family

Just Ask

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I'm one of those, "It's merely a flesh wound!" kind of people.  Can't stop.  Never give up.  Even when I'm hobbling around with a limb missing.  Offers of assistance are often countered with, "Nope, I got it!" I suffer from bouts of extreme guilt, worried that I may not deserve what help I do receive.  And God forbid I ask for help, even when I've fallen and can't get up.

But I'm changing.  Slowly, but surely.  I had a breakthrough on the asking-for-help business while in Colorado.  My new friend Frances let me help her in her garden for a couple of days in exchange for some herbal advice, essential oils and a plant brushing healing ceremony that we did together while I was at her Frogworks Studio.  

"Are we square, Frances?"
"Sure we are - you spent two days helping me in the garden."
"Don't give too much away, you did a lot for me..."  Suddenly, it was like I was talking to myself.

Several people took me aside during my Colorado visit and said, "If you ever need anything, just ask."  Apparently lot of people love me and would do anything for me.  Huh. 

If only I would ask.

Heartbreak

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I couldn't believe it the first time around. I couldn't believe there could be so many either misinformed or hateful Californians.  And here we are again.

Boyfriend and I put our names on the mailing list for the Courage Campaign last fall, after Californians voted fo pass Proposition 8 with 52.24% of the vote.  After attending a screening of Milk in December which was followed by a candlight vigil and  conversation with gay rights activists, we were moved to do something

So I began sharing the story of Harvey Milk, encouraging friends, family, everyone to see the movie, to learn about this important, but overlooked, piece of American history, and to understand the how important it is to stand up for everyone's human rights.  I told people, "The thing is, once you know someone who is gay, if you have a family member who is gay, gay rights becomes human rights, and it's a no-brainer.  We're all human."  But my own brother doesn't have the same rights as I do, and I can't imagine how that is possible for one second.

Boyfriend was compelled to write down his thoughts all those months ago.   I'll share them with you now:

"Watching the movie Milk made me realize a number of things.  It made me realize that bigotry is as alive today as it was a century ago.  It made me realize the amount of courage being openly gay requires, to say nothing of taking a stand on an issue or seeking office.  It starkly demonstrated the difference between being open with strangers and being open with your family or others whose opinions matter so much more.

Bigotry does not stand on Reason.  Bigotry stands on dogma or certainty in the unprovable.   Bigotry stands on the fact that one's neighbors believe the same way.  Unfortunately, it stands on the fear of speaking out in the face of near universal hostility, a hostility itself born of fear.

It is easy, being straight, to disregard gay rights as a fringe issue.  But in the end, it's no different than what Reverend Martin Niemoeller's words so starkly spoke of in Nazi Germany: “... Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak up.”  We have freedom only when everyone has freedom.

America is one of the very few places (and times) in all of world history where personal and religious freedom allow a person to practice or state one's beliefs openly.  "Love that or leave it" as Mr. Milk was quoted as saying in the movie.  Undermine that and none of us have freedom.

What the Milk movie made me realize is just how important personal courage is in fighting bigotry.  Personal courage is the willingness to stand alone, to stand up in the face of near universal disapproval from both strangers as well as the ones we love.

The personal courage of early believers in Christianity to die for their faith didn't lead to extermination; it led to mass conversion.  To me this is the most important thing for the gay rights movement to (re-)learn today.  Let the Declaration of Independence stand on Reason.  Let the courts stand on Reason.  And let how you believe stand on Reason.  But convince others with personal courage."

So while the California State Supreme Court's decision to uphold Proposition 8  was extremely disappointing, I'm not giving up hope.  Life is not worth living without hope.  I'm with Harvey Milk.

Share your thoughts and stories of personal courage here.

The Magic of Motherhood, Not Quite in Time for Mother's Day

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Let's not even get into the fact that my biological clock has been been shifting into overdrive for a while now.  (No, you can't ask me how long!  And I can feel you high-fiving each other, Kurtabel!)  But recent events have certainly heightened my nesting and maternal instincts, much to the dismay of all logical thinking.  

Then She Found Me came in the mail from Netflix the other day, and poor Boyfriend had no idea the treat he was in for.  By the time Helen Hunt shouted, "I'm not adopting a Chinese baby!" for the third time, I was nearly in tears.  

[Before certain family members get all excited, please see the previous post.  I'm in the process of adopting a CAT.]

So I'm going to risk boring you to tears by indulging myself in nature's version of the magic of motherhood.  I took this video Saturday* of the inaugural appearance of Momma Turkey Hen and her 9 balls of fluff.  Moms always seem to have impeccable timing, don't they?

Happy (belated) Mother's Day.

*NOTE: This video is not my own, but in an effort to keep my head from exploding, I opted to link to this video until I get my own posted to Youtube.  Did I mention how much I love Hughesnet satellite internet service?

UPDATE: I got the video uploaded without my head exploding.  Enjoy.

Many Things Are Better

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Written by Eric:

Dr. C, Lisa's neurosurgeon, reported back just after her biopsy: she had no hemorrhaging and doing fine. It looked like the very initial pathology suggested the tumor is not malignant, and there are neurosurgeons who may consider at least part of it operable. Her neurologist's bedside checkup was all normal. And she is all smiles. We'll find out more from the formal pathology report on Monday.

Some of the facts:
She has a golf ball sized tumor in her right temporal lobe. Her fall Friday was most likely caused by a seizure brought on by inflammation in the right side of her brain. That seems under control with anti-seizure and anti-inflammatory medication.

She can not drive for at least six months. And of course we're going to limit what we do to lessen injuries if she has another seizure. She will most likely need anti-seizure meds for the rest of her life.

Today we woke up to birds singing, the neighbor dog barking, and the almost overpowering aroma of flowers. We've had about 14 hours of sleep, and breakfast on the screen-porch where she said: "Everything is different now. I don't know how to describe it.... The air smells fresher, birds sound better, and I feel so much love and happiness. More love and happiness than I've ever felt."

 

Letter to Friends & Family

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Email written by Eric while Lisa was in surgery, sent at home Friday:

As some of you may know, Lisa had a fall sometime Friday night. After taking her to the ER at Cottage Hospital on Monday for a severe persistent headache, a CT scan revealed abnormal swelling in the right side of her brain. She had two minor seizures Monday, but with anti-swelling and seizure medications her headache went away and seizures stopped but she spent the night in the ICU due to the risk.

An MRI Tuesday morning revealed a roughly golf ball size tumor in her right temporal lobe. The neurosurgeon's opinion was that it is non-operable due to the size and location.

The next step, which we're taking as I write this, is a biopsy to determine just what it is, how aggressive it is, etc.

So you know, Lisa and I are fine. Of course we would like this to work out in a positive way. But on the other hand, we know it may not. The most important thing is that we are positive and happy - actually have never been happier. That may seem odd, but we do have a choice in how we think and we would both prefer to be happy and positive with any time we have here together or otherwise.

We have in fact both cried, but I think for the most part, it has been due to being overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and kindness from everyone from loved ones to total strangers.

Of course, pray for her if that helps you, but whatever you do, keep her in your thoughts. In general, keep others in your thoughts - what you give is generally returned many fold.

I'll update more when I can,
[please see www.girlbert.com for updates etc.]
Love,
Eric & Lisa

 

All smiles in the ICU

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Family - Circa 1980

Family - Circa 1980

Brother and Sister

Brother and Sister

Siblings, Memorial Day 2008, NYC

Siblings, Memorial Day 2008, NYC
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