Archive | June, 2020

Adiós Carla

28 Jun

My friend Carla says adiós to Mexico and leaves for Europe with a one-way ticket tomorrow. She bought a little house on Laguna Bacalar, sight unseen eight years ago. For a long time she was the only person who spoke English in her pueblo.

While the view from her dock is beautiful, the little village she lives in on the east end of the Laguna is riddled with poverty, lack of education and little infrastructure. With Covid, there is more fear and crime.

Breakfast with Carla

We have been having breakfast together once a week for about a year. We talk politics, community drama, aging, and the tilting world we live in. I know she has been unhappy for quite awhile but hoped she could find peace.

Women’s March 2017

Friendship is not easy to come by among the expats in Bacalar. Actually anywhere. I will miss her.

DOS TORTAS

The Streets of Kansas City

21 Jun

In 1985 I left the desert for a job in Kansas City, Missouri, a city that had long been racially divided. I moved to have the chance to live closer …

The Streets of Kansas City

Rainbow Lives Matter

20 Jun

In 1993 I was fired from my job for being a lesbian. I hadn’t thought about the experience for many years. This week’s US Supreme Court judgement brought it all back. I was surprised by the emotional response the ruling triggered.

Celebrating equality.

One of the plaintiffs of the case before the Supreme Court was Gerald Bostock who was fired after joining a gay softball team. ‘We don’t want people like you working here’ what people, softball players?

Memories flooded back of my own personal experience of loosing my job in 1993 and the shock and helplessness I felt. I was hired as staff development coordinator for Austin Community College. I was so excited. The school was doing great things for the community and I got to schedule and influence the training of newly hired teachers.

My boss at the time had a habit that made me feel very uncomfortable. She was going through a messy divorce. Every morning, coffee in hand, she would park herself at my desk and relay all the gory details, whether I wanted to hear them or not.

My friend Charles who also worked at ACC wrote this article in the now defunct Texas Triangle. I have kept it all these years. Although I was within my six month probationary period, and this week’s ruling would not have helped, federal law will go a long way towards making employers think twice. And hopefully prevent others from going through what I did. Rainbow lives do matter.

DOS TORTAS

A Journey with Anxiety

14 Jun

It was New Year’s Eve 2006. I remember looking forward to heading to downtown Austin for the annual community bash. Gerald Ford had died unexpectedly and as a state employee we were given an extra day because of his funeral January 2, 2007. A four day weekend, woohoo! My condolences President Ford, but I was riding high, or so I thought.

Austin, TX New Year’s Eve Celebration
The only picture I have of my scooter. Taking my daughter for a ride.

My youngest son was in college, a half hour drive away and had moved into his first apartment. It was a beautiful day in Central Texas so I hopped on my scooter, a Yamaha 250cc and headed out for a visit. I traveled back country roads because a scooter ride on the Interstate was not my idea of fun nor is it safe.

Dylan with his grandfather.

While visiting my son, I began to feel off. I did what every mother does and took him to buy groceries. My vision seemed blurry and my head was pounding. I broke out in a sweat. Back in his apartment, I began to have chest pains severe enough to warrant a trip to the emergency room. I was shy of my 55 birthday.

My triathlon days.

The bottom line was the diagnosis of a panic attack. ME!? I had never had a panic attack and was not one of THOSE people. Whatever that meant. It’s funny how mental health prejudice can show up when you least expect it.

Lisa my support crew.

The doctor referred me to my family physician who was absolutely no help. I was offered medication or to figure it out on my own. I tried counseling. No help there either.

At work in the following weeks I would feel symptoms coming on, chest pressure, sweating, dizziness, which of course caused panic which only made it worse. A spiral of scary feelings. I was at a loss.

Danskin women’s triathalon.

I had practiced meditation twice daily for years and was in training for a marathon. How could I be having panic attacks? What ended up working for me was massage. I began getting weekly massages which seemed to reboot my system. I hadn’t really thought about the whole experience until now when I am again finding anxiety creeping back into my life.

Maharishi

I have been having stomach aches for awhile. The pains come and go, wrecking my sleep and, well, causing me anxiety. I finally broke down and went back to the doctor, thinking maybe a previous ulcer had returned. I love my doctor. He is incredibly caring, kind and smart. Not knowing any of my history with anxiety, he gently suggested that my pain may be just that, anxiety. I cried to be seen so completely by this man.

Smiling with his eyes

We will medicate my stomach pain again for a month and then revisit the results. I am starting here, sharing myself and my judgment about “those people,” of which I am one. Anxiety does not have to be a full blown panic attack. It apparently can appear as low level pain of any sort. Who knew? Isn’t 2020 a hoot?

DOS TORTAS

Stela the Blind Pug

7 Jun

We adopted Stela in January. I’ve never owned a blind dog before and had no idea what to expect. We saw a post from a local rescue group on FB of this sad little dog. We agreed that she needed help and we were willing to give it.

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In Mexico it’s different from in the US or EU. No application, no screening, no home visits, if you’ll take the dog, it’s yours. The vet guessed her age to be about four. She had had puppies and was probably used as a backyard breeder. The story was that she was found roaming the street and had been abandoned because the owner moved. Her enormously deformed eye and blindness probably had something to do with it
.

I brought her home and opened the side door to take her outside to relieve herself. I wasn’t quick enough and she darted out of my reach and right off of a four foot high wall. I watched in horror as this little potato did her flying squirrel imitation. Legs out in all directions to slow her descent. She bounced off of a bench below and landed hard. By the time I got to her, she was on her feet and off to a new adventure. I was the one most traumatized. In hind site it was hilarious, but not at the moment.

For weeks I kept her on a leash. She was eager to explore and being tethered to her, I was regretting my decision to adopt. I began tapping my foot to show her where stairs were. As she trusted me and followed my voice, she began avoiding ledges. She had an amazing memory for her environment both outside and in. Little by little I gave her more freedom and now she goes out the front to explore the yard and knows her way back to the door.

Stela had the bad eye removed. It hasn’t slowed her down in the slightest. When she’s unsure where she is or what’s in front of her, she has a stiff-legged, spread toe march that makes her look like a Russian soldier goose stepping in a May Day parade.

Stela’s two favorite pastimes are eating and finding my MIL’s cat. Gato loves to sit just out of her reach and watch her walk in circles, bumping into things until she finds him. They play and romp. It seems a bit mean, but Stela doesn’t mind.

Her only fear is thunder. She’s woken us two nights now totally freaked out by the tropical storm we’ve been having. Otherwise she has little dog syndrome and is willing to take on all comers. She is my shadow and I love her dearly. Both Lisa and I think that Frida sent us an angel and for that we are deeply grateful.

DOS TORTAS

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