Calgon, Take Me Away!

I ran away from home last Tuesday.  Me and 90 of my closest friends took the Amtrak from Sacramento to points north.  Many stops along the way but I got off in Eugene, Oregon, where my cousin’s wife was waiting to pick me up and ferry me to their house in Springfield.  I’ve been having a blast and am reluctant to return home tomorrow, but I guess I’m still obligated to parent the Villagers until they’re 18 or something so I’ll be on the 5:10 p.m. train for points south.

Kathy & Cheryl have been the best. hostesses. EVER!!!  Every minute of every day they’ve waited on me hand and foot.  We go to bed when we want, we wake up when we want, we do stuff when we want (or not!) and I’m pretty sure I’ll come out of this with a six pack for abs I’ve been laughing so much so hard!  Every night we sit out in the back yard with a drink and just relax while taking in the beauty of Kathy’s flower garden.  Once in awhile we’ll see the mama tree swallow leave the fence to forage for her new chicks, and we take turns slaughtering the abundance of flies that flock to the neighbor’s dog shit.

It’s been hotter than hell (I tend to bring bad weather with me wherever I go, lol) but they do a good job of keeping the house cool, considering there’s no central air.  Just keep the ice cold Cokes a comin’ and I’ll be just fine.  I was hoping to meet their famous friends tonight with a rousing game of Cards Against Humanity, but we forgot it’s a holiday and everyone’s got plans.  Oh well, I guess I will have to make a return trip for the company!  Instead we’ll continue our IT Crowd marathon (which Cheryl especially enjoys since she’s the IT queen at her job), play some cards, and relax after a fun afternoon spent at the Saturday Market in downtown Eugene.

I don’t cry very much these days, but I think when my train leaves tomorrow I’m going to be a little verklempt.  I really love my family.  <3

Help! I’ve Aged And I Can’t Get Up!

(get your mind out of the gutter, I said get up, not get IT up!)

So, I turned 40 a couple weeks ago and it’s really messing with me.  If age comes up in conversation or I’m taking a survey (which I actually do quite often) and I’m asked to enter my age, something inside me dies a little every time I key in the number 40.

Part of me knows 40 is no big deal.  It’s the new 20, right?  Except no matter how hard I try to polish it, 40 still feels like a death sentence to me.

I had my young and wild days.  I got married.  I had kids.  They’re practically adults, or they’re at least at an age where if I died, it wouldn’t be so hard on them as if they were younger.  Honey would have no trouble getting over me and finding a new spouse.

If I were 35 and wanted to wear pigtails, it wouldn’t be within the realm of ridiculous.  Now that I’m 40?  It totally is.  Yes, I could if I wanted to, but it just wouldn’t feel right so I wouldn’t.

If I were 38 and wanted to wear neon nail polish, it’d be hot!  In my 40’s?  It’d just be sad.

All my friends still have young kids.  Like, practically babies young.  Shoot, one of them does have a baby!  Me?  Technically I could now be a granny.  Sure, I’d have to ground my child ’til they were 90, but it could happen.

And so my interwebz friends, I’m asking you to help me.  Help me think of things that are truly cool about being 40+.  Because other than getting to take fun trips by myself without the family falling apart while I’m gone, I can’t think of anything.

I Can’t Adult

I think that damn little hamster in my head needs his legs broken.  I’m not sad, but I’m definitely depressed.  And ashamed.  And scared.

I haven’t showered.  For an amount of time I’m too ashamed to admit.  Actually, I lost count.

I stopped grocery shopping and cooking meals.  At least, on my own anyway.  Honey has to invite me to go shopping with him, and I’m kicking and screaming inside when we go.

I pick up my son from school late because I can’t make myself leave the house.

I’m constantly lonely, and when I get to be with other grownups all I can think of is how uncomfortable it is to be around them.

I’m having a birthday party in two weeks and terrified that nobody will come.

I’m terrified they will.

I’m going to Reno next weekend to be with my sister and nieces.  I’m terrified of that, too.

People say all kinds of nice things to me, they try to lift me up with their words, but I don’t believe them.  It’s not that I think they’re liars, I just know what they say isn’t true.

I can’t live up to those things.

I’m afraid I’ll disappoint you.

Radical Self Respect

In February my OB/GYN’s assistant emailed me that it’s time for a pap screening.  Yippee!  Just the thing all women want to hear.  Except last time I visited my lady doctor, it was a disaster.

God, through some scientists, developed this amazing thing called the Mirena IUD.  Most women use this as birth control, but I like it for an extra special reason.  NO PERIODS!! (Periods are from the devil)  It’s great because it just sits there in your body doing its thing.  You don’t have to remember to take a pill at the same time every day.  Every 5 years you get a new one and you’re good to go!

I really like(d) my gyno.  At first I was a little weirded out because he’s a dude, but he was so kind and professional I just got over it.  At my last appointment (when it was Mirena swapping time) he looked at my chart and with a little distress in his voice mentioned I had gained some weight since my last visit.  Yup, I had.  Not really surprised.  My mom had moved in with us and I was stress eating a lot.  It wasn’t that much though, maybe 10-15 lbs (which ok, on a normal person is a lot but on me you can’t really tell the difference).  He then proceeded with the exam and procedure, which ended up being the most painful thing I’ve experienced, next to drug-free childbirth.  I left feeling vulnerable and humiliated.  I was in so much pain I could barely walk, and by the time I got home was feeling really violated.  Like my friendly doctor had turned into a monster and tortured me for fun.

A lot has happened since the last time I saw the lady doctor.  I know I’ve gained more weight, and in the back of my mind I’m thinking “Hmmm…. how long has it been since my last appt?  I think I have to get that Mirena swapped out again soon… not really looking forward to that.”  It wasn’t even on my radar that I needed a pap screen.   Since I’m turning 40 they’ll finally let me have a mammogram so I know I need to schedule that, but lady doctor visit? Nah.

Until the assistant emailed me in February that it’s time to be violated screened again.

I tried ignoring the email.  I said to myself that it’d be a cold day in hell before I go back to that doctor again.  Plus, all my other screens have been normal so I’m probably fine this time too.  But then, my regular doctor emailed me a month later telling me the same thing.  Time to see the lady doc again!  Dang… these Kaiser doctors are persistent!  I mentally hit the IGNORE button.

Last month I got a recorded message saying “Make a friggin’ appointment why don’tcha??”  Ok, not really, but I did get a recorded message hounding me to come in for the pap screen.  I was starting to feel like someone over there must be really bored if they had all this time to devote to little ol’ me and my cervix!  And then I totally hung up and said “Nopity nope nope.  Not gonna do it.”

Two days ago a live person called.  I felt trapped.  I literally had nowhere to hide and I didn’t want to burden this poor assistant with why I didn’t want to come in.  So I made the appointment, and I’ve been dreading it ever since.

I decided to email Dr. Lady Bits about how I’m feeling.  He really is a good doctor, and I don’t want to go through the hassle of finding a new one.  So I put on my big girl panties and this is what I said:

 

I’m concerned about my upcoming visit for a pap test. The last time I saw you to have my IUD removed & replaced you commented that I had gained some weight since the last visit. It made me feel very vulnerable & insecure & like you would rather not have me as a patient. Whether it was because of my size making the procedure difficult or because of a subconscious attitude toward me, I left that visit in a lot of physical pain & feeling like I had been violated. I spent the rest of that day & 2 more curled up in bed it was so painful. I’ve known I needed this pap test since your assistant emailed 3 months ago but have been reluctant to schedule it because once again, I have gained weight & fear exposing myself to another traumatic visit. I know it can be difficult & unpleasant to work with someone my size. I feel great shame knowing how repulsed you must be. I’m telling you this because I think you are a good doctor & want you to understand the power of your words. Sincerely, Mrs. Sallygirl

 

That’s all I had room for.  They only give you 1000 characters.  There was some serious editing, and I had to use the “&” every time I would have just used the word “and”; which makes me feel so… teenaged and twitterspoken.  I wish I could have told him that he took an oath to do no harm, but he harmed me.  The way he treated me prevented me from seeking medical care that could potentially save my life.  I felt angry that because someone saw me as less than human (or at least made me feel that way), that I couldn’t get the medical care that we pay nearly $2k/month for.  I felt angry for myself, for others like me, and for other people who are not treated with dignity and respect (because they are the wrong race, or the wrong gender, or gay, or trans) because of someone’s prejudices.

And then I felt gratitude.

Because, I am surrounded by strong women who every day show me how to be brave and how to have radical self respect.  I took the lessons I learned from them and I applied it to myself.  I spoke up and took control of the situation, and I’m still going in for that blasted appointment.  I hope that when you encounter a situation like mine in your own life that you will remember that no one is better than anyone else and that you are just as worthy of the dignity and respect you give to others.

Rock on, my friends!

A Birthday Wish List

This year, I’m turning 40.  (I can’t believe I just said that.)

I’m planning on having a party, and the thing I want most is to be surrounded by my family and friends.  To be able to hang out with all the people that keep me going, there’s no better gift!  There’ll be a pinata, good food and my favorite mocktail.  Kids will swim in the pool, grownups will play bocce, Ker-Plunk! and Giant Jenga while the music blasts; and maybe there’ll be some dancing under the twinkle lights as the evening winds down.  I’m even boarding the dog so she won’t get on anybody’s nerves!

I don’t expect any gifts, but I know some people won’t be able to help themselves.  It is for them that I created this list:

Things I Will Not Look Horse In The Mouth At:

  • And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini (I read his other two books and finally understood what the conflict in the Middle East is about.)  Book
  • Admission to this year’s Sunstone Symposium. I’m dying to attend the Mormon Food Matrix lecture given by the incredible Jerilyn Hassell Pool!  I’m hoping if I touch her apron hem, some of her awesomeness will rub off on me.
  • Bubble Talk.  It’s one of my new favorite games.
  • Cards Against Humanity.  I’d actually love the limited edition Mormanity, but there’s no one around for miles that would appreciate it besides myself.  Though the fundraising campaign is over, I know a guy who knows a gal, and may or may not be able to secure a copy of the game.
  • Torani Cane Sweetner syrup with pump.  I’d like to try my hand at making my sweet sweet iced coffee at home this summer…#Starbucksaddict
  • A pineapple mint plant.  I hear it tastes great in lemonade!
  • Gift cards are always appreciated!  My favorite flavor is AMC, but I also like Home Depot, Target, Sephora, iTunes, World Market and Amazon!
  • California Poppy seed bombs.  They’re one of my favorite flowers!  And Zinnias.  I love those, too.
  • Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  Good luck finding it, though.  I read that there has been more demand than the publisher has been able to keep up with.  I’d settle for borrowing your copy, just to be able to read it. 
  • A lunch date with Jude Law, Ewan McGregor, RDJ, or Thor.  No, not Chris Hemsworth, THOR.
  • A complete and total reboot of the Divergent series of films with a brand new and more appropriately paired cast.
  • A gift certificate for somebody that’s not me to come paint my interior.  I’ll supply the paint!
  • Branch shears.  I’m tired of the backyard neighbor’s tree shedding into our pool!
  • Table Topics! I’m a pretty good conversationalist, but sometimes my brain hurts and I need someone else to do the work.
  • SIMON Carabiner.  For badassery on the go!
  • Aaaaand this set of Glassware.  Because, Nojitos!  And pineapple lemonade!  Aguas frescas!

 

You’re all invited.  I hope you make it!  It’s gonna be fun. :D

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