Panorama of San Bernardino

Monday, May 20, 2013

Airport musings: from the HD to Ontario to the Bay

I am sitting at the airport in Ontario, California waiting for my flight.  I am reading at Stanford today for a literary journal that published one of my stories and my stomach feels queasy.  I always get the "why did I sign up for this" feeling when I do something different.  I am having that feeling today.

I am outside of my comfort zone and inside of my comfort zone at the same time.  I am in Ontario in the Inland Empire (the "IE"), the city I grew up in, and traveling to the Bay Area where I lived for two years while my husband was in dental school at UCSF.

I didn't stay for Adrian's entire dental school tenure.  I arrived at the beginning of his second year.  I was practicing law at the largest law firm in Houston, Texas and had to take the California bar.  The day I found out I passed the California bar exam was the same day as our law firm prom and I got drunk on martinis to celebrate that I was finally free.  I left the Bay at the beginning of Adrian's final year of dental school when my dad died unexpectedly of pancreatic cancer.

When my dad died, I felt an overwhelming need to come home to the IE.  I found a job at a law firm in Riverside and stayed there for two years.  Eventually, I realized I couldn't do corporate law any longer and ended up at the public defender's office.  Adrian moved back four years ago and we (finally) got married and live in the High Desert which some call the HD.

The HD is located about 75 miles from LA.  You take the 15 freeway north toward Vegas and our area is on the downhill slide where the Cajon Pass ends.  Joshua Trees line the highway.

In the world of the IE, there are champagne cities like Rancho Cucamonga and Palm Springs and there are lower Budweiser type towns like my hometown of Ontario and San Bernardino.  The HD falls somewhere below all of these places.

I hated the HD at first, but the area has grown on me.  The air is clear and it is warm most of the year and blistering hot in the summer.  Plus, it is closer to Vegas (about 2.5 hours).  We live in a rural area on a dirt road but it is a peaceful paradise where you can wake up in the mornings and watch jackrabbits run free.  Living there helps me connect to that creative place in my soul.  And it is only an hour and fifteen minutes from LA with no traffic.  People imagine those from the HD are hillbillies or what people call river rats (those who spend every weekend at "The River").  I am neither.

These are my airport musings.  I watch as all of these people line up and wonder what they are thinking.  Are they thinking of their home towns or their journey?  Do people even reflect anymore?
They are calling us to board as I write these final words.

Time for another adventure.   Bay Area here I come.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Miracle

Was it Sarah in the Bible who was barren? I think so. By some kind of miracle she becomes pregnant in her nineties.

I always thought from a young age that I would be barren as well. Whether it was a premonition, or the result of my mom's stories of infertility, I don't know but here I am sitting in a fertility center.

There are days I want to stay in bed curled up in a little ball. My heart feels battered about. Does God not believe in my maternal nature? Or maybe the possibility of creating life passed me by while I was at a corporate law firm in my thirties?

My life feels meaningless.   What was the purpose of my trials and tribulations and ultimate redemption? That said, I have never been a woman who thought I needed a child to feel fulfilled. 

Until now.

Today, the doctor will go over tests with me which will show, at age 41, whether I have any eggs left. I am hoping for a miracle but my OBGYN already told me the test results were disappointing.

I am hoping for a kind of miracle. A Sarah kind of miracle. 

And I've never felt so old in my life.

Meditations while on muscle relaxers

Yesterday was a strange day. It made me realize some things I am meditating on today.

I am blessed. When the car rammed into my Mercedes on the freeway yesterday, the force was so strong that I hit the steering wheel with my chest. I blacked out for a moment.

When I woke up a split second later, chaos ensued. After we pulled off the freeway, the car who hit me took off and I was left alone in a Wal-Mart parking lot shaking uncontrollably.

But this story is not about the accident. Or about my experience with the kind paramedics and the helpful CHP (and the unhelpful Colton PD). It is not about my subsequent four hour emergency room visit.

This piece is about what is in my head today as I lay in bed, a Shih-Tzu on each side of me.

In my head is a mix of Norco induced euphoria and gratitude. It sounds cliche, but the truth is, I am grateful to be here. I am grateful that I can watch Seinfeld and Roseanne reruns and write this essay on my iPhone. I am grateful for being able to write anything at all. Not everyone can do what I do with words and I am happy to be able to express myself creatively.

Usually, I complain about living with my mother-in-law Orieta and brother-in-law Gabe. But today I am grateful for Orieta who keeps on asking me if I need anything and for Gabe who offered to help take care of my car issues.

I am also thankful for my friends who keep checking in on me. And I thank God for my job as a public defender because I get plenty of sick days and they never pressure me into coming in.

I am also grateful for my husband who kissed me on my forehead this morning and told me he loves me.

And, I am grateful for my sisters and mom who I get to talk to every day.

Life sometimes gets me down and my fertility issues have caused me a lot of anxiety lately.

Today, none of that matters because I am a very lucky girl. My plan is to say it three times every day from here out while clicking my heels in thankfulness.

I am a very lucky girl.

I am a very lucky girl.

I am a very lucky girl.

(Heels clicking)