Monday, August 16, 2010

Samwise the Handsome

I was sitting at Rib Crib eating dinner with my parents, when a black lab was begging for scraps. He was getting in the way of cars, who were dodging him. He was yelping, begging, and thin. I told my dad—if he’s over by my car when we leave, I’m taking him home. It was a long shot, because he was on the opposite side of the building from my car. When we paid and left, there he was, not far from my car. I opened the door, “Get in!” And he ran and jumped into the back seat.
I was going to name him Frodo, but my sister convinced me I would regret it. So he became Sam. Samwise. Sambo. Samsonite. Sammy Davis. Bubby. He and Sidney, my female Husky, had some fights. I let them work it out, and was only scared by their fights a few times. But they learned to live together.

I immediately had him spayed, and the vet said he looked like he had been rolled by cars a few times. He was very skittish, and didn’t like to be touched with objects (such as a dog brush) or his paws touched, and became frightened when you attempted either. He was a very loving, lovable, snuggly, licking dog. But, he was a handful.

He was right around a year when I took him in, and he was still a pup. He shredded my sofa. He chewed on my nice wood furniture so I gave it all away. He shredded my living room shades. He ate rolls of toilet paper and sifted through the trash bags. He was a nightmare. But I believed that by taking him in, I took on a responsibility. After a few years, he calmed down. And he became the most docile dog. He never outgrew eating paper and sifting through trash, but he became the dog I hoped he could be.

Sam was my bedmate, my sensitive boy, my snuggler.

When he passed away, he was only 8. We don’t know what really killed him, but whatever it was didn’t waste time. By the time I realized something was seriously wrong, it was too late.

Sam will always be in my heart. It’s just Sidney and I, as before.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


There is such a thing as muscle memory. For example: When I was a small child, car seats were not required, and we rode in the front seat with mom. When my mom was driving and hit the brake, she would automatically reach over to the hold me into my seat with her hand on my chest. Even into adulthood, she did this to me. It was something she didn’t think about and just did. Another example is that my uncle has not smoked in 20 years. A week or so ago he said he pulled out a lighter to light his welder, and found himself with his hands cupped and lighter lit, as if he was lighting a cigarette. It took him by surprise that his body did that after so many years.

Similarly, our minds can do the same thing. My mom’s dog Haley passed away several years ago. We all loved that dog with every cell in our bodies. About six months ago, I walked into my mom’s house, and caught myself thinking, “Where is Haley?” and I walked to the room she usually slept in. I hadn’t done that in years. It left me missing her suddenly in a deep way.

This weekend, I was looking at families and young kids. I caught myself thinking, “I look forward to having a son, watching him grow, and seeing the characteristics of mine that he has inherited.” That’s when I realized, “What am I thinking? I will not bare any children that will have any of my characteristics. My genetic code stops here.”

I know that I can leave a legacy without kids. But I can’t help but think about a family tree, and how my branch ends with me. It is dead. Had I been careless years ago, I could have children and my branch would live on. Yet I chose the responsible path.

I know this depression will pass, and it will likely return again. I have been told by another lady in my position that it gets easier. These thoughts will become less defining. My fate will become more accepted. My expectations and hopes will change. But for now, I’m only 6 months from my hysterectomy, and I’m still battling my own mind.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Yesterday, I mowed with a mask. Ick. The last time I mowed (a few weeks ago), I became sick with a horrendous sinus infection that sent me to the ER once, Urgent Care once, and my primary physician once. I’ve been afraid to mow since. I survived thanks to antibiotics, and lived to mow again. I saw my first snake of the season in my yard last night, and watched as it slithered away. After mowing I felt good, so I began to weed my miniature garden. Not much is growing there but tomatoes, an eggplant, garlic, and romaine lettuce. But it requires maintenance. Everything else I planted I lost due to lack of maintenance. (Oopsies. My bad.)

As I was pulling weeds around my tomato plants, I was overtaken by their aroma. Suddenly, I was 10 years old, and walking through my grandpa’s garden, following him as he identified each row of plants for me. He had a large layout, with every vegetable I could imagine. He even grew sunflowers that seemed to tower over humans. The smell of the tomato plants were pungent as we traipsed up and down the rows. He wielded a pocket knife (always!), and pruned this plant, or removed a veggie from that plant and cut into it. Gourds had been made into birdhouses on a long pole, and he had a grove of apple trees on another area of the property. I followed him into the woods once, as he searched for a certain plant and cut it off at the base (with his pocket knife, of course!) and put it in a bag he carried. I followed along, pointing at this plant or that, “Is this it grandpa?” “Sure is…..good eye!” or “No, that’s not it.”

He never “lived off the land” so to speak. He worked at a refinery. But he loved to grow things. He loved that garden, and gave away bagfuls of cucumbers, zucchini, squash, okra, and tomatoes to visitors. Grandma canned what she could tolerate and the rest was gladly given away. The garden went away after grandma died 10 years ago. The apple tree grove was cut down and a trailer put in it’s place for an uncle to live in. The chickens and geese are no longer there, either. Now, in his 90’s, he cannot keep up with those things.

I sat for a moment and sniffed the tomato plant and relived the past for a few moments and smiled to myself. Then I closed the little makeshift gate on my makeshift fence around my miniature garden, and went in the house with a feeling of gratitude.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Growing . . .

When I was married, we had 2000 SF house. It was a starter house for us. Our goal was to have kids and move into a quieter neighborhood, but we wanted to get ourselves established for a few years first.

When I divorced 8 years ago I bought my current house, which is less than 1,000 SF. It was a stepping stone, you see. I was going to be remarried in a few years, and then my husband and I would find a better home together. After a few years and I had no good prospects, I began some home improvement projects. They were mainly to help the value of my home so that when Mr. Right came along I could sell the house easily. I ran out of money and patience. My dad became weak and is no longer able to provide the muscle that I need to finish some of the work. But Mr. Right would help me one day. And until then, I let things just…….sit.

My hysterectomy was a jolt of lightening. It changed everything. If I couldn’t have kids, what did I want for myself? I had lived the past 8 years in anticipation of a great change. Correction: I had existed in anticipation of a great change, because I didn’t really LIVE. And the hysterectomy was a wake-up call: I will never bare my own children, so what if I never marry again? What legacy will I have left if I continue at this pace?

Last night, as I was rearranging things, throwing out old books and memories, cutting off the unnecessary pieces of my past that I had been clinging to, I realized I had forgotten how to live. It took 3 years to recover emotionally from my divorce, and by then, I didn’t know how to live anymore. I treated my home the way I treated myself—with neglect and disrespect.

And so, I have been clearing out stuff. I’ve been working to get my house to reflect this person that I am now. It will take time and a lot of patience. I pray I am able to keep the momentum.

This isn’t another rambling about my divorce that happened forever ago. It’s actually a positive thing that my hysterectomy brought my way . . . .

Thursday, March 4, 2010


I used to paint. Notice it’s a past tense. Yes, I’ve picked up the brush a time or two in the past 8 years, but never actually put my heart into anything I’ve done. The last time I remember doing that, I was 18. What stopped me? Words.

I took a few art classes my freshman year of college, and I wasn’t the best student. I had no formal training, but had painted a lot and been told I had a gift. I look back on that year and the emotional hell my boyfriend put me through, the financial burden my education was causing my parents, and my already heavy depression sent me to new depths. I hadn’t the money for the supplies that others used in art classes. I had to explain to my professors that I couldn’t afford this or that (embarrassing!). When my jackass boyfriend told me that he saw my art and it was “just ok”, I was devastated. I never took another art class.

It was 10 years later, when I was married, that my husband bought me a set of paints, and all of the accessories. Having not painted in 10 years, the brush felt foreign, and I struggled. I began painting a tree, I believe. My husband walked by and said, “You’re going to paint THAT?” And then later, he made a comment, “I can paint like that.” I got up, gave him the brush and walked away. I didn’t pick up the brush again.

It’s been nearly 8 years since my divorce, and I have made a few attempts since, only to get frustrated with myself. I have this mental block that keeps me from moving forward with a paintbrush.

Today, a coworker explained to me that she’s written 2 complete novels, which were “sophomoric” once she re-read them. So she began others, and the last one she poured herself into and had it half finished. She took it to a local editor for input before she went any further. He told her that it sounded like Jean Auel’s writing, and if she can fix that, then she should bring it back and he’ll re-read it. That was in the late 80’s or early 90’s. She has not written a word since. The half finished novel is in a box.

We have these walls we build in our own minds. We both took a gift we were working on, and received the feedback we were not prepared to handle. We shut down. We didn’t believe in ourselves to begin with, apparently.

I had heard a friend of mine painted, but no one has seen her work. She keeps it locked away in her house. She finally showed us some photos of it last night. It was fantastic. She has 25 pieces of amazing art. Why hasn’t she shared them? Fear of rejection. Fear of critical input. She paints them, and then she puts them away. No input means no mental stifling. We are now encouraging her to have confidence in herself as an artist. I hope I never stifle someone the way I was.

I also hope I have the courage to try again…….

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Kristi's Lullaby

“Life is short but this time it was bigger
Than the strength he had to get up off his knees”

Those are lyrics from Whiskey Lullaby, about a lover who drinks himself to death. Sometimes lyrics hit us at the heart, and this phrase really smacks of truth for me. I’ve been depressed a lot. I’ve even attempted to end my life. But I always managed to have the strength to get up off my knees. Sometimes, I had the resolve to go on and made up my mind to do so. Other times, I thought I had lost my resolve and tried to give up, but my spirit wouldn’t let go of me. And so, I hear those lyrics and I am thankful for the chances I have had to continue on.

Since my surgery, I’ve been a mess. I haven’t been able to properly express the turmoil in my head. It’s like my life is continuing, and I’m functioning, but my mind isn’t in it. It’s trying to figure out who I am now that my body is altered and my future has changed.

I was chatting with my sister online the other night, and I finally managed to express in words what’s in my head: the future is up to me, and I’m scared to death. I have spent years waiting on God to send me Mr. Right. When I got Mr. Right, I was going to have beautiful babies. Ha! I put a lot of things on hold, in case he came along. My house. My hobbies. My social life. Children. Vacations. Careers. I’ve had this sense of being temporary for quite some time. 7 years to be exact. Everything would be permanent when he comes and the children come. I put a lot of hope and expectation on God, you see. He was supposed to do what I was taught that he does—bring me a man who will help me, whom I could help, and whom I could share my life with.

And now that the child thing is no longer an option, the husband thing seems less important. I guess he was a means to an end? Anyway, I am now faced with the reality that the future is unwritten. It’s up to me to live. It was always up to me to live, but I didn’t perceive it that way. I expected God to fill in more voids than he did. Stupid religion!

So, I’m scared. Can I trust myself to not screw up the rest of my life? How do I proceed with this new life? How do I become the person I want to be? Or even bigger—who do I want to be?

At one point a few weeks ago, I didn’t feel like I had it in me to go on. But my spirit wouldn’t let me quit. Now, I have the resolve, because I understand myself better.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Filling the void

I “held” a table for my friends as they played pool before the drag show. I sat alone for a long time, and that annoyed me. I had been reduced to a table saver so others could arrive whenever they felt like it. Once we assembled, the drama began: Who was flirting. Who was cute, a twink, a hoe, a butch, and who was nellie. Who was the latest internet boyfriend, what he looked like, and his measurements. This behavior had always annoyed me, but I now wondered if they would ever grow up. Then my friends announced they were leaving for another bar, to chase some ass that may be there. And . . . .they. . . . .left me there. . . . without a second thought. I could have followed to watch them flirt, text, and exchange numbers. But I would have felt just as alone there, in their presence, as I did by myself in this bar. So why waste expensive gas to feel lonely? Besides, I’m not going to be the fag hag who follows her gays to every location of their choosing, and try to consistently be their voice of reason. I'm tired of being the level headed one. Everyone had an agenda that night, and it has become a habit.

I sat alone and felt empty, but was determined to finish the show. I wondered, “What is wrong with me? Why am I sitting alone in a gay bar, when I am a single, straight female? Why do I surround myself with people who are desperate, when that behavior annoys me? How did I get here in life, and do I even want to stay here? What is wrong with me?”

There was a time when my group of friends was larger, diverse, and we gathered to have fun. We had our favorite bars, and we moved as a group. No one was left behind. As the group dwindled, we have become closer to each other, and our friendships are now deeper. But I am the only straight person left. And as the minority, I have followed the desires of the majority. Until now.

I left the bar feeling completely dissatisfied with myself, with my friends, with my life. I went directly to QT to get chocolate—as a salve for my soul. I sat in my car, chowing down when I heard a voice in my head, “You cannot fill this emptiness with food.” I was shocked. Then I thought of all the ways I have tried to fill or at least mask this emptiness—relationships, food, church, alcohol, smoking, food, working, and I can’t forget food. I was taught that God or church filled that emptiness, and I worked my ass off in church and in prayer, only to find myself still empty. I have put on 100 lbs since high school to fill the emptiness. I have been going out with friends and stayed as busy as possible to mask the emptiness. But it’s still there.

So the question of the year seems to be, how do I fill this emptiness, and with what? It comes from within, and I now know that. My friend Randall, who was not there that night, let me cry on his shoulder and express my frustration. He assured me I will find the answer, and it’s about loving yourself. He had actually alluded to my lack of self love a few times prior, and I blew him off. I guess my spirit wouldn't be ignored anymore.

I had a talk with one of my friends, and let him know that the drama and the agendas have worn me down, his behavior borders on desperation, and is immature. I let him know that I was hurt. He apologized, and I hope he truly heard what I was saying. Because it's all going to be different now.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


I have been recovering from my surgery, and am now on week 3. My incision is healing nicely, and my pain is nearly gone. However, I now feel my colon more than ever,my bladder, and my kidneys. It's a dull pain that gnaws at me, but isn't big enough to require narcotics. My doctor assured me that the scraping that was done made those organs sensitive, and they were still settling into their life that is now free from endometriosis.
I have not had hot flashes, but it's as if my body temp has risen 20 degrees the last few days. My typically cold body gets warm very easily. I believe my fetish for blankets may come to an end if this continues. I have been testy, partly due to being hot.
The hardest part is the emotional. I have found the physical recovery to be simpler than I thought. But I still have my moments of getting overwhelmed at seeing a baby, or something will make me think of living the rest of my life without a child, and I will grieve all over again. I know that I will ultimately be OK with my life, but for now I still struggle. I only recently began praying again, and it feels very hollow to do it. I feel like I lost all bearings in life, and I'm floating in the darkness. I am depressed and I recognize that. So I try not to let my mind linger in that black hole for long.
But I will survive. I have no other choice. My dogs need me.

Friday, January 8, 2010

It's done

As an update, I am home from the hospital. I had the surgery on Monday morning. I wasn't so much nervous, as I was ready to get it over with. My friend Kelsy was there, and that made me feel good. I came out of surgery in horrible pain and with nausea. I remember asking my mom how it went, and she said, "They took it all. Ovaries and all. You had endometriosis." I was shocked. The morphine drip barely handled the pain the first night, but finally seemed to do the trick around 2AM. I ended up with major itching all over my body from the morphine. I also drifted in and out of consciousness. I remember taking a drink of water, and falling asleep without swallowing. I heard my mom say, "Are you gonna swallow that?" I woke up and realized it was still sitting in my mouth.

After the doctor visited with me, I found out that the surgery came just in time. In my surgery just over a year ago, I had fallopian tubes connected to my colon. They were seperated, and the attachment was due to my colon becoming inflamed at some point. (My IBS explains that.) My doctor opened me up, and found endometriosis on my colon, my other organs, in and out of everything, had even formed their own cysts. They had to remove the uterus, cervix, tubes, and ovaries. She told me my pain was probably more dramatic than anyone realized, and that she was glad I was persistent with my claims. She said that she had no idea she would encounter that, and I will have a lot of relief once I am healed.

I am at home recuperating now. I have an 8" incision in my abdobmen. But I'm on hormones, and I'm looking forward to the future.