Tag Archives: fear

Yup, we killed an ocean


This is just the beginning

This whole oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has really upset me. This is odd because I am not an exceptionally “green” person. I mean, I am not opposed to recycling or low emission cars, but occasionally I will still toss a recyclable item in with the regular garbage and I refuse to start a compost bin. So, to be having nightmares about this oil catastrophe is odd for me.

Last night I dreamt that the entire ocean floor blew up causing tidal waves to sink most of America and all of Mexico. All because of this top kill that BP had tried. There were whales and sharks and dolphins trying to flop into peoples pools and people were drowning in their homes and fish were attacking us whenever they had the chance. Terrifying.

Now, I know that was just a nightmare, but really, if me, a girl in upstate New York has a subconscious that is screaming this loud about what is going on, something has to be really, really wrong. I mean more wrong than just killing millions of animals and ruining the livelihood of all the people who rely on the ocean for income. Something irreversibly bad is happening. And it is our fault. Us, as the human race. All our fault. This is not a Katrina or a Haiti. This is all on us. We did this not just to ourselves but to the earth. We killed an entire ocean.

I do have a tie to the Gulf. When I lived in Houston as a teen, my friends and I would spend every weekend swimming and tanning  and surfing in Galveston. I got my second case or sun poisoning in Galveston. My best friend and I went, just the two of us, no surfer boys, to tan. This was not the best idea as I am a translucent white girl who only ever turns pink (see this https://sparklingbytheway.wordpress.com/2010/04/23/lucy-and-ethel-got-nuthin-on-us/ for an idea on how ,as I got older, I didn’t necessarily get any wiser when it comes to the color of my skin). So, I had on a string bikini and my best friend had on a bandu bikini. She had a brilliant idea that we should pull in the sides of our bottoms as we layed on our stomach so that more of our butt cheeks would tan there by making our butts look smaller. Brilliant!

We could hardly sit on the way home because our butts were so burned. We were in such pain all over and bright red. Her 1969 VW Bug didn’t have air conditioning but the wind from the windows was like sandpaper on our burned bodies. We were miserable. We got back to my apartment, stripped and about died laughing. I had three bright white triangles and a white stripe in the back and she had a white horizontal stripe in the front and a  triangle in the back. Oh the silliness of youth. We had to keep slathering ourselves with Noxema to keep our skin temperature down. But then the Noxema smell started to make us really sick. What a day. I will never forget how sick I was but how much fun I always had in the Gulf.

And now that is lost to any future generations who want to try surfing or burn their exceptionally white bodies to a crisp. I went crabbing there, I got hit in the head by a fish who jumped right out of the water, I stepped on a slow-moving turtle. I experienced nature, the life of the ocean. And to be totally honest, I don’t even like fish. Or the ocean really. I am not one of those people who feels drawn to the ocean or has any real connection to dolphins or whales. Again, this is why it is a bit strange to me that I would be so wound up over what is happening in the Gulf.

I guess it is the loss of life and the magnitude or what we, as keepers of the planet, have allowed to happen to our world. It is more than just the loss of life, it is bigger than the oil washed birds that are dying a slow and painful death (although that is totally enough). It is what we have done. And we are all responsible and we all will pay the price.

A friend from Texas  sent me the specifics of WHY it is taking BP so long to stop the flow of oil from the broken pipe. He has lived in the region his whole life and has known many oil people. I get it. I get that they are doing the best they can with what they have. What I don’t get is how what they have is not even close to being what they need to stop the oil. How did they not know that drilling a well that is inaccessible to humans was a disaster waiting to happen? And how were they not prepared for that disaster? How far our arrogance has taken us and how far we have fallen and how awful that the totally innocent have to pay the price.

It is just so sad, all this loss of life and the knowledge that lives will continue to be lost for years to come. We have made birds and fish and people suffer because of our senseless desires. I live a few miles from a wind farm. The wind turbines are awesome to see. Many people around here have solar panels on their houses. There are other sources for energy. There is no more reason for us to harm the earth just so we can live. Like I said, I am no tree hugger, but I am totally using this opportunity to scare my kids into shutting off the lights when they leave a room. Something’s gotta change.

God bless the Gulf and rest in peace to all the lives lost, human and animal alike.

I once was LOST but now am found


this is me on the plane flying to the island to make sure the smoke monster hasn't eaten the entire cast.

Tonight is the finale of the tv show Lost. It has been six years that I have been sharing the lives of Sun, Jin, Ben, Michael,Kate, Jack, Sawyer and all the rest. It is a well written show that always kept me guessing. And growing up watching 4 soap operas a day, religiously, I am well versed on all of the typical story line twists. Nothing much on tv dramas surprises me….but Lost always has. It has never gone for the easy way out, it has never given me the answer in a typical way. It really does make me suspend my disbelief because I want to rather than because I have to.

I began watching it when they replayed the entire first season in one summer. I was hooked. I was scared out of my mind, I made my husband get up in the middle of the night and go with me to the bathroom. It just had that effect on me (that I was going to pee the bed because I was too scared to move…) After that, I counted the days till season two began. And as the second season was ending, I was in the process of separating from my husband and moving into a new home and taking care of my father who was slowly dying from lung cancer. The only reprieve I was getting was my weekly episode of Lost. I would rush home from work, kick out the babysitter and sit on the floor of my new, unfurnished home and cry and wonder along with the cast of wanders on the island.

I felt connected to their struggles, I understood their loneliness, I felt their pain. Ofcourse, it was all mine, the struggle, loneliness and pain. I knew it was just a tv show. But what a tv show it was. I will miss all of the characters and most especially the stellar writing. I will never forget those dark nights, driving home alone, knowing that the next day would be nothing more than sorrow and grief yet feeling comforted by the fact that Lost would be on when I got there to help me escape for just a little while. Some find peace in the bottle, some find it in another’s bed, I found it on ABC Wednesdays at 9pm EST (and this season on Tuesdays 9pm EST which worked out much better for my schedule, thanks Jacob!)

Now, if this big ending is something stupid like the smoke monster eats everyone I will sell my house to make the pilgrimage to that tiny island between Australia and L.A. Ofcourse I know exactly where it is and how to get there, and so do you…..(eerie Lost music plays….)



because I figured I would have been censored if I put a picture of a naked man, but Terry would have LOVED these shoes 🙂

I remember exactly where I was when I first learned about AIDS. I was standing in my grandma’s kitchen and we were getting dinner on the table. I was maybe 8 years old…we had the evening new on the tv. The anchor was reporting that they had now named the virus that was linked to homosexual male cancer. It was called Auto Immune Deficiency Syndrome. He went on to explain that they still were unsure how the virus was being transmitted, but it was most likely through blood, seamen, saliva, tears and mucus. The anchor was warning everyone that any exchange of these fluids with an infected person would lead to death.

The first thing I heard was AIDS causes death. I immediately burst into tears. My grandma had a box of “Aids” in her refrigerator. They were a dietary supplement she had been using to try to lose some weight. I insisted that she throw them out. She did. Wether to calm me down or because she hated the damn things anyway, I don’t know. The second thing I heard is that they weren’t sure exactly how the virus was being transmitted but it was probably through everything that comes out of our bodies. Oh and through kissing and using public toilets. My mother was a nurse, so I told her she had to quit because she came into contact with sick people everyday and now it was way to dangerous for her to go to work. She didn’t quit.

She didn’t do much to relieve my fears either. She simply said that they were doing all sorts of research and that sick people needed well people to take care of them and she was not sick so she would take care of those who were. I didn’t really care for her logic. My dad had to institute all sorts of new techniques when it came to the care and handling of the deceased. In my family, AIDS was a presence in our lives.

The first person I ever knew personally to have AIDS was a guy I met when I lived in Houston. I was 17 and living with my best friend in an apartment complex (think lower income level Melrose Place). Just below our apartment was Terry. He was a very stereotypical gay man who was very funny. He was dying. I got to be quite close to Terry in the 6 months that we lived there. He had TONS of house plants and his bathroom was collaged from ceiling to floor with pictures of naked men. Classic naked man pictures or funny naked man pictures….ceiling to floor. And it was a large bathroom!! Very creative, if you ask me.

Terry’s family had abandoned him when they found out he had AIDS. He would bounce between understanding, self loathing and anger in regards to his family and his diagnoses. He drank openly to try to escape, at least for a little while. He didn’t have much money, he couldn’t work. He had lost most of his friends and he had lost his lover to the disease the year before. He had more medications on his kitchen counter than he had food in his cupboard. But Lord was he funny!!! Towards the end he began giving away his “stuff”. His friend who was always (I am not exaggerating when I say always) in jean cut offs, a white tank and work boots came up to give us three of Terry’s bigger house plants that he had been growing for years. We all knew the end was near. I think after that, Terry and I made one final trip to the liquor store, vodka for him, Bailey’s for me. We went back to his place, changed into caftans and furry slippers and we got drunk and laughed, we hugged and cried, he got mad and stormed about. We sat on the bathroom floor and he told me the stories behind each picture on the wall.

Terry taught me that I did not have to fear a victim of AIDS. He taught me that facing death is partly brave and partly not brave. However fleeting life may be it holds significance, no matter the cause of death. I hope Terry knows how he changed my life.

After Terry, there was my old dance teacher Rinaldo. My mother was with Rinaldo as he took his final breath, holding his hand. His last words were “I am dancing again….” Another friend John was in end stage when he and I reconnected briefly. He held my eldest daughter when she was just 6 months old and he made her laugh, he gave her a kiss and told me she was beautiful. John really mellowed in the last few weeks of his life because I remembered him as the skin head mean guy who threatened to stab my best friend’s mother if she tried to drag me out of the bar we were in.

Because of these people I knew, because I got an upclose and intimate view of exactly what AIDS does to a person’s body and spirit, I was always scared of contracting it myself. Not through touch or tears or even a kiss. I was not scared to hold these dying people as they cried. But by the time I came “of age” we knew that AIDS did not discriminate and the incidence of women with HIV/AIDS was almost as high as gay men. I was a statistic waiting to happen. That I saw this disease in action was a very good thing. While my girlfriends were out having sex, unprotected with no care in the world, I insisted on testing before and protection. My girlfriends hadn’t lived through watching someone die from the disease. They had no clue. I was fearful for them. I tried to explain what I had experienced to them and they just did not believe it could happen to them. I knew it could happen to me.

Having children who are coming to age in this day, I have impressed upon them the fact that AIDS kills. Sure, with the drugs available, people with HIV (the pre-cursor to AIDS) are living longer, healthier lives. Regardless, living with HIV is no walk in the park. I have told them that getting pregnant is not the only consequence to having sex. Death is still a possibility. I know we are better educated today, I know that we have better medicines and better research but AIDS still kills. People are still contracting AIDS.

Not just in Africa, here in America. Our kids are not learning about AIDS the way we did. For my generation AIDS  was a lead story on the evening news 7 nights a week. We watched the progression of awareness from it being a “gay cancer” to being a “gay plague” to being a full blown, worldwide epidemic. It seems that the panic has taken a backseat as we have learned more about the disease, like it is only transmittable through blood and sexual fluids. As cancer has replaced AIDS in the epidemic category, I can’t help but worry that we are doing our children a disservice by not keeping AIDS education in the forefront of  our awareness. Kids are not catching cancer.

AIDS is still out there and no one is immune. The fight still continues against this horrible and sad disease. As a tribute to those who have fought and lost we all need to keep the fight going, we need to protect our kids with information and we need to find the cure. It’s out there, it can be done and in the meantime, I will put on my silk robe and furry slippers and drink a toast to Terry….I have to wait till the kids are grown to re-decorate the bathroom though…Love.