Thursday, December 11, 2008

Recession Rant

I recently read an article on talking about a new strategy to fight homelessness: helping families find foreclosed homes to squat in.

It's a great article. I highly recommend you read it. I never thought there could be a moral dilemma with helping the homeless.

The thing that struck me the most, however, was a part near the end. The Miami activist helping to place families in the vacant homes had previously reached out to banks, trying to legally acquire the houses. His original plan was to rent the homes to the displaced families. At first, there was interest. However, once the banks learned about the TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Fund, also known as the "bailout"), they stopped taking his calls.

These banks didn't care about the people. They cared about the bottom line. Here stood a man trying to help. Here stood an opportunity for people to come together, work together, find a way for all parties involved to help each other. Instead of rising to the occasion, being truly magnanimous, the banks chose to wait it out. They wanted their money, no matter what the cost to the families forced out onto the streets.

This article highlights another reason why our country is in such financial peril. When creating mortgages they knew the perspective home owners could not afford, the bankers didn't think about the welfare of their customers. Instead, they went for the quick profit, the easy money maker, brushing their hands of the situation. When given a chance to help their customers, they chose to help themselves.

And what consequences did they have? Only $350 billion dollars to keep their doors open. I understand that everyone needs the bank to stay afloat. But why didn't the government act more forcefully, asking more questions, finding out the root problem, and require the banks to give a report on how they would become profitable again? Why didn't the government appoint a bank czar, who could force the institutions to work with each other, lend to each other, strengthening the financial market? Why were they given basically a blank check, while the auto industry has been grilled before our eyes recently?

I am sickened by the banks' greed, but I am made nauseous by the government's obvious classicism. White collar gets a check. Blue collar gets cheated. Paulson takes care of his buddies. Detroit is kicked while it's down.

My feelings, by no means, excuse what auto companies have done. Save Ford, who at least thought ahead, planned for the worse, and, it is not said enough, HAS NOT ASKED for money, America's auto companies are in trouble because of their own failings. Having said that, why wasn't the same treatment given to the CEO's of AIG, Merrill Lynch, Countrywide, CitiGroup, and the many others who have received piles of money these last few months?

I encourage questioning. I encourage grilling. If you've fucked up, you have to come clean. But punching Peter while you hug Paul doesn't work for me. Our country is in trouble. Our government must do better to make our lives better, lest we all loose what little "wealth" we still have.

If you punish a child for an act, they are less likely to repeat it. By giving the banks a pass, the government has doomed them to make the same mistakes again. Require just as stringent guidelines and reform for the banking sector as you have for the auto sector. That's where the trouble started. It must be where it is treated, vigorously. Maybe then we have a chance of this recession not repeating itself.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


I've decided to go ahead and write about something that has been on my mind, and stressing my life, for the past few months.

I have HPV. I don't know who gave it to me. I just know I have it.

It was found after a series of pap smears, having come up abnormal, forced me into the uncomfortable situation of a colposcopy, which ultimately confirmed the diagnosis.

Needless to say, for a while, I was scared and angry and sad. When I got the phone call from my NP, telling me I needed to come in for the procedure, I was not expecting it. I thought I was fine: no symptoms, no problems, in a loving managomous relationship. But HPV creeped up on me.

I remember crying in my car, on the phone with my best friend, my SO beside me. The colposcopy came back. The cells are too abnormal. They needed to be removed. I remember thinking, "Why is this happening?"

I felt powerless. I felt like I had done something wrong. I wanted to blame someone. I wanted to break something. It didn't seem fair. I'd received the vaccine. But, I was probably infected already.

I just recently finished recovering from my surgery. My abnormal cells were removed from my cervix in a painless procedure. My cervix is healed. Now I have to receive a pap smear every six months for three years. If all goes well, that will be it.

I may lead a perfectly normal life, not having to worry much about HPV. With yearly checkups, it is safe to say any abnormal cells, should they arise again, will be detected, removed, and I will be fine. And since I received the vaccine, I am still guarded from other strains of the virus.

Going through this, and now trying to not think about it, is just another situation I never expected to face. My cousin died of cancer. My aunt (and substitute grandmother) died of cancer. That scares me.

But I don't have cancer. And I have to keep reminding myself of that. I have to keep positive. I can't let myself fret over something that hasn't happened yet, or may never happen. I have to be happy with my today, and let the rest sort itself out tomorrow.

"After all, tomorrow is another day." - Scarlet O'Hara (Gone With The Wind, one of the best movies EVER!)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

My 6 Orgasm Night

Subtitle: My Continual Sexual Education

I, like most, love sex. It's fun, intimate, and invigorating. But, like many other women, I don't orgasm every time. Through patience, trial, and error, my S.O. and I have found I can cum in a specific position and with much concentration.

Until recently, though, I did not know how uncomfortable this experience made my partner feel. When I try to orgasm, I close my eyes and internally coach myself, using rather derogatory language. My S.O., not able to be in my head, felt closed off. He was having sex with me, but I was somewhere else.

During a recent quickie, I just wanted to cum and be done, a nice brisk morning fuck. We were in the correct position, and I was putting my work in. Then, my partner changed positions to a much more intimate and loving pose. I got pissed off. I literally, in medius res, asked, "Is this a good time to have a conversation about sex?"

My S.O. stopped immediately, feeling offended. We talked. Well, I apologized for being rude and explained my feelings. He then talked about his frustrations, as well.

Solution: My S.O. realized I needed to take more control of my orgasms. After work, he directed me to a store, where he purchased, for me, my first vibrator.

We took it back to my place and had a little lesson. This was not my first experience with a vibrator. My S.O. has brought out his own on special occasions. To start, he gradually introduced it, showing it to me and testing the speeds. He then began to massage me. After I came initially, he had me hold it in a certain position. He walked out of the room, leaving me trapped and feeling a bit ackward. I came again while waiting.

Once my S.O. returned, he massaged me in a different position. Orgasm #3. Then I was made to take the vibrator and use it on myself, my S.O. watching and coaching. Gingerly, I experimented with it, trying to understand and enjoy the experience. Orgasms #4 and #5 followed. Then my S.O. had his way with me while making me hold the toy still. Orgasm #6.

I let the vibrator go and we screwed intimately. I almost hit #7 as he came.

This experience is just another reason why I adore my S.O. He's understanding, patient, and always trying to help me learn and grow sexually. I'm so glad we found each other.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


I got a big fat letter in the mail today from my current healthcare provider. I am in the process of starting a new position and wanted to keep the insurance I have. So, I applied to my current provider, just as an individual instead of under a group plan. I told them everything I could think of that I have dealth with medically. I thought I would be fine. They already cover me. Why wouldn't they cover me now?

Sorry, but you're too fat. That was the verdict, said in nicer words. It doesn't matter that I'm in great health, blood pressure normal, no problems to speak of. I'm fat, so they won't accept me, even though they have had me for the past 1 1/2 years. Pissed can't even begin to describe how I feel.

I have been with this company since I was a child. My mother had this company and I received coverage until I was out of college. I was accepted by my current job's plan after two years without insurance. Thankfully, their healthcare was with the same provider. But now, I am going to be without again.

Count me among the 41 million. I have just been fucked over by the health insurance industry.

Friday, November 7, 2008

My Uncle Tony

Just trying to write this post makes the tears come.

I have this uncle. He has been a part of my life since I was born, but unfortunately not in the best ways. His crippled gate, splotched skin, huge afro, and constant chatter about religion makes him seem more like a cartoon character than actual person. But, he is family.

Uncle Tony lives with my mother in the house their father left them. Tony had polio as a child and was never academically capable. I think he's a little slow. His sickness kept him home. He didn't have a traditional education, but oh, he took to the good book just fine. He calls himself a bishop now and acts as a wandering preacher, though his travels don't take him that far. His gate is more of a rock than a walk. I really am amazed at his traveling resourcefulness.

When I was in high school, our bedrooms were side by side. It was those years that pulled whatever connection we may have had firmly apart. I remember being kept awake at night by his preaching over the phone. I was very resentful that once I had a test the next day, yet he kept going, even after I yelled through the wall. Once he complained to me, some time earlier, that my television was too loud one night as he tried to sleep. A teenager and a preacher do not make the best housemates.

My mother takes care of him, though he requires little looking over. She loves him, though I do not know how she can stand him. My interactions with him are brief. I make them that way. But, he is still family.

With the death of Ella this year, my emotions are often raw. Recieving a phone call from my mother with the word "hospital" in it, and not refering to her job, makes my insides tumble.

My uncle Tony fell down the stairs about two weeks ago. It was 3pm. My mother didn't get home until sometime after 6. He laid there, I'm sure screaming for help. But there was no one, save her, to look after him. She called the ambulance and he was rushed to the hospital. He suffered a broken hip. I'm just glad he didn't die.

The first thing that came to my mind when she called and told me was, "Oh no. Not another death in the family. Does he have insurance? How are we going to deal with this?"

I guess you can surprise yourself with your true emotions. Most of the time my resentment and disgust overwhelm anything else I feel about my uncle. I cried when my mother called. I don't want anyone else to die this year. I don't care what differences we have. He's still family, crazy, eccentric, and all.

He made it through surgery and physical therapy at a nursing home. He's back in his own bed now, with my mother tending to his medications and getting him around the house. She says she now knows what I went through with Ella. Really, she is only skiming the surface.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


I'm not single. I haven't been for almost two years. This is an extraordinary thing to me, considering my romantic life previously involved not the best sort of people. I love the person I am with and I believe they love me too. To be able to say that, once again, is amazing. I am so happy to have a person that compliments me so well. But what I saw this past weekend is more than I can properly describe.

Saturday, two of my friends, that I've known since high school, made a commitment to be with each other for the rest of their lives. Truth be told, I have other friends that are married. I've even been to a wedding before, but I was twelve at the time. Being so young, I didn't fully grasp how awe inspiring such a moment can be. Now older, and I hope wiser, I was moved to tears to see them "take the plunge."

There was a moment, at the beginning of the ceremony, where one reached out to the other. One was shaking and trying not to cry, cracking jokes to break the tension, making all of us laugh. The other was steady, calm. They were two pieces of a puzzle, balancing each other. That's love.

At one point during the weekend of events, the video camera made it's way to me. I tried to give my best wishes to the couple and express how happy I am for them. Of course, it came out a garbled confussing mess.

What I wanted to say, which didn't make it out of my mouth, was how much they inspired me and gave me hope for my future. I know only a part of what they have been through. Only they can really know it all. But, from what I have seen, it makes me believe love can be strong and steadying. It can be the ledge on which you jump from and the soft earth on which you land. It is there when you need it and there when you can enjoy it.

So, I guess this is a roundabout way of saying congratualtions to my friends, warmest wishes, thanks for the fun and funny photos, and I wish you the best of life and love for all your days.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

This Liberal Loves America

It is less than two weeks before our country decides who its new leader will be. Yet, all I keep hearing from one political party's candidates is talk of "pro-America" and the "real America." Now it's my turn to give my views of our country.

I love America. I have no problem saying that. I love America. It has faults. It has problems. It is not, by any stretch of the word, perfect, but I love America. I was born here. My parents were born here. Their parents were born here. I am and will always be an American.

However, no one's family lineage originated on this soil. The Native Americans were the first to live on and nuture this land, but they migrated over the Bering Strait from Asia hundreds of years ago. Christopher Columbus recently brought Europeans here freely, and my other ancestors here unwillingly. Some individuals fled their old lives. Some sought a new life. To claim that any one race or people have supreme right over this land is simply wrong. Like it or not, we are all Americans. This land belongs to all of us.

Having said that, there are so many things about my country that infuriate me. I often find myself wanting to hit something, the frustration overwhelming me. That's why liberals are so passionate. We know what this country was founded on, and we see the potential it has. Yet, we do not live up to what our ancestors fought, sweat, and died for so long ago. What would they think of the America of today?

We have systemic problems in our country. There is no comprehensive education to deal with race relations in our schools. It is the elephant in the room everyday for millions of children who don't understand why someone doesn't like them or why they are suppose to hate another. There is no universal healthcare to treat all of our ills, not just those of the wealthy. People's lives are being ruined because of the wrong roll of the dice. Cancer consumes not just a body, but the lives of those around it. Guns are used "to protect and serve", but are so often the causes of harm. You may teach your child to hunt deer, but someone else is teaching there child to hate and kill. And when someone else can dictate what can or cannot be done to my own body, forcibly, I find myself nausiated.

I love what America stands for, the symbol it gives to the world. This is a place where you can start again. This is a place where all are welcome, supposedly. This is a place where anyone can make it. But what does it also say to the world when one of our presidential candidates, a man who may become the leader of our country, is vilified everyday. He is the target of racisim. He is the butt of jokes. He is in the sights of someone's scope.

And, to add insult to injury, police units in "urban cities" are refreshing there forces on riot control. Win or loose, they believe us folks are going to cry out. How little they know of the true feelings of African Americans in this country.

I want only the best for my country. But these past few months have brought out the worst. It is time for the people of this nation to unite, not divide. It is time for there to only be an us, no them. It is time for this to truly be the United States of America.

Monday, October 20, 2008


For the past year our country's economy has slowly spiraled downward. The effects are everywhere and the impact has been felt by many, just not me.

As 2007 ended and 2008 began, my cousin Ella was diagnosed with cancer. That wasn't a good day. I remember sitting in the exam room with Ella and my mother. The doctor gave my mother and me the preliminary news, away from our cousin, before he performed any biopsies. A CAT scan showed there were masses in her lymph nodes and all over her chest. "Don't tell her yet," he said. "Let her have a good Christmas." I had to lock eyes with my mother to keep her from crying. The official diagnosis came a few weeks later. It was widespread and would require aggressive treatement: rounds of chemo and radiation. Thinking back on it, a meeting like that changes the path of your life forever.

That wasn't a good night, either. As the murmurs of recession and sub-prime started, I sat on the floor of her apartment in my bedroom, my back against the bed, tears kissing my face. I was suppose to be getting ready for my job's holiday party. Needless to say, my fun was subdued. I disguised my hurt well from my coworkers, and tried to dance my pain away. But I still had my sorrow at the end of the night.

The middle of winter brought less work for me, a fact that should've bothered me more. But I found myself floating in an emotional bubble. Yes, I worried about my finances, but I worried more about getting Ella to all of her doctor appointments and treatments. It hurts to note that, at times, I did breakdown. Never in front of Ella, but to my close friends I talked about my financial worries. I never wanted to put her through that. Who was I to talk about paying off my credit cards when she was fighting for her life. I would've taken on double that debt to keep her here, but that's not the way life works.

Ella died May 15th, the height of spring, when life was blooming. Work was up. I had been paying all her rent by then, and I had received my stimulus money. I used it for moving expenses and trying to clean out her apartment.

Since our economy has gone from bad to worse, my financial life has steadily improved. I received my first two insurance payouts as homes were being foreclosed on. It is an odd, raw feeling receiving money from the death of a loved one. It is possible to have survivor's guilt when you never had the disease. It is possible to feel bad about receiving money for merely loving someone.

Because I missed out on work to help care for Ella, I was low on funds during the time of her death. The first two insurance payouts saved my year. I paid off my credit card debt, loaned my mother some money (she had helped me with Ella's bills in the beginning of the year), and paid my first two months rent. I was okay.

Now, when our stock market sunk to a five year low, I received my last insurance payout, more than the first two combined, from a policy I didn't even know about. At first, I was scared. So much money on one seemingly fragile piece of paper seemed unreal to me. I hurried to deposit it, irrational fears of theft or distruction overwhelming me.

Now that I am more than financially secure, everything is put into a peculiar perspective. Two of my closest friends are getting married. I've blocked out the event days, not caring about missing some work. In fact, work has slumped again. Recession woes will do that. But I've just not cared.

I have a huge lump of guilt in my throat. Why am I okay when others are suffering? Why is my life soaring because of the death of a loved one, someone who was akin to a second mother to me? Yet, I have equally realistic notions about my life. Okay, work is slowing. Since I'll be losing out on hours, don't spend as much. I'm researching private health insurance in case I loose my benefits through my job. I'm making myself write, as evidenced by this entry and the other ideas I've written but not fully conveyed on paper. I've got to start somewhere.

I cannot let my built in worries about work, money, and how people view me take away from the opportunity I have been given. This is the first time in my life where I have financial freedom. It was paid for with the love of my cousin. To squander this would be unthinkable, reprehensible, and just not me. Too many people are scared about their financial welfare right now. I'm just not one of them. This was the last gift Ella gave me. I will not waste it.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Surprise (part 2)

On a Friday afternoon, towards the end of August, I received a phone message from a woman who worked at my cousin's employer's Death Benefits department. In her message, she said she needed to speak to me, and could I call her back by 5pm. Unfortunately, I was working, and was unable to reach her before then. As luck would have it, the Monday following this call was the same day I went in for dental surgery. (I needed all four of my wisdom teeth removed.) As my significant other drove me to the surgery, I gave the lady a call.

It seems she had been trying to contact me for some time. First, she tried Ella's mother, who said she didn't know where I was, and had no number for me. Then she tried looking through the phone book. She found my mom's home address, but the number she dialed was my uncle's line. At some future point in time, I will better explain to you just how out of touch he is. For now, I'll just say he's not all there, and told her he didn't know my number. He didn't bother to mention my mother was in the bedroom across the hall from his, or to give the representative her number. In a last ditch effort, she sent a letter to the house for me, asking for my current address and phone number. Hence, the call.

The reason the representative wanted to speak to me was that I was the sole beneficiary for yet another life insurance policy. It was through the company and I knew NOTHING of it. Also, I was to recieve the stocks in her 401k retirement account. When combining the two, they were double what I had already recieved. I found myself shocked and sad at the same time. I thanked her for her efforts and for the news. After I hung up, many curse words came out, as well as a prayer and thank you to my cousin.

The icing on the cake came after my surery. I received a call, while happy on percosets and ice cream, from the representative from the cemetary. Yes, that was the day I found out I didn't owe them any money, and my uncashed check was being mailed back to me.

The best way to describe that day was the intersection of blessings and karma.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Surprise (part 1)

The intricacies of putting a loved one to rest are, at times, overwhelming . One specific instance for me, though, was enraging.

I recently received a phone call from the cemetary, where my cousin's body now lays, regarding payment for the plot. This was a shock to me considering 1) the payment for the plot was arranged through one of her life insurance policies, and 2) the call came three months after her burial. The representative we worked with tried to politely point out that I, along with her mother, had signed a promissory note that legally bound us to pay this debt. Also, since my percentage of the insurance payout was 60%, I needed to pay 60% of the bill.

It was at this moment, that last statement, when my blood started to boil. I could understand up until that point that this man was doing his job, just trying to collect what his company was owed. But he asking me to pay what amounted to $1000 more that my familial counterpart went too far. Obviously he had spoken to her first. This woman's conniving just would not end.

When paying for the funeral home, the insurance agency took the amount off the top for the bill and then paid out the remainder. The cemetary, or just this representative, didn't see it this way. I was being penalized because that woman manipulated the situation.

This story does have a somewhat pleasant ending. The insurance company did in fact pay the cemetary bill, my uncashed check was mailed back to me, and I have not heard from the cemetary representative, or that woman, in about a month.

Going through the death of such a close relative has been hard enough. Dealing with her mother, however, has been almost unbearable. She wasn't a part of my life before Ella died. I hope she stops interjecting herself into my life in the time to come.

Friday, September 26, 2008


The first political conversation I can remember having was around the age of 8. It was 1991 and the political campaigns of George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton were on everyone’s mind. My family sat in the living room watching local news.

Now, before I go on, I need to preface what happens next. I was raised in a family of Democrats, only Democrats. Not everyone was highly educated, but they all were intelligent, articulate, and opinionated. From a young age, I showed promise academically and intellectually. I suppose this is why my opinions were allowed in adult conversations. Most of the time, I knew what I was talking about.

As we watched the news, I began to comment on how there was no way Governor Clinton was going to loose. Of course, there was an immediate rebuttal. “Really, why?” “Well”, I began, “I can’t see myself voting for a president who lied to everyone about taxes and then picked a Vice President who can’t spell the word potatoes. I can spell potatoes. He’s an idiot.” I left that modifier dangling, but you understood my 8 year old opinion. And thus politics entered my life and has never left it.

I am liberal. Okay, I’m ultra-liberal. I’m Pro-Choice, anti Iraq War, pro universal healthcare, anti death penalty, okay with high taxes and government aid in my everyday life, liberal. Let’s see what passionate and frustrated rants I will have in the next six weeks before the election and beyond.

Friday, August 1, 2008


Recently one of the most important persons in my life died. The circumstances around her passing were not quick or easy. The aftermath has been just as bad. Family squabbling made the process of putting her to rest almost unbearable. Now, I am left with a place in my heart that never stops hurting. I'm just able to ignore it at times.

No one taught me how to grieve. I was given no instruction manual or handy tips. I just let the days go by and try not to let my pain overshadow the importance of now.

It is possible to be sad, even when you are truly happy.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


I am 5'6". The last time I stepped on a scale, it read 240lbs. Granted, it was the middle of the day, but you get the point. I'm fat. In fact, I am the heaviest I have ever been. (no use in sugarcoating the situation)

I knew I had a problem one day when I looked in the mirror and saw my chin was growing a companion. My thighs rub together. I get tired by the simplest of physical activities. It's just not pretty.

For me to be at a healthy weight, I need to loose 80lbs. I honestly don't know the last time I was 160lbs. (maybe middle or high school)

To look at me, you wouldn't know how heavy I am. I guess a lifetime of being the chubby kid helps one to instinctively dress to disguise. But not seeing it doesn't stop it from being true.

For the most part, my weight gain has been little by little. However, I am currently in a relationship where my significant other eats out every night. Our cohabitating for the past two years has accelerated my gain. (about 20lbs in two years)

In college, when I was broke and on a very tight budget, I survived off a $10/week food budget. Those around me saw the weight melt off. I felt good and looked good. I don't know if my eating habits were the best, but I got down to 180lbs.

Unfortunately, I am no longer broke. I don't pay attention to my calories like I should. I never learned portion control. And, to be completely frank, I'm lazy. I like physical activities, but lack the drive to go do them or stick with them. (hence the gym membership I'm hoping to use again sometime this year)

And thus I have articulated all of the reasons (excuses) for my current circumstance. Now you get to see me try to remedy my predicament and cease being the Designated Ugly Fat Friend.

Basic Info

I'm random. I'm complex. I'm a dork. Here's some information to help you understand all of the nonsense swirling in my head. I will update as needed.

O- overweight
G- grieving
L- liberal

Friday, July 25, 2008


Beginnings are important. Yet, I only half know why I've started this blog. There are thoughts in my mind I can't seem to speak, but have the greatest urge to express. Whether you love me or hate, or just don't care, that's up to you. I just need to say this.
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