Thursday, December 11, 2008

cabin fever                                                            
Our driveway is made of soft grey gravel and winds a seeping, steep serpentine up the hill to our house. On one side is a wide ditch lined with smooth round river rocks, each the size of a small cantaloupe. When the rain pours down tiny raging rapids course beside us as we navigate our way home. In the summer the ferns are lush and verdant and thick, hip high and dense, they quiet everything else around them. In the fall the maples are red and orange and brazen and the white tail grow fat and easy from the green meadows behind us. Our house is lovely and warm and spacious. It's big and beautiful and more than I ever thought I'd come home to.

This is where and what I wanted. This is where I wanted to be. Worn out and weary from the city I couldn't have stayed in New York. No matter how lovely the apartment, no matter how great the view, I felt claustrophobic and imprisoned, every day was like clawing for oxygen. My preceptors all shook their heads, asked me if I was certain, reminded me how much promise I had, a calling as it were for dense and complicated pathology, the messy kinds of medicine. 

So we arrived, filled with the promises of Ivy League provisions and low key country living. And it's quiet. And beautiful. And lonely. And there are no jobs for me in the enormous Ivy League hospital. And, just like that, all of that potential quickly becomes nothing of utility as I settle instead into a tiny practice to discuss hypertension and cholesterol, driving for hours on an empty interstate, counting the headlights of every passing car. 

I find myself staring at women, openly wondering if we could be friends. I latch on to irrelevant signifiers: the shoes they are wearing, the kind of bag that they carry. About a week ago I saw a young mom with blonde hair in two short braids, a powder blue beanie and Uugs. She had rosey cheeks and a shoulder strap messenger bag and as she stood in line before me to order her children muffins and hot chocolate, I felt the rising urge to tap her on the shoulder, ask her name, because she was the first person I'd seen in months who wasn't twenty years older than me, wearing pleated pants or sporting a mullet. 

I wanted to come here, needed to come here. It was here in Northern New England, Boston, or New York. I couldn't have stayed in the confines of all that noise and concrete any longer. I couldn't have raised children who don't know how to climb up a tree, marvel at bugs or have stood out in the undiluted darkness of night, looking up at the stars. But this is more and less than I expected and once more I am struggling to fit in. Sometimes I feel like a stubborn mistress, tenaciously tending a half-broken heart, insisting, always, on calling Santa Cruz home.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

some kind of gratitude                                                                       

I just ate two pieces of pizza. And they tasted almost ... normal. I even added in a few sips of coke. I didn't have to run to the bathroom to furiously scrub the taste of poison out of my mouth for almost ten minutes. 

I've lost all of the two pounds I'd gained last week. Hard to say if it was the in-laws, the 118 consecutive hours of cooking that took place in our kitchen, the turkey that was brined in an unholy concoction of maple syrup or the two days of undigested food I finally vomited up in the bathtub. 

I want to write that I'm finally feeling brave enough to accept that I hate being pregnant, but looks on people's faces when I even allude as much stops me short in my tracks. Maybe if I were back in New York or home in California I would have the fortitude to be so bold. But here in strange and uptight New England, where most women wear sweater sets with christmas wreaths pinned to their left breasts and matching reindeer earrings, I duck away and turn my head, quietly accepting their oh pumpkin, you'll feel better any day now I just know it!

I never expected to miss my broken down little hospital so much; a place where I could turn to basically anyone and say this fucking blows and they'd be all, oooooh child, you think this is bad girl? Wait 'til you try to push that shit out your cooter. You ain't seen nothing yet.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


I passed the boards, got a job. Food continues to taste like poison and probably will   forever  for the next 6 months. For some reason I get heartburn every night, even on an empty stomach. I spit into hand towels in the grocery store and I may never be able to eat chocolate ever again. Fuck Dooce. I hate her. I've gained a pound and a half and maybe, maybe, I'll be able to snowboard through January.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

No you may not bring any water bottles, cell phones, pagers or electronic devices into the testing center. She looks up at me over the counter, red orange streaked hair and purple cotton jumper, rearranges her papers, stares at me and waits. What if, I offer, I pour the water out and only bring in the bottle? 
These are the rules, and she pushes three laminated pieces of paper in front of me. You're really supposed to have read them before arriving here.

It's 8:17 in the morning and I'm getting a little bit desperate. I've arrived for my boards, despite my better judgement and complete lack of preparation, and I am trying to explain to a women with inadvertently orange hair and a purple sweater that, well, basically, my mouth over flows with saliva every five seconds and I just need something to spit into. I put my head into my hands and sigh. Can I at least bring in an empty cup? I ask, motioning to the water cooler behind me.

These, young lady, are the rules, she is staring right at me and tapping a fingernail onto the counter.  Okay, I say, I'll figure something out

I've packed two fried eggs with beans and a tortilla and place them in the designated locker. You are required to eat in the waiting area, she tells me. If you take anything out of your locker you need to show us what it is. I hold up my toothpaste, toothbrush and water bottle filled with dilute baking soda. I need to brush my teeth before I begin, may I use the restroom? She looks at me as if I were absolutely insane. Five minutes, she tells me.

Walking down the hall I bite back the tears. I just want to be normal again. I just want my mouth to stop revolting against me, filling up with a toxic kind of saliva I could never bear to swallow, completely dehydrating me, forcing me to drink huge gulps of water that then make me wretch and gag because oh my god everything tastes like its made of poison. In the bathroom I stand in front of the sink, vigorously scrubbing out my mouth and regarding my reflection. My skin is gaunt and pale, my eyes dark, sallow. Even though I can tell how much my body is changed, my jeans hang off of me, my shirt clings only to my chest, my belt takes up more space than my quietly protruding belly. I don't yet look pregnant, just crazy.

After spitting, rinsing, spitting and rinsing I galvanize myself for the four hour exam ahead of me, take a deep breath and walk back into the door. A new woman is behind the counter, she smiles at me kindly. Do you have a moment? I nod mutely. She beckons me to the back of the office.

Do you have a medical condition that necessitates a cup? She is looking right at me and nodding vigorously
Um, kind of
Do you have a note? We both know that I don't. 
No, no I don't. 
Okay, she says. Listen, I put a call into our head quarters to ask them about this. Mostly they don't want water next to the computers. Can you at least begin the exam and I'll let you know? I nod. She touches my shoulder and smiles. I want to hug her and sob but refrain from either.

My boards, by and large, were a disaster. I felt flush and weak and nauseous, forcing myself to read the questions on the screen. Question and after question, section after section, I sat there in awe and horror. It's as if I had never trained for this, had no idea what any of the questions were, nonetheless the answers. My mouth swelled with toxic spit, I tried discretely to empty it into my non-absorbent wool sweater. My body staged a full on visceral distraction and I was losing the battle to cope. My stomach swelled and my mouth filled with the few bites of cereal I'd eaten three hours before. I looked around in panic, couldn't get up, couldn't forfeit an entire section of my exam and, without recourse, spit it out into my sleeve, biting back the tears and folding the edges over itself in effort to hide what had just happened.

At lunch I opened my little box of fried egg and beans to an overwhelming stench that made me gasp. I snapped the container shut, closed the locker and sighed. I'm starving, shaking, nauseated, defeated. The kindly woman in the yellow dress looked over at me and smiled. I'm still waiting to hear back. If you'd like something to eat we have granola bars, cookies and crackers. She motions over to a table and nods, encouraging. I smile feebly, thank her but say no thank you. How do I explain that anything with any kind of sugar i it tastes like battery acid and splenda? Instead I go back to the bathroom, trying forever to scrub the rancid taste from my body.

Driving home, hours and hours later, after several failed attempts to find anything, anything, anything to eat that doesn't involve a deep fryer and a drive-thru and missing New York more than I ever though possible, the guilt and rage and frustration unleashes itself in torrents. I have five incredibly close and lovely friends who want nothing more in their lives than to be pregnant, all of whom have high likelihoods of not getting to see that happen. Equal to, and in a case or two, almost more than the overwhelming desire to have children, they want, so badly, to be pregnant. I hear people talking about this being the most important thing we can do with a lives, the most important experience in a woman's life (period) and I swell with sorrow and frustration. If this, to be simple and essentialist about it, is the whole reason we exist, then why the hell am I failing so miserably at it? Why the hell do I hate it so much? Why is my body doing everything it possibly can to prevent me from doing the one thing I need to---eat. My previous convictions that my relationship to my pregnancy has nothing to do with my relationship to wanting children is beginning to erode and as I start the long drive home I cannot help but feel as if I am failing in an enormous, universal, evolutionary way.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Quite possibly the worst part about vomiting is waking up the next day to realize you still have some left over in your nose.

It's week twelve, day five and for reasons I cannot explain or justify I have begun vomiting again. Yesterday I ran to the bathroom, threw up my chai and stayed on the floor, sobbing. Because it gets in my nose, it makes me see stars and it pulls at my stomach muscles. I haven't gained any weight, can't eat anything with sugar in it since that, to the best of my ability to ascertain, seems to make me vomit with hawklike fidelity. I am running this operation somewhere between one to two fried eggs on a flour tortilla with refried beans a day. Yesterday was a banner day. Four eggs and two tortillas.

We had our first ultrasound on Tuesday. It was crazy and strange and very surreal. The last time I was in the opposite situation, standing in the dark room with one of my patients, looking on the screen as they saw their baby for the first time, trying to capture the heart rate, trying to measure the back of the neck. It is always weird to be where I am now, patient not practitioner. But things seem fine, and I have a very uncharacteristic sense of calm in me lately. We saw five fingers on one hand and lots of jumping around, healthy movement. 

I'm just waiting to be able to eat, to be able to drive again, to be able to anything more than stay close to the toilet, waiting for the inevitable onslaught of nausea to finally, finally win.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The strip mall is sparse and sprawling, grey bright orange and yellow, filled up with McDonald's and Burger King, Pizza Hut and K-Mart. It is where we shop, because we have to, because these are the options and this is our life here, now. I pull across the two lane street and into a parking lot, drawing up next to an old Civic filled from roof to floor boards in boxes of clothing, empty food containers and cartons of cigarettes. My car is 4 months old, dust covered but undented. Beside me the Civic sits on three tires and a spare donut. I notice that it is missing the passenger seat. Two spaces down a girl, easily ten years younger than me, pushes a stroller, holds a toddler on her hip and ushers a young boy of about six across the lot towards the discount grocery store. I clutch my bag given to me by my mother in law a few years ago, bought at a department store in New York unimaginable today. 

The Sears store is tiny, crammed with last season's items and offering only one or two selections in each of its four small departments. The salesmen lean lazily against the washing machines, the store is empty, the ring of the bell as I walk in echos and all heads turn to face me. He ambles up to help me, short and balding and cyanotic, breathing in shallow rapid breaths and leaning every few steps on a shelf, a dryer. Can? I? Help? You? Young? Lady? each word punctuated with one quick inhalation. I'm here to buy a refrigerator. A new refrigerator. An extra refrigerator. Because our family is coming up from New York for the holidays and we'll need more, we'll always need more, to prepare for it. He tries to sell me more, bigger, fancier. I watch him leaning along the aisles, gasping, ambling, trying to sell me something anything to make his commission. No, I say, just the smallest cheapest refrigerator you have, we don't need much, it's going to live in the basement. His efforts are valiant and I understand them, although I set my face into stern refusal and repeatedly rebuff him with no, what do you have that's cheaper until finally we reach the dark end of the aisle where last year's items languish in dust and discount. This, I say, pointing to the cheapest, that one. He sighs, takes the ticket and begins the slow journey back to the computer. I walk behind him, observing his gait, watching his shuffle, my face burning with guilt and confused consumerism, wondering how we are obligated to best help each other.

At the register he writes the ticket, I look at his clubbed and yellowed fingers, note the distention of his external jugular vein, the heavy weight of ascites pulling at the buttons along his belly. I want to ask him, why aren't you on oxygen? His oxygen saturation is clearly dismal, his lips are dusky purple, his chest rising in quick ascent. Broken blood vessels smatter his arms in the characteristic pattern of disease and while we make small talk about his sons in community college it is all I can do to keep up with the charade and not turn to him and shake him, ask him if he's even on Lasix, has anyone ever drained the fluid from his belly. He mentions the economy, the hardships of being a salesman, worrying about foreclosures and his kid's college tuition. I nod and smile in a gesture of silent agreement, fold the receipt for my extra refrigerator for our bounty of good fortune and walk towards the door. I turn to thank him, to wish him a good holiday, he smiles back and suppresses a cough and I walk into the cold bright outside, always and again uncertain about how we can best and ever actually help each other.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

three things

Thing one: OMFG President Obama. I almost* cried last night but couldn't, because my body has hijacked every molecule of water remaining left in it to make saliva. Not that I hate it or anything.

Thing two: things got better with the whole full body invasion of symptomatic side effects and then they got worse again. Guess where we are now. I've decided I'm not going to talk about it because I sense that most people find it boring and trite and possibly more than a little annoying. And then I'm likely to get onto a wooden soap box and let loose about the unrealistic and quite frankly maddening social expectation that women who are pregnant are supposed to be glowing and happy and absolutely vibrating with joy. And if you aren't, if you are, say, tired and sick and tired of being sick and tired of people looking at you weird because you have to walk through the grocery store spitting into a hand towel because lord with no mercy the freaking saliva, that somehow implies that you are going to eat your children with fries and ketchup. And you know what? I really resent that. But I'll work that one out later and spare you the diatribe. For now.

Thing three: I've been missing New York albeit in a strange and subtle way. Mostly I miss the things you can buy, purchase or have access to. Namely chinese delivery and any other place to shop besides K-Mart. Last night, however, I really missed New York. I sat in the study of our big, cozy farm house house, siting beneath the old wood and plaster beams, listening to the election on podcast radio and wishing I were in Brooklyn. Envisioning the amazed and joyful faces of everyone at my old hospital, wanting to be precisely right there in this moment in time, this incredible part of history. I wanted to be embraced by the Jamaican nurses and get another 'Sup white girl from the security guard. I wanted to squeeze Miss Adam's hand as we passed in the darkened, dirty hallways, I wanted to hug to janitor on the fourth floor with the bright eyes who always opened doors for me,  say hell yeah to the cafeteria clerk with his thin dread locks and knitted cap. I wanted to be back there then, right now, today. The world is immeasurably different today than it was just yesterday and from where I am in Northern New England it feels dampened, distant. I miss the pulse, I miss the pulp and flesh and grit of it and want, for now, just for this moment, to be back in it once again.

*Upon further review I believe the word almost gravely misrepresents my emotions on the night of November 4th --- a hazy solution of elation, disbelief, immense relief, immense and unspoken fear for the life of this incredible, important person, exhaustion, extreme nausea and heartburn. Looking back on it now, when someone asks me where I was when Obama was elected President I will be able to recall vividly our little house, our little study, in the white and rural backdrop of New Hampshire. And, looking back on it even now, I wish we had made more of an effort to be with humanity in that moment, to be connected, and complete. We don't even own a television (because we are stubborn liberal intellectual elitists and aren't we sorry now). I'll go back and youtube the visuals when the world first found out but I do feel as if one of the most important parts of this election, the humanity, happened without us. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


The taste in my mouth is so constant, so awful, so impermeable, so maddening I find myself desperately inhaling various and edible objects in effort to mask it, ameliorate it, make it go away. Lemon sours from the health food store, hard candies, salted nuts, sour lemonade, minty gum. None of it works and, if anything, eating only makes it worse-- the food that I bite into never tastes as I remember, as I imagine it was intended. I stand in the front yard talking to the contractors about septic tanks and my stomach growls, everyone looks at me I and feel it lurching, angry and empty. I excuse myself to the other side of the house, lean forward and spit. 

Half an hour later I'm standing in fuzzy slippers and a lazy tree pose, wrapped up in the warm glow of my kitchen, beating a scrambled egg and stirring hot coco, I am anxious and shaking to eat. Three bites of breakfast and one sip of chocolate finds me, yet again, hunched over the bathroom sink furiously scrubbing with toothpaste and toothbrush, marveling that so many feedback loops exist in this one body to prevent me from eating.

I went to the barn yesterday to enter in notice of my early retirement. My lesson was starting and I leaned on the rail in fleece lined boots and down jacket, exhausted and wasted and not at all interested in riding. Last week on the flat, attempting a simple pattern over white poles not even set up into jumps or standards I could barely keep my seat, panting and sweating and utterly exhausted. The high school girls smirked, my trainer's face was kind but grim. You're just too weak, she tells me. I nod and push my helmet back off my forehead, gathering my reins and pride in front of me. I'm used to running six miles in under an hour, jumping easily over grand prixe fences, effortlessly clearing expansive cross-country courses. My mind races, my ego withers. I look over to my left at the huge mirror on the long wall of the arena, pushing my shoulders back and shoving down my heels: I look the same, I think to myself, but in that moment I no longer recognize the girl looking back at me.  

I spend a lot of time feeling guilty for not being a glowing, beaming, exuberant pregnant woman, bursting with happiness. I secretly worry that the intensely visceral occupation of my own body betrays an inability within me to love, as if this simple maelstrom of hormones implicates me already as a failed mother. I cannot undo the unnescessary and ingrained connection between pregnancy and mother-hood and I feel like, if I doing this part so poorly then I am surely doomed for the rest of it. I know that pregnancy for some people is an enormously important, vital, self-affirming, life altering part of our existence. I have so many friends who are trying, others who know that they will never be able to conceive and I feel terrible inside and always. Because here I am, knocked up and ungrateful, annoyed at the ptyalism  and dysgeusia, the nausea, the GERD, the weakness, more obsessed with trying to eat than colors for the nursery.  I feel like I owe it, at least, to these women to not feel so flipping grumpy about a little bit of drool and heartburn. 

Monday, October 27, 2008

after taste                                                           

I load up my hand basket with asian pears, watermelon, navel oranges and organic grapes from 
California, single handedly and exponentially increasing my carbon footprint with deft fingers and an unappealing amount of saliva. It had occurred to me earlier in the day that the only thing I could possibly consider eating was watermelon. In October. In rural New England. But my stomach sways and lurches in the fruit aisle and once again I worry that I have been lead astray, foiled by a tempestuous and mercurial body that maintains its right to revolt at any food at any time and any moment. 

I bite into the soft rind of what should have been a crisp pear and spit it out immediately. In a paper bag to the right of me, piled up on the passenger seat, sits yet another failed and expensive food experiment. I open the car door, lean forward and spit like a trucker. I cannot contain the water my mouth makes and am always looking for places to (un)delicately lean forward and spit. 

I don't have hyperemesis gravidum and I have an infinite amount of sympathy and respect for women who weather that storm of parity. I am probably a little bit dehydrated but otherwise well, usually the nausea prevents me from eating which prevents me from puking. Most recently, for about four days on now, I have tentatively begun eating again, marveling at the strength of both starvation and total food aversion, taking tiny bites of a syrupy pancake, sipping on instant hot coco. On Friday, in a moment made of little else than mercy and miracle, I ate half of an eggplant parmesan sandwich on my way to the barn. 

At night I lay awake and tend to my wonders, my worries, my greatest anxieties. I know far too much and all the causes of first trimester loses fume like a toxic cloud in the dark hours of morning. I get up and frown at my mostly flat stomach, worry about my painless breasts. I worry for all the speakable reasons and the unspeakable ones too. I worry in ways I cannot say out loud but that press down hard and unremitting. In the dark and tiny hours of morning I worry that if  I ever lost this baby, would I have the strength to have another?

Monday, October 20, 2008

I sit on the wooden, upholstered chairs, looking up at the patient pamphlets, staring at the exam table, the sink, taking in the strange irony to be on the other side of the medicine, the powerlessness of being a patient. The nurse has ushered me in, asked me to pee and recorded my weight. She scowls at the scale, you've lost four pounds in just over a week, she tells me and even though I have every reason to know better, I feel accused, responsible.

I'm waiting for whoever has time in their schedule to see me. I had called to ask for a simple prescription for heartburn medicine, was taking way beyond the daily maximum dose of pepcid and prilosec, although over the counter, is a class C medication. Everything I ate either hurt too much or came back up again. I have been given antibiotics (too broad spectrum for a pregnant patient with nausea and vomiting but they insisted and I conceded) for an asymptomatic urinary tract infection. Now I have an upper, and lower, complete intestinal insurrection.

No, I am not willing to take prilosec, I tell the nurse on the phone. Yes, I do know it's the same class of drugs as the others but until the FDA changes its safety profile I won't risk it. She impatiently puts me on hold. One minute later she picks up the phone again, listen you're just going to have to come in if you won't take what we're offering you.

I hear the NP outside the door, rustling her papers, reading through my chart. I have a towel to my mouth to absorb the copious amounts of saliva I can't bear to swallow. She walks in and takes me in--again I feel small and powerless, the irony of being both a practioner and a patient. 

But I am good. I only answer the questions she asks, don't push or goad or insist, even though I simply want to say listen, a cephalosporin is a bit too broad spectrum, it's making me sicker than I was before, just give me some macrobid. Secondly, I'd like a script for nexium or protonix because I know they are class B and prilosec is class C and I will jump into traffic if this heartburn continues.

This is the inevitable dance, the difficulty of being both at once--capable and helpless.

In the end she writes me a script for Protonix that my insurance won't fill and changes my antibiotic. It will take days, they say, to get the authorizations in place. I consider buying it outright, at Andy's urging, but it's $250 a bottle. On stupid principle, I refuse.


Night is coming quickly now that it's autumn. I haven't been to the barn in a week, too sick or weak or nauseated. I hadn't told my trainer yet, foolish, perhaps, but I wasn't ready for the possibility of being grounded after being horseless for so long. I would give up at four months, I told myself, once my body is too altered to keep my balance.

I groom and tack up quickly, a flashy bay gelding who is new to me and pacing. I didn't even pause or reconsider before hopping up, still lithe and nimble. We go around the arena a few times, he's hot and athletic and ready, eyeing the jumps at every bend. We get our pattern, I'm third in the sequence. The few other girls in the class are all in high school and they are today the rider I was so long ago. I bite my lip to temper my ego.

On our turn he explodes into the right lead and it occurs to me immediately that I am way too weak and he is way too strong. We haphazard the course and just as we're going over the blue vertical the nausea swells and I consider leaning over and vomiting over his right shoulder. I miss my next jump and bring him in to circle. My trainer is yelling at me from the center of the arena, the high school girls are smirking. I lean forward, drop the reigns and fight the urge to vomit as she runs up to me. She is saying something about him being strong and to do it again but when she arrives she stops, cocks her head and says what the hell?

I'm pregnant, I pant, and I think I'm going to barf on your feet


Later, after the tack is away, the aisle swept and the buckets filled, I walk into her office.

You're on the flat from now on, she tells me. I know, I say. It's just not worth being stupid, she looks up over her entries for the up coming show. I fiddle in front of her, feeling foolish and small. 

She puts her pen and paper down and regards me squarely. I rode until I was six months pregnant. It was really dumb. God forbid something happens. I, for one, wouldn't be able to forgive myself. 

I nod. Okay, I say and turn to leave.

Besides, she says with a huge smile but without looking up, if you barf on my feet you'll have to buy me new boots. And these are very expensive and very Italian.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Oh hello. Well my goodness, this is a strange thing indeed: to be sitting in my house with internet. Oh my god people, call Tom Friedman, THE INTERNET. 

So here's the thing. I've got something I need to tell you and I've been trying to figure out for days how to do it. There's the, internet, we need to talk tact. Or the, here, I think you should sit down, oh! and what about a beer? Here, have a beer approach. But beer's hard to link to, so I had to eliminate that one from the list of options. It's just that, well, considering a few hours ago I had to tell a bunch of strangers just because they are working on our house and couldn't figure out why extending the project into May was SUCH A BIG DEAL ALREADY, CHRIST, I kind of can't believe I'm only talking to you about it now but, well, shit, here goes:

So, I'm pregnant.

(My god I still feel like I'm sixteen years old and still have to suppress the urge to duck because I'm fairly certain some high school guidance counselor is going to smack me with their purse, screaming what were you thinking? What about your future?)

And before we get all crazy and excited, please let me get something off my chest because MOTHER OF GOD pregnancy sucks. And yes, it's early. Earlier than the prescribed time to tell the world and all that, but it's late enough that if something went wrong  this is the first place I'd come to (and you'd be all, what? What are you talking about, crazy?) So let me just tell you how much pregnancy sucks (operative word: pregnancy, not parenting) and for those of you who read Jonniker, sorry, but this is going to sound like a lot more of the same because LORD WHAT WERE YOU THINKING when you made the pregnancy package?

I'm a very symptomatic person. If you look it up and it lists the side effects you best believe I'll have 95% of them, regardless the ailment. But come on already. Really esophagus? Really? It's only the middle of the eighth week and already with the heartburn? Really? Oh, oh and the morning sickness? Oh yes, can we please talk about that? Somehow I harbored a illusion that morning sickness was made up of insurmountable urges to vomit that overtook women in an instant and hurled them towards toilets or sinks or trash cans or what have you. Meaning that there you were, out in the world, FUNCTIONING, when all of a sudden you had to vomit. I wish. With all my heart, I wish. Oh no no. It begins about 3 minutes after waking up, drags into a long, protracted, prolonged series of hours of hypersalivating, migraine inducing nausea wherein I swear to god I've been fucking POISONED until finally, finally, like five hours later, I lean over the kitchen sink (or similar) cough, gag, retch, heave and sob. All for not a lot of production, if you know what I mean. After which, though, it must be said, I feel miraculous (thereby furthering my conviction that I'm not actually pregnant rather merely being poisoned by an inch and a half long creature with fins). Once I vomit I feel like god, all is well with the world, my headache clears, I can walk and drive and think and read and it's amazing, AMAZING....for about 3 hours. And then it's wash, rinse, repeat. 

And why didn't anyone just tell me: listen honey, stick your finger down your throat, I promise, you're gonna feel totally better? Why doesn't it say that anywhere? Because it's TRUE. Note to selves: don't hold back, just barf, even if it makes you feel like an afternoon special on bulimia because all of a sudden your choosing foods on the basis of what they'll be like to vomit back up again.  

So much better in fact (this knowledge is a very new development, by the way. Instead I have been spending the better part of the last eight weeks GREEN, refusing to eat anything and everything made of or resembling food because, mother of god, what are you trying to do, kill me?) that I ate not one but two egg and cheese crossaints from Dunkin Donuts. Strange thing pregnancy, and let me be the first one to hold up both hands and wave the repentant white flag for thinking that I was totally going to eat a healthy, raw, organic, high protein, low carb diet when pregnant (AND run 6-7 miles a day) because HAH! In the last eight weeks, the only food I have actually thought remotely reasonable to eat has been a Bean Burrito from Taco Bell, french fries from Burger King, mashed potatoes from KFC and now Dunkin Donuts. Today I seriously considered Pizza Hut, I'm not kidding (I would never kid about Pizza Hut) but MY GOD, the heartburn.

You'll be glad to know though that I've hated myself after every single event. All were failed experiments.

So this is pretty discombobulated and inarticulate and all over the place but I'm madly trying to use up the last of my few functional minutes before I have to return to the fetal position, clutching at my heartburn, desperately sticking my finger down my throat and threatening to Andy that next time, we're adopting.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Listen. Our internet died completely, fall is here and I've got a lot to tell you. But I won't be able to until next week. When we finally set up our little space station and get some kind of real internet. And then I can stop parking outside of the town library, stealing their bandwith and getting shot at by hunters.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Two thousand and one                 
We sit on the damp concrete, backs against the wall and windows of a costume shop, knees bent, feet splayed, waiting for the theatre to open, for the show to begin. She wears converse, black, low tops, and dark jeans, a studded belt and a cardigan. Her tortoise shell glasses peek out from chunky black bangs. I wear cargo pants from the Gap, a white cotton shirt and flip flops. Her hair is short and hip, dyed deep black and messed up in the back. My hair is long and streaked in sun. Her skin is milk white and unblemished. My skin brown and thick and solarized. I call across the street for dinner while we wait, order vegetable pad thai--no shrimp--and tofu with mixed veggies--no peppers and no onions--without even pausing for consensus. I know her aversions and her favorites; there is an known and intimate familiarity to us, like an old house, like home. She is languid and calm and patient. I am wound tight and rapid and flutter. She likes television and couches and long days with movies and books and black coffee. I love the air and oxygen and atmosphere, can't stand television, can barely sit through movies. 

We have been friends for years and we sit on the sidewalk, side by side, waiting for the show to begin.

Two thousand and eight
We haven't spoken in over a year. It was a long slow collapse, lengthy break up, an unnecessary end.  There were all kinds of awkward, assumed, associated reasons. Accidentally missing each other, avoiding, for months, weeks, years. There was an enveloping edge, I felt uncomfortable, defensive. All at once, our endearing differences were coming us undone. 

I miss her daily although I think of her less and less as time gets older. But it still happens, and often. I'll be driving in the car and will be filled with the sudden need to call her, to tell her that John Mayer is such a fucking tool or why do women wear scrunchie boots for the love of god and allah? She is the one I want to call when inappropriate comments about toothless rednecks sitting outside with their fat daschunds overwhelm me. 

We haven't spoken in over a year. Sometimes, if I'm not paying attention, I'll dial the first five digits of her phone number, a muscle memory, an old habit. Thinking back to a time when our differences were slight and our friendship seemed infinite and inevitable. 

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I have no words for this. Please, when you get to the bit about Iraq and Afghanistan, national security and our soil (which is after the bit about Putin and his head-rearin') and tell me if little bits of your brain didn't start exploding and then tell me that you didn't fall onto the floor convulsing, wherein, after regaining consciousness, you didn't crawl immediately into the pantry and begin drinking. Heavily. 


I've been consumed with much in the world--tangible, terrifying, pressing--and my brain has been sluggish, slow, suspended. I listen like a furtive junkie to NPR, rifling through the virtual pages of the New York Times, devouring The Forever War, balancing one foot on the urgency to act and the other on preemptive defeat.  

In my tiny town on a river in New Hampshire I drive along the water, looking at the loveliest homes, reassured by the blue Obama Biden signs cropping up like some kind of lush fall bounty. It settles me, it insulates me, it quells the panic that lives easy inside me. 

When I drive to the barn though, out of town and along the lake towns, out onto the interstate and back into distant, unconnected areas, the urgent gnaw returns and the number of McCain Palin signs snake the roadways like thick vines. I keep my mouth quiet when the plumber comes by and brings up offshore drillin' and at least we'll have someone in the White House who's real people, even if she is a woman--no offense, I mean. And I cannot understand how so many of the people immediately around me, the people who will need federal assistance this winter to heat their homes, the people who cannot afford to fill their gas tanks, the people who cannot pay their medical bills, who cannot afford health insurance, people whose homes are being foreclosed --because of an administration of undersighted, myopic, unilateral greed-- the people who are most disenfranchised by the current and unbalanced powers of our country today are its staunchest supporters. 

I see how Obama misses the mark in places like this. His eloquence, his manner, his intelligence, the way he says his words work against his most desperate and deserted constituency. I see how people in places like this think to themselves, well shit, Sarah Palin's husband is a hunter and I'm a hunter, and that's really good enough for me. I don't need no high-fluenting, fancy-talkin' President. I need someone who's gonna understand me. And that means, to many, shooting deer, going to church and not giving a fuck about Russia. Because, in their dire disconnect they miss Joe Biden unequivocally defending the money in their pockets, saying--under no unclear terms--that people who have more need to start paying more, not less, than those who don't. Bottom line, end of story. What they do hear is Sarah Palin--screaming, shrill, lacking all composure--proclaiming that's not patriotism. Raising taxes is about killing jobs and hurting small businesses and making things worse.

But I have to agree with Dooce. If I have more money than you and you need to heat your home or pay your medical bills or put gas in your car to drive to work because you make something barely over minimum wage then take my fucking money and goddamn you Sarah Palin for saying that's not patriotic.

I am no great political commentary. This is not a political blog, nor will it ever be. I will be the first to admit that I have checked the fuck out internally over the last eight years because paying too much attention to the country I lived in caused a kind of desperation and rage in me that was often untenable. I am, if anything, more of an anthropologist than critical analyst. Listening to our President whisper the words freedom made me want to claw my way through an eighteenth storey window and jump. Standing by, powerless and bewildered, to watch something akin to the economic Patriot Act about to be passed to the tune of seven hundred billion dollars (the weight of which will be allocated equally between the rich and the poor, thank you Sarah Palin) creating the inalienable, non-transparent right of the Fed to manage it, to save some of the world's wealthiest individuals without the time for insight, foresight or careful consideration is astounding to me. It is beyond my grasp and when the guy comes by to fill dirt into the holes in my backyard, driving his truck up with his McCain stickers and then works for something like 16 hours of hard manual labor and tells me he ruptured a disc last year but couldn't afford to go to the doctor, I want to rip out both of our eyeballs. Because I cannot pay him enough to fill holes with dirt to go to the doctor, but I am certain that if he has his way in this election, neither will his political candidates.