Tag Archives: observations

A tale of two abortions

imageMany, many years ago an older friend shared with me the story of her illegal abortion. It involved a large amount of money, cash only, of course, a bus ride out of the city and into the “everything looks the same” suburbs, and an extracted promise to never tell anyone where she had been (as if she could remember) and what she had done (as if she could forget).

I remember being riveted by her story, trying to imagine the emotions my friend must have experienced on that scary afternoon. How nervous she must have been that something, anything, could go wrong – what if she missed her connection at the bus station or if the “abortionist” was really a scam artist intent upon robbing her? Would there be post-procedure complications? Might her decision to terminate her pregnancy in an unregulated “clinic” threaten her future fertility? What choice(s) did she truly have?

When I became pregnant as a teenager the only question I had to ask myself was this: Am I prepared to be responsible for another’s life? Recognizing that my present situation was but one indication of my own lack of personal responsibility,* I knew I needed to terminate my pregnancy. I called Planned Parenthood.

When I arrived for my appointment, jar of first morning’s urine in my school bag, I was treated like a human being. My options, choices, were explained and I was offered an array of services, including abortion. My questions were answered and I was provided with a referral to the facility where I would ultimately end my pregnancy and begin my new life as a much more responsible, sexually active, young woman.

I had no concerns about the legitimacy of the medical care I received or the competence of the practitioner. I understood the potential for complications or long term problems resulting from my abortion and accepted the small risk, knowing that actually having a child would be far more perilous.

In the years since my abortion, I’ve often wondered who that child, my child, would have grown to be. I’ve thought about how old (s)he would be and tried to imagine the life I would have known if I had become a teenaged mom. Ultimately, I can only conclude that the three children I do have most certainly benefitted from the services made available to me at Planned Parenthood and I have no regrets for the choice I made. I stand with Planned Parenthood.

*I’m NOT suggesting that all unintended pregnancies are the result of a lack of personal responsibility. This was MY situation.

1 Comment

Filed under girlhood, medical, News, Observations, politics, Uncategorized

Eclipsing light

DSC_0004Waking up this morning to a sky smudged with grey, I wondered how our ancestors must have felt the day after a dramatic eclipse of the moon. For us, the eclipse was expected and much heralded, but what if the darkening and disappearance of the moon was completely unforeseen? How frightening must that have been? Were ancient people convinced that the world was ending, that there would never again be a light in the sky? DSC_0009

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and I can’t help but draw a parallel between the activities of the moon and what I envision the weight of depression to be. Having witnessed friends lose loved ones, as well as experiencing firsthand the seemingly sudden loss of a friend to suicide, I imagine depression must feel similar to a total eclipse. Maybe it’s like going to bed after witnessing the blackening of the sky and not knowing that a new day will indeed eventually dawn.

I’ve told you before that I am not someone you want around during a medical emergency, be it physical or psychological. Even though I care, I’m just not good in those situations. I know I’m not alone in my limitations when it comes to feeling at a loss regarding how to deal with illness and lack of well-being, but I’m telling you this –  I want to be better. I want to help.

I hope that those struggling in the darkness know, that even if it seems like the world is a really dark place, the light of day will return.  Let’s all be here to see it, ok?

Leave a comment

Filed under Events, News, Observations, sick

Lucky! In the right place at the right time walking on broken glass.

A couple of months ago when I was in NYC with the girls, I received a text message with a photo attached. While it was hot and humid in the city, Albany was getting pummeled by a storm complete with wind and intense rain. The picture perfectly captured the severity of the storm including the tree in my neighbor’s yard which, I’m convinced, will one day fall on my house.

My immediate response was panic – Oh, no! What can I do?! I quickly concluded: nothing. My next thought was “at least there isn’t anyone at home to get hurt and stuff is just stuff.” With that realization, I picked up my glass of rose and carried on with living.

This morning Jeter become possessed by a squirrel he spotted on the front porch. He ran from window to door to window before finally jumping up to slam himself against the door window, shattering it, of course, into a million pieces. Miraculously, unlike when I put my hand through a door’s glass window, Jeter came through completely unscathed.

I shooed him out and got to work cleaning up the larger shanks shards of glass by hand before busting out the vacuum to get the finer pieces. It took some time. During the day I got an estimate for the repair. I considered calling for help with the removal of the door (by the hinges) and lugging it down the steps to load into my car to bring to the glass shop. I didn’t. I figured out how to take the hinge pins out myself and carefully somehow got the door off and into my car.

Reflecting on the morning, I was appreciative that I had been home when Jeter finally went through the window. It was only a matter of time before it happened and it would have been awful if I hadn’t been there to clean up the glass.  He could have gotten hurt.  It could have been so much worse.

So many potential perils – wind and rain and broken glass and all I have is a splinter or two in my hands.  Lucky.

Leave a comment

Filed under DelSo, house, musings, NYC, Observations, Random, Uncategorized

Never forget?

 Photo: Ben Sturner/@leverageagency

Photo: Ben Sturner/@leverageagency

I don’t remember which days of the week my own children were born but I’ll never forget that it was a Tuesday. The sky was the most intensely beautiful blue imaginable.

It was my first week in a new district. I didn’t know anyone. My children were in daycare 15 miles away. I couldn’t get to them soon enough.

We sat on a new deck under the a silent sky, doing our best to escape the buildings falling and falling and falling on the television. Everything was different.

September 11th will never be a day that simply falls between the 10th and the 12th. It’s the day everything changed. Who could ever forget?

Leave a comment

Filed under Events, NYC, Observations, Uncategorized

Comfortable in my own skin

imageI wish I knew when my body began to be more enemy than friend. I have distinct memories of admiring the strength of my body while still a girl in elementary school. My legs! I could push things with them! I could walk and run and play for hours without an iota of complaint from them.  God, it was so simple.

imageThe change in how I felt about my physical self probably came when I experienced “the change” from girlhood to womanhood. As my body shifted into a woman’s shape, the power of my body also shifted. Power came now not from physical strength, but from a nubile sexuality. Strong for sure, but definitely not the same as the internal force previously known which had not been reliant upon the response of another.

imageFor 30 years I struggled to recover a fundamental sense of respect for my physical self. There have been moments of tremendous gain – birthing a baby, beating back a cancer, running or riding in a race, but there have also been setbacks. Those pesky pounds that refuse to leave my abdomen, my post-breastfeeding boobs that seem deflated after nearly 4 combined years of producing milk, my flat butt…there was never a shortage of parts to criticize.

imageBut I did something this weekend which left me with feeling a peaceful comfort with my body. I spent a few hours Labor Day weekend solo at a friend’s pool wearing nothing but my skin, soaking in the sun, diving into the water, au naturale.  The sensation of the most basic elements; “fire,” water and air, somehow mentally transported me to a simple state of being.  Naked. Bare. Completely comfortable in my own skin.


Filed under beauty, musings, Summer

Letting go

imageSaturday was a big day and I’m not talking about American Pharaoh’s upset up in Saratoga. No, it was the first day of my oldest son’s adult life – he is officially a college freshman. Yesterday was Drop Off day, which might be better named Jump off a Cliff Day because that’s what I felt like doing after waiting in endless lines on a hot afternoon.

How come no one told me about the clusterf*ck involved with getting your kid situated in a dorm room? I suspect it is part of an overall conspiracy of silence involving parenting situations such as childbirth, potty training and your child’s impersonation of Satan during puberty. Come on, more experienced parents, you need to share this information! For the uninitiated, let me tell you what it was like…

First, you’re assigned a specific drop off time, which is silly because it truly means nothing. If you’re like me, you dutifully arrive 5 minutes early (forgoing that gas stop in favor of promptness) to join the already inordinately long line of vehicles trying to reach the promised land of “Student sign in.” After approximately 30 minutes, you reach your first destination, park your car, race to use the bathroom and wait patiently as your child queues to receive their dorm keys.

Step two involves driving to another parking area, one I ultimately referred to as the “holding pen,” where you park near other parents with children with the same dormitory assignment. This is where you have an opportunity to meet other annoyed parents and discuss the odds of getting your children unpacked before their graduation day arrives. After about an hour, and numerous parents complaining to the keepers of the gate, we were finally released to go wait in our cars for the final line step – drop off.

This part of the process is made much more exciting if your gas gauge indicates that your miles-to-go-to-zero is clicking down at the speed of light, or so it seems to be when contrasted with the rate of speed in which the line moves. If you’re lucky, a nice university cop will let you advance when he correctly detects panic in your voice as you ask him how far it is to the nearest gas station. Now things get fun.

imageYou pull to the curb and are immediately approached by an enthusiastic group of students who happily take the remaining possessions out of your car (everything other than the refrigerator already unloaded and hauled on foot by your children as they try to hasten the process) and place them into wheeled bins to deliver to your child’s room. There are brief conversations (Student: “Do you know where you’re going?” Parent: “Yes, the f*ck out of here.” and “I love your Bernie sticker!” said by the young woman in charge of UHart’s Students for Bernie Facebook page) and then you park your car in the third parking lot of the day and finally enter the room where your child will be living.

imageAnd then, it gets real. You see your child unpacking the things they found most important to bring along on their college adventure – books, electronics, that tea kettle you gave them as a birthday gift. You take in their surroundings so you can imagine them there when your home feels off-balance and empty without them. You walk back to your car and know beyond a doubt that the original cord cutting 18+ years ago was just the first of many. And you let go.

1 Comment

Filed under aging, Boys, Education, family, moms, road trips

Who are these people?

If you’re anything like me, you must occasionally observe the actions of others and wonder to yourself “Who are those people? Where are they from that they were taught that that sort of behavior was acceptable? Who raised them?!” There have been a few things in the news, and in my travels, recently that left me shaking my head and clenching my fists. Maybe they prompted a similar response in you?

People who harm or kill animals

On a local level, think of Hudson who, along with two litter mates,was found at approximately 3 weeks of age nailed to train tracks.  Or, maybe the “man” who was recently convicted of spraying his unnamed dog with alcohol and then setting it on fire. How about that abomination of a human being who killed Cecil the lion, along with numerous other majestic and rare animals, for “sport?” How can our world still be populated by humans who participate in canned hunts? I can’t imagine how anyone can perceive the act of killing a wild animal as something to be lauded.  They truly make me sick to my stomach.

On the side of the yellow brick road, 8/15

On the side of the yellow brick road, 8/15

People who litter

It is impossible to walk or run around Albany without confronting trash. The array of discarded debris is remarkable – from straw wrappers to empty beverage containers to flat screen tvs, all tossed by the roadside. What makes people believe the world is somehow their personal landfill? You know what? I kind of hate them.

The subject of trash is the perfect segue to the latest “reality” television family implosion…

The Dugars

I’ve never watched this show but it has been impossible to avoid hearing about this enormous family. Their homophobic, racist and anti-Semitic perspective on life was apparently popular entertainment for nearly a decade until they collectively revealed that their feet were made of clay. Or maybe mud would be a more accurate descriptor. I really wish that the fad of looking to families who are willing to prostitute themselves in the media as positive examples would end.  Immediately.

So, tell me – who are these people and, more importantly, how do we make them go away?

Leave a comment

Filed under Albany, Local, News, Random, Rants