Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Losing and finding my religion. Kinda.

Part one, a child's view:

I was born and raised LDS, when Mormonism was far from mainstream.  My parents were church goers, but I know before I was born, they had parties involving drinking wine and friends who smoked.  I know this because one of my brothers ate an ashtray full of ciggie butts and had to be taken to the hospital.  That ended that, I guess.

I recall not wanting to be baptized, the full immersion scared me.  I got double dunked when my foot flew out of the water.  The bishop asked me questions, I parroted the answers.  Even at eight years old I knew I could not say no, although supposedly I had the choice.  I did not and I knew it then.

I did like Primary, I memorized scripture like a champ. Didn't always make sense, and I forgot them as soon as I'd recited them.  I dutifully learned to cross stitch and knit and crochet.  I earn my green felt collar filled with rhinestones.  Well if this was getting into heaven, I had that part down pat.  Could it be this easy?  Uh, no.

We moved a lot, being a Navy family.  The church was always there as a safety net, but I did not feel safe.  There were mean girls, always mean girls.  I never could make the connection between Love Thy Neighbor and mean girls at church.  Jesus was lying to me, wasn't he?

And the whole Lammanite thing.  That didn't seem fair, did it?  Why would God be mean to a whole tribe?  I didn't know the words for racism, even with the news about civil rights surrounding me, but going over my head.  Was God a mean kid too?

I spent a summer with an LDS family while mom visited dad at the ports in Europe and the Med.  More praying than I was used to.  Had to give a talk in church against my will.  Had to babysit the younger sister, the toddler. I didn't like it much.  I discovered I didn't like holding the baby when the mom needed her hands free.  I did not like surrendering my childhood to this woman, to being questioned about how did I like being a little mommy?  I did not like it, I resented it.  I was the baby girl, not this puling thing thrust into my life.  I did not take to the brainwashing very well at all.

We traveled, I saw many cathedrals, many churches, shrines and temples.  I was taught to be respectful of these religions.  I put a lace cover on my head to go into some of these churches.   I took off my shoes in Japan, I rang the bells and clapped my hands and bowed my head.  But I was told my religion was the only right one.  I was confused.  How could so many people be going to hell?  They were good people, just different.  How could one religion have a lock on truth?  It didn't seem fair.

I had a glass of champagne on my 14th birthday in Nice.  I did not drop dead.

When I was 14 or 15, back in Utah, in Mutual, Wednesday evenings, we were told the lesson was Preparing for Our Future.  Boys and girls were in different classes in Young Adults, of course.  Always.  I was nervous, but expectant.  I knew I did not want to be a teacher or a nurse, but couldn't imagine what else a woman could do for a living, what other promises were in store for my life.  Was I good enough for college? What would I study?  Well, none of that mattered.  The entire hour or so was dedicated to staying pure and preparing ourselves for temple marriage, to be fulfilled by bringing more souls to the church by having children, by attaining salvation through the calling to priesthood of our husbands.  Even at fourteen, I smelled a rat.  A big stinking, lying rat.  I wanted something different, something more.  Was there nothing else for me?

We moved to Iran.  I was really cut off from regular church.  No sacrament, and Family Home Evening didn't really happen.  I was allowed to go to Midnight Mass with a Catholic friend.   I wore a chador to visit a mosque.  I watched the five daily prayers, we shopped at the kosher Jewish markets.  There were 40 nationalities at the school I attended.  I drank my first beer and got drunk on Russian vodka.  Lightning didn't strike me dead.  I learned the thrill of profanity.  I learned I had sexual feelings, although pretty much for myself only at that time.  I did not drop dead when I touched myself.  I rather liked it.  

I moved back to Utah, to live with my aunt and all her many kids.  I was forced to go back to church every week.  The sermons rang hollow.  God didn't care what I did in the privacy of my room.  My cousins were smoking dope, no one caught them.  I tried it too, didn't like it, probably because I had asthma and didn't know it.  I learned to ditch school.  I learned that my new friends were having sex, even getting married in secret.  Jesus seemed a long way away from everyday life. I was set up with a boyfriend because a single girl needed a man.  I liked him, but he wanted to get married and I was only 17.  I learned how to make out with him, but he didn't want to go all the way unless we were married.  He didn't want "to turn me into a ball freak".  Really?   

Church with a hangover was a joke.  My brother moved in.  I learned to drop acid, although not often and only quarter tabs. That I liked, a rare and mystical sacrament. I learned I did not like pills.  I broke up with my boyfriend and learned sex was overrated from a selfish, manipulative young man who abused me and forced me into situations I thought I couldn't control.  Sex became so overrated it didn't matter if I had it or not.  I read underground comix.  I went to racy movies.  The Mormon girls I was forced to associate with were mean girls, even though they didn't know how mean they were being to me, even the two who were nicer than the rest.  I had very few friends, the kids I'd hung with at Ben Lomond High School all were moving on and lived on the other side of town.  I didn't like anyone at Ogden High except for a handful of girls, and the gay guy in drama.  I had no idea he was gay, homosexuality wasn't completely on my radar yet.  Church became more and more of a joke.  I didn't believe in any of it, not God, not afterlife, nothing.   I'm not sure mom and dad noticed until I took off on my own out of the blue at age 18 to San Francisco.  

And there I found ... a lot of things.

To Be Continued.  

Surgical drains

So the surgeon put in a drain on the 25th.  Left it in for a week.  Was still draining, about 25 ml a day.  Took it out after a week.  Seroma came right back.
Radiology doc put in a similar drain on June something or other.  More hardware  including a valve for flushing it out.  Two weeks in, he does a scan. Seroma is 2/3 smaller.  Good.  I get the drain for two more weeks, boo.  Still draining.  I want a bath, not a shower.  Boo.  I am wearing muumuus, I need to make one more.  Sigh.

 Damn thing opened in bed. Ick.

I hate life.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Bumpety bump

Yesterday I had my seroma aspirated again.  Usually I don't feel the needle, not more than a pinch.  This time it HURT.  My belly is one massive black bruise, very painful.  Clothing hurts.  Lying down in any position hurts. Sitting hurts.  Standing, yes, you guessed it, hurts. ARGH.

Random nerve spikes in my groin area are doing nothing good for my peace of mind.

Doc is going to put in a drain, my surgery is scheduled for the 25th.  I could have selected this Friday, but not certain Larry will be home.

Worst thing is I have no idea how well the drain will work, what it entails (do I have to have it hooked to a bag? Do I drain that? Change it?), how long it will take.  And so much for water aerobics.  I need to talk to the gym about putting my membership on hiatus.

I do feel this is needed, but I'm not very happy.  Not at all.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

One Small Thing

I've figured out I have to work through the low, slow feelings in increments.  That means this blog will be downright dreary until I find the uphill path.

What little thing set me off today?  Two little things, perhaps.  I asked if I could simply donate to E-11.  Sure.  Give it to a board member in person.  Sounds reasonable.  Except I don't live in SLC.  I feel like a failure because I can't go where I want when I want.  Ride the bus and train to SLC?  Right, right, right.

Second, the color piece on the news is visiting a senior day care center.  They're singing If You're Happy and You Know It.  They're bowling with plastic balls and pins.  I am terrified.

Most of the burner events are held on weekends, in Salt Lake.  I have no way to get down there, and no one commutes who can take me with them.  I don't want to do stuff like spend the night sleeping on couches or the floor, did that, over that.  When Larry's schedule does coincide with events and parties, he's only go the one day off, and has to hit the road early the next day.  Driving an hour to a party, not drinking, then coming back early enough to get some decent sleep?  Not really happening when all the errands, chores, and simply dinking with stuff around the house and yard need to be done too.

We love seeing our friends, but I wonder if I would be missed at all if we quit burning locally.  At one time, I could say emphatically, yes! Now I wonder if anyone remembers who Larry and I are, and what we do.  Time and distance and absence erode away our experiences and opportunities.

So now I feel old and useless because I can't drive.  Learn to drive you say?  Were it only that simple.  I'm terrified to even move the vehicles in the driveway back and forth.  Cold sweats, pounding heart, and my hands shake.  And you want me to manipulate a pile of steel on the streets?

Yes, I am going to the gym today.  To my water aerobic arthritic old person class.

I am not that old, I shouldn't be mouldering in a corner like this.  Something is not right.  Oh yeah, me.  

Monday, May 7, 2012


Ah, my poor neglected blog.  I abuse you with whining.

The progress on the weight front is stalled.  I still check into Sparkpeople, but I have not logged my food intake since before we went to Vermont in April. My weight loss was up to ten pounds, but has settled back at seven pounds.  At least the loss I've made is holding steady.  If I keep grazing on snacks, it will not.  I exercise very little these days, I simply am in pain all the time.  Low level pain, but it saps my energy, and hence my motivation to move.  Immobility creates low mood and stiffness, so I know I need to get up and do something, anything.  I need to get out.  I need people, face to face.  It isn't happening.  

Why pain?  This seroma sitting on my new abdominal mesh pulls and pinches constantly.  Hanging down, it jounces when I do water aerobics, walk, or stand.  I can't even lie on my tummy or back.  Sex is a chore of finding least painful positions.  The size of a grapefruit, the seroma sits just under the skin.  The surgeon aspirates it a couple times a month, but it yields very little fluid.  The needle aspiration doesn't hurt, but it isn't pleasant and results in ugly bruising.  More surgery would only bring more risk and complications.  This alien bump is draining my joy for life, and my motivation to do even the most basic chores.  

Oh yes, and then there's perimenopause.  Which means I haven't stopped my periods, but I have begun some of the less fun stages.  Crap.

I'm afraid if I talk to a doctor about my mood and mood swings, I'd be given drugs.  I don't think this general malaise is strictly brain chemicals, I can pinpoint what I'd doing to create my own personal hell.  I don't want pills to dig me out of it.  I've had them, I hate them. Too easy to lean on them and not feel human.  How depressed is too depressed?  Some? Any?  None?  Can't I just feel sad and frustrated with my current situation?  Because this won't last, it can't last.  I know there is always a light at the end of any tunnel.  I just am seriously annoyed with the cobwebs and trudging toward my happy place.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Ah, progress.

So things are going along as they do in mid-winter. Meh.

Tooth is fine, healing over. I still have a divot, but otherwise the mouth is fine.

I have lost a solid and respectable 7 pounds. Sparkpeople is working well for me. I am cheating the weekends a bit, bad me! I also have a heart rate monitor now, and it does help on the gazelle. I haven't tried my new walking poles yet.

Had my annual checkup. Got scolded for not taking my Singulair for my asthma, so I set an alarm for every evening. I wanna be Sedated by the Ramones. Make sense to me. My blood pressure is okay, I am not diabetic. My cholesterol is high, 217, so I am on Vytorin for six months. The weight loss and increased activity (when I do it) should bring me back off of it. After all, the women in my family may have been diabetic, but they died of heart disease. Not my plan!

Friday, January 6, 2012


We have had a Worldmark Timeshare for some time, and added a Mexican resort too, which we can book over into RCI. Holy crap. We got a free RCI week, which will be used in Vermont, we are going to Hawaii soon (Worldmark points from over a year ago). I got cracking on the weeks I had banked over to RCI, and now we have Tobago in 2013. And I called the Villa Group, booked Cancun (use it or lose it) and found a way to use my owner week coupled with 2013's week to go high season (winter) to Loreto.

Damn. Didn't touch the Worldmark points, going to use them to book airfare.
An embarrassment of riches. But who the hell wants to sit at home?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Good news all over.

And I am not being facetious!

I had another follow up on the hernia surgery, it looks good. I am still bloated with fluid, but I can go back to the pool, I can work out gently, and I can use my gazelle.

I am in a cancer research project through Huntsman Institute, they got my genetic test approved. I am negative for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations, which means I am NOT at higher risk for breast and ovarian cancers. With all the cancer in the family, my risk is 20~30%, rather than the 10% for the general population. Much better than 50~80%, don't you think?

I have started using to track my nutrition and fitness. A very good new tool in my toolkit. Like the book Younger Next Year, it is helping me plan for my improved health and wellness.

I got back on the Wii. I haven't used my balance board for so long the batteries were dead. A metaphor for life.

Oral surgery on Monday, it will go well, I insist! You hear me, universe?

And Hawaii for my birthday, huzzah.

In other news, the shoot out in Ogden happened just a block over, diagonally on the other side of the church. I was in the basement, watching TV, and didn't hear a thing.