dealt, and I'm pissed. It's just not fair! NOT FAIR!
She was always the one to say, "I need to go exercise, gotta keep healthy!" or "I'm eating this now because I read that it is good for our health."
Ever since I got the news on Wednesday, I've been doing some research. I wanted to know what it is that we're up against. We already know that aside from the large mass that was found, the CT scans and subsequent biopsies showed more in her lungs and even more in her liver. I know that this means we're looking at stage III, likely stage IV disease. The prognosis, at least as far as I can decipher from what I'm reading, is poor.
"Surgical excision remains the cornerstone of therapy. There are no long-term survivors of stage II or III disease; therefore, early diagnosis and treatment remain crucial."
"Five-year survival for all patients with this melanoma is only 3 to 22%."
I'm frightened for my friend, M. I'm frightened for her wife, P. I'm saddened that this is happening to them, the sweet, caring, loving, nurturing people who spent every birthday, holiday, and random celebration with The Wifester and I. The ones who took care of our pets and plants and who left "Congratulations" balloons in our living room for us to come home to after we flew to Canada to get married. And the ones who were there for us through our difficult times, too. When we told them of my diagnosis with my eye disease, it was M who cried and asked me, "Are you going to be left in darkness?"
And now it is me, crying for her, but the darkness she is facing is so much bigger than my loss of sight. I don't know how to support her through this. I don't know how to support P through this. If we still lived next door, I'd pop over and do laundry, cook some meals, wash some floors...
But I'm in Ohio, now, and they're still back in Tennessee. I want to go see my friend, and hold her tight. I want to tell her that it will all be okay and that she is strong enough to fight this thing. I truly hope that she is. But I'm frightened, as I know she is. As I know her wife is.
How do you support someone who is probably dying, much sooner than ever anticipated? How do you support her wife of 20 years?
I can't imagine. And I'm so flipping pissed off that of all the people in this world, this had to happen to them.
It's not right. It's not fair.
Fuck you, cancer!

Friday, January 23, 2015

An Open Letter To Davidson Academy

A situation regarding a private school back home, in Nashville, has my blood boiling right now.
You can read more about the situation here.

An Open Letter to Davidson Academy in Nashville, Tennessee,

I'm writing in regards to the Copeland/Bullard situation: The two fathers whose children were denied their opportunity to visit your school because of your policy about homosexual parents.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not disputing a private school's right to set their own standards and guidelines. But I do dispute whether or not this is what Jesus would do. I also dispute your right to unjustly discriminate between one type of "sin" vs. another.

A friend of these fathers called your school this morning and explained that she was divorced, due to her infidelity within her marriage, and that she now lives with her boyfriend and her children. She was welcomed to come visit the school to discuss an opportunity for her kids.

Your letter, declining this family, pointed to your school's admissions policy. The policy, outlined in your handbook, requires all students, parents, guardians, teachers and administrators and staff to "manifest lifestyle conduct and actions which project an image consistent with the expressed purposes, missions and beliefs of the school." So where was that policy when the young lady called saying she had been unfaithful to her husband and was now living outside of wedlock with her boyfriend?

I find that people who practice this kind of discrimination in the name of Christianity are far more detrimental to the ideals of Christianity than the people they rally against.

It turns my stomach to think of those sweet children being shunned because someone in an office couldn't get past their own insecurities.

It turns my stomach to read stories like this, stories that make me roll my eyes and think, "Yep, there goes those awful, hateful, ignorant Christians again. Why does anyone even bother with them anymore?"

It turns my stomach because my heart and my soul are full of forgiveness, hope, and love. The opposite of what I see being portrayed by so many "Christians" today.

And it breaks my heart for that family.

I hope you and your facility can objectively reassess your own positions, and ask yourselves, truly, what would Jesus have done here? Because the Jesus that I read about and studied most certainly would not have done what you have done.

Thank you for your time,

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Peace, man

There's a certain peace that has entered my life. I don't know if it comes from my age, exhaustion, a quiet resignation, or simply a side effect of a wisdom, of sorts, that I've developed after years upon years of spinning my wheels, and burning my candles, and running in circles. But whatever brought on this peace, I welcome it. I don't have to fret over the outcome of your life anymore. Not for long, anyways. And I don't have to fix everything for everyone anymore, that's not my task to take on. Sure, I still worry, and I still get sad and angry and all those weird kinds of emotions bubble up to the surface now and again, but they're supposed to if I'm going to be a living, breathing, human adult. And speaking of living, breathing, human adults, I finally feel like I just may be one, most days, that is. There are still those moments that I feel like curling up in a ball and holding my breath until I pass out or screaming at the top of my lungs, "That's SO NOT FAIR!!!" But instead I take a deep breath, I exit the room, and I compose myself. Most of the time that works. Watching those in my life struggle can be difficult. I reflect on the times that I have been in similar positions and remember how distraught I have felt in those moments. It's not easy to see your way out of a very deep, very dark hole. But once you make up your mind to climb up that seemingly impossible wall, you find yourself on the ledge with blue skies and steady ground ahead. At least that's always been my experience. I can't make anyone else understand that, because no one could make me understand it until I experienced it for myself. Much like a migraine or a bad gallbladder attack, you can't truly convey the way it feels to someone who has never experienced it. Some may think they understand it, but they won't truly until they've actually felt it. And, I guess, that's just how it is with personal growth. Peace follows, and since I am, and always have been a hippy, that peace is divine to me. It's butter on my bread.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

You never see an obese 70 year old

After a couple of years eating a mostly plant based diet, with some chicken and fish now and then, and regular use of dairy, The Wifester and I decided last month to go all vegetarian, she's actually doing vegan, that's a bit much for me right now, but maybe I'll try to aim for it in the future *baby steps*. I'm not sure I can give up cheese, though. Mmmmmm cheese...
But I digress.

This all came about after watching Forks Over Knives. If you haven't seen it, it's quite compelling! I even switched from dairy milk to coconut milk for my coffee. I'm pleasantly surprised by that one!

Anyway, I am really struggling with losing weight, even on the plant based diet. And, I'm embarassed to admit, that I actually struggle to get enough exercise because my weight and size makes it so difficult for me to have the stamina I had even just a year ago. I am considering weight loss surgery (lap band).

Even on the mostly plant based diet, I've fluctuated over the last year, losing 30 lbs, then gaining 45...

I'm 41 years old now, and I've struggled with my weight my entire life. I was a fat toddler, a fat grade schooler, a fat middle and high schooler, and now I'm a fat adult. I worry that won't live long enough to be a fat senior citizen.

I feel like if I could just lose enough weight to have more energy and more mobility, I would be able to exercise more and help myself lose more weight. I struggle with the guilt of "taking the easy way out" on this, but I also feel like my life is dependent upon me being healthier and losing this dangerous weight. What are your honest thoughts on that?

Monday, July 7, 2014

Hasta luego, Tia

Over the course of the last couple of months, my blog has become a place to pay tribute to the ones I love who have passed much too soon. It's depressing and I hate it, but today, sadly, I am yet again here to do just that.

My sweet, funny, fun loving "Auntie Rosie" passed away last week. She had suffered from M.S. for many years, but ultimately, what got her was a pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lungs).
She was only 64.

Some of my earliest memories include her and several of my mom's other sisters gathered in the kitchen, aprons tied on tight, laughing, dancing, singing, and cooking. I learned a lot from each of those women. And I learned that when they spoke in Spanish, I needed to pay special attention because it was about to get really, really, interesting!

Auntie Rosie was the youngest of all the siblings, and she and I had that "baby of the family" trait in common. I always looked up to her for her humor, her spirit, and her constant, enduring smile.

Life is always followed by death...we can't stop it, it's just the way it goes. I guess all that we can do is make sure that each day counts.

Hasta luego, Tia Rosie. I'll miss you bunches!

Rosa “Rosie” M Lozada

Patriot Guard Rider
Albuquerque, NM, 07-05-2014
The husband, NMPGR Ride Captain has requested a flag-line as we honor our Rosie…

She was born October 26, 1949 in El Paso Texas. She has lived in Nashville Tennessee, Irving Texas and ultimately moved to Rio Rancho New Mexico where she passed away. She was predeceased death by her Father Guillermo Palacios, Mother Nieves Flores Palacios, Brothers Tony Palacios and Freddy Palacios. She is survived by her Husband Joseph Lozada; Children Cynthia West, Jose Lozada, Enrique & Stacy Lozada, Eva Rios; grandchildren Steven Smith, Adam West, Zoe West, Alexis McKillip, Raymond Young, Anthony Lozada, Jennika Lozada, Jorge Rios, Vivian Rios, Jesus Rios and Ana Rios; Brothers and Sisters Willie Palacios, Henry Palacios, Anita Benavidez, Maggie Sapien, Dolores Romero, Manny & Elaine Palacios, Jenny & Dennis Lucero and Phyllis & Jim Schleicher. She also loved her many aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews that made her life happy and full of joy. She is being cremated at Riverside Funeral Home and a memorial gathering will be on Saturday, July 5, 2014 at Sister Jennie Lucero’s home, at 12 noon. Friends and Family are welcome. Call or text for the address.

Rosie was one of the greatest sports fan ever! She was a fan of the NY Yankees, Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Stars, Dallas Mavericks and pretty much anything sports related on TV.

She was a member of the Red Hats Society and Patriot Guard Riders. Rosie loved life, family, and friends, dancing and always dreamed to go bungee jumping. She loved everyone she ever met and always had a smile on her face. Heaven has a new Angel.

6565 Paradise Blvd NW
Albuquerque, NM
TRAVEL TO: 5953 Avenida La Barranca Pl NW, Albuquerque, NM (1 mile)
FLAG-LINE: 12:30-1 PM
Billy “Bam Bam” Crain - SRC -
Large bike flags will be needed.