Friday, December 12, 2014

The one thing I can control

When it comes to relationships, or even work, I have not had an idyllic life. Failed marriages, a bunch of first dates, I come pretty close to the queen of bad decisions when it comes to men. I'm also in a second career. Despite being desperately in love with teaching history, I'm now in high tech. In a stressful job. All the while I can't help thinking 8 year old me knew best: I should have been a lawyer.

But what has been pretty amazing is my journey with motherhood. I gave birth to my first son, a healthy baby boy, when I was just 25. I got to spend an entire summer with him before I went back to work. He was the most beautiful baby and everyone told me so. My baby Joey was my everyday sidekick. I was warned not to have a second child-- no one could compete with the gorgeousness of baby Jo-Jo. But when I was blessed with my lil man Eddie, I felt my life was perfect. This little boy, almost the exact opposite from his big brother, completed our little trio. The three of us, thick as thieves, were always on the go. Joey was an angel. Eddie adored his big brother. And I was a proud mama of the two most handsome men in the world.

Until I was the proud mama of the FOUR MOST HANDSOME MEN IN THE WORLD. I unexpectedly became pregnant with twins...a blessing...a gift. I was privileged to observe two human beings grow inside of me--and they did it TOGETHER. I saw one human "lick" the other one on an ultrasound. I carried two distinctly different people AT ONCE... And grew to know their relationship before they even left my body. Twin B, a non stop wiggle worm busy body. He kept me up at all hours of the night, as if to say, "Hey mom! Isn't there some place we could be going? Something we could be doing?" Twin A, my little chill baby. He poked me only every once in a while as if to say, "I'm all good, Mom. But don't forget I'm here!"

Their entrance into the world was one of the most traumatic days of my life. Twin B's heart rate went down to 30 bpm. An emergency c-section two months before their due date. But they came. And they cried. And they conquered the NICU. 

And my idyllic journey with motherhood began. Four boys. A set of twins. Curly headed, big brown eyed, caramel colored skinned, dirty hands, playful hearts, skinned knees, super hero and NFL dreaming boys. My life, as a mom, although difficult at times as a single mom, has been everything I could ask for...I am blessed. 

But three weeks ago, that changed. And now, at night, fear grows where there was once joy. My twin A, my Jakey, had a seizure. And the ER felt unsure whether it really was, so they ordered an EEG... Everyone assured me, nothing would be found, Jakey will be fine, things will work out, you will see...but all I saw were the abnormal results of the EEG. 

An MRI is scheduled for today. Friday, December 12th. I can't sleep. I can't stop thinking. I can't stop worrying. I'm sick to my stomach. My baby Jakey sleeps in my bed with me now. He can't be left alone (especially near water). The next three months are important months (he is most at risk for another seizure during this time). He needs an MRI (what if it is abnormal too). 

I can handle break ups. I can handle being let go from my job. I can handle divorce. 

I can't imagine handling bad news about my baby (please oh please God or universe or Buddha or Yahweh let him be healthy). I don't know how other parents have done it and survived (that sounds so cliché). I don't want to learn that I can survive it too (that sounds so selfish, is that okay to say). 

I feel like the last three weeks have been a bad dream. I hold onto my phone tightly all day, wondering when I will be called by Jakey's school to come get him (they've called twice and I go immediately). I sleep next to my baby and well, it's not really sleep because I'm afraid to close my eyes, in fear of missing an episode of some sort throughout the night. I am absolutely sick to my stomach. Later today, I sit and watch his MRI. And then the doctor will call for an urgent appointment if they find something. Or she can call to tell me the results are normal. 

So now I will fear the phone ringing. Again. 

My idyllic journey with motherhood has been shattered. Maybe not completely. But enough that I have realized that anything can happen. That I can't control the outcome of this. That I have to just love my babies hard. That I have to just enjoy his sweet loving face on my chest, as he snuggles up against me as he sleeps in my bed. He is the face I see first thing in the morning. He smiles slyly. He tells me I'm his best friend. 

And then I do then one thing I can control: I tell him he is mine. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

No On 46: A Threat to my Privacy

A while back, I was asked to like a Facebook page, No On 46. Being that I live in California, I figured some friends of mine felt it might apply to me and thought I might be interested in what the Political Organization behind this page had to say.  Not one to blindly follow, I began some research.  

Of course, it was easy to find the “No On 46” info because it was connected to their Facebook Page. If you go to NoOn46.com, you can easily navigate their site to “Get the Facts,” see what’s “In the News,” and find ways to “Take Action.”

My eyes were drawn immediately to “Threats to Personal Privacy,” which can be found here, under Get the Facts. Being that I work in high tech, I am constantly questioning how my use of tech devices, social media, and cellular technology impacts my right to privacy...it's often a question that our customers ask and so it is an answer that I grapple with daily.

I wanted to begin with a fair investigation. So, instead of presenting the information I found on No On 46's website, I will share the info I have discovered on the State of California's Department of Justice website (here):
The Department of Justice (DOJ) limits access and dissemination of this information to licensed prescribers, licensed pharmacists, law enforcement personnel, and regulatory board personnel strictly for patient care or official investigatory/regulatory purposes.
This sounds great, right? It even goes on to say, hey, we have to follow HIPPA regulations. However, a deeper dive into Lewis v The Superior Court of the State of California, we can see that, we, as patients, 
...do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their prescription records vis-a-vis the Board's limited data in CURES, and such access does not amount to conduct constituting a serious invasion of privacy...
AND
the government may see and use information covered by the right to privacy if it can show that its use of the information would advance a legitimate state interest... [use of bold is mine]

So what does this mean? The CURES database even as it exists today does not protect our information from being used by the Department of Justice or any branch of the government for that matter despite our assumption that our medical information is protected by HIPPA.

We have a diminished expectation of privacy. Because of CURES.

CURES is currently a voluntary database, of which a small group of doctors are using. It is voluntary for doctors to use it EVEN after January 1, 2016, once they are all required to register to use it (this was enacted last year in Senate Bill 809).

Why would I agree to this mandatory reporting?

What is at risk... and I agree having found this on the NoOn46.com site...
The ballot measure contains no provisions and no funding to upgrade the database with increased security standards to protect personal prescription information from government intrusion, hacking, theft or improper access by non-medical professionals.
Am I saying that this is not a worth while venture? Am I a vicious liberal who is putting my own privacy above the value of the lives of those lost because of doctor shopping and a lack of accountability for how to dispense addictive drugs to patients?

No. What I am saying is there has to be a thoughtful conversation about a law that can do just that-- add accountability-- while protecting the general population. We cannot remove our doctors' ability to practice discretion. We cannot remove our doctors' ability to exercise compassion. We cannot allow mandatory reporting of medical information that can be used at the discretion of the state for ANY STATE INTEREST. We cannot use our fear of pill popping drug addicts to drive our desire for fair laws.

I have discovered through my investigation that there are many other reasons why Prop 46 is not the right way to enact the laws and protection that we crave.

But this? The threat to our privacy? Is what has motivated me to share my perspective on why I'm No On 46.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy: Quite possibly my favorite summer movie!

Not every action movie has a soul. 

Sometimes, they’re pretty darn predictable. 

This can be especially true when the movie is based on a story from a comic book.

I’ll tell you what…this movie? Definitely does has a soul.

“Guardians of the Galaxy” is a smartly written movie, if there ever has been one in the Marvel family. Most lines are not only smart written, but deftly delivered. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the banter amongst the “Guardian” group, including the lines of Groot (limited to just four words, he is still able to steal a few scenes with those words and some great CGI facial expressions!). I know I will hear the words, “I am Groot,” for weeks to come out of the mouths of my four young boys.

Of course, I love Gamora, played by Zoey Saldana. My favorite line of hers?  "And I am not some starry eyed waif here to succumb to your...your...pelvic sorcery!”

The audience can easily find a place in their heart for her and her traumatic story…of which, each Guardian has one. And Star Lord aptly captures their sad stories with his laugh grabbing line, “I look around, and you know what I see? Losers. I mean like, folks who have lost things…” Because, of course, it was just another way Star Lord endears himself to us, as he struggles from becoming the lost little boy who was stolen from his dead mother to the man who could have the strength to save the galaxy.

I love this movie so much? That just four short days after seeing it the first time with my eldest son, I saw it AGAIN with all four boys at the Drive-In.

My ONLY disappointment in this movie was the seemingly MISPLACED use of two words- one, when Drax calls Gamora a whore (this stands out because he DID NOT have to use the word) and then again when Star Lord tells Ronin, “You said it yourself, we’re the Guardians of the Galaxy…BITCH.” In such a smartly written movie, these words just stand out like a sore thumb, because as I tell my children…you’re intelligent enough that you could find a better word to use than THAT one. And the writers and directors of this movie could have (and should have). Those words were just really out of place.



Altogether, I’d give this movie an A-…and the minus is because of those two misplaced words. Otherwise, this movie is Marvel gold.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Catching my breath

Breathing heavy because thoughts keep racing and they're running 5 minute miles
I haven't had the endurance because I thought I'd never run again

I wonder how long it will be this time
I'm tired of 5Ks and half marathons
I want an ultra marathon

One would imagine that because you've done all this training in the past
You'd be prepared
For twisted ankles and sprained knees
But what really hurts you in this sport is a wounded heart

Lost love for the race
Or worried about the bling you'll get at the end
Never realizing that even though you get a free shirt you're really paying for it with an entry fee

I remember now I love my foot against the pavement
It makes me feel alive
My passion lays in the moment
And I remember it's a journey, not a destination

And I love that I'm out here again
Catching my breath

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sometimes

Sometimes

You forget that you've ever been hurt (too painful to recall)
That love has been risked and lost (why did I bet the farm I lost it all)
That YOU have been lost (I should not have given my heart)

Sometimes 

You forget that love has been painfully empty (the love drained out the holes poked in my heart)
That despite every ounce of every thing you have poured into love,
you have gained nothing (broken empty vessel left behind)

Sometimes 

You remember that you were a girl who believed that love could be greater than the sum of the two (I've heard rumors that it existed)
That love could prove two plus two is five (but they were all too calculating)
That despite the irrationality of love, the logic couldn't be refuted (love is the only thing that matters at all)

Now you find that you always retreat (before he can)
And that you never give it a chance (that thing called love)
And that love is always too far away from now (I don't have that kind of time)
And that love will never prove forever (I'm too busy and tired for things that won't last)

Take a breath

Take a breath

You can't change the girl you are (I wear my heart on my sleeve)

And nothing is black and white (so many beautiful shades of brown)
And nothing is always or never (never trust promises or is that always expect nothing)

And now outta nowhere you're hit from left field (where did you come from if I didn't build you in my dreams)
And now always and never don't matter (I will take today I will take right now if it's with you)
And now who cares that you've been hurt (a million hurts to get to you I'd take a million more)
And now thank god for all the empty (there is room for you to fill me up)

Sometimes nothing else matters (except that I am me and you are you)

Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Magnificent Maleficent

I am not one who take every story at face value. I know there is always two sides.  There are always more ways to look differently at the same situation. 

I sat in the theater, viewing the opening scenes Maleficent and for a moment I was disappointed. Why were there CGI fairies? CGI twinkles? CGI anything?

And then I let go.  I let go of my expectations.  I let go of my preconceived notions. I let myself enter the world of Maleficent and I wanted nothing but to hear and see her side of the "story.”

And Angelina Jolie presents her side of the story so well. So perfectly. I got chills when she walked into that first scene as the Maleficent we love to hate. CHILLS!


I went into the movie theater expecting to hate a villain.  Instead, I walked out aligning with Maleficent, empathizing with her, even seeing parts of her in me.

And at the end of the day, isn’t that what we like to find inside the stories we watch and read? Confirmation that we are not alone, that pain and loss happen to us all, affirmation of our “universal truth” on the silver screen?

Watching the last few minutes of the movie, I didn’t want the movie to end. I wanted another chapter, deeper insight into where Maleficent and her loved ones would end up, how they would interact with each other, how their worlds would grow because they had each other in it.

Highly recommend you go see this movie. I know I will be seeing it again!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

A self-proclaimed nerd and lover of comics, I was super excited for the second installment of the Captain America series. 

Who can turn down a movie that brings together Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson?  

From the first scene, the pull of good and sorta bad between Cap and Black Widow moved the scene, the plot, and the tension in the relationship along. Black Widow even mentioned it herself, telling Cap that saving the hostages was his mission.... Not hers. 

That didn't keep me from cheering for their friendship. Natasha randomly attempts to set Cap up with good girls throughout the movie. Their friendship and playful teasing is pretty sweet and actually reminded me of a good friend of mine and my friendship with him. Who doesn't like seeing glimpses of their own life reflected back at them on the silver screen?

I loved Natasha Romanoff. Marvel really takes a stand for female empowerment and a woman's ability to carry an amazing fight scene- there are no "oh, no, Black Widow is struggling, Cap hurry up and go save her moments." 

Cap is the emotional and sensitive good guy. From his attempts to direct Natasha to walk the heroic straight and narrow, to his honest offer to simply let his neighbor use his washer and dryer, to his undying loyalty to his best friend Bucky Barnes, any girl would fall for Cap and any man would kill to have him as a friend. 

The fight scenes, the action, the storyline with HYDRA, all are compelling and worth the ticket to see the movie on the big screen. 

The movie is not a conclusion, but a continuation in a long storyline in te Marvel Universe. 

Based on how good the movie is, I am looking forward to that next installment. Shoot, I may even go back and see this installment yet again.