Friday, August 23, 2013


You know what can make you feel like a total dick? Going on a beach vacation while your mom is in Hospice. Also? Cutting in line, getting caught looking up and down at someone's outfit, littering. But I only did one of those things (I didn't get caught so the outfit thing doesn't count)--I went on vacation while my mom is in Hospice and felt like a terrible daughter/human being.

I could go on and on about people telling me I need to take care of myself, that I deserve this vacation, etc. etc, but really. It didn't feel right, though nothing does right now. Blah blah, are you tired of me being sad? Because I am. So let's look at a few/too many photos from my vacation and pretend for a second that you can't feel my mopey dick face* on the other side of the camera**...
Joy. Someone has it.
Babe. My babe.
Looking in the right direction.
I paid her two Oreos to drape the kelp over herself, and it was worth every last trigyceride.
Happy boy.
If you're wondering why there are more photos of Zoey than Ozzy it's because Ozzy prefers to go nudey at the beach and I don't want to post pics of him in the altogether.
Love the confidence. Even if it only lasted until her first wipeout.
Cali Girl.
Eventually the feeling of being a total dick outweighed the warm water and I decided I couldn't stick my head (toes) in the sand any longer, so I flew home early while the rest of the family stayed for a few more days. I have a feeling it was just in time.
So if you were on Virgin America flight 958 this afternoon and were wondering who that woman was with her forehead pressed against the window crying, that was me. And I'm not a dick. But I was looking you up and down. To make up for it all, I left my Us Weekly in the seat pocket for you to read.


*Mopey dick. Heh heh. See what I did there?
**If you're my Facebook friend, let's also pretend you didn't already see all these pics on FB.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Everything I write here will be a lie. Mainly because nothing I write could come close to what is going on. How the breeze comes through the open window of my mom's Hospice room, or the sound of the church bells nearby...We are close to where it all began, my dad says, a few blocks from where my parents lived when they first moved to San Francisco 40+ years ago. He shows me the window of the room where I was conceived and I try to be an adult about it all. This being the Castro, later we see a naked man at the bus stop wearing a metallic gold sock on his penis and sneakers on his feet. The fog whips over the hill and it's cold. These things are all real, some of them tangible even, but still they can't be true.
They gave me a booklet. It's called Approaching the End of Life. I read it before bed and try to pretend I'm a Buddhist, that this is just a transition, that everything is changeable, appears and disappears. The cover of the booklet has a picture of sand, shells, a starfish, only now they are called seastars because they aren't fish and never were, though come to think of it, they aren't stars either, now are they? All of it lies, like this, what I'm writing. None of it can come close to what is really going on, the messages I have saved on my cell phone from my mom. Dozens of them--always Unknown Caller--knowing that there will soon be a time I won't be able to call her again, hear her voice, the way she says my name, how the thought of this makes me lose my breath. I guess that's the truth, or as close as I can get to one right now.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Quadratic Frustration

I like things to be just so. Like if I am hungry, I rate my hunger on a scale of 1 to 10, though the extremes never stay constant. How sad am I? On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 spilling over with joy and 10 soul crushing grief? I am an 8, the number somehow balancing right in my chest like that. For a creative who writes for a living and doodles on everything, I like to quantify my world. A 3 for sleepy, a 6 for thirsty, I am a 1 on a scale of understanding univariate polynomial equations of the second degree, 1 being I have no idea though I very much like saying the words.

Sexy graffiti if you ask me.
How long are we talking? I ask everyone what they think. Doctors, nurses, my dad, my brother. What do you think? On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being writhing, crying in pain, my mom is now usually a 9. 4 for clarity, sometimes more, she has lost at least 30lbs. I run these numbers through my head like worry beads, 9, 4, divided by the square root of 82...there is no constant and I can't do the math. How long are we talking?

The oncologist says it could be weeks, it could be a year, but there is just no way. My mom is not eating. The oncologist also pauses a lot when he talks; I want to take his dry hands in mine so that maybe he will flip to the back of the book for the answer. I know this--the Rule of Threes: 3 weeks without food, 3 days without water, 3 minutes without air. More numbers yet still no one will tell me.

I need to know how to pace myself. Because sometimes math becomes a word problem when significant information is presented as text rather than mathematical notation. The age-old SAT question. How many days should I leave work at 4pm to go to the hospital to then rush home in time to put the kids to bed to then jump back on work email to make sure nothing falls behind? A few weeks, a year? When will the train reach the station? Otherwise written as: how long can I subsist as an 8, the inside of my chest surely bruised, and more importantly, how long must my mom be a 9?