Saturday, December 12, 2009
As loving as all the children and caretakers were, Clementine was the kindest of them all. She helped the cooks in the kitchen, she helped plant vegetables in the garden in the early spring, and she helped teach the younger children to read. Of all the jobs she took on, the one she loved the most was telling stories to the sick children in the medical ward. She was cheery all year round, but she was the most cheery during the holiday season, if only for one reason. Every year for Christmas, she received one sweet orange in her stocking. She loved sweet oranges more than any other food. She loved them more than candy. She would make each slice last as long as she could. Then she would save the seeds in a scrapbook she had made. The pages of the scrapbook were labeled by year, and she had saved each seed from every year for as long as she could remember.
One year there was a terrible frost. Many of the orange crops died. One of the caretakers presented Clementine with the bad news. "I’m sorry Clementine, it doesn’t look like there will be any oranges this year. This is most unfortunate because we have a lot of sick children this year, and they need them more than ever." Clementine was very saddened by this; not because she loved the oranges so much, but because she loved the sick children in the ward much more.
She ran back to her room and began to write a letter to Santa Claus. In the letter she asked Santa to help her orphanage this Christmas. She said she didn’t want any oranges for the rest of her life, if it meant that the sick children could have them. Along with the letter, she included a small packet. In the packet were all the orange seeds she had saved over the years. She left the letter on her windowsill and settled in for the night. The wind picked up the letter and delivered it straight to the North Pole. Santa read the letter the next morning. He was so moved by Clementine’s kindness that he decided to take action. He looked at the seeds she had sent and he noticed that most of them were very old. In fact, some of them looked like they had broken in half. He knew he could not plant these seeds because they would not grow.
That year, Santa traveled the world looking for any oranges that he might be able to take to this orphanage. Unfortunately, it looked like all the sweet orange crops had died around the world. He made his final stop in China, where he visited an old friend, a Buddhist monk. The monk ran a temple that devoted much of its time growing mandarin oranges. However, the harvest from that year had been thrown away by the other monks and village people. "I’m sorry Santa. Most of us are very old, and the skins of the mandarins were too tough. We are too weak to peel the tough skin. All we have left are these seeds from last year. Most of them are old. In fact, a lot of them have split in half."
Santa stood and pondered for a little bit. He knew that this temple was his last resort. All of a sudden he had an idea.
"Head Monk, do you have any bare land for planting?" asked Santa.
"Alas, we only have one acre of land, and it is surrounded by a dark, dead forest."
"It will have to do," said Santa. " I propose that we mix our seeds together and plant them in that acre. Whatever grows we will split in half."
The Monk, believing he had nothing to lose, went along with Santa’s plan. They planted all the seeds in the land. Then, Santa brought out some buckets of melted snow from the North Pole and used it to water the seeds. Some people say that the snow from the North Pole has a little touch of magic in it. They say that it’s what makes the reindeer fly.
Santa and the Monk woke up early the next morning to check on the seeds. What they saw baffled them both. The one-acre of land was full of life. Big trees had sprouted in every direction. It seemed that even the forest surrounding the acre had turned orange and green. Each of the trees was bursting with small ripe fruit. The fruit was smaller than a sweet orange, but bigger than a mandarin.
The Monk reached out and grabbed the first little orange he saw. He peeled back the skin, and noticed how easily it came off. He picked out a slice and ate it. The slice was so sweet and juicy. It was like honey had been poured on his tongue.
There was so much fruit that all the villagers had to help Santa and the monks harvest it all. There was so much fruit, in fact, that everyone in the world received one of these special oranges for Christmas. But Santa saved a special batch that he had picked himself for a special orphanage.
That year, Santa hand-delivered the special oranges to the children at the orphanage. He saved a very special orange for Clementine. He handed her the plumpest one he could find.
"Clementine," he said, " your kind letter inspired me so much that I traveled the world looking for oranges. But I did not find any. Instead, a friend and I used some of his seeds and some of your seeds to grow some oranges. Then, these miracle oranges grew overnight. They are perfect for children, because they are very sweet, juicy, and just the right size. Because they are so perfect, I’ve decided to name them after you. From this day forth they shall be known as Clementines."
And that is why we always have Clementines during the holiday season.
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
Me: You cant fool me Brad! When are you going to leave angelina for me?
SA: Dearest Heather. I KNEW you were the smartest ever. The Angelina thing is just for publicity. Shiloh & twins were made in test tubes. Soon, my love, soon. -BP
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
I often find that there are two major groups of people in this world: 1) people who are very religious, and 2) people who despise religion. There is a smaller group of people who consider themselves agnostic and an even smaller number of people are stuck in the middle of all three due to pure curiosity. I have found myself wandering in this smaller group.
I have decided that now is the best time to embark on a little project I’ve been thinking about for the past couple of years. I have built a very diverse network of friends, so I believe that this will work. I’ve decided that over the next couple of weeks, I would like to attend a service at all of the following, in no particular order:
1) A Hindu Temple
2) A Buddhist Temple
3) A Zoroastrian Service
4) A Mosque
5) A Baptist Church with one of those lively choirs
6) A Jewish Temple or Synagogue
This will mainly be an observational study from the perspective of someone who has faced her mortality.
I realize some of these places might have exclusion rules that might create barriers for me. This is where you guys come in. If you belong to one of these establishments, and you feel you can get me in, so to speak, I would love to attend a service with you. I would like to complete this project within before the middle of February, so we have lots of time. Please just leave a comment here with your name and I will get back to you.
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
Many of the resources available to cancer patients to help with deal with the physical and emotional pain, but there are very few resources to deal with the elements outside of those two realms, which I like to call the organizational pain. On top of my regular life, I have to organize many doctor's appointments, dozen of medications including dosages and times, preparations for chemo, including stocking up on food, medical supplies, books, filling out endless medical forms, making sure they get submitted to the right people, making sure everything is set up for working from home...the to-do list was endless and seem to grow not unlike the tumors in my boob.
I realized that the stress from the organizational pain could easily slip into emotional or physical pain, so I decided to change my perspective. I recalled a White Stripes song, Little Acorns, which has a intro speech by Mort Crim. Here is text from that speech:
"When problems overwhelm us and sadness smothers us, where do we find the will and the courage to continue? Well, the answer may come in the caring voice of a friend, a chance encounter with a book, or from a personal faith. For Janet help came from her faith, but it also from a squirrel. Shortly after her divorce, Janet lost her father, then she lost her job. She had mounting money problems. But Janet not only survived, she worked her way out of despondency and now she says, life is good again. How could this happen? She told me that late one Autumn day when she was at her lowest she watched a squirrel storing up nuts for the winter, one at a time he would take them to the nest. And she thought, if that squirrel can take care of himself with the harsh winter coming along, then so can I. Once I broke my problems into small pieces I was able to carry them, just like those acorns, one at a time."
For me, that's all there is to it. I didn't look at my whole list; I just looked at the next item and dealt with it on its own.
In related news, I was hypnotized on Saturday. I have a severe aversion to needles, which is a cruel phobia to give a cancer patient, and my friend's mother used hypnosis on me to help ease my anxiety. I must say, when I came to, I felt amazingly relaxed. A rush of endorphins came over me, and I was at peace. During the session, the hypnotist had me conjure an image/word that would be my "tool" for overcoming anxiety. The first word that came to mind was "rainbows", and I just went with it. I didn't really think about my choice, except that I feel color is an amazing source of energy for me. When I told my friend what my word was, she said something very wise. She said "Rainbows are made by mixing a storm with radiant light. Your sickness is like the storm, but you are the light, and together you make something beautiful."
I couldn't agree with her more. While this disease is horrible, and I wouldn't wish it on Stalin and Hitler's love child, it has brought me very close to some amazing people. I now see the miracles that reside in the hearts of everyone.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
I have been diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma, the most common form of breast cancer. It is unusual for someone my age to have this, but my oncologist is very optimistic. It is at stage three, so the cancer has not spread.
Here are a few things you need to know if I have regular real life contact with you:
1) Please don't call me just yet. My phone is ringing off the hook from doctors at the moment. Don’t worry, I am smothered with love at the moment. You can leave comments here.
2) I will be undergoing chemo very soon. This means I will be wearing a wide variety of interesting hats and wigs.
3) If you are sick, you can’t come near me. My white blood cell count will be very low and I will be susceptible to infection.
4) Go to your doctor if you are sick. Like, now. In fact, if you are related to me, please just go and explain my situation to them.
4) Dolphins have prehensile penises.
5) Are you crying? Well then you are a pussy. That’s ok, I’ve had my pussified moments in the past.
6) I’m very upbeat and positive right now. I’m going to kick this fucking cancer’s ass.
7) Some of my family members do not know yet. They don’t read this blog or facebook. I plan on telling the rest by Sunday. Please keep mum to ALL of my family them until then.
I love you all. Take care of yourselves. And when I’m done with this shit, you should all come to Italy with me.
Monday, September 21, 2009
Here’s one that my friend Gina, my travel mate, overheard:
Elderly Woman with Thick Midwestern Accent: I heard there is a 24-hour boooooofay.
Elderly Man with Thicker Midwestern Accent: I need to go back to der room.
EMWTMA: I forgot mah teef.
EWWTMA: Oh Cecil!
Here’s one exchange between Gina and Me:
Me: What time is it?
(Gina hits her chest repeatedly looking for her cell phone)
Me: Is it retard time?
A few others that are totally clear and do not need any context:
“I need to quote that quote in my quotebook.”
“Check out that DILF!”
“I know how to turn things on.”
“I don’t want to shake your penis.”
Some funny mispronunciations:
“Ackckckkohol” (said after having a lot of it)
And the coup d'état:
John: You’re wrong!
Gina: You’re gay!
John: I’m married!
Gina: You’re still wrong, dumbshit!
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
This is me:
Occupation: Graphics/Editorial Associate
Age: Mid-to-late 20s
This is the type of man that would normally hit on me:
I believe the reason why so many men of this type hit on me is because of American and Spanish sitcoms. Many of these shit shows feature a ridiculous fat ass married to a Maxim cover model. For example:
The hambeast has watched so many of the shitcoms that he thinks he deserves a woman that is way further up the food chain. Also, his real fantasy woman:
Now let’s take a look at the type of man I am attracted to:
Occupation: Anything legal that allows him to live outside his parents' house
Age: Early 20s to Early 30s
Unfortunately, this type of man is usually attracted to the following types of people:
Stick thin super models,
Body builders, or
Unlike most women, I am not willing to settle for fat, unemployed bastards. So if I don’t end up with someone like
or better, I’ll probably end up spending my life with
(this table with a head attached to it is supposed to be my cat).
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Saturday, March 07, 2009
And just now I had to switch from my Touch to my laptop because one of my fat fingers hit "Send" and Blogwriter Lite doesn't have an edit function. The only real good thing about this app is that it is free. There is a non-free version that probably has a zillion more features, but money is too expensive to spend.
I'm currently working on a "short" story that was inspired by a story my Uncle Kevin once told me. I put short in quotation marks because as I'm writing it I'm feeling my inspiration snowball out of control. It's handwritten too, so it may take awhile to get on here.
I experienced something the other week that I hadn't experienced in a couple of years: I filled up a journal. Granted at least 20 percent of the pages were filled up with doodles and random notes. Also, at least one of the notes was not written by me ("I like balls") but the note directly beneath it ("I don't think I wrote this.") was. However, the last note in the journal was definitely written by me. It was note I had written and shown to my friend Jason as we were listening to a talk about volcanoes at the Geological Society of D.C.:
"I am pretty sure the guy three rows in front of me is my ex from the ninth grade."
Jason looked around and then looked at me questioningly, as if he can't see him. I then wrote "BALD SPOT."
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
My new resolution is to not say/do cliché things, like making resolutions.
As I look over this blog, I realize there are many stories I've left untold. Some funny, some moving. I've decided to continue with telling my stories, because everyone's story deserves to be told.
As I was driving around my old neighborhood during the holidays, I passed by the house of one my school friends. Her name was Andrea. I met her when I was in the fourth grade.
I was a tender child back then, and I was proud of this. I remember bragging to my friends that I had yet to "ever say a cuss word in my entire life." My mom and dad fought a lot, and I always thought curse words were only for times when you were angry. I didn't like feeling angry. I was pretty happy, and I found things that continued to make me happy, like the split-level bars on the playground during recess.
I used to hump the hell out of those things, not realizing that I was experimenting with masturbation at a very young age. Naturally I thought that there was nothing wrong with this experiment. After all, it made me feel good, like ice cream, Disney movies, and running real fast made me feel good. Then one day one of my male classmates caught me in my hot metal love affair and all was lost. By the next day, word had spread of my wanton ways, and I was a total outcast. My classmates were not only cruel, they were stupid. Kids would unabashedly spread whispers about me, right in my presence.
One day I just couldn't take it anymore. It was the day two new girls had just joined our class, and we were in the middle of watching a movie. One of the new girls decided to take the spot next to me. As she sat down, Jenny Smith, the biggest bitch in our class, looked at me, and then bent down towards the new girl and began whisper something in her ear. I’d had enough.
"Jenny, for pete’s sake, I know what you are going to whisper to her. You might as well just say it out loud."
"Wha, I wasn't gonna say anything."
"Your pants are so on fire. Listen, new girl, she was going to tell you that I humped one of the poles on the playground. She was going to warn you that you were sitting next to a pole-humper. There, it's out there. Now shutup Jenny and leave me alone."
Jenny sat back down. I don't think I saw her whisper again for the rest of the year. The new girl, whose name I have forgotten, stared straightforward during the rest of the day, determined not to make eye contact with either of us. I don't remember her saying more than two words that year.
The next day I remember seeing that the whispers had died down, but the looks of resentment and disgust remained. All of my classmates looked down on me, except for one. It was the other new girl. I saw her quietly playing by herself underneath one of the big trees that just bordered a wooded area behind our school. The wooded area was one of my favorite places to play. I decided that as I passed by, I would say hello to her and introduce myself.
She was a thicker girl, but not fat. She seemed to be very strong, as I saw her split pretty thick pieces of branch in two with her bare hands. Her face was moon shaped, and her eyes were big and brown. As I walked towards her she smiled, and I thought that, besides her strength, she looked to be very sweet and gentle.
"Hi, my name is Heather. What's yours?"
"I'm Andrea. I just moved here. My dad's in the army and he was just transferred here."
"Oh really? That's cool. Say, there's this tree in the woods there that I throw sticks at while pretending their ninja stars. Wanna come join?"
"Fuck'n A! Let's wreck that shit, bitch!"
"We'll tear that tree a new asshole!"
I stared at here with admiration, as if she had just turned into the Holy Grail. My mind had been opened. She made me realize that cuss words not made for just anger, but they were meant weave a tapestry of the whole spectrum of human emotion. I was enlightened.
"Where...did...you learn to talk like that?"
"Uh, my dad's in the army, duh!"
And that was it. We gathered as many "ninja stars" as we could hold in our arms, and cursed the shit out of that motherfucking tree.
I wouldn't want to say that Andrea was a bad influence by any means. She helped me learn to speak my mind in new ways. Ways that made me feel uplifted and unashamed. I wasn't stupid though; I knew my parents were not as enlightened as me, and so I held off on unleashing my proverbial palette of profanity upon them.
Andrea and I became good friends over the coming months, until one fateful slumber party. She had invited me to spend a Friday night at her place, and I was at the age where nothing, absolutely nothing, was better than a slumber party. My sentiment completely changed after that Friday night.
Andrea's home life was, for lack of a better term, completely fucked up. To start the night off, Andrea's father asked me if I were allowed to watch movies with "women’s chests." Thinking he meant a beach movie with women in bikinis (perhaps "Weekend at Bernie's") I unwittingly said yes. We then began to watch what I would come to know in the future as a softcore porno. I should also mention that Andrea had a mentally challenged sister who would shout "Tits! Tits! Tits!" every time the movie showed boobs.
Then dinnertime came. Andrea was passing out some rice and she accidentally spilled some on the table. Her dad began to whip her viciously with a belt for her mistake. At that point I sort of mentally checked out. I felt helpless and bewildered, and everything seemed surreal. I wanted to rush into bed so that the morning would come sooner. Once dinner was over, Andrea bounced out of her chair (apparently recovered from her lashing) and shouted "Bath time, bitch!!" She grabbed my hand and dragged me upstairs. She threw a towel in my face and said, "You can take your bath first! Bathroom is down the hall."
I ran into the bathroom and closed the door. My mind was ablaze with the insanity that had occurred in the past few hours. I decided a bath would be the best thing to calm me, so I disrobed and hopped in the tub. Just as I was about to immerse my head, I received the shock of a lifetime.
"Surprise! Slumber Bathtime!" Andrea screamed as she burst through the bathroom door completely naked and holding a can of Coca Cola. She ran into the bathtub and screamed, "You look dirty! Time for your Coke bath!" And she proceeded to empty out the can of Coke on my head. And this is where I snapped.
I jumped out of the bathtub and ran my head under the sink, all the while shouting the most colorful of curse words in her general direction. I put my clothes on as fast as I could and ran out of the bathroom into one of the bedrooms. I searched the second floor for a phone in total desperation, but there was none to be found. I knew there was a phone in the kitchen, but I heard screaming noises coming from there. I wanted to crawl out the window and run home, but I didn't know the way. I stopped myself at the top of the stairs, dumbfounded was to what I should do. Then I felt a tap on my shoulder.
I turned around and Andrea stood there in a pink robe.
"I'm sorry I freaked you out, bitch. Let's just get some fucking shuteye."
I walked cautiously back to her room. She let me have the bottom bunk of her bed, and I was grateful, because I knew that would allow for easier escape. I don't think I slept a wink that night.
The next morning was weirdly quiet. I waited near the garage door, eager to hear my mom’s car engine. When she did arrive, I did something I hadn't done in a long time. I ran to her and I hugged her, I was determined not to let her go.
"Oh hi there, Mrs. Borra!" said Andrea's father. "We loved having Heather over last night. In fact, she's welcome to stay tonight as well if she wants!"
My mom took a quick glance of Andrea's family and then she looked down at me. She could see the tears beginning to wellup in my eyes.
"I'm sorry sir, but we've got a family event planned for this evening. It was nice meeting you all!"
I hugged her all the way back to the car.
After that, Andrea's and my friendship was on eggshells at best. Eventually we stopped hanging out all together. The weird thing is, I didn't really realize how seriously disturbed Andrea's home life was until much later. This is probably why a lot of abuse goes unreported. Kids just think it is normal because adults are causing the abuse and what adults do is always right. Each time I passed her house in recent years, I wished I could go back and save Andrea from her wretched home life, rather than just running away from it. But now I'm smarter and stronger. However, I still curse a goddamned motherfucking blue streak.