Monday, January 19, 2009

Oy Vey!

I cleaned out closets.

I organized everything.

Now, I can't find anything.

Friday, January 16, 2009

A Tale of Two Speedos

Over my blogging years, I have been chastised on more than one occasion for my blatant, rude, INSENSITIVE, and CLEARLY sexist remarks about men in speedos.

I've been chided, harassed, and of course, all of that made me feel just horrible.

Yet, here I am.

I'm about to do it again.


After barely escaping my last "Speedo" incident at the pool I used to go to, I thought I was free and clear. The gold chain, the smell of Drakkar, the strut, the licking of the lips, the up and down oooooogling, and one more, the sly slicking back of the hair.

To read about it, maybe it's not bad. But to live my life, to have to go through this torment...over and over again....It's like the definition of torture. It's not the one incident; it's everything put together that can cause the most emotional and physical trauma.

My new pool has two Speedo-boys.

The first, I feel bad for. He's clearly self-conscious. He wraps the towel around himself, afraid to show anything and jumps in the pool.

This guy is the male version of ME, right? I'm still dealing with ironfat. Did I go out an buy new swimsuits that fit? No, my thinking was that the sheer thought of being 7lbs heavier and wearing a two-piece to the pool would be enough to frightened the fat right off me.

That didn't happen.

Instead, everyday I see the rolls of fat dripping over my swimsuit bottoms, staring back at me magnified in the pool shower faucet. And I think of the joy that I must bring to other swimmers,

I I empathize with Mr. speedo 1. I really do.

Oh, but Mr. Speedo 2.

The picture above just doesn't do him justice. Again, it's the whole package. The strutting along the edge of the pool like Miss America. The smell of his cologne. Before he evens gets to the pool, I can smell him coming.

do you remember the guy from "My big fat greek wedding?" Remember the guy licking the spoon?


As Mr. speedo 2 is making his rounds from hot tub to sauna to steam room and back again, I tried to be in the room he was not. Apparently this guy is really into the 40 year old slightly overweight amazons. Wonder woman complex or something.

How do I know?

You're just gonna have to trust me on that one.

As I'm sitting in the steam room, ahhhhh enjoying the heat and silence when the door opens.

Light comes pouring in as I can barely make out a shadow walking toward me. That's when I hear it. Something right out of a porn flick.


He walks right at me and almost sits in my lap. I realize that he has an ipod on just blaring "something" so loud that I can not only make out the music, but I hear...uh....hmmmm....SEX NOISES coming from the ipod.

I can't make this stuff up.

I sat there for a moment in stunned silence, listening to the 3 or 4 people gettin it on and decided that I should probably leave.

I know.

My life is enviable.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Thanks for the notes and email messages

I just wanted to thank you all for the notes and email messages.

I wanted to email you all or stop by your blogs to thank you personally, but I'm really worn out. Hopefully, you will all see this little post. There's alot to take care of, and it's hard to do when you're an emotional mess.

I'll post again next week. Until then, enjoy your week. If you are in the path of that artic front that is moving across the states, please take care of yourselves and check on neighbors that might live alone. You never know who's grandfather you might save.

Today's mood: empty.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Dealing with Anger

Last night, I stayed up late and cleaned.

Today I was doing ok until a well meaning comment was taken out of context. I mean, most people don't know what to say, and they don't know the current mood. They don't know what stage a person in mourning is in.

Let me clear it all up for you.

Today, I'm angry.

I was angry when I spilled my cup of coffee.

I was angry that it snowed last night.

I was angry that I'm HERE. I'm angry that someone said, "It's difficult even when it's expected."


As in, we are all born and we will all DIE. So, THAT's supposed to make me feel better?

As though we'd all been sitting around just waiting for this?


I'm going to go outside and shovel snow. shovel and shovel and shovel.

But even I realize that sometimes the snow just isn't deep enough.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Two Hours

It was exactly two hours ago that I received a phone call.

My grandfather had passed away.

He was 96 years old. Healthy given his age. He never had any kind of chronic illness. Everyday he walked the streets of NY city as an icon of the past. He and my grandmother came to the states when they were very young. They lived in the same apartment since they moved here. My grandmother died there about 15 years ago.

Today, he took a nap and that was that.

My granpoppa was different. I've always been proud to say that I look just like my grandmother, and my personality came from my granpoppa. He and my grandmother travelled all over the world. They survived bombings in Libya. Walked the great wall. Climbed mountains. Meditated at Macchu Picchu and....the list goes on and on.

He once told me that of all the wonders of the world. The greatest wonder to him was how people could hate. He'd been all over the world and the lesson he brought home every time wasn't how different everyone was. It was how much the same we all are. In every community, everyone just wanted the best for their families.

When I was growing up, we were very close. When I turned 21, at the Christmas dinner, he pulled me aside and said, "Well, you're an adult now. You know what that means?"

I almost cringed thinking I was going to get the sex talk again. Then he got that sneaky smile and said, "When I die, you get to move to the adult table".

I told him that if that's what it took, I was plenty happy eating off the Playskool table and drinking out of sippy cups.

He wasn't afraid to curse. He was loud...and got louder as his hearing got worse and worse. He could be obnoxious. He wasn't afraid of walking around the city at night.

He was the one that always told me not to put up with shit, and to always remember my own values, and I couldn't do wrong.

He wasn't a fan of "organized religion" but understood the power of the church, and THAT really pissed him off.

In The war, he earned the Purple Heart, and every year visited the graves of his three best friends from the army. He didn't like to talk about the war, but he'd also drop his pants in a second to show you where he was hit 3 times in the back of his leg and butt. It wasn't for glory though. It was to show that even as he bent over to try to pick up his friend who was dying, someone was still shooting at him.

He was a HUGE baseball fan. I remember sitting in the dining room watching a small atennae black and white tv, almost having to squint to see the he would yell "Dammit STRAAAAWWWBERRY hit the GODDAMN BALL." Afterwards, we'd walk over to the deli to get a knish with sauerkraut and a yoohoo.

He was also the only person in my family who supported my decision to work on first my Master's degree then my PhD. Everyone else would question why I'd want to do that with kids in the house and good job.

But he knew the importance of learning at every age. We both shared a love of traveling, learning, languages, history and NY pizza.

Maybe the best lesson that I learned from him was the lesson of love. My grandmother was his one and only true love, and he missed her immensely. After her passing, I said to him, "I'm glad you decided to stick around." He said, "to give up on life would be to give up on their love."

Maybe it was just his time. Maybe he realized that he wasn't giving up but that it was just time...

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Rest of the Story

wFor those of you in the US, who are about my age, you might remember a radio program called "The Rest of the Story". I used to love listening to it. It was on Sunday mornings, and I would listen to while reading the Sunday Comics in the paper.

It's only appropriate that I finish my "healthcare story" with that memory in mind.

In the story below, the patient was refused all services. ALL.

The happy ending is that another doctor was found who was willing to do some of the tests.

I have several reasons this infuriates me. Of which (I think) all were mentioned in people's comments.

1.) The matter of choice. If the patient understands all risks, they should be willing to get the medical care they choose.

2.) A second matter of "choice".....the doctor in this situation made it sound as though the patient was simply "choosing" not to get important tests done. When it is a financial matter, it is NOT a matter of simply choosing which tests to get done. It is a matter of being able to make a house payment OR get medical care.

That really leads me to my biggest issue here.

We live and work in a low income area. Every single day, we see parents who give up eating, so they can feed their children. We see people who have to make the decision between paying their electric bill or paying for daycare. (Or worse yet, leaving their children alone because they can't pay for daycare). We see people living in the alley behind our office.

What infuriated me....was the simple fact that people can be in the situation in which they have to choose between healthcare and groceries. The patient's issue has become important enough for them to go to scrape money together to go to the doctor. Then, the doctor refuses them healthcare.

I don't know one person who doesn't want to take care of themselves.

I can only say that I hope that the healthcare provider in this situation is NEVER in the situation where they have to choose between getting medical attention and feeding their children. I hope they never hit bad times where they lose everything and make the decision to get help and are then turned away from the people that they should be able to trust.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Ethical Question? Or not?

Let's pretend you are a medical doctor, or dentist, or eye doctor.

A patient comes to you for an exam. The patient lost their health insurance when they lost their job two years ago. The patient is healthy and has been a patient of yours for several years, so you have access to medical history. They are strapped financially and cannot afford the full array of "tests" that you are recommending. These tests are "preventative" tests ie: if the patient is a woman, it's time for a mammogram....or maybe heart disease runs in the family, so you want to test for heart disease.

The patient says, "I understand the importance of the tests, but the reality is that I can't afford all of them. I can't afford X test, but I can afford Y test. Let's just do Y test."

As the patient's doctor, what do you do?

1.) Do you turn the patient away for ALL care until they agree to do all tests?
2.) Do you only do the tests that the patient can afford, thinking that SOME care is better than no care?
3.) Is this an ethical question or a financial question?
4.) Who has the right to determine the care that a patient receives? (Remember, insurance companies are not involved with this situation).

I know you will have more questions, but this is all the information you get. As the doctor, what would you do? I'll give you the full story tomorrow and tell you what actually happened. Because unfortunately, this is a real story.

Thursday, January 1, 2009


Twenty five years.

In 2009, I will be a runner for 25 years....minus 1994 and 1995 when I had the two boys unless walking counts.

I have an advantage over many people when it comes to racing.

It's not that I'm the fastest.

It's not that I'm the smartest.

It's not that I have any inside information about the course.

The simple fact is that I have experience.

I have run almost every distance race imaginable. As much as I'm a rebel, I've found comfort in the "known".

Of course, that doesn't mean running is easy. It's just that after having so little understanding of the bike, I've come to appreciate the level of knowledge and experience that I have on the run. I can decipher discomforts: is that cramp, dehydration? Or is it soreness from pushing myself? Is it a warning signal or can I go a little further?

There's no mystery in running.

That's comforting.

At every race, at any distance, when I get off the bike, my first thought is "the hard part is over". When I get to the run, I know that I can beat every single mental battle there is on the run. I know how my body will act. I know when to push and when to back off.

On the swim, I'm a natural. I'm always one of the first out of the water, but I lack the experience of knowing how to hold a pace for a long time. I'm learning new thresholds for speed, pace, efficiency. I've never been a competitive swimmer. What a nice surprise to find out that I am good at something.

On the bike, I'm at the bottom of the learning curve trying to climb my way up. I'm not efficient. I'm not powerful. I'm not fast. I just keep going, being consistent, being smart, and learning as I go.

On the run, I have experience. I know things about pacing and training. I know things about myself. Things that you can't read in a book. Things that you won't necessarily find on running forums.

I've found that triathlon appeals to me for these very reasons. It makes me feel proud when I can do something well. It makes me feel powerful when I push through a challenge. It makes me feel like an expert when I know what I'm doing.

It takes all the pieces of who I am, my strengths and weaknesses, and packages them up neatly into a feeling of success.